I wanted to use a picture of Elizabeth Suzann’s actual face for this post, but then I realized that I don’t understand how copyrights work, so I thought I’d play it safe and use a picture of the Easter eggs I dyed this morning instead. Blogging is hard!
Today I want to talk to you about style mentors, and in particular, Nashville-based designer Elizabeth Suzann.
What’s a Style Mentor?
In short, a style mentor is someone to look up to as a guide because you appreciate and identify with their style in some way. Tim Gunn talks about style mentors in his book A Guide to Quality, Taste and Style, and after I read it I thought a lot about all the women who are style mentors to me and who have influenced the way I get dressed. The list includes women whose aesthetic I admire, like some celebrities and the CEO of my organization, but also women who have helped shape me into the person I am today, like my mother, my grandmother, and my stepmother. For me, a style mentor is someone who grounds me when I feel chaotic and guides me to make more meaningful choices.
Who is Elizabeth Suzann?
Elizabeth Suzann, or Liz, is a Nashville-based designer who creates beautiful, artful clothing and promotes a culture of careful consumption. Her pieces are meticulously designed with both art and wearability in mind, and they are made to last a lifetime. Here’s a quote from the “Vision” page of the ES website that I think perfectly sums up her brand:
“We work hard to pare a design down to its true essence, removing anything that is nonessential. We seek classic silhouettes that are still modern, with style that transcends time and place.”
Okay, but you don’t even own any ES pieces, so why are you so obsessed with her?
It’s true that I don’t own any ES pieces. Liz makes truly incredible clothes, and they are priced accordingly. It’s just not in my budget as a young person with a lot of student debt in a single-salary household to casually drop $300 on a silk dress. You’d better believe that I’m saving up for a pair of Clyde Work Pants, but for an item that may theoretically last me the rest of my life, I can take my time.
To me, Liz is much more than a designer. She’s also an educator. You don’t need to own an ES piece to have your entire worldview flipped upside down after 10 minutes on her website. Her essay Money Talk made me rethink all my opinions about spending money on clothing and I honestly send the link to people almost daily. Like, unprompted. I’m just like, HEY YOU! YES YOU, WEARING THE CLOTHES. READ THIS ESSAY.
Liz is also surprisingly accessible as a person. She frequently shares intimate, personal moments with her Instagram followers, and you get to see her as not just the face of the brand, but also as a working woman with a full, rich life. Watching her Instagram stories can be exhausting as she takes you along with her for a day at work and you realize that she literally never stops. She built everything she has through enormous fortitude – she bleeds this work. If you learn anything by taking advantage of these behind-the-scenes stories, it’s that Liz never stops learning, creating, tweaking, editing, and improving. In a nutshell: She. works. damn. hard.
It makes me feel a little sheepish to say that this person I’ve never met who designs clothes I can’t afford is the reason that I show up and write every day, but she is. I want to write. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I stopped for a long time because it was hard, and because I didn’t think I was good enough to deserve it, but Liz made me realize that no one is in the way of my success but me. She makes me want to run myself into the ground doing the thing that I love, failing again and again if I have to. She created something incredible through sheer hard work, and I can, too.
I’m so glad that Liz is co-hosting the spring 10×10 this year, and I really can’t say enough about the impact that she’s had on me both as a woman who wears clothes and as a person with big career dreams. Liz, if by some Easter miracle you end up on this blog and read this post, thank you.
Catch my daily outfits on Instagram at @goblinshark_, and check in for new blog posts every day for the next 7 days right here at goblinshark.blog.