Traveler keeps a tight rein on packing


Since her son Michael was diagnosed with diabetes 16 years ago, Margaret Himelfarb has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of juvenile diabetes and money for finding its cure. On April 10, Himelfarb will receive the Humanitarian Award at the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation's spring benefit, "Bank on a Cure," which takes place at 6: 30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency. (For information, call 410-356-4555.)

Today, Michael Himelfarb is a junior at Princeton University. He still must cope daily with his disease, but he is also the beneficiary of technological breakthroughs that allow him to lead a college student's mobile and unpredictable life. But his well-being has not stopped his mother, who still travels frequently in her role as crusader against diabetes. "There is nothing I could be paid to do that would have more meaning," Margaret Himelfarb says.

How do you manage your wardrobe on your frequent trips?

I have a 21-inch bag with wheels. If it fits, it goes. If it doesn't, it doesn't go, whether I'm away for two or five nights. That philosophy requires you to make very economical choices.

What usually goes into that rolling bag?

My favorite thing in the whole world is a three-piece, black crepe suit from Talbots. It also comes with a long belt that buttons on or wraps. This suit can virtually go anywhere, from casual to formal.

Can you fold crepe?

I was taught by somebody whose father learned in the Army that when you pack, you roll clothes. It keeps things from wrinkling.

How do you stick to your one-bag rule?

I'm famous for sticking lingerie in my purses instead of tissues.

Do you try to shop while on the road?

Generally it doesn't matter where I travel, I might as well be in a closet, since I don't have the time. If I did, I might prefer to see a museum.

Is Talbots your place to shop?

First of all, I love shopping there. They treat you like such a lady. Talbots' clothes have style, but they're less extreme. I rarely have to throw them out, because they don't fall apart.

Coincidentally, and wonderfully, Talbots has made the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation the beneficiary at their openings of new kids and baby stores. . . . They've always believed in giving something back to the community.

Do you have any other shopping standbys?

I can't say that I have any other favorite. I do love a bargain, so I've been known to step into Loehmann's, and I also like the quality of a place like Nordstrom. I'm old enough to remember the wonderful little shops on Charles Street, when downtown was so crowded you could barely walk two or three abreast down the sidewalk.

What is your color scheme?

I tend to dress more in neutrals -- blacks, navys and gray -- because they mix and match so well. When I travel I keep to one color theme. But I love color. My big indulgence and favorite accessory is scarves. I find that you can change them to fit the mood or time of year and, basically, create a different outfit.

What do you wear during a day spent mostly at home?

My office is in my house and my favorite outfit for work is a good pair of wool slacks and a sweater. If I need to run out I can throw on a blazer and go most places in the daytime.

Do you have a favorite formal dress?

My daughter Elizabeth has a wonderful sense of style. She has designed costumes at Yale. My favorite thing that I would never have tried on without her is a long, straight gown with thin, gold rope straps and a gold, sequin pattern on the back. We were in New Haven, and we passed a shop featuring young designers on the rise. The dress was on a mannequin. She insisted I try it on. It's my favorite, very special dress.

Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St. Baltimore 21278.

Pub Date: 4/03/97

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