What's underneath is important


Candid Closet: Karen J. Foxworth of Randallstown keeps her clothing simple, but makes sure every layer looks nice.

June 10, 1999|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

The withering heat Baltimore is experiencing doesn't weigh on Karen J. Foxworth, a Randallstown mother of two and vice president of an interpersonal development company. Today, she's wearing a sleeveless cotton tunic dress, a thin string of pearls and little tiny earrings, a breezy "Jackie O" look that takes the heat off. And then, there's Foxworth's mind set: "Part of an individual's feeling of hotness or coolness is in their mind," she says.

Foxworth, 43, has learned to temper her aggressive and charismatic personality with simple clothing. "If I were wearing things that were more elaborate and boisterous -- I won't even wear red -- people would turn around and run!"

Do you have any fashion role models?

My mom is a simple dresser. I grew up in Harlem, and we used to shop on 125th Street and Lenox Avenue, in little boutiques that were black-owned. As I got older, we shopped at Macy's, and other big-name stores.

Do you and your mother dress alike?

The other day, she invited me to go up to Dover Downs, and when I got to her house, we were both dressed in white walking shorts and a simple top. I told her I was going to go home and change.

In fashion, simple doesn't necessarily mean cheaper.

Sometimes, simple clothes are the most expensive pieces in the store. I look for little tiny buttons and the sleeve and things of that nature that add to the cost.

Where do you shop?

I'm a big Ann Taylor fan. She makes a size 2 and a lot of people don't. I also shop at the Ellen Tracy outlet in Lancaster.

Do you look in thrift shops?

This is terrible. I am not a thrift shopper. I won't even go, even though my mother bought me a very nice dress at one store.

What is your shopping strategy?

I like to go in the store, and find the size 2s. I don't try them on in the store. I know what fits. I want to see the outfit at home in my own mirror and my own light.

Are you a big shoe person?

I'm not a big shoe person. I'm a big intimate garment person. I like pretty under-things. i like knowing that it looks nice underneath. It's kind of an extension of the idea that it's more important what's inside a person than what you see when you first meet them.

Where do you go for under things?

I shop at Victoria's Secret, where they also make a cute line of clothing with a little hint of sexiness. I must have 10 or 15 of their little slip dresses. They're lined and come in very nice and soft colors. And they come with little snaps to keep bra straps in place.

What do you think about the bra-strap/tank top look?

I think that's a problem. I don't want to know what kind of bra you have on.

Do you ever dress casually?

I ran into one of my clients once while I was working out at the gym in shorts and a T-shirt. I was so embarrassed.

Do you cook in work clothes?

I come in and take my shoes off and go straight into the kitchen and get things started. I'm a neat cook. Sometimes I wonder if those 500 people I spoke to earlier in the day could see me grilling chicken.

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

Pub Date: 6/10/99

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