12/01/1986 at 01:00 AM EST
For this year's cover on fashion's winners and sinners, Senior Editor Carol Wallace assembled a jury to bring a fresh perspective to the ticklish task. When the votes were in, she asked the judges to rate their own fashion sense from 0 (lowest) to 10.
Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton, 32, scores himself an 8 and admits to a fashion quirk: "At times I won't wear a new suit for months because I can't find the right tie to go with it."
Ex-Mayflower madam Sydney Biddie Barrows, 34, gives herself a 9 for her "elegant, ladylike style."
The Rev. Jerry Falwell, 53, remains a conservative, rating himself 0 because "there is no number low enough to rate my sense of style."
Transvestite actor Divine (Glenn Milstead), 40, claims a 100 as a self-styled "beauty gone berserk."
Coty award nominee Cathy Hard-wick, 50, says she's from -0 to 10+: "It depends on my state of mind."
Cable host Max Headroom (Matt Frewer, 23) goes over the top with 10 to infinity: "I'm a harbinger of style."
Jackie Collins, 45, rates herself a 5. "My weakness," the author says, "is wearing too much leopard print."
Rock musician Frank Zappa, 45, is a 5 or 6 on the road. "At other times I wear what's clean or in the closet."
Designer Lindka Cierach, 34, who whipped up Fergie's wedding dress, tops out with 10. "If I don't rate myself that," she says, "no one else will."
French designer Jean-Paul Gaultier, 34, is a 0: "I know how to dress others, not myself."
Playwright Wendy Wasserstein, 36, bottoms out with a 2, advising, "When in doubt, wear everything."
How does Carol rate the judges? "Falwell was toughest," she says. "Walter Payton, kindest." Wallace, 36, gives herself a 7 "just for sheer effort," while recalling a job interview she once went to "so nervous that I wore my boots on the wrong feet."
Born in Chicago, the daughter of a mechanical engineer and a housewife, she received a B.S. in communications from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. She started her reporting career in Boston before going on to the Rochester Times-Union. "One winter," she recalls, "I was Polly Pothole. Readers would write in complaining about major holes, and I would investigate." She moved on to the Philadelphia Daily News and later the New York Daily News before joining us.
Wallace admits she's gained self-confidence since orchestrating our cover story. "I realized," she says, "there are a whole lot of people with a lot more money who look a whole lot worse than I do. Besides, as I get older, I'm looking less at clothes and more at antiwrinkle creams."