For her, Donna Karan fills in the Gaps


Nicole Arrington moved from New York City to Baltimore three years ago, but still pines for her hometown's profusion of discount boutiques and storefronts where you can snatch up a DKNY sweater or top for a fraction of its original cost.

Needless to say, Arrington, who works at the Swatch Store in the Gallery at Harborplace, has illuminated Charm City with unique, urban flair, nurtured in the city that never sleeps.

For its part, the Baltimore Swatch Store celebrates seasonal spirit on Dec. 20 by inviting the public to bring in a new or nearly new toy for charity in exchange for a free gift from Swatch. Toys will be donated to St. Benedict's Church and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Call (410) 539-6400.

How does Baltimore shopping differ from New York shopping?

Baltimore is a hard place to shop. Everything here is the same old style. In New York, in the Village and Soho, even though it's still the Gap, it's totally different. There are more clothes at the Gap. And anywhere I walk in New York, up and down the streets, from 34th down to the Village, there are more places to shop.

How do you rate Baltimoreans' sense of style?

They're lost everybody looks the same. Some people try to stand out and be different with the blond hair, but give me a break. fTC You're ruining your hair! Everybody needs to have their own style. Don't go behind me. Come out with what you want to wear.

Describe the "Baltimore look."

The big hair, the silver and the gold, the same jackets walking around. Down at the Gallery I see this all the time. The same girl walks by 10 to 15 times a day.

How do you jazz up your basic work clothes?

At the store, we're not allowed to wear jeans. I'll wear a basic black pair of pants, and I accessorize with scarves. I'll wear a scarf around my waist, or with a small little hat I'll put a scarf around the brim. A scarf can enhance the whole outfit.

Describe your style.

I probably would say Donna Karan with a little mixture of the Gap, basic blacks with funky bright colors. I can glamorize with the scarves, but I still dress for the street. In New York, you can dress for the clubs and hanging out with jeans, a little blazer, a funky top and scarf, the gloves and a little knapsack on the side. They're just ready.

Do you remember any great deals?

There was a little boutique on 57th street in New York, where they had Nicole Miller, a mixture of Donna Karan and Calvin Klein. I got a real fitted, sheer black sweater from Donna Karan that was on sale for $38. You can't beat that.

What do you wear at home?

I wear a Spandex top from the Banana Republic. It's a tight, fitted top, just in case I want to run out to the store and look good. I'm still single. And I wear boxers around the house.

How do you do your hair?

My hair looks like I don't have any hair. It enhances the sculptural lines of my face.

Do you use a lot of make up?

I like to be natural. No sprays. I get up and wash my face with oatmeal soap. I get my eyebrows arched, but use no makeup. Just lip gloss and that's it.

Do you see a future in fashion?

I would like to put outfits together for men. They're so clueless; they don't know they can take one shirt and change it all around.

Who is your fashion inspiration?

My mother is like the fashion woman. She has clothes in my father's closet, her closet, the coat closet, in my brother's room. You need to do her closet.

Pub Date: 12/12/96

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