For Diane Weiss, the rules are the same whether you're dressing a room or dressing yourself.
"When a women walks into a room, nothing should stand out -- not her lipstick, not her hair. She should walk in as a lovely picture to look at. I design the same way," says the 48-year-old interior designer with Louis Mazor Inc.
In between decorating and running her own home in Lutherville, she volunteers with the Festival of Trees. For the last 11 years, she's been involved in the benefit for the Kennedy Krieger Institute, which begins Sunday and runs through Dec. 13 at Festival Hall.
How would you describe your sense of style?
It's rather simple and understated. I basically wear black, white, beige or sometimes red. I wear little or no pattern. I'm most TTC comfortable in a turtleneck, a pair of slacks and a great belt. I like to keep my clothes simple because at work I show so many patterns I don't like what I have on to interrupt the perception the client may have of the fabrics.
Who are your favorite designers?
L Isaac Mizrahi, Giorgio Armani, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan.
And where do you shop?
Nan Duskin, Ruth Shaw, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and Henri Bendel in New York.
What's been your biggest splurge?
Do we want my husband to know that? It's when I buy a suit. They are expensive. I tend to buy more winter suits. But I tend not to buy trendy things. I wear basic clothing. This year I bought an Isaac Mizrahi suit. It's black and gray with a small houndstooth and a wonderful stand-up collar that buttons up to the neck. It has a long straight skirt with a slit way up past the knee and also a pair of slacks.
So you like the new long look.
I've always loved it. I never gave it up. In my closet, three-quarters of my skirts are long, one-quarter short. Long is more feminine, more dramatic and elegant. How do you keep from getting bored by basics?
I feel good in them. If I want a change, I'll wear a different shirt with pants. Or I'll wear a sweater instead of a blazer.
Are accessories important to you?
At work, I wear a pair of earrings and a couple of bracelets. It's very minimal. When I go out, I have some pretty pieces of jewelry I like to wear. What's the shelf life of something you own?
At least five years. I don't buy fad clothes. If I have something that's really good, I tend not to give it up. I have a brown coat that I've had since 1975 and I still wear it.
Are there any trends you're simply ignoring this season?
Sequins. If I see another sequin this year, I'll explode. Instead of buying a new dress for KinderGala (the Kennedy Krieger Institute benefit on Saturday), I'm wearing one that's 2 or 3 years old. It's a black wool jersey with a high turtleneck that is cut like a halter top.
If you could choose anyone, with whom would you most like to shop?
Giorgio Armani. I just think his clothes are so beautifully executed and the design is so timeless.
What advice do you have for other women?
Never buy anything on impulse. If you don't love it, walk away. Years ago, I bought a pale pink wool dress. I think I wore it once and gave it away.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.