Cheryl Thomas's fashion philosophy is a perfect expression of her outlook on life. "I'm originally from New Orleans. So my philosophy is that life is full of wonderful times and to make the most of it," says the 59-year-old Laytonsville resident. "I tell everybody that I work very hard, but I like to have lots of fun." When she's at work as a financial and operations consultant -- mostly for nonprofits -- Thomas generally goes for a conservative, sophisticated look in St. John or Joseph Ribkoff. But she adds exuberance with bright punches of color. When it was time to relax and enjoy "Taste for Life," the annual summer wine- and food-tasting party that raises money for American Cancer Society research and patient services, Thomas went for a joyful color combo and decided it was the perfect time to pull on a dress she'd bought on vacation last summer in Mykonos, Greece, but hadn't yet worn. "I heard there was going to be wine tasting and lots of mingling and lots of fun," she said. "I wanted to wear something that was breezy and airy that I could have fun in." HER STYLE: "Fairly conservative, with a flair of fun. I like color: red, pink, colors that pop. Hot pink is good. I just bought a Joseph Ribkoff that's reversible, that's black and a really bright orange on the reverse side." HER ENSEMBLE: White high-low cotton dress with crocheted overlay that she bought in Greece. Red wooden-bead necklace with red stone pendant, and brown and white leather bangle from a friend in Lagos, Nigeria. Franco Sarto red and white double strap slides she's had for a while. Red pashmina she bought in Rome this summer. Prada red satchel that was a gift. Rolex watch she's had for many years. HER GO-TO SHOP: "There's a boutique in Frederick, Alicia L. The majority of my clothes come from there." HER LIFE PASSIONS: "I love to travel. I have two fabulous boys who are in their early 20s. So we're at the point that we do lots of things together, we travel. I'm passionate about my family. ... I'm pretty passionate about my work. The reason most of my clients are nonprofits is because I want to give something back. I see lots of for-profit organizations be very successful, and lots of nonprofit organizations struggle with the very basic [infrastructure and strategies] that they need to be successful."
Photo by Karen Jackson, for the Baltimore Sun