Well-traveled executive protects the office style


B. J. Cook makes the fashion rules at her office. She checks off on stockings, scarves and jewelry before colleagues make a big presentation. She hands out fashion citations to those whose attire misses the mark. And she even lends things to associates who lack that perfect sweater or accessory.

"I can't give them my shoes," says Ms. Cook, 51, the assistant manager of Roland Park Travel. "I wear a size 10; my shoes don't fit anybody but me."

How did you attain this status in your office?

It just sort of evolved. It's because I dress in a certain way. I'm very tailored, very classic. I wear a lot of suits, turtlenecks and silk blouses. I don't like to fool with putting a lot of different things together.

Do you really tell people what you think of their clothes?

I try to be candid but kind. I'll say something like, "If it were me, I'd wear a lower shoe or an opaque stocking."

What about these fashion citations?

It's a joke around here that when somebody wears something that doesn't look good together we issue verbal fashion citations. They appointed me to this position; I didn't ask for it. I've given one to someone here for wearing high heels with


How has your work affected your style?

Because I travel so much, I need things I can pack easily. I need to take two things that I can make look like four.

How do you accomplish that?

I put everything I think I need in my suitcase and then I take out one-third. I take out the bulkiest things first, then the ones that wrinkle the most, then I eliminate the extra evening clothes. I've traveled enough to know that you only need half as much as you think you need. I've gone for 10 days with one suitcase and a carry-on bag.

What goes with you on nearly every trip?

A summer knit dress. It's straight and plain with short sleeves. It's shrimp color, and I can wear it pretty much anywhere.

Where do you like to shop?

Nordstrom, Jones & Jones, Craft Concepts and Octavia.

Do you have a favorite outfit?

A solid navy wrap skirt with a long blazer. I wear it with a silk striped blouse. I bought it in Florida. People tell me it's my Mary Tyler Moore outfit.

What wouldn't you dare put on?

Stirrup pants. I'm probably offending half of Baltimore, but they aren't becoming to most people. They accentuate all the wrong places.

Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.

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