Everyone should have a Patricia Claxton-Briscoe in their office. Not only is she an expert baker and floral arranger who shares the fruits of her talents with colleagues, she has a bold sense of style that has raised the sartorial bar at the Maryland Classified Employees Association where she works as an information services assistant.
Claxton-Briscoe, 50, says she owes her savvy use of color and texture to her late mother, Hattie L. Chappelle. "She paved the path of how a lady should look when going out of the house," the Catonsville resident says. "She wore a lot of nice hats, suits, fur pieces and fur coats. And her shoes and bags always matched." So, of course, do Claxton-Briscoe's.
How did you learn from your mother?
She not only told you how to do things, she showed you.
It sounds like you never stepped into trendy clothes.
I've always been what I consider rather conservative but colorful. I've never been a fad-type person.
What kind of outfit would you pull together for a workday?
I might wear a brown sweater with mink tails, a suede skirt, and brown crocodile bag and shoes.
How do you achieve coordination?
If there is not a purse to match my shoes, I will go on a mission to find one. Or, I'll see a purse I like and then run across the shoes later. I do like for them to match, if in any way possible.
It might take a while to find the perfect match.
I had a bag and pair of shoes and then only maybe about a month ago, I found a scarf that was perfect. It almost looked like the scarf had to go with the shoes. I had the shoes for three or four years. It could take that long. I might not be looking for something, but I do seem to have an eye for color. I can remember what something looks like and sure enough, when I took the scarf home, it was just right.
Do you change purses daily?
Usually every day I change my bag. My co-workers tease me all the time. They ask, "How do you take the time?" It's a habit I guess.
Do your artistic skills parallel your fashion sense?
I would say so. I come up with unique and unusual designs. When I start, I don't really know how it's going to come out. I just work on it and it comes out.
Can you see yourself as a fashion designer?
I never thought about designing clothes. But my girlfriends ask my opinion of things, "How does this go?" or "Is this overdone?"
Do you need to get things altered?
Basically what I buy is my size. I'm a stickler for trying clothing on. I have patience for that. I'd rather do that than have to take it home and then take it back.
Who does your hair?
I've been licensed in cosmetology for 32 years. I cut, color and do everything. I've been blond for about 30 years. My hairstyle is what I call a "slant," one side is longer than the other and I just wear it flat on the other side. Believe it or not, I'm somewhat known for my hairdo.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.