Shop This Look
For Professional NYC Stylist Liz Teich, Style and Sustainability Go Hand in Hand
The creator behind our latest capsule shares a glimpse into her closet, her career, and her brain.
If you follow Liz on Instagram or her blog, you know that she’s achieved an elusive balance in her wardrobe: Her outfits are stylish and on-trend, but she also prioritizes sustainability and avoids fast fashion. Liz’s focus on sustainable fashion isn’t a recent development; in fact, she’s been finding creative ways to explore her style responsibly since she was a teenager. “I always knew I wanted to blend fashion, helping people, and sustainability, even at a young age,” she says. “After high school, I interned at a fashion brand and saw the waste that went into creating the samples—they had all this excess fabric that they were just going to toss. And I was like, ‘Wait a second, can I save that and make it into a handbag?’ So I started making and selling handbags out of recycled materials.”
Liz went on to become one of New York’s top commercial stylists. It wasn’t until she became a mom—and shared the experience with her followers—that she was inspired to make the shift to personal styling. “Once I started blogging about motherhood, women around the world started asking for me to help them with their own wardrobes,” she says. “You don’t feel like yourself [when you become a new mom]. It sounds so frivolous, but clothing really can change how you feel.”
Today, Liz spends her days helping followers and clients take a more sustainable approach to shopping and style. In addition to shopping for responsibly produced pieces and buying secondhand, she emphasizes the importance of finding timeless pieces that will remain in your wardrobe for years—and proves that you can do so without sacrificing your personal style.
I chatted with Liz about how motherhood influenced her own style, why luxury is about more than logos, the thing that makes her feel most fulfilled, and so much more. Read our full conversation below.
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What would you say to someone who wants to express themselves through style and try new things, but doesn’t want to cycle through pieces quickly and rely on fast fashion in order to achieve that form of self-expression?
I live by the rule of 80/20. 80% of your closet should be classic pieces that are easy to mix and match, and that you’ll keep for years to come. The other 20% of your closet can be those fun pieces that you want to try out and play around with.
But really, the best approach is to shop for pieces that will last—pieces that you’ll want in your closet long-term and that use sustainably produced fabrics—and to shop secondhand. Plus, if you want to try something out but don’t have the funds to really invest, shopping secondhand a great way to do that.
What do you think about the focus on luxury that’s been making the rounds on social media lately? What does luxury mean to you?
To me, luxury doesn’t mean you have to flaunt a logo or wear a designer piece that costs a lot of money. It’s about finding timeless pieces that are investment but don’t break the bank.
I look for pieces that are timeless on two levels: On one level, timeless pieces have to be really well made, so they’ll last for years to come. And on another level, they have to be classic enough that you’ll want them in your closet for all those years.
You’re known online as @thenewyorkstylist. How has New York City influenced your style and the way you think about clothing?
Of course, as a New Yorker, I wear a lot of black, so that’s definitely part of it. But also, being on the streets in New York, I see so many amazingly well-dressed people. People here have fun with fashion and really step it up. It pushes me to think about how I can level up my outfit—even if I’m wearing sweatpants, I’m going to be wearing a button-down on top. Or if I’m going to wear a sweatshirt, like the M.M.LaFleur one I have on today, I’ll wear a skirt or trousers on the bottom.
Has becoming a mother and watching your kids grow up impacted the way you dress and think about wardrobe-building?
100%. Motherhood has really changed how I approach my wardrobe. I used to dwell on my outfits, but now, I only have about 15 minutes to get ready in the morning—so I’ve really pared down my silhouettes.
I’ve also learned to approach my aesthetic in a timeless way, because I don’t have as much time to shop, and I want things that are going to last. I definitely keep my clothes a lot longer than I used to. I also need machine-washable pieces, because I don’t have the time to dry clean (plus, it’s not great for the environment), and I have a toddler who manages to get her sticky hands all over me.
Do you have a go-to capsule you rely on in your everyday life?
Yes. Because I’m so busy with my job and kids, I need things that are easy to grab and go. So, I focus on classic pieces that work together, and I don’t wear too much color—and if I do wear color, it’s usually just a pop or for a special occasion.
When I talk about wardrobe-building, I often use this metaphor: When you bake a cake, you’re not going to just ice it. You need to have the foundation of the cake itself, and then you can decorate. In your wardrobe, if you don’t have those great basics that really work with everything, then it’s not going to be fun to decorate.
What drew you to the items you selected for your M.M. capsule?
The first thing that grabbed my eye was the machine-washable silk Annika T-shirt. It’s one of my favorite things to wear, because it’s easy to grab and go, easy to care for, and just looks polished. I can wear it with jeans, or even with sweatpants—it just looks so put together.
I also think everybody needs a great black blazer in their wardrobe. You can wear it as a jacket, dress it up, or dress it down. I love the double-breasted style of the Kati jacket, because it feels a bit more updated and refreshing than the classic office blazer.
The Milo jean is one of my all-time favorite pieces—I have it in almost every color, and wearing it is one of the most comfortable ways to look polished. I feel like I’m wearing a dress pant, but it’s so stretchy and easy to wear. I also love that you can adjust the hems.
Tell us about your career evolution. How did you end up where you are now?
I started out in advertising, and I quickly realized that my favorite parts of the job were working on photo shoots and working creatively with people in fashion—picking out all the wardrobe and briefing stylists. I had a very cushy career path that I could have stayed in for years, but I decided to quit and start from scratch at 25. I worked for free, offered to assist on photoshoots, and did whatever I could to get my feet wet.
I wasn’t really making money, so to make ends meet, I would go to vintage flea markets, find antique jewelry, and rework it. Then, I would sell it at markets around the city on the weekends. It really picked up. I was in publications, and celebrities were wearing the pieces. That was also my real foray into sustainability.
But at the same time, my styling career was picking up, so I ended up quitting my jewelry business to focus on styling full-time. Blogs were a brand-new thing, and I had styled bloggers for an ad campaign, and I thought, I have so much to say, and I have so much experience in fashion. Why don’t I start a blog? That was 12 years ago, and I’ve been a creator and blogger ever since.
Then, when I became a mom and shared that experience with my followers, women around the world started asking me to help them with their own wardrobes. That’s how I started my personal-styling business, after I’d been doing commercial styling for about a decade.
What’s your approach to helping moms with their wardrobes?
When you’re a new mom, your body changes and your lifestyle changes. You don’t feel like yourself. It sounds so frivolous, but clothing really can change how you feel. It’s a psychological thing, and it’s so impactful on our brains and our lives. I have people DMing me all the time, saying, “Your posts have really changed how I feel about myself.”
I created the Closet Refresh in response to moms asking for wardrobe advice. I always tell people, “I’m not the person that’s going to come in like Marie Kondo and say, ‘You have to get rid of everything that doesn’t spark joy.’ There’s a reason everything’s in your closet, and I want to see why it’s not working. Is it because it’s not tailored well? Is it because you don’t have the right piece to style with it?” I had a woman who told me that she felt like she needed a whole new wardrobe, and it was because she didn’t have the right shoes to wear with a lot of her pieces. My goal is to save people’s wardrobes—not to say that you need a whole new wardrobe. It’s about getting those key pieces that may be missing, so your wardrobe can work for you.
What’s the best thing and the hardest thing about running your own business?
The best and hardest thing is that I am my own boss, and I get to make my own schedule. During the pandemic, I shifted my career to include fewer photoshoots so I could be around my kids more, and it’s been amazing to be able to work my schedule around them—I get to do school drop-off and not take clients until later in the day. But it’s also really hard, because I take on too much. As my husband says, I work seven days a week, because I’m constantly on my phone and responding to emails and DMs. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love what I do.
Our motto at M.M.LaFleur is, “When women succeed, the world is a better place.” What does success look like to you right now?
I feel like success is doing everything I want to do in a day. It’s so fulfilling for me to change women’s lives, even if it’s just through clothing. I’ve worked for years dressing models and celebrities and making clothes look pretty for ad campaigns, but there is nothing better than having somebody feel good in what they’re wearing and saying that I’ve changed their life. Nothing beats that. I would say that’s success for me.
Are you celebrating Earth Day this year?
It’s so great that we acknowledge that we want to help the planet, but for me, Earth Day should be every day. I’m constantly promoting being a more conscious shopper, person, and parent. I wouldn’t say that I’m celebrating Earth Day specifically this year. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing: teaching people how to become more conscious curators of their wardrobes.
If the you from 10 years ago could see where you are today, what do you think she would say?
I don’t think she would believe that I got to make a career out of what I’m doing. I was on a track where I had worked so hard to become one of the top commercial stylists in New York, and I thought that becoming a creator and personal stylist would be taking a step down. But now, I feel like I am lightyears ahead and making an impact on others’ lives daily. So I think I’d be very surprised and very proud.