When the flight attendant announces that all luggage must fit under the seat in front, it's no problem for W.R. Wendel, president of Space Structures, makers of geodesic domes and other space frame enclosures. His luggage is literally on his feet. Wendel has been wearing Justin boots for 19 years--and has them outfitted with pockets to carry tools, money, cards, whatever. Last week, for example, he was carrying, he says, $100,000 in cash, motorcycle tools and a Swiss army knife. "You can't put anything in your trouser pockets if you like tight pants," says Wendel.
The Fortuny influence has gone to Gail Singer's head. The former exhibit designer at the Smithsonian first applied intricate pleating as decoration on jackets and belts. Now she is making Fortuny yarmulkes and says just as many women as men are buying them. Available at The Lobby Shop of the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington and the Sisterhood Gift Shop at the Washington Hebrew Congregation.
When times are tough, women want bold, blatantly fake jewelry to cheer them up, insists local jewelry designer Sally Kliegman, who is showing lots of lucite, colored glass and chokers for fall. "Most of the clothes are very tailored and architectural, needing something romantic and bold to soften the look," adds Kliegman.
Kliegman pegs the current choker rage not to the princess of Wales' wearing them, but because "the shorter length keeps the price down." The Kliegman designs are at The Right Stuff and The Corcoran Gallery.
The equal rights amendment may be dead but 10 years of feminism have changed the types of jobs women do these days, as well as what they wear to do them. The latest "Safety News" bulletin of the Power Tool Institute lists do's and don'ts for women who work with heavy power tools. And while the bulletin refers one too many times to the way "Mom" should wield a power saw over how "Dad" should use it, some of the points are timely, whether a woman works professionally with power tools or uses them to prune shrubs. A few tips:
* Save stretching and swinging for aerobics class. If you feel yourself stretching to reach something with power tool in hand, STOP. Change to a comfortable, balanced position.
Keep hair, even medium-length, tucked under a hat or kerchief. Hair wrapped around a drill bit hurts.
* And, as the bulletin points out, "every woman wants to look her best," but skip loose or dangling sleeves when working with heavy tools. Better to wear a muscle shirt.
"Do you sell belts?" asked one woman as she passed Rene'e Patterson's umbrella shaded table at the corner of 18th and M. No belts, but tubes of lipstick, pots of rouge ('blush' these days), a skin-care line and a heart-shaped tin of quarters that's not for sale. Patterson, 38, is a street vendor of sorts who sells make-up, offers make-up tips and demonstrations and feeds a parking meter every half-hour to keep her car/extention office from being booted. "I spend from $5 or $7 a day on the meter alone. It's just part of being a vendor," says Patterson, who arrives each morning around 7:30 a.m. to get a prime spot.
Patterson, a native of West Germany, worked at Over the Rainbow for three years before hitting the streets two months ago with her vendor business. She's "played at" make-up for years, she says, going back to her family's beauty salon in Nu rnburg and her studies at the Kosmetik Scho nheits Beruf-Schule (Beauty School) in Nu rnburg, where she learned aspects of the business--from balancing the books to cleaning sinks.
Patterson's street following is strong, she says, and her "clients" manage to find her location despite periodic moves. "I get bored in one place for too long," she says. "But I like it here at 18th and M. It's more like a park, almost romantic here," says Patterson. And while she jockeys with fellow vendors for prime corners, she says most of the vendors are like family who respect each other's territory. She's looking for an indoor location to open a shop, some place where the rain--every vendor's enemy--won't stop her.
For now, though, Patterson is content on the street. "I make a new friend every day," she says. "Even if I don't sell anything."
Last July 31, The Right Stuff closed its doors for a month's holiday, something the French call "fermeture annuelle." But this July 31 it may be "fermeture permanente" for the trendy boutique in Georgetown, opened only 14 months ago. If a new backer isn't found by that date, the store will close.
Sophie Engelhard, one of three partners who own the boutique, told Women's Wear Daily she's not getting out due to hard times, only to have more time to devote to her pet project, Pets Are Love, an organization which gives pets to nursing home residents.
Alida Morgan, another partner, hopes to save the store. "We're trying to find somebody to be an investor or a backer, or who would like to buy the store outright. I'd stay on in any capacity."
Engelhard, who is rafting in Montana this week, told WWD she still feels there is a place for a store such as The Right Stuff in Washington but warns: "Make sure you have parking available, keep the smallest inventory possible and buy the less expensive designers."
The annual listing of area sewing classes will appear in The Washington Post Sept. 5. Listings must be received by The Post no later than Aug. 15 and should include a range of skill needed for instruction, location, hours, fees and instructors. Mail entries to Kathleen Sterritt, Style Section, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.