Fagee Sugarman

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January 04, 2009|By Sloane Brown | Sloane Brown,Special to The Baltimore Sun

At a packed Mount Washington Tavern happy hour, Fagee Sugarman stands out in the crowd. And that's how the retired jewelry saleswoman and gift shop owner likes it. She goes for a slightly "edgy" style; something with a slight biker bent. The formula that works for her? "I usually do black and then add a pop of color, or silver or gold." The only thing she loves more than her many leather jackets ("I have them in every color") and her more than 150 belts? Shopping for them.

Age:: "Over 50 and under 70"

Residence: : Pikesville

Job:: Retired Radcliffe Jewelers sales associate and gift shop owner

Self-described style: : "Edgy."

The look: : Black cotton turtleneck. Black Diane Gilman skinny jeans. Studded black leather belt with turquoise, bronze and brown beaded buckle. Flat black leather boots. Black Valerie Stevens faux mink vest. Tan canvas and turquoise faux snakeskin mini-shoulder bag. Faux diamond hoop earrings. Bedat knock-off watch.

Where it came from: : She found the turtleneck at Marshalls (with the label cut out) and had a zipper put in, so that it wouldn't muss her hair when she got dressed. Her jeans and handbag came from the Home Shopping Network. Her belt was a Cache purchase. She found her vest and earrings at Macy's. She bought the boots at Bare Feet Shoes. And her watch was a Florida flea market find.

She lives on the edge: : "I like that edgy look; a little bit of that biker look. With leather jackets. Anything with studs on it, I love. I have every color leather jacket. And suede. I even have a gold leather jacket that I'm wearing New Year's Eve, with a black turtleneck and black slacks and a gold chain belt. ... I always [wear] black underneath and than pop it with different color jacket, belt, shoes. Of course, the belt matches the jacket. ... It's not boring. It's hip. It's just a good look for me."

She never stopped playing dress-up: : "Fashion is the most important thing in my life. I love it. I enjoy dressing. I'm always watching my weight and exercising. I like to look good."

Another daily habit: : "I shop every day. If I'm not watching [the Home Shopping Network on] television, I'm at a mall. I like all the knock-off stores. You can really find bargains there; Marshalls, Ross. ... I like HSN when they have the designer clothing on, not their own brands. ... It's not that I don't shop at Nordstrom and all the good stores, but usually I wait for a sale. Now that I'm not working, I have to watch [my budget]."

The secret to her success:: "I look for pieces to coordinate with outfits I have. ... I don't like to spend a lot of money on each piece of clothing, because I like a lot of variety. I'll usually have one piece - like a belt or a leather jacket - as my expensive thing. Then, I pair it with inexpensive underpinnings. ... An attention-getting belt enhances an outfit, or an important necklace. But you shouldn't wear everything big at once."

Belts make her knees buckle: : "I must own 150 belts. I can't resist a belt when I see it."

She learned by dressing others: : "Before I owned my gift shop, I worked at Nordstrom. I helped customers pull outfits together, helped them look good. So I know what looks good on me. Something form-fitting. I like that edgy look. I don't want to look my age, although I'm careful to be age-appropriate. I just have a knack for putting things together."

Her fashion fallback: : "A black turtleneck takes you anywhere."

Her style philosophy: : "I don't want to dress like an old lady. My philosophy is: The makeup that you would wear in the evening you should put on during the day. Why not look good every day instead of just saving your makeup for the evening or for a special occasion?"

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