Understated lines are a common thread


Annie Keller has been a model, fashion show coordinator and figure skater. She's lived in Boston, Chicago and Palm Springs. Through these moves, there's been one constant in her life: a love of classic, glamorous clothing.

Now as the owner of Adjustable Comfort Inc., a Baltimore-based line of ergonomic beds, she is even more conscious of dressing well.

"I'm trying to disassociate myself from those fast-talking TV salespeople," says Ms. Keller, who's in her 30s and lives in Roland Park. "In this business, people feel more comfortable if you look like you're stable, reliable and not too flashy."

How has working in fashion-related businesses affected your style?

The theme that runs through them all is an appreciation for things that are timeless. When things are designed well, they stay in style. What I learned to appreciate more is fabric, weave and color. For a while, I thought you needed one of something in every color. Now I've gotten back to basics. I stick to soft colors and muted tones.

Describe the look you're after.

I prefer understated lines. Some of my suits have 10 years on them. It seems silly to buy pieces and not be able to wear them again. When I look at designers I like -- Anne Klein, Dana Buchman and Oscar de la Renta -- I don't think you can put a date on a lot of their pieces.

What purchase do you most regret making?

When I was living in Chicago years ago, I bought a dress made of brown nubby fabric with thick black lace around the sleeves and the hem. I loved the fabric, but it would have made a better sofa. It was frumpy and shouldn't have been on my body. There was not one ounce of glamour, sheen or sparkle to it.

How did you become so interested in glamorous clothes?

Growing up, I modeled for department stores. In college, I met [menswear designer] Alexander Julian and worked for him for several summers in New York. I also used to figure skate competitively. Especially during times of competition, I had a real clear-cut image of the kind of costume I wanted to wear: something that had great fluid fabric and was shimmery to catch the light. That little piece of Hollywood was always something I

looked forward to.

How has that translated into your wardrobe today?

When I'm shopping, I'll always check out the sales on formal dresses. Whether I need one or not, if there's a great bargain, I'll pick it up. My latest is a black velvet strapless sheath. It had been reduced about 10 times at Saks.

How many evening dresses do you have?

At least a dozen. You have such a hard time when you're looking for something that you end up spending way more than you want to. There's really nothing I don't wear. I went to the BSO XTC Show House opening recently and wore an ice-blue Bill Blass dress with silver bugle beads that I bought three years ago.

Where do you shop?

Saks Fifth Avenue, Ann Taylor and Nordstrom.

Whose style would you most like to have?

A living person? Princess Diana. She has a terrific look and is so coordinated. But if I could choose someone who epitomized classic style and beauty, Grace Kelly comes to mind.

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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