October 08, 2017 • All / Editorial / Tips

I have a real affinity for knit garments. The clothing we produce in-house is all woven, which means we cut and sew together pieces of woven fabric to create a garment. Knit garments instead use a continuous strand of yarn to knit a garment from start to finish. Woven garments are my first-love, and I understand them. I know how to make flat pieces of fabric turn into three-dimensional shapes with body or lightness, how to create harsh lines or soft folds. Knits baffle me - and perhaps it's their mystery that draws me in. Whatever the reason, I am fascinated by their construction and enamored with their feel. They add a critical element of texture and dimension to a wardrobe, and the comfort and inherent stretch of knitwear can't be overstated.

When I was designing this most recent collection of knit garments with Kordal, I knew that I wanted to really tap into the strengths of the medium. Comfort, drape, movement and texture were all at the forefront of my mind. We decided to work with linen, silk, and cotton to keep the handfeel soft and light. The smooth and dense stockinette stitch on the Rebekka and Elise gives a delicious weight to the fabric, and it presses against the body in the most comforting way. The slinky linen of the Patti is cool to the touch and skims the body just so. It's got wonderful visual texture, but is thin enough to easily layer without adding bulk. Once the collection came together, it became clear that ease was the resounding theme. Each piece feels understated and quietly reposed. It is my hope that wrapping your body in garments like this is akin to the recharge of a tranquil afternoon at home. Shooting this collection in the comfort of my own felt exactly right.

I am pretty camera-shy, but Chelsea, our Sales and Marketing Director and close friend, was behind the lens. She was keen to shoot the story and had a clear vision for what she hoped to capture. I asked her afterwards what she was going for, and here's what she had to say:

"I was hoping to capture the truest essence of Liz in her home. Her nature most frequently straddles optimism and hard, hard work—day after day after week after week. However, there are two sides to every coin, and once she walks through her front door in the evenings, the second side may quickly show. I wanted to capture her hard work and the quiet tiredness that underlies. I wanted to capture her optimism and her vulnerability that can oftentimes be overlooked due to her success and loyal following. I wanted to capture her excitement to head to the studio at 5:00am as of late and her relief to come home at the end of a long day. It means Chris can suddenly become her husband and doggy-daddy, not her CFO. I can’t imagine the compartmentalization it requires to do what Liz does, and my hope was that she did not have to compartmentalize the day of our shoot. She could be exactly who she is when no one is watching: excited, vulnerable, thankful, tired, energized, and human."

Looking back on the images, I think she succeeded. I wore my favorite pieces, styled the way I see them, in the environment that brings me the most peace and comfort. This environment is particularly special to me because it's only possible through your support of ES. If you've been following along for a while, you'll know that my husband and I lived at our warehouse last year. We were working long hours seven days a week, and couldn't justify the extra expense of an apartment that we never used. It was a necessary part of the journey, but it took a toll. Earlier this year we were able to purchase our first home and have since been able to establish a personal life to go along with it. It has been a truly transformative process, and I've developed such strong feelings for this place that is just ours - quiet, warm, safe, and full of the things we love. I believe that environment is just as powerful as clothing - it can influence your mood, affect your energy, prepare you for hard work and recharge you afterward. This collection is a reflection of my philosophy at home - maintaining functionality and beauty while prioritizing comfort and ease. Every single day I'm grateful for the home that we've been able to build, and it is my pleasure to welcome you all into it.

A bit about my home life

A typical day at home:

- During the week my husband I work each day until about 5:30 or 6, and usually arrive home around 6:30.
- We let our dogs out for a potty break, and will argue for a few minutes about what to eat for dinner. Neither of us are big cooks, and we don't have a lot of time for it, so we might walk somewhere in the neighborhood or order in.
- After dinner, I'll usually head up to my office (it used to be our spare bedroom) and work for an hour or so, wrapping up things from the day or working on whatever project is most urgent. I don't like leaving loose ends for the next day, or I'll be awake all night thinking about them, so I try to find a tidy stopping point.
- As of late, I've been trying to develop a more intentional evening routine. I'll wash my face (I'm currently trying Little Seed's new three step system) and change into something comfortable, and if I'm feeling ambitious try to check the weather and pick an outfit for the next day. I might throw in a load of laundry, and then head back downstairs.
- If we're in the mood to unplug for a bit, we'll turn on Netflix for a few episodes of Community, Grey's Anatomy, or a documentary (I am obsessed with the Bill Cunningham one), and we might put some brownies in the oven. Or, if we are feeling more like conversation, we'll light some incense (my favorite right now is Incense of the West: Piñon), put on an album, pour a glass of wine, and catch up. We recently rearranged our living room so that the sitting furniture doesn't face the TV, which is encouraging us to chat more and watch less.
- We get to work pretty early in the morning, so we take the dogs out for a quick walk and try to be in bed by 10:30 or 11!
- During the weekend, we behave pretty similarly. We might take a walk to the Farmer's Market or catch up with friends, but we really enjoy spending Saturdays and Sundays at home if we don't need to be working. We prepare for the week, clean, Chris reads the paper, I take naps and make lots and lots of lists.

My favorite sources for home things:

- Bedding: Restoration Hardware or West Elm for linen bedding.
- Rugs: ecarpetgallery.com all the way - just make sure you sign up for their newsletter to get the best prices, and search for "vintage" rugs to find their coolest looking ones.
- Art: I find most of my art at thrift stores, but if you're in a hurry Etsy has great vintage paintings. My most treasured pieces are: my large painting by Emily Leonard (it's a portion of a mural she did live during a ballet while wearing an ES dress), a few prints by Zachary Gray (our forever photographer), and several handprinted portraits of our pets done by my mom (they are silly and perfect and so, so accurate).
- Furniture: I like to mix a healthy amount of vintage furniture (for local vintage I love Gaslamp Antique Mall) in with our newer stuff - but if I'm buying new I love Wilder for local high-end pieces, Southeastern Salvage for unique, one-off pieces, and West Elm if you need a desk or chair in a pinch.
- Scents: This new basil candle from Na Nin is my absolute favorite right now.
- Ceramics: I try to pick up a piece of pottery whenever I travel. They always look good mixed and matched, and it's a collection that will always have sentimental value. If I need something specific, though, my favorites are Helen Levi, Katia Carletti, and this vintage shop on Etsy.

What I'm listening to:

- Carrie & Lowell, by Sufjan Stevens
- The Joshua Tree, by U2
- Teaser and the Firecat, by Cat Stevens
- Sounds of Silence, by Simon and Garfunkel
- The Stranger, by Billy Joel

Favorite authors on my bookshelf:

- Yvon Chouinard
- Seth Godin
- Ari Weinzweig
Patti Smith
- Anais Nin

What's in the fridge:

- A half-empty bottle of Prosecco
- Lots of Diet Coke
- Leftover Indian takeout
- Chicken casserole from a new meal service we're trying in Nashville (Eat Well Nashville, so far so good!)
- Mozzarella cheese
- Kale that's mostly there for show

My take on each piece from our newest knits collection

The Rebekka Kimono

- This is my favorite piece from the collection. It's weightly and comfortable and so, so soft. I love how easy it is to throw on, it's almost like a blanket but not at all unflattering - excellent for chilly offices or those of us who like to be cozy all the time.
- I don't love when sleeves hit my elbow and the rest of my arm is bare, so I like this piece best wtih a long sleeve underneath. I think that really shows off the kimono silhouette. I love it over a sleek turtleneck, and I'm always a fan of monochrome outfits and that's how I most often wear the Black version. I think the Oatmeal colorway looks fantastic with denim, and I especially love it with a pop of rust or mustard. I also love to wear the kimono as a robe, perfect for in between showering and heading to bed.
- I am 5'4" and 160 lbs, and I usually wear a Large or 10 in ES. I'm wearing the OS Plus here because I like the oversized fit, but I could very comfortably wear the OS.

The Patti Shell

- This tank is so simple and easy. It's a garment I found myself constantly missing in my closet - a sleeveless layering piece that feels more intentional and elegant than a basic cotton tank. The slightly sheer linen fiber, beautiful edges, and slightly cropped length feel just right for layering under light jackets and over slip dresses.
- I don't often wear sleeveless garments, but this has a slightly muscle-tank feel that is more flattering to me than thinner cut armholes. It draws a flattering line from shoulder to underarm, and I feel comfortable wearing this on it's own. I don't mind the sheer nature of this top, but if I want to be more modest I'll wear my natural Pansy bra underneath, or a contrasting one for fun. If it's close to skin tone, it's imperceptible. The shell is super comfortable with loose linen pants for puttering around the house without feeling at all frumpy. I'm always trying to achieve that perfect put-together lounge look.
- I also really love the Patti layered under a jacket or sweater - particularly the Clyde in linen lately. The Sage goes so well with light denim, and the Flax is so versatile. The Black is so chic - I would wear this out to a nice dinner with black trousers and a nubby blazer.
- I am 5'4" and 160 lbs, and I usually wear a Large or 10 in ES. I'm wearing the Large here for a really comfortable fit, but it's very stretchy and I could definitely do a Medium for a snugger fit.

The Elise Shift

- Ah, the Elise. This is a silhouette that's been with us for a while, and this knit version is so special. It's a blend of ultra slinky and soft silk and cotton yarn in two shades, marled together for a dynamic color pattern. It stretches to conform to curves, drawing fluid lines and highlighting the beauty of the female body.
- It is truly comfortable enough to nap in, and I feel like the queen of all things luxurious padding around the house in this with bare feet. It is dreamy-soft but still so stunning. The length makes this piece wearable for me - I am a modest dresser, so the bare arms and figure hugging fit are balanced out by the longer length. I like the Elise as a standalone piece, especially for an evening out with simple heels and an elegant jacket, but I will get the most use out of it dressed down with sneakers and an oversized sweater or denim jacket on top. It definitely serves double duty as a pencil skirt for me, and I love the slim lines with a bigger top.

Photographed by Chelsea O'Leary for Elizabeth Suzann.

1. Liz wears the Rebekka Kimono in Black / OS+, the Andy Trouser in Black Midweight Linen / Large, and a turtleneck from Everlane.
2. Liz wears the Elise Shift in Black / Large.
3. Liz wears the Patti Shell in Flax / Large and a pant from Black Crane.
4. Liz wears the Patti Shell in Black / Large and the Florence Pant in Black Silk Crepe / Large Short.
5. Liz wears the Rebekka Kimono in Oatmeal / OS+.
6. Liz wears the Rebekka Kimono Oatmeal / OS+, the Rhodes Mock Neck in Eggshell / Large, and the Catherine Abilene High Rise Trouser from Imogene and Willie.
7. Liz wears the Patti Shell in Sage / Large, the Clyde Trench in Navy Midweight Linen / Large, and the Catherine Abilene High Rise Trouser from Imogene and Willie.

Note: Some items in this blog post were a part of a past collection and may no longer be available.