Charity co-chairs are an ensemble

Candid Closet

Fashion

March 30, 2000|By Stephanie Shapiro | Stephanie Shapiro,SUN STAFF

This year, Carole Sibel and Susan Levinson are celebrating April Fools Day as co-chairs of this year's LifeBridge Health gala, a black-tie event benefiting the health system's cancer programs. The cause is no joke, but it will be a great time. Gladys Knight performs at the sold-out event, "The Magic of Life," on Saturday at the Towson Center Arena.

Baltimore County residents Sibel and Levinson -- they even sound like a team -- complement one another in their many volunteer efforts and in their dress. Sibel, 64, is tall; Levinson, 46, is, in her own words, "vertically challenged." Each brings a chic but playful approach to her wardrobe. And they won't clash at the gala. Levinson will be in a floral print, and Sibel in a solid-hued, strapless gown with a bustle and a train.

How do you decide what to wear every morning?

Sibel: I know when I go to get dressed every morning what I'm going to put on. When I'm doing my face, I listen to the weather and I know. At the beginning of the week I plan what's ahead. My closet is open, there are no doors and it's easy to look around. No one wants to go to two big events in a row and have exactly the same thing on. I'm also one of these people who when I find something I like, I buy it, even if I'm not sure where I'll wear it. That's better than waiting until you need something that's hard to find.

Levinson: I have three teen-age daughters. I never know what's going to be in my closet. We share things all the time. I think I'm wearing one of their shirts right now. We shop at Towson Town or Tyson's Corner, at Gap, Abercrombie, Banana Republic. We'll shop anywhere. We'll shop at Target. We have a lot of clothing among the four of us.

Do you get advice from your daughters about what to wear?

Levinson: Absolutely. My 13- and 16-year-olds helped picked out the gown I'm wearing to the gala. We happened to walk into Littlefield's, and they had just unpacked it. They all went, "Ooooh!" The dress is a little "big" for me. It has a flower print and looks a little like wallpaper.

Do you also get advice from offspring when you shop?

Sibel: I always shop with my daughter. We have totally opposite tastes. She'll pick out something I would never wear and look great. I'm a little more frou frou.

Do you shop in New York?

Sibel: I don't go to New York to shop. I go to see shows and if I have a couple of hours before or after a Wednesday matinee, I'll run through Saks or Bergdorf. But I'm much more comfortable doing catalog shopping. I'm a true size so if something is cut right, it works. And around here I shop at Ruth Shaw, the Red Garter, and I go over to Towson Town. I'd like to get to Tyson's, but it's hard.

Where do you shop?

Levinson: I get a lot of things at Trillium. I have a very easy time. I figure, if I can't find it locally, maybe I just shouldn't have it.

How would you describe Baltimore style?

Sibel: I don't think Baltimore's trendy at all. Do you, Susan?

Levinson: No, I really don't. I see a lot of black. Baltimore's a fairly tailored town. Definitely conservative. There are always a few people who go the extra distance to look different.

What did you learn from your mothers about fashion?

Sibel: My mother stressed a very feminine way of dressing. I never saw her in a house dress, but in a pretty robe. That's probably why I like ruffles.

Levinson: My mother sewed as a hobby. She taught me about quality and the way things are constructed.

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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