Eloise Barnum

The Baltimore Sun

While Eloise Barnum considers matchy-matchy a no-no, this 25-year-old Canton real estate agent knows how to coordinate current fashion trends with her body type.

Dressed in an oh-so-this-moment long sundress, Barnum braved 90-plus temperatures outside the Bay Cafe to join in the fun at the "Cash Bash," a fundraiser for the Believe in Tomorrow Children's Foundation.

Age: 25

Residence: Canton

Job: Real estate agent for Yerman, Witman, Gaines & Conklin

Self-described style : "Modern. Eclectic. Polished."

The look: Eight Sixty long nylon black-and-white halter sundress. Anne Klein nude strappy heels with shell-mosaic detail. Silver-and-aqua beaded bracelet. Blue polyester headband. Yellow and white clutch handbag.

Where it came from: The sundress came from Nordstrom. The shoes? "My roommate's closet." Her handbag came from Target. She made the bracelet in her jewelry-making course at Maryland Institute College of Art. And that headband is another "creation." "I had a blue triangle bikini that I don't like anymore. So I took out the string and used that!"

Don't empty the wallet: "I always say, 'Wear your best outfit today.' I'm really motivated by fashion. It makes you feel good. I try to have the best outfit in the room. ... Money doesn't buy fashion sense. Just because a handbag costs $300 doesn't mean it's fashionable. I think that's really contrived, too."

She spends and saves: "Since I'm tall, I spend the bulk of my budget on pants. A good pair of trousers or denim can offset a less expensive shirt. ... I'm nuts about pants. ... I think the Nordstrom in Annapolis is great. Not just the expensive departments. Brass Plum - the juniors department - has some great buys. And not all their shoes are expensive. I think the best-kept secret for shoes is Burlington Coat Factory at Arundel Mills. They may be knockoffs, but I swear by that store. It has everything."

Matching has its limits: "I try to coordinate things, but I hate too much coordination. It drives me crazy. For instance, yellows are a big trend this season. A splash of yellow, not everything; not a yellow sundress and yellow earrings with a yellow bangle bracelet."

Accessorizing doesn't: "I never skip on an accessory. If you're going to wear a plain black-and-white dress, you have to throw a splash of color in there, like a bag."

Some trends work: "Honestly, I don't really follow trends. ... I've always been a big believer [that] whatever makes you look good will transcend trends. ... I really like the cropped sailor shorts. I think they're tasteful. They're not too short. I've never worn [dress] shorts before. I really like tailored Bermuda shorts, too."

And some trends don't: "You will rarely find me in jersey. I don't think it's flattering to my body. ... I don't like the unconstructed look. You can take it too far. When people wear a loose top and loose shorts, women lose track of their figure. You have to balance it out. If it's a flowy shirt, then wear a cropped short or tailored Bermudas, so people can recognize your figure. If you wear it with a loose skirt, it doesn't do anything for you."

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