In this series for Harper’s Bazaar, I will be “outfit dissecting” women who work behind the scenes in the fashion industry. The women you will meet in these profiles work for some of your favorite brands, and whether they’re designing the pieces you love or answering your DM questions, they are also quietly cultivating trends.
I traveled back to Atlanta to interview Elizabeth Mashburn in her home in Buckhead—a place that looks as casually chic and cool as Elizabeth always does. In the early days of the Ann Mashburn store, I would admire how she effortlessly put together classic pieces with a twist. Later, as a store and office intern for Mashburn, I got to see her creative work from start to finish. We chatted about investing in classics (Ann Mashburn is a great place to start—you can’t go wrong with the Icon Shirt), her perfect collection of vintage denim shorts, and Belgian shoes.
What do you do all day?
Copywriting and general creative things. I write copy about new products that launch online; I create email campaigns to sell those new products; I do things like window decals for stores. Anything that needs to be creative or designed, or made to sound better is what I’m tasked with.
How would you describe what you do to a toddler?
I write little stories about pieces of clothing so that you can decide whether or not you want to buy it.
So you did the first logo for Sid Masburn?
Yes! It was a font that my dad had on his computer and really liked. I started to see it in other logos; I think there’s a valet parking company in Buckhead that uses the font or a general contractor. We started to feel like it was a little stiff so, probably in 2013, I did it again by hand.
Where do you live and where did you grow up?
I live in Atlanta, but I’ve moved around a ton. My phone number is a Madison, Wisconsin area code. I was born in New York, then we moved out to Connecticut. We were in San Diego for a year, Charlottesville, Virginia for a year. Went back to New York, then we were in Madison. I moved to Atlanta in 2007, when my parents were starting their business. I was in my last year of high school, so I was totally checked out. I was very interested in what they were doing business-wise, but I didn’t know anything about Atlanta. I spent my time at my parents’ house, school, and the store—that was it.
Since you moved around so much, what place do you identify with most?
Kind of nowhere! I love Atlanta, but I do not feel like I am from Atlanta. I think that’s why my family and I are so close; because we all are kind of from nowhere. All the little provincial print shirts, I’m like “that seems like home.” Even though it feels like five different versions of home, we had napkins out of that fabric growing up. Home is wherever my family is!
Do you think one place had a major effect on your style, or is it the combination of all of them?
I mean, my parents had the biggest influence on my style. I always wanted to look like them. Actually, I had a brief phase where I didn’t.
What were your outfits during that phase?
I wore black. I was still dressing like them, I was just like “my parents don’t look like other parents.” I’ve always dressed exactly the same.
That’s one thing I love about you; you have extremely consistent style. I really value that in people!
Well, you do too! Which I guess is why you value it!
So many people can change so fast. Wear one thing one year and then change the next. I’ve never mentally been able to wrap my head around that!
It’s very wasteful! Every piece of fashion writing in the entire world talks about investing in classics. It doesn’t make me feel good to lean into a trend and be really tired of it. I get very tired of seeing everyone wearing the same thing, and I think that’s fine and fun, and it’s great to participate in trends and moments, but when I think about the things that I actually wear, I want to wear the same three sweaters over and over again. I want to wear the same lug sole until I can’t anymore.
Tell me the story behind something you’re wearing right now.
The shorts belonged to my mom’s brother, who passed away sadly before I was born, but they were his old jeans. She had a bunch of his jeans in her closet, they were super close, a year apart, they were best friends. So, she had all his old Levi’s in her closet and I cut them off into shorts when I was probably 18 or 19. They are the best! She said, “he would have loved to see you wearing those!” I’ve patched the back—they’re very old! My white shorts are his jeans too. Whatever his size was is exactly perfect!
How would you describe your style?
A lot of things I wear are well loved and have a lot of wear behind them. There are definitely some old school preppy classic things about the way I like to dress. Matt Lambert has described it as “WASP-Goth” before, which is a studded belt, Levis, and Belgian Shoes. Definitely more in the winter. Goth is a little heavy! I’m going to show you my wedding dress. There is a part of me that really loves things that look like they are made for babies. I love fluttery sleeves. I made the dress with my mom and Lan. We did this little embroidery that I had drawn out. We made shirts in this organdy fabric.
What do you buy “too much” of?
I’m always looking for anything in a French provincial print. I cannot resist anything that is that kind of print. Mostly because it’s not being made anymore. I also probably should be buying more loafers since I end up wearing those all the time. I can never resist a fluttery top.
If you could be dropped in any time period strictly for the clothes what would you pick?
Early 60’s is always really great to me. But also, the movie The Favorite, is so pretty. I was so inspired by it.
What movie had the biggest influence on your style?
Virgin Suicides was huge for me and my sisters. I don’t know if anything they wear is literally what I own or wear, but several people said my wedding dress felt very Virgin Suicides. We watched that movie over and over again. Everything about that movie aesthetically I love and identify with, obviously until the end. My sisters and I all shared stuff, but we all have really different style now.
I think there is a connecting style dot between all of y’all still!
I mean, Harriet Mashburn wears velcro Stan Smiths, skinny blue J.Brands, and a different Boyfriend Shirt everyday!
What are 5 songs you always play?
- “Roadrunner” by The Modern Lovers
- “Mind Your Own Business” by Delta 5
- “Only One” by Colleen Green
- “Gardenia” by Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks
- “Ether” by Gang of Four