Iris Hill Green, a medical secretary and Middle River mother of two, knows the best time for shopping: on her lunch hour, when no one's pulling at her to detour into the toy store.
During the work week, she'll sneak away to the Fashion Bug or White Marsh Mall, to browse uninterrupted. Green is also aware that looking good is a part of her job. "Doctors like it when you reflect their office," she says. Even during Saturday morning office hours, Green comes to work in a flowing summer dress made of her favorite fabric, rayon. She might also wear the same summer frock to church, the First Baptist Church of Essex.
Is your style a topic of discussion at work?
The long-term patients get a kick out of what I wear. One patient says, "I can't wait to see what Iris has on today!"
Not everyone is as conscientious about their work attire.
Some women wear stretch pants. And when I catch the bus, I see people wearing track shoes with their suits, and some people wear those shoes all day. I cannot see how someone can wear a nice outfit with tennis shoes. Especially since they make comfortable work shoes nowadays.
What is your approach to shoes?
Shoes make the outfit. Ten years ago, I had three pairs of shoes, black, white and red. Now I own at least 70 pairs of high heel shoes in every color of the rainbow. I love stilettos and none of my shoes are lower than four inches. I have a pair of five-inch black shoes that I work in for eight hours a day.
Is there room for your husband's wardrobe in the closet?
He has to put his clothes in the children's closet.
Does he share your fashion passion?
I buy all of his clothes. This is the God's honest truth, he has never even bought a pair of underwear. I can get his outfits in a matter of minutes, from top to bottom. He just puts them on.
How do you plan your wardrobe?
I go on big shopping trips twice a year, for fall/winter and spring/summer. I'll buy 12 or 13 suits at one time, and normally if there is layaway I'll put them on, because I have to make sure my budget can accommodate $500 to $600 at one time. But a lot of stores have done away with that, much to my dismay.
Does your daughter emulate your style?
Girls try to compete. Boys say, "Oh Mama, you look so pretty." My daughter wants to wear the same short skirts that I wear. I try my best to explain I'm grown and she's a child.
How would you sum up your look?
I would definitely say my style is short and sassy. I like form-fitting clothes versus long, free-flowing things. I'm a size 2 and can't afford much weight on my small frame. Big clothes billow in the wind and make me look bigger.
When did you start paying attention to fashion?
When we were teen-agers, we competed for who had the best outfit on for the first day of school. Since 9th grade, I wore high heels to school, dresses to church and to school. It's so different for kids now. Everybody has shorts on. We wouldn't have dreamed of that.
Do you remember a particular clothing item from your childhood?
Without a doubt. My mother bought me a pair of sandals with huge corkscrew, wedge heels. My mother told me not to wear those shoes to school, but she went to work before we went to school, and I would put those shoes on and clunk down the hallway.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Pub Date: 8/20/98