Style with a sense of humor

CANDID CLOSET

Candid Closet: Former Penthouse Pet DiVina Celeste now spends time fund-raising.

February 03, 2000|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

DiVina Celeste of Towson became famous not for her clothes, but lack of them. Celeste is a Penthouse centerfold veteran who worked for the magazine as a model and goodwill ambassador until three years ago. Besides the usual Penthouse attributes, Celeste has a big heart, not to mention a great sense of humor and style. Ask her, for example, about appropriate dress and she'll go into a hilarious rap about Ginger and her gowns on "Gilligan's Island."

Now that she's retired, Celeste, 44, has more time to work for good causes like the Center for Poverty Solutions. She's on the committee for the Chocolate Affair, the center's annual fund-raiser. (It takes place from 6 to 9 tonight at Bohager's, 701 S. Eden St. Tickets are $50. Call 410-366-0600.)

A ballroom dancer, furniture restorer and serious shopper, Celeste just returned from Southern California, where she visited her daughter Jennifer, and her husband, professional skateboarder Bucky Lasek. California is Celeste's kind of place: "When we go out there, we see people my parents' age who are Rollerblading and skateboarding. You want to high-five everybody."

Do you have any firm fashion rules?

I'm a stickler for wearing the right clothes for the right time and right place. I only like stilettos for evenings.

Are stilettos still easy to wear?

I used to be extremely comfortable in them. But now that I'm retired, the majority of the time I'm in my gym clothes and aerobic sneakers.

Did you buy anything neat in California?

I got this awesome jacket made by an Indian woman in an exclusive La Jolla boutique. It's suede, with those bone beads down the arms and a black and caramel-colored fringe and tiny little seed pearl silver studs.

What is your shopping peeve?

I hate when I see six of the same thing. I don't want to pay $600 to $1,000 for a suit, go to a function and see six other women in that suit. That's why I love traveling. I can find things that are almost impossible to find here.

What's your mind-set when you contemplate a purchase?

I am a very frugal shopper. I shop with a pith helmet and an elephant rifle.

It sounds like you'll go in any store, from Ross for Less to South Beach boutiques.

I've gone to Ross, TJ Maxx or Marshall's and found extraordinarily expensive items for next to nothing.

What have you bought in the fancy boutiques?

I love Garfield & Marks. In South Beach, I bought a $2,000 Garfield & Marks suit, the skirt, pants and jacket. I love the fabric; it's flattering, but not clinging. It doesn't scream, "This is a woman's body." It says, "She's smart, don't mess with her." I bought this suit years ago, and it has saved my butt in any number of situations, from funerals to evenings out.

What is the predicament of fashionable women in their 40s?

It's like being in an awkward stage. Fashion stops when you're 35 and only starts back up when you're 60 -- if you like polyester with seams sewn into it.

How has your style changed?

I've always personally been somewhat conservative. People who don't know me find that hard to believe because of my career.

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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