Consignment suits her just fine

CANDID CLOSET

Candid Closet: Natalie McIntyre of Catonsville, an artist, businesswoman and avid zydeco dancer, finds great pre-owned clothing for all her roles.

July 22, 1999|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

You could say Natalie McIntyre of Catonsville is a renaissance woman for the millennium. Trained as a fiber artist at the Maryland Institute of Art, she became a physical therapist, and now, she and a partner run a business that provides corporate recorded messages. On top of all that, McIntyre is an avid zydeco dance enthusiast and a member of a local Sweet Adelines group.

So how does McIntyre, 46, dress for all of the hats she wears? Economically. This renaissance woman is also the consignment queen.

On a typical day, what are your wardrobe demands?

I really do have a multiple personality thing going on. Because right now, I'm sitting here working on a script for a client, with no shoes on. But I have meetings later this afternoon with a new client who has only heard my demos. I'll probably wear a nice sleeveless sheath with a jacket, a nice scarf and decent looking shoes. It's such a perfectly wonderful classical style that's been around forever.

What's the key to being presentable?

A lot of it is just how you carry yourself. Some people could dress in a green garbage bag and be perfectly acceptable anywhere they went. They know how to carry themselves. Other people might dress in the finest outfits from the finest boutiques, and it still doesn't look right.

Was it difficult to make the transition from casual therapy dress to a professional look?

It took me awhile to get to the point where I was comfortable wearing skirts and dresses. The first day I wore a skirt, a client wanted me to put the digital player into the phone system, and it was mounted way up on the wall, and I had to use a step ladder. I thought, "If this isn't a cosmic joke."

How do you shop?

My shopping is so sporadic. It's usually the last thing on earth it ever occurs to me to do. A lot of times, if I have 15 minutes, it's my little treat to stop in Vogue Revisited and look through the racks for the length of three songs. Whatever I have in my hand, I'll try on. And whatever works, works. That's my shopping method.

What other shops do you frequent?

Just a Second in Mt. Washington and the Salvation Army Super Store just north of Laurel. It has dressing rooms, and usually those places never have dressing rooms.

What do you wear for dancing?

Zydeco dancers in this area tend to wear more dresses and skirts. Nice little slippy skirt things that move great and look great. They have to be something you can throw in the washing machine because they are going to get major sweated up. I have this one dress that's red with white polka dots. It's my all-time favorite dance dress.

Do you have any special flourishes that jazz up your dance attire?

I was going through a magazine that showed socks for toddlers, decorated around the edges with beading. I made a prototype pair and showed them to a friend of mine who does marketing and PR and is also a zydeco dancer. At dance camp, in the dining hall at lunch, she got up and shouted, "Attention shoppers!" She sold all my socks for me!

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

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