Age brings wisdom about style

Candid Closet

September 11, 1997|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Even if she tosses on a pair of shorts without giving her appearance a second thought, people tell Shirley E. Muldrow how fine she looks. She's no longer a young woman, but you wouldn't know it by her fashion-model silhouette and her ageless face. The lifelong member of Morning Star Baptist Church of Christ in West Baltimore has been mistaken for a sister to her daughters. Once a Flair fashion model, Muldrow, also a former teacher and telephone company employee, still participates in fashion shows for charity and political fund-raising events.

How would you characterize your style?

I'm a very conservative dresser. I don't like bows and frills. I like feminine clothes, but I like them tailored.

Where did you develop your fashion finesse?

It began with my mother. Those who knew my mother have always commented on the way she kept me. Somehow, that sense stayed. Even when I think I'm not even looking the way I'd like to look, people approach me. I don't even consider myself beautiful, but in my later years, the compliments have been coming out even more. I've been offered some good jobs in self-presentation, but they call for a lot of traveling or relocating. I'd rather be with my family.

Where do you shop?

I go to Macy's, Hecht's, Nieman Marcus, Saks. I love going to the outlets where you'll find your designer pieces, but not in large quantities. I don't like to wear something I see somewhere else. Please don't let me forget Nordstrom, they would kill me. I also go vintage shopping in Georgetown and Lansdowne, Pa. and Repetez Nearly New Shop on Liberty Heights Avenue.

Describe a vintage find:

I have one outfit that has a satin skirt with a handmade knit top covered with sequins. It was hand-made in Germany. I got it for a real reasonable price. I think it was made in the late '60s. I like the chic look, not tight, but fitting comfortably. I also have several "After 5" dresses. Two are by Perry Ellis.

Do you do your own hair?

Yes. I wear it short. I cut it, style it and comb it. Sometimes I'll wave it. It's a platinum-beige color. In case I have a boo-boo, I go to the same barber I've been going to for 23 years. Jessie Robinson at Jessie's Barbershop on Edmondson Avenue. He keeps it like it should be.

Do you share your fashion expertise with others?

I was drawn to several older ladies who were going into some kind of a shell. One had been a vice principal, one a teacher and another a dietitian. One day it just touched my heart. So I take them to the hairdresser, buy them clothes. It has inspired them to feel that they are somebody, to come out of their shell. If my mother was living, I would certainly want the same for her. You can grow old graciously.

Are there any celebrities whose style you respect and emulate?

Diana. Even before finding out so much about her, that was the way I tried to carry myself.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

Pub Date: 9/11/97

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