Good luck is no small advantage

Candid Closet

January 22, 1998|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

Growing up in New Jersey, Julie Alagna had a great connection to New York's garment district -- her dad, who installed and serviced computerized pattern-making machines for design companies. From time to time, "He would come back with the most interesting things," Alagna says. She got some of the best stuff -- suits, bathing suits, night gowns and other au courant goodies.

Alagna, now a 31-year-old attorney at USF&G, has maintained a fine eye, not only for clothing, but for art. As a Museum Affiliate at the Baltimore Museum of Art, Alagna is the boutique chair for the Casino Ball, the museum's annual fund-raising gala, which takes place Saturday, Jan. 31. This year's theme is "Camelot." (For more information, call 410-396-6363.)

Those lucky at the Casino's gaming tables can cash in their chips at Alagna's boutique. She has had good luck finding local contributors to the boutique, including Gamberdella, Oh Said Rose and Amaryllis. As for what she will wear to the ball, keep reading.

What is your clothing mix for work?

Now that I've left private practice and am working for a corporation, things are a little bit more casual, which is great. I used to always wear suits, but now I can kind of mix and match different things. If I'm shopping, I try to buy an outfit I can justify wearing to work and outside work.

What do you wear on business trips and in court appearances?

At Talbots I've gotten some suits made of a polyester-acetate mix. It's great for me because I can have one of those little travel suitcases for a two- to three-day trip. I can pretty much roll a suit into a ball and it won't get wrinkled.

How do you interpret casual Fridays?

Before they instituted the casual Fridays, a lot of women had very formal suits and very casual jeans, and not a lot in between. Being petite, I get a lot of work clothes at places like Talbots, which has gotten a lot more modern and stylish. I still like to wear some nice black trousers, with a sweater set or a chartreuse blouse, black blazer and a little scarf. I still want to be professional and put together. But even when I'm not casual, I will try to work in some more individual pieces, such as a little neckerchief or my one-of-a-kind silver jewelry.

Talk about your jewelry:

It's probably my pitfall. If I'm shopping or traveling out of town or in Balitmore, I keep an eye out for one of a kind silver pieces. My favorite pieces are primarily from North Carolina. They have an interesting style of jewelry there I don't see much: interlocking circles like look like pop tops from soda cans. My favorite piece is from the Black Mountain Gallery at Chapel Hill. It's a necklace and earrings.

What have you learned about dressing for petite sizes?

When you're 5 feet tall you have to be very careful about how you dress. You don't want to come across as cute and you also want to wear things flattering to your size. I used to have a tendency to wear things that are too big or not proportioned right.

If you could splurge on a designer, who would it be?

If I were among the Demi Moore crowd at a runway show, I would pick Georgio Armani. I also love Badgley Mischka, a design team that makes these beautiful gowns with beading. They almost look like vintage pieces.

What are you wearing to the Casino Ball?

I bought a long, sleeveless raspberry gown from Laura Ashley on sale for $23. And I don't even have to get it shortened!

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

Correction: In last week's Candid Closet, Lucretia B. Whitten's age was incorrectly reported. In fact, Whitten did not reveal her age. The Sun regrets the error.

Pub Date: 1/22/98

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