Gregarious and polished, public relations entrepreneur Liz Kores’ personality is reflected in her closet of preppy silhouettes combined with spunky color palettes. Ever a pragmatist, Liz isn’t afraid to admit that comfort and the versatility of each piece in her closet do help define her personal style.
She proudly attests to having inherited her mother’s ability to “sniff out a sale.” And she often combines designer label with inexpensive items. “This isn’t something new with the economy,” she smiles as she reaches for a pair of Manolo Blahniks and pairs them with a skirt from Forever 21.
A perfect example of Liz’s aesthetic is the classic shirt-dress with creative volume by Nuj Novkahett she purchased at SHE Boutique. It’s preppy with a flippant flare and shape. Liz snipped the dress with a vintage belt and added tights and boots; in summer she’ll wear it with bare legs and ballet flats. Another noteworthy wardrobe addition is a gift from her younger sister. It’s a black vintage clutch with a fabric rose and signed on the inside in marker. But the coolest part is that the rose is from Liz’s childhood collection of hair bows that her sister found while visiting their parents and added to the clutch. (Interview and photos by Kari Skaflen)
What inspires your style?
My natural style is straight out of “The Official Preppy Handbook.” I could easily wear cropped trousers and a sweater set every day. But living in Chicago and being around so many different kinds of people inspires me to step out of my comfort zone. I get a lot of ideas people-watching on Oak Street. It’s a very elegant clientele, on-trend but still very classic and understated. So maybe I’m not in the market for a Luca Luca dress or a YSL suit, but I can get ideas about how to update an outfit that’s already in my closet to make it fit the look of the season. But I also like to see what people are wearing at The Hideout on Saturday night because it’s a more casual look but hip and yet effortless. Girls pairing printed tops with skinny jeans and vintage boots, or layering lots of pieces in interesting ways. That kind of style, that’s unexpected and not so put-together, does not come naturally to me, but I really like it.
Favorite spot to shop?
J. Crew (for basics), The Denim Lounge (for denim and tees), All She Wrote (for gifts and stationery—I love paper), erin gallagher jewelry, A Pied (for shoes), Fox’s on Halsted (because I somehow always find at least one great piece there that I then wear into the ground), Bloomingdales, H&M, Barneys.
How do you dress for work?
Lucky for me, most days are like casual Friday. That means jeans. I have about ten pairs in rotation but my favorites right now are by People’s Liberation and 1921, both from The Denim Lounge (2004 W. Roscoe). If I have a meeting or an event, I’ll wear a dress or skirt. I almost always wear belts, oftentimes cinched at the waist—I think it pulls an outfit together.
What is your most versatile piece?
I have a dress by Taylor that’s a black fitted tank on the top with a full gray print skirt. In winter, I wear it with a tight long-sleeve shirt, opaque, a thick belt and boots. It looks great, but it’s completely cold-weather proof. In summer, I can dress it up with a skinny patent leather belt and heels or dress it down with leggings and ballet flats. The dress is great when I’m working events because it has pockets for my cell phone and Chapstick.
Favorite dress for parties?
My bright blue Calvin Klein dress. It’s fitted and slightly off the shoulder but with a very full skirt. Very Charlotte York. I wear it with my magenta Manolo Blahniks (thank you, Barneys end-of-season sale!) or black open-toe heels for cocktails or with yellow faux-croc sandals for more casual parties.
What’s the most comfortable outfit you own?
A black linen shift dress with bib detail. I wear it all summer long. In winter, an olive knit bubble hem dress by Ariella. I could sleep in it.
Go-to item in your closet?
My black pencil skirt, a Forever 21 find whose cost-per-wear sets the standard for fiscal responsibility.
On your wish list for spring?
-Mar-a-Lago bag from Lilly Pulitzer at All She Wrote.
-Turquoise Ilse Jacobsen rain boots from A Pied
-Labradorite “Amelia” necklace from erin gallagher
-A pair of diamond Pirouette chandelier earrings from Lester Lampert on Oak Street. (These are on my wish list for life.)
Secret dressing weapon?
Hollywood Fashion Tape (get it at Bravco).
Who is your style muse?
My mom Kathi (because she always looks great and is the best bargain shopper I know), my sister Mary (because when she puts together outfits I wouldn’t expect, it makes me want to push the limits of my prepster wardrobe), Michelle Obama and Charlotte York-McDougal-Goldenblatt.