Lizzie Wheeler is an account executive for McQ, Alexander McQueen. We chatted with her about soft clothes, quarantine and keeping things small.
You work in fashion, how has your personal style evolved (or has it?) during quarantine.
I never thought of myself as a 'suffer for fashion' type, but I've always liked structured clothing. I love fabrics that create shapes-- big sleeve, nipped waist, full sweep skirt, strong shoulder. There was a lot of exciting development going that way for Fall 20, and I was ready to dive in. Covid really created two categories: hard clothes and soft clothes. The things I usually like are all hard clothes, and the things it makes sense to wear during Covid were all soft clothes. I'm now focusing less on shape, more on the hand and the color of fabrics. I'm looking for soothing, happy, comforting things and thinking less about silhouette. The one category that transitioned well for me was house dresses. I've always loved long flowy dresses in all seasons, and now they have this funny Covid branding where people are telling you it's okay to wear big dresses casually/alone in your house because they're comfy. I hope that trend stays.
What's surprised you the most about yourself during quarantine?
Before Covid I was so busy. I traveled a lot, did a lot of workout classes and dinners out and didn't really ever take a day at home on the couch. Then for the first month or so of Covid I transitioned to inside 24/7 (except dog walks) and it seriously didn't bother me at all. I still structured my days with lots of projects, but I really didn't feel the loss of all my outside stimulus in the way I expected to. I eventually had some cabin fever moments, and the existential angst about the state of the world was very real, but I genuinely liked nesting and keeping things small in a way I would never have seen for myself. Now I have no idea how I'll go back to work trips and marathon days.
Will you share a recipe, book, beverage, or practice that you've returned to for sanity?
My favorite Covid practice is a cookbook I started putting together with my two best friends from high school, who are both professional or could be professional cooks! I'll include the below recipe, which I always make for my family Christmas. In addition to being a professional cook, my friend Elise is a very talented artist-- she did this little illustration of my recipe and I love it so much. (Opposite)
Pear Salad with Jammy Shallot Dressing
Variety of strong, bitter greens. Ideally frisee, radicchio, and endive, but kale works too.
Pomegranate seeds as garnish
*Optional: cheese (shaved manchego or gorgonzola both work well)
Jammy shallot dressing:
One large shallot
Cider vinegar [/second]
Dijon mustard (grainy or not)
Quick pickle shallots by slicing them thinly into rounds and mixing into your ideal briny mixture of vinegar, salt, and sugar (to taste). Let sit minimum 10 min, but can be overnight. Make sure that the brine slightly covers the shallots.
Mix a heaping tablespoon of apricot jam and a teaspoon of dijon into shallots and brine, topping with however much olive oil you choose. Texture should be thicker and jammier than your usual dressing! Dress the greens until they’re glistening, then top with sliced pear, cheese, and pomegranate seeds.