Ami Taubenfeld's wardrobe has to say a lot. As the owner of Great Occasions Caterers, she needs clothes that show she's smart, sophisticated and fun. They also have to be durable since stains and spills are part of her job. And she has to pull it all together in 30 minutes or less so she and her husband, Mark, can get their three children ready for school.
It's a tall order, and Ms. Taubenfeld fills it by consulting the pros, keeping organized and making the most of accessories.
The one thing she never leaves home without is an apron.
"I usually put it on as I'm leaving the house," says Ms. Taubenfeld, 38, who lives in Pikesville. "My problem is I always have to ask people to remind me to take it off."
What sets your style apart from others?
I have very eclectic tastes. I dress conservative-funky. I'm in a business where I have to meet clients, so I'll wear a suit but then I'll add jewelry from craft shows. I do a lot with accessories. I also try to wear prints and plaids, not just a traditional navy suit.
What's the trade-off?
For me, there are only benefits. When I go out on Saturday night, I don't need a whole new wardrobe. I have a pair of black silk shorts with red and white numbers on them. For work, I wear them with a black blazer, black hose and pumps. On the weekend, I'll put them with a lace T-shirt and pair of sandals.
Who or what most influenced your dressing?
I get a lot of good help from shopping services at Saks Fifth Avenue and Nan Duskin. I'll go in with my clothes from last year and say, "How do I update these?"
What's the best piece of advice they've given you?
To keep a simple color scheme in my wardrobe. Basically everything I own is black, navy or cream.
Why those colors?
I'm always around dishes and food. I need a look that will carry me through a six-hour reception. I can't wear a winter white suit.
How do you dress on the weekends?
When I'm not working, my style is from another world. I'm casual, but I love a funky touch. A very typical weekend outfit is khaki shorts with a white tank top and sleeveless print vest, white socks and Doc Martens.
Who would you most like to see wearing something you own?
My 2 1/2 -year-old daughter, Annie. Anything I don't hang up, she puts on. If it's too big, she screams, "Belt!" So far, we have similar tastes. Although if she could pick anything, I think she loves my jewelry, hats and shoes the most.
What's in your closet now that you look at and say, "What was I thinking when I bought this?"
A dress I got at a flea market in Santa Fe. It was very long, flowered with a black slip underneath. I tried it on over my clothes and bought it. When I put in on at home, it looked dumpy. I still haven't gotten rid of it, though. One day I'll use it as a Halloween costume.
What outfit do you rely on when you're in a funk?
An Anne Klein suit with a long black skirt and jacket. It would probably come to me if I called it.
If you could choose anyone, who would you most like to take along on a shopping trip?
Donna Karan. But she has to pay, too. I'd ask her how to really properly finish every look.
I think one of the big problems most of us have is that we get to a certain point and something's missing -- whether it's the right shoes or hat or even hose.
Have you made any decisions about fall purchases yet?
I'm a last-minute shopper. I like to see what's around and read fashion magazines first. Then I go back and see what I have to update from last year's wardrobe. But this season looks super to me. I like the femininity of long skirts, lacy vests and boots.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.