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There's a certain magic to clothing, she believes


Patricia MacDonald is one of those rare adults who still believes in magic, particularly this time of year. An actress and president of Uffington Productions, a Baltimore multimedia company, MacDonald has made a film, "A Very Special Present," that will air nationally Christmas Day on the Home Shopping Network. The film is about how the tale of a little girl named Fiona Rose magically transforms a sour school principal into someone young and hopeful at heart.

MacDonald takes a magical approach as well to her wardrobe, lTC an eclectic melange of thrift, bargains and once-upon-a-time glamour.

Describe the hold certain pieces of clothing have on you.

Clothing makes you feel wonderful. If you buy it only for its label, you've missed it. If you buy it like a piece of art, because you have to have it, it doesn't matter whether it is a $2 piece or a $200 piece or something so off the scale, like in the "Gift of the Magi." You must have that comb for your hair, or pocket watch, so that you think, 'What can I give up to have it.' Clothing should be a passion of the heart.

Name a quirky passion.

I love aprons for when you're entertaining, especially during the Hanukkah and Christmas season. The Dahne & Weinstein Gifts and Accessories store at Greenspring has these wonderful little aprons. I also try to make them.

Describe an evergreen "day around town" outfit.

Regal casual to me is a tweed jacket, a turtleneck and dungarees. If it's clean, it doesn't matter whether it's made by Guess or Ralph Lauren. The more washed it is, the better. How have we gotten the kids into thinking the label is what's important, not the comfort of jeans? Blue jeans are so American. To wear a red sweater and jeans to walk around in is like a gift of the gods.

What is your coziest purchase?

I love flannel shirts. My best flannel shirts come from Caldor. Caldor is great.

What about shoes?

I love shoes. My everyday shoe, a black pump. I buy it at Payless and I never have it resoled. I just buy a new pair. Then, I go to SRI Shoe Warehouse where I just bought a pair of leopard shoes. They were so inexpensive, how could I possibly not buy them?

And I love the charm of wearing bright colored socks to match my T-shirt. I get these really bright yellow socks at Caldor and wear them with clogs from Comfort Country.

Where do you go for vintage finds?

I love the Turnover Shop and old closet clothing. I beg my family for it. They're not hand-me- downs; they're shared clothing.

What will you wear through the holidays?

At Loehmann's there are wonderful, one-of-a-kind beaded tops. And for the holiday season, black velvet always stands you in good stead. Taffeta, likewise. And I will get a few leotard tops, wear them with a few skirts with lovely necklaces and earrings. You are Camelot. Everyone else is overdone.

Is being too dressed up a liability?

When you're wearing something beautiful and children want to come hug and kiss you and sit on you with sticky fingers, I want to be able to totally relax. I want to wear something that is child-caring. I never buy velvet unless it is a washable velvet. I never want to be afraid that anything I wear won't allow someone's dog to come up and brush against me, or someone's children.

Describe that "I've got to have it" feeling.

This summer, riding north on Park Heights, I saw a woman with the most wonderful straw hat. I almost stopped the car to buy it off her head. I thought when I was driving back, 'How can I do that? I'm going to try and make it.' Finally I made it. It has a charm to it, like it's going to the country fair.

Pub Date: 12/19/96

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