Baltimore County District Court Judge Nancy Purpura enjoys fashion, but keeps it in perspective. The 53-year-old Lutherville resident knows how to make balanced rulings about her style. "I dress in a classic, stylish way for work. For casual wear, I enjoy some fun things, too, but I never go too trendy." When we spotted Purpura having dinner at the Hamilton Tavern with her husband, she was a standout in white, black and turquoise. An inveterate bargain hunter, everything she wore was a steal - even what she had found in her family's native country of Italy.
Self-described style:: "Somewhere between classic and trendy."
The look: : White cotton T-shirt. Black shawl collar pullover cashmere blend sweater. Skinny jeans. White wool BB Dakota trench coat. Turquoise pashmina. Black flat Nine West riding boots. Cranberry faux leather baguette handbag. Silver hoop earrings.
Where it came from: : The T-shirt came from Nordstrom. The sweater was purchased at J.Crew. Her coat was a "steal" at Nordstrom Rack. She bought her boots at a Nine West store, and her handbag is a knockoff she thinks she bought at a local salon. She found three items in Italy: her jeans at a discount store in Venice, her hoop earrings in Palermo and her pashmina at a stall in an open market in Florence.
Her ruling on fashion: : "I think fashion is important. It's not obviously the most important thing in my life. I like fashion. It's something that I enjoy. I think the challenge is to have fashion on a budget, because I think anybody can be fashionable with a lot of money. But I think we're fortunate in the Baltimore area, because I think we have a lot of outlets for that."
What's on her fashion docket: : "At work, I wear suits: pants suits, skirt suits. Sometimes a skirt with a sweater. But you don't see it when I'm on the bench because I'm wearing a robe. Like [on the Friday before the Baltimore-Pittsburgh game], I'm wearing a purple turtleneck, and the color will show under my robe, so I have my Ravens colors on. You try to be professional. But, mostly you want to be comfortable because you sit for long periods of time. Now, if I have a meeting after work, I would be more concerned about making sure I had a suit on."
Her shopping habits: : "I don't have a whole lot of time because of my job, and I have two children. But I do work close to some shopping areas in Towson. Maybe once a week, I'll swing through the Rack to do what I call reconnaissance mission. Because I think the key to finding bargains at a place like the Rack is to be open to something you don't expect to find there."
Her favorite haunts: : "The Rack is my favorite. ... I really love small little boutiques like you find in Hampden, but I don't often have time to go there. And I do like to shop online, but because I hate returning things by mail, I tend to pick online merchants that have a store somewhere close where I can return it. Like J.Crew or Banana Republic. I also like White House/Black Market."
She's got her bargain-shopping down to a science: : "Banana Republic does something I think is good. If you have their credit card, you accumulate points for everything you buy and then they send you gift certificates. I really hate to buy anything unless it's on sale or it has some kind of coupon. ... At J.Crew, I love their sweaters. But, I wait. Near the end of the season, they will start discounting those sweaters significantly."
If customers matter to a store, then the store matters to her: : "White House/Black Market does something else that I like. You know how stores will send you a little incentive in the mail? I hate coupons and I hate to clutter my purse with all these coupons and cards. It irritates me. So, a lot of times I forget to have it with me. And what you can do at White House; they will go into their computer right in their store, and they will pull up what coupons were sent to you and let you use them without having them on you."
And then there's Italy: : "[My husband and I] travel to Italy regularly because I have family there. My family lives in the Abruzzi region on the Adriatic coast. It's kind of in the middle of the country on their east coast. So, when we go there, we visit my family and then other areas as well. Florence is just a great shopping city.
If her house were on fire, she'd rescue this from her closet: : "Assuming that my precious family photos and pets and family members are safe; it would actually be a sweater that belonged to my mother, who passed away while I was in law school So, I'd probably grab that. I don't wear it. But I see it when I go into my closet. There it is. I never put it away."