Elegance, fashion go hand in glove

Candid Closet

January 06, 2002|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,Sun Staff

B.J. Douglass called to say she just had to be a Candid Closet -- not that it was her idea, mind you. People kept stopping her on the street or the Metro and telling her she simply had to call The Sun. So she did, explaining that she didn't quite dress like the rest of the world. Our ears perked up.

"People think I'm always dressed up," says Douglass, a secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, "and I'm really not. It just looks that way because no one does it today."

"It" is piling on certain elegant accessories -- even in the summertime.

"That's when I get most of the comments," says Douglass, who lives in Anne Arundel County. "People always say to me, 'Aren't you hot with those gloves on?' They call me 'the lady with the gloves, hats and the fancy flats' -- I like glittery sandals or shoes with stuff on them."

Here's some about why she dresses as she does:

Why gloves and hats?

The women in my family have always worn hats and gloves to protect our skin from the elements. And it works: My aunties and my mother always looked very young, and I'm 51 and everybody tells me I don't look it.

When did you start wearing them?

When I was a child, [my mother and I] would go and clean churches and schools and houses every single day and she always wore hats and gloves, and so did I.

Why fancy flats?

When I was growing up, I had one pair of Sunday shoes and one pair I wore during the week. They would wear out and my mother would put cardboard on the bottom, but she always polished them up, so they still looked really nice. From that I have a thing about my shoes looking really nice.

Have you ever not worn hats and gloves?

I stopped for a little bit. I used to get tired of people saying, 'Here comes Scarlett O'Hara.' People think you're trying to get attention, but I finally decided that wasn't me and that I should just be myself.

Do your daughters wear them?

I have a daughter in the 12th grade who wears them -- she stopped wearing them in the 11th grade, but she put them back on. And I have another daughter who's 24, and when she wears her hats and gloves, people know exactly who she belongs to. This is who we are; we don't know any different.

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