There's a reason why Marie Long is dressed in purple, almost from head to toe, and it has nothing to do with the Ravens. The retired social worker from Southwest Baltimore says that dressing monochromatically makes her look taller. She chose this particular vibrant color to attend the Morgan State University Alumni Association's "Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Breakfast" at Martin's West. While she has fun putting together her one-color outfits, Long says, she's careful not to let her fashion define her.
Self-described style: : "Eclectic"
The look: : Purple wool boucle suit. Purple metallic acrylic turtleneck. Violet metallic acrylic cardigan. Purple leather gloves. Black suede boots. Purple wool newsboy cap with multicolor paisley appliques. Purple crocheted handbag.
Where it came from: : Most of her clothes are longtime inhabitants of her closet. She got the gloves and the cap at the old Hecht Co. And the handbag was a gift.
Fashion has always been important, but not everything: : "I like to look nice. I guess I take some time to look nice. I try not to let it define me. ... I don't like fashion to define my life."
She's frugally fashionable: : "It's fun and it's economical to [hunt for a deal]. So, that's why I shop for a bargain. ... You can go overboard; you can overspend. And I don't do that as far as clothing is concerned. I don't go into debt for clothing."
Her shopping habits have changed over the years: : "When I was younger, I shopped frequently because I wanted what I wanted at the price I wanted to pay for it. When you're a bargain shopper, you have a look that you want and a price that you want to pay, so you spend more time shopping. I don't shop as much. I really don't. The things that I wear I've had [for a while]. I guess I have some classic things that I wear. And I don't have the money that I once did, because I'm retired. And I don't go out as frequently."
She starts with a purpose and goes on instinct:: "When I do go shopping, usually I have something in mind. I have a certain occasion in mind. I never thought about this before. I dressed according to how I felt. I don't really think about it. I like clothes. I just never thought about how I pick out things. I just buy what appeals to me and the occasion."
There's a method to the monochromatic:: "Because I'm small, I'll do a lot of monochrome, so it doesn't chop me up. I think it works pretty well for me. Very often I think I appear a little taller than I am, [which is] about five feet."
How she colors her world: : "I have some basic colors that I wear: gray, brown. This year I've been doing a little bit more gray. Purple and maroon I have quite a bit of. In the Christmas season, I wear a lot of red. I went through a phase of dark green one Christmas."
Her daily staples: : "I like pants and a jacket, usually. I wear turtlenecks a lot. Of course, I have some dresses. Even when I wear a dress, I'll wear a jacket to make it more of an outfit than just a dress. It makes it look finished."
She loves to top off her outfits: : "I wear a lot of hats and caps. Hats when I'm dressed up, and caps when I'm not. ... I don't buy real expensive hats. But, I buy hats that appeal to me. Even as a teenager, I'd wear hats and caps."
Fashion do's and don'ts are a don't:: "I think fashion is such a personal thing. What one person can wear, another one can't. So, I don't think there are any fashion rules."