Modest yet flattering styles; Candid Closet: Louise Weinberg teaches, paints and helps organize the annual Israel Bonds fashion fund-raiser.


Louise Weinberg grew up in her father's business, Leo Amster Bridal and Formalwear, and even ran it for a number of years with her sister. Eventually, 60-hour work weeks plus raising a family didn't make sense, so the business was sold. But Weinberg, 45, hasn't relinquished her own sense of style, honed on many a buying trip to New York.

"I was always brought up in clothing, and it was just part of me," says the Owings Mills resident. "Even today, I try to get to New York as often as possible. It's embedded in my soul. I just enjoy it. I love each season, the new fashion trends."

With her appreciation for couture, it makes sense that Weinberg, also a schoolteacher and painter, is a board member of Israel Bonds of Maryland, which sponsors an annual fashion show/fund raiser that is a "must attend" for many. This year's "Faces & Fashion 2000," an afternoon with designer Dana Buchman and her collection, takes place 11: 15 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, at Beth Tfiloh Congregation, 3300 Old Court Road. Anyone interested in attending should call Israel Bonds at 410-484-6670.

With all of your responsibilities, how do you know what to wear?

I have four different wardrobes. I have my active wear, because I go to the gym five days a week. And I teach at Bais Yaakov, a Jewish Orthodox school for girls, so my clothing must be modest, but I make it as fashion forward as possible. Then of course, I have my weekend wear, which is the most fun, and I have my special occasion clothing.

How has your style evolved?

As I get older, I buy more basic pieces that I can pretty much wear 12 months a year. I wear a lot of black now. That's different for me.

What is distinctive about your way of dressing?

I'm always looking for a new twist or an edge. You can see that in my home as well.

Are there any stores that specialize in clothing for Orthodox Jewish women?

There's a women's and girl's store in Colonial Village called Hats to Hose.

You must put some thought into dressing for the fashion show.

When I plan my wardrobe for the season, I have to say I constantly think about what I'm going to wear to the Israel Bonds fashion show. It's definitely a special event in the Jewish community, and the hundreds of women who go all look their best.

What will you wear?

I'm wearing Moschino. It's a two-piece dress, and I'll probably throw a pashmina scarf over my shoulder.

Where do you shop?

Nordstrom, the Red Garter and Ruth Shaw, among other places.

Do you still keep up with the fashion industry?

I still get the trade papers. I can't help it.

What will you wear for New Year's Eve?

I haven't bought anything for the millennium yet. I'm holding out for the perfect thing.

Do you detect extra fashion interest in New Year's this year?

There is just so much more formal wear in the stores this season than ever before. I would say most of the stores are really focusing on formal wear, even in the catalogs. And shoes, there are so many more choices in shoes.

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

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