Debbie Maynard grew up wearing school uniforms. In college, she switched to jeans and sweat shirts. Now the Loyola graduate student has begun the transition to career clothes.
Plaid overalls and leggings still hang in her closet, but they now compete for space with suits and dress slacks. On a tight budget every purchase counts, so she tries to set a limit -- $20 -- for anything she buys.
"When the trendy, new fashions come out, I avoid them," says Ms. Maynard, 22, who is studying speech and language pathology. "If I'm spending my money, I have to be really attached before I buy something. I want it to last."
How would you sum up your style?
It's a combination of casual and conservative. Lots of times people tell me I look like I'm 18. Since I have a young look, I think it's important to dress as professional as I can. But I don't want to be uncomfortable.
How do you avoid looking young?
If I look at what teen-agers are wearing, I try to make sure I don't look like that.
Your wardrobe has to do a lot -- taking you from classes to internships to interviews. How do you find clothes that versatile?
I've kept my jeans, but this year I've invested in nice slacks. I've got a lot of top and pant sets as well as vests and long shorts.
What has been the biggest change in your wardrobe?
BWhen I look at clothes, I try to think about building my wardrobe. I look for things that will stay in fashion. Before, I was more concerned with what the trends were. Now I don't want to buy things, look at them a year later and think "I can't believe I bought that."
How do you dress well with little money?
If there's something I want that's out of my price range, I'll ask for it for my birthday or Christmas. Otherwise, I'll wait until the end-of-season sales. I wear a smaller size -- usually a 3 -- so I can often find clothes on sale.
What have you splurged on recently?
I bought a dress from the Victoria's Secret catalog. It's maroon, full length with long sleeves. It's very elegant. It cost $111. Spending that much is something I never do. But I'd had a very stressful couple of weeks, and I'd felt like I was constantly watching my money. I decided to splurge. I knew I wouldn't mind wearing it year after year.
What in your closet do you consider outrageous?
Outrageous for me is a little black dress. It's very form-fitting and short. It's Spandex, long sleeved and very revealing. I don't know what I was thinking.
What would friends be surprised to learn you own?
I do have a pair of plaid overalls. I don't think too many people would expect me to have something like that. They make me look young.
Is there one outfit that makes you feel your best?
A green and black plaid jacket and skirt. If I want to feel professional and confident, that's what I wear. It projects the right image: a young professional who's well educated and determined.
Where do you shop?
The outlets in Lancaster, Pa., Macy's and Hecht's. For catalog shopping, I like Chadwick's.
Whose style do you admire?
I liked all the clothes Julia Roberts wore in "Pretty Woman."
What's been your most embarrassing clothing moment?
I was getting dressed early one morning. I buy a lot of my shoes at Payless, and they're often similar styles. I realized later that I was wearing one navy and one black shoe. I was so embarrassed that I told everyone I saw. My face was red the whole day.
Do you know some dressers? Let us know. Write to Mary Corey, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.