Annette Stenhouse may be public relations director for Baltimore's recreation and parks department, but she doesn't come to work in jeans. Far from it. Stenhouse, of Bel Air, arrives at her office carefully put together, from hair and makeup to a classy suit to just the right heels. On the rare occasions "when people see me in a sweat suit, they're shocked or they don't recognize me," says Stenhouse, 36. Despite suffering a painful ruptured disc in a head-on collision two years ago, she's been faithful to a 5-year regime that has toned down her physique three sizes. "The hard exercise and diet routine is worth it to me, to be perfectly proportioned."
What would be a typical ensemble for a day at work?
I could wear a classic black suit with a silk white blouse and then if I'm going to an after-5 event, I just change my earrings. To top off the entire look, I wear my hair in a classic pony tail.
No permanents or trips to the hairdresser?
I do my own hair. If I go to the gym daily, it's a waste of money to go and get my hair done. I wash and blow dry daily, just like Oprah, only she has someone to do her hair.
How do you manage early morning workouts before heading to your job?
I pack my bag at night and put all my clothes in the car. I get up at 5 a.m., eat my oatmeal and pineapple. Then I meditate, get ready and head off to the gym. I can do it in my sleep.
So you turn into a butterfly every day!
When I go to the gym, I'm just plain Jane. No makeup. I'm going to work out. I'm not trying to meet anybody. I have my ear phones on; I'm here on a mission. Then I'll shower and change, and put on my wardrobe. One guy said, "I didn't recognize you with clothes!" I said, "Gee, thanks."
How did you get into your fitness routine?
It kicked in after I made some changes in my life. I was divorced and a size 12 or 14. I started working out, and attending weekend college at Notre Dame. I took a couple of health classes that really taught me a lot. I have a 17-year-old son, and now when we go out on weekends and I'm in my one pair of jeans and pony tail, people think we're brother and sister.
Are you organized when you shop?
I shop on a budget, and I shop for the entire wardrobe.
Where do you shop?
Since I shop so much at Lillie Rubin, Nieman's and Nordstrom, people think I work there. I also shop at second hand boutiques. I got a great fur coat at Just A Second in Mount Washington.
Are you shopping for holiday parties?
Yes. I have various Christmas and Kwaanza parties to go to. And every year, the Downtown Athletic Club has a big Christmas party. Everyone comes in black tie. You see people in a different light.
What did you do with your size 12 suits?
I had all those suits taken in and the skirts hemmed, and I wear them today. In fact, someone recognized my suit from a department of Social Services annual report book. I had on the same suit and I was a size 12.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.
Pub Date: 12/03/98