Gail Stewart must go to different rooms of her house to pull her look together

THE BALTIMORE SUN

To find Gail Stewart's clothes and accessories in her Federal Hill home, you need a map.

Suits, coats and handbags hang in a living room armoire, which friends often mistakenly open when looking for the TV.

Pantyhose and scarves are tucked away in bathroom hat boxes. Two bedroom trunks hold leggings and knitwear. And an attic closet houses out-of-season outfits.

Where are Ms. Stewart's suede pumps? She walks to work and keeps her heels in her office at Ferris, Baker Watts Inc., where she's a trader.

Ideally, Ms. Stewart, 36, would prefer to keep clothes in a more centralized location, but limited closet space has forced her to sprinkle her things around her home.

"I got rid of half my wardrobe when I moved here a year ago," she says. "Now I tend not to buy a lot, but I buy fewer, high-quality clothes."

How do your work and casual clothes differ?

When I go to work I have to look extremely conservative. I always wear a business suit. On weekends, I go for leggings and long interesting sweaters. I have one sweater that friends call my "coaster sweater." It's red with circular emblems sewn on it.

Which is more you?

I tend not to think about what I wear to work. On the weekends, I'm more creative and I look forward to dressing.

You're 5 foot 9. You modeled in college. Is there anything you can't wear?

Can't or won't? I would never be caught dead in anything floral or chintz. My hardest problem is finding clothes that are long enough. Most of the time, I have to have jacket sleeves and pant legs let down.

Where do you shop?

My favorites are Bloomingdales, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. From time to time, I'll go to Trillium and the shops at Cross Keys.

The stereotypical banker outfit is the pinstriped suit. Is that more fiction than fact today?

When I started in the business in 1981, I wore a pinstriped suit, a man's button-down shirt, a bow tie and those Ferragamo bow shoes. I would never wear any of it now. The only women who dress that way are right out of school. My style is conservative, but my clothes are well cut. I have suits that are hot pink, bright red, turquoise, jade green. And I wear my skirts a good 4 inches above my knee.

What's considered avant-garde in your profession?

If I wore my black leather Chanel-look suit to work.

Have you ever done that?

No, I wouldn't. On dress-down days, I'll wear slacks and a blazer. That's as casual as I get.

When do you wear the leather suit?

I'll wear the leather jacket with my faded, torn blue jeans and black suede boots on the weekends. I like the contrast. I look dressed up yet still feel casual and comfortable.

What in your closet do you refuse to put on again?

I wear everything I have. The one thing I probably wear the least is what a relative calls my Jessica Rabbit dress. It's a strapless, sequined, leopard-print dress with a slit practically to my hip. It's stunning, but you can only wear it once a season because it's so recognizable.

What's your best fashion tip?

Always carry a lint roller. The key to looking good is to keep your clothes in good condition. I have a white dog, so I keep a lint roller in my office, another in my closet next to the door and a third in my travel bag.

Who is your fashion role model?

Lauren Hutton. She tends to wear classic, beautifully cut clothing. And she always looks like she enjoys what she's wearing.

Do you have a holiday favorite?

A crushed velvet long dress with a fitted bodice that laces up the front. It looks medieval. I wear it with my black riding boots.

What would you like to add to your wardrobe this season?

On my wish list is a new winter coat.

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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