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Center Stage's annual gala

Marjorie Rodgers Cheshire, 46, loves fashion. But the Canton resident said she isn't "bound by it" the way she used to be when she lived in New York in her 20s and early 30s.

"I think in New York, there's a real 'keeping up with' that happens. It happens, sometimes, without you really knowing it. You are in the center of U.S. fashion, so things are happening so fast. As people are complimenting you on your dress, you're swept up in [the mindset of] 'I need to keep up. I need to keep up.' And it takes a little bit of the fun out of it," said the president/chief operating officer of A&R Development Corp., a Baltimore real estate development company. "Now, I just want it to be fun and I want it to reflect me and be real."

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Rodgers Cheshire said the annual party that raises money for Center Stage's artistic, education and community programming was a perfect fit for her playful sense of style.

"This gala has always got a lightness and a fun to it," she said. "But it's still an event. So it's nice to have a blend of something that feels more formal with something that's got some artistic flare to it."

She really wanted to wear her new Alice + Olivia skirt, so Rodgers Cheshire channeled a certain movie star's famous 1996 Oscar moment when she paired a Gap t-shirt with a ball skirt.

"I love this skirt so much because it's girly ball gown. But I wanted it with something sort of relaxed up top. And Sharon Stone came to mind," she said. "I'm totally doing Sharon Stone."

HER STYLE: "Classic with a little funky twist."

HER ENSEMBLE: Velvet sequined navy off-the-shoulder T-shirt and Alice + Olivia navy, black, orange butterfly print hi-lo satin skirt from Neiman Marcus. Navy Swarovski crystal triple loop earrings from Ruth Shaw. Jimmy Choo silver strappy stilettos she's had for several years. Phase 3 shimmery gunmetal envelope clutch from Nordstrom. Bling ring from Tabandeh at Mazza Gallerie in Washington, D.C.

ON BEING BALTIMORE SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS BOARD CHAIR: "I love the performing arts. I love education. What's great about living in Baltimore is that you can get so involved in the causes you believe in and really make a difference."

HOW SHE SHOPS: "I love Ruth Shaw. I'm very loyal to Ruth Shaw. Zappos.com, Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman's online. I've also found this place in L.A. called Madison [madisonlosangelos.com] that I'm liking. It's kind of a Ruth Shaw West. I found them online and now I get their email blasts. I like the look of the store and they carry a lot of the labels that I like."

HER FASHION PHILOSOPHY: "I think how you present yourself is so much a part of your personal brand. I do connect who I am with how I'm pulled together. But I also think it's a way for me to express creativity. I'm often in very corporate environments and it's fun to let the creative part of me out."

WHAT SHE WOULD RESCUE FIRST IF THERE WAS A FIRE IN HER CLOSET: "My grandmother's wedding dress that I wore to my wedding. My Louis Vuitton cross-body bag that I wear everywhere. And my Zara bright yellow blazer. It's fun and neon and awesome."

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