11 Questions On Style & Life With Elizabeth Rafter

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If there’s one thing we love about this job of ours, it’s that this blog has developed a strong sense of community. Y’all help us find the best sales (looking at you, Facebook Insiders), suggest pieces to replace old faithfuls in our closets, and share the weird and wild stories of motherhood (or life) that make us laugh, knowing we’re not alone.

We’re such big (huge!!) fans of our readers that we decided to launch a series of style & life interviews with…you. We want to know your favorite pieces, your style icons, favorite places to shop…and all the pieces that you have saved in a bookmarks folder called Someday You Will Be Mine. We want to know it alllllll.

Elizabeth’s Style (& Life) Edit

Elizabeth, a longtime reader and friend (remember our Bumble dinner?), was amazing enough to be our guinea pig for this whole process and — we think — she absolutely nailed it.

SO! Let us introduce Elizabeth. Or better yet, let her introduce herself.

Nurse, parent & faithful reader Elizabeth Rafter shares her fashion must-haves, style inspo, pandemic hopes & more in this lifestyle interview. Join us!

Coat | Top | Pants | Sneakers | Mask

1. Describe yourself in one sentence.

“This might be the hardest question I’ve ever had to answer. For so long I would’ve said “mother to five children” and then I would’ve said “mother to five children and going to nursing school full-time,” but now…I am a nurse and my children are more self-sufficient, so while I am still a mother of five children…I’m one with a little more time for myself (and trying to figure out what that means these days).”

2. What’s life at home like these days?

“Life at home is weird, for lack of a better word. It is both crazier and more laid-back all at once. My oldest son, who is 20, has been staying with my mom since things shut down, and my other four children (16, 15, 14 and 14) are in full virtual school right now until at least mid-November. As a result, there is less running around and back and forth to school, etc., but the actual school part of the day can be tough. Teenage boys are seriously lacking in motivation when it comes to school work at home. It’s a bit brutal right now. In all honesty, though, I don’t mind the slower pace of everything else. We have been doing a lot of hanging in the yard and just relaxing in general. It’s been, weirdly, nice.”

3. Describe your personal style. Who are your style icons?

“If asked, I would describe my style as edgy, or trendy, but then I see what my four most-worn pieces of clothing are and they are the most basic, classic things of all time, so maybe it’s more classic with a bit of edge? Haha! My style icons are Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker and maybe a little Moira Rose. Her accessories! And the pajama vest!!! Moira has somehow managed to make even pajamas/loungewear fancy!”

4. What are the 4 most-worn pieces in your closet?

Nurse, parent & faithful reader Elizabeth Rafter shares her fashion must-haves, style inspo, pandemic hopes & more in this lifestyle interview. Join us!

Black Joggers (1 | 2): “I have both of these pairs and wear them on repeat. A few weeks ago, we went to dinner for our anniversary, and I finally did the joggers as dress pants look and I loved it. Looked cute. Was super-comfortable. Had enough room for dessert! #winning”

A Black Jumpsuit (1 | 2): “I have numerous black jumpsuits and I wear them to everything…weddings, my son’s graduation, to the hospital for outpatient surgery…to sleep…you name it, I have an appropriate black jumpsuit for it!”

A Camel Coat ( 1 ): “My actual coat is no longer available, but this is pretty close. I have a boiled wool overcoat from J.Crew factory that I wore like crazy last year. It elevates every look just a little…just enough to make me look like I have everything together, even if we all know that’s not true! Haha! I think it was Julieta that posted about it, and it was one of the best tips I ever picked up!”

A Duster Length Cardigan ( 1 ): “These are the true workhorses of my wardrobe. I wear them year-round, with everything. I have one on right now with my pajamas. I have multiple colors and multiple length, but my favorites are the longer ones. I just ordered the one linked here, but I ordered it in the Tall size for that extra length. I think Laura posted about this first and it’s a good one!”

Nurse, parent & faithful reader Elizabeth Rafter shares her fashion must-haves, style inspo, pandemic hopes & more in this lifestyle interview. Join us!

Sweater | Pants | Boots

5. How has your style changed since becoming a mother? (If at all)

“I don’t know if my style has changed that much since becoming a mom. There are things that I wore in high school that I am still wearing now…Dr. Martens, J. Crew roll neck sweater (please, for the love of God, bring back the original wool version!), Levi’s. The things that I really loved in high school, the true classics, I still love. I’ve always been willing to try new trends and such, but there are some things that have stayed consistent. My go-to outfit when I can’t figure out what I want to wear is a crisp, white button down blouse and jeans. I can dress it up with a killer necklace and heels if we’re going out out, or dress it down with loafers or cute sneaks. I always feel my most “put together” in this combination.”

6. Where are your favorite places to shop?

“Currently, I do most of my shopping at Nordstrom and J.Crew. Nordstrom is super-convenient with their curbside pickup, easy returns and overall awesome customer service. Plus, it’s the closest department store to me. J.Crew has always been one of my go to’s, and more recently, J. Crew Factory, but their sales recently have been incredible, so I find myself getting a lot there these days. I also love it for my girls because they like their stuff and it works for them being cute and age-appropriate, which is really difficult these days (I have twin 14-year-old daughters with WILDLY different builds)!”

6. What does your weekly (dream?) schedule look like? As a parent, what’s your greatest challenge in executing your schedule?

“My schedule changes weekly because I do shift work, so some weeks, everything is on a “normal” schedule, and some weeks I check in with my kids first thing in the morning, sleep all day, and then see everyone at dinner and go to work. Really, my “dream” schedule is summertime. I abhor (that’s the strongest word for not liking something, right?) getting my kids up in the morning and fighting about getting out of bed, getting dressed and out the door. And, while we’re not actually leaving the house these days, somehow, the struggle still exists.

Summer is a lot easier, because the fighting is gone. The greatest challenge to executing my schedule is that my work schedule is constantly changing, so when we’re in real life times (aka not Covid), there’s a lot of coordination with other people and arranging rides and making sure everyone can get to-and-from school, baseball and gymnastics when they need to. Working overnight makes this a little easier for me, and my in-laws live around the corner, so between my being home during the day, my father-in-law and my mom helping out, we manage to get it all done. Sometimes, it requires a lot more organizing than others, though.”

7. What 4 pieces are you coveting right now?

Nurse, parent & faithful reader Elizabeth Rafter shares her fashion must-haves, style inspo, pandemic hopes & more in this lifestyle interview. Join us!

A pair of really good boyfriend jeans: “I love AG denim. They’re so soft! And I really want a good pair of boyfriend jeans. Either AG or rag & bone or any other really good brand, but it seems really silly to spend that much money on jeans, when I pretty much only wear loungewear now!”

Louis Vuitton Neverfull Tote: “I don’t know why I love this bag so much, but I do.”

Stella MCartney Adidas Ultraboost Sneakers: “Ultraboost sneakers are my number one favorite shoe in the world. I like how they look and they are amazingly comfortable. I wear them for work and nothing aches at the end of my shift. That’s impressive. I admit that I have never bought a pair full-price (they’re pretty expensive). I always get them on sale or at an Adidas outlet store. The Stella McCartney Ultraboosts are crazy cool, and never on sale, and $50 more than the regular ones, and I wouldn’t wear them to work, so for now, I just look at them lovingly on pictures on the internet.”

This Fur Delish Jacket: “I rented this faux fur one last year from Rent the Runway and have been thinking about it ever since. It’s ridiculous and extra and I love it. I also keep looking at teddy coats everywhere I go and thinking how much I need one. I don’t, actually, though, but I am really digging them these days!”

Nurse, parent & faithful reader Elizabeth Rafter shares her fashion must-haves, style inspo, pandemic hopes & more in this lifestyle interview. Join us!

Sweater | Pants | Booties

8. Top three beauty products. Go…

“This might be the easiest question ever! Number one product, pretty much of all time, is Rodan + Fields Lash Boost. I cannot quit that stuff! Number two product is mascara. I don’t always use the same products, but I am never without mascara. I’m currently using Wander Beauty Mile High Club or Benefit Roller Lash. And my third product would be Supergoop’s Glow Screen. I love Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter, but need to use a sunscreen everyday, too, and Glow Screen combines the two things pretty perfectly! As a side note…pre-Covid times, red lipstick would have been on this list, but it is sadly lacking in my life these days.”

9. As a nurse and a parent, how has your perspective shifted since the pandemic began?

“Ugh. The pandemic. I don’t even know where to begin with this one. As a nurse, I’m horrified that so many people are so opposed to wearing a mask. It sucks, yes, but so does this virus. It’s crazy. It doesn’t affect people they way one would expect. I think if people could see what was happening inside of hospitals at the height of the pandemic, maybe there would have been less opposition. It was pretty bad, and it has been tough on hospital staff. There is a lot of burn-out right now (where I am at least), and lots of soul searching to figure out what the next step looks like.

As a parent, my perspective is colored by my experiences as a nurse. I am not happy that my kids are doing school virtually (my boys are giving me some problems with it,) but I’m ok with them not being in classrooms and hallways with a bunch of other kids. I’m ok with waiting this out a little longer. But, I also don’t have little kids that I have to sit with and monitor all day (although, it may come to that with my sons, soon — really looking forward to going back to high school. Not.), or kids in school with special learning needs, so I know I have it pretty easy in that regard.

My oldest son is in college and is taking the semester off because online learning is really difficult for him, and it would honestly just be a waste of time and money for us. I’m ok with that, too. I really hate that they are missing out on socialization, though. They need it. I’m so sad that my oldest is sitting this semester out and that my two middle boys missed their baseball season, and that my girls aren’t with their friends in the classroom for their last year in that school together. But, I get why. I just hate that it is happening to them. And I don’t know how this will all end, but I really hope it does end soon (with a vaccine that has been thoroughly tested and found safe for us all. Please God. Amen).”

10. How do you practice self-care now? Have you seen any examples of tending to and/or empowering others you’d like to share?

“At the end of April, I signed up for a healthy lifestyle program that is the closest thing to self-care that I have right now. It’s a program that promotes healthy food choices with an exercise program, and while I am abominable at working out at home (sorry, Cathy!) the program itself has really helped! I am in so much better control of what and how I eat, and I feel so much healthier as a result. The leaders and coaches in this program are really great and are definitely focused on lifting others and helping them out. Additionally, I have a text group with my sister, best friend and a couple of cousins that is my lifeline these days. Initially, we started it because we were all going to start a diet plan, and were going to hold each other accountable, but now it’s more a group of women sharing memes and laughing at things that happen to us, with an occasional healthy recipe thrown in. It is so good for my soul, though. We are each other’s biggest cheerleaders. I love these girls and cannot wait until socializing in groups is acceptable again so we can laugh in person.”

11. Describe the ideal world you envision for your children. What qualities do you hope to instill in your children?

“Oh god. This seems like a loaded question. I want my kids to grow up in a world where everyone gets a fair chance. Full stop. No conditions placed on that chance…not race, religion, gender, gender identity, nothing…no conditions, just equal opportunities for all. But I’m white and my sons/kids are white, so my fears for my children are different than a lot of moms in America. And I can’t imagine living with the fears that BIPOC moms do. I’m the daughter of a Philadelphia police officer, so my reality is that they are the good guys, but that doesn’t blind me to the fact that our system is broken and doesn’t work the same way for all people and it must be fixed. I think education should play a huge part in fixing some things, like police departments.

I can only speak from my experience, but nurses require a degree/diploma from an accredited school and we must renew our license every two years. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to require the same from police officers. As far as the greater systemic problems, I can only hope that everyone will vote to change the system. Something has to give and I don’t see how it can with the elected officials we have now, both in our city and our federal government. It’s all a mess. I hope we can all do better.

As far as what I want to instill in my children, I hope I am teaching them to judge others based solely on their actions. I tell them this all the time that they have to let people prove themselves one way or another. Assume that everyone is good and treat them that way. I remind them that their reality and their history is not the same as anyone else’s, and just because something is true for them, it isn’t for everyone and to remember that in their interactions. I am trying to raise them to be independent and to think for themselves (but don’t disagree with me on the important things! Haha!) and above all to be kind. Every time they leave the house, the last words I say are “I love you. Don’t be a punk.” They make fun of me for it all the time, but they know exactly what I mean and I think, for the most part, they are not punks. At least I hope they’re not!”


And that’s a wrap! Thank you, Elizabeth, for taking the plunge on this (we fully support embracing the Moira Rose aesthetic)! And that Fur Delish Jacket…we always need more things to add to our coveting list. We will be looking to feature more readers on the blog so keep an eye out on the Facebook Insiders’ Group and the Newsletter for updates.

xoxo,

Team TME

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Sydney is the resident video editor and social media wrangler here at The Mom Edit (also reppin’ 1996 babies). She started as an intern in her third year of college, went away for a little to finish her video game degree, then came back for more. She may not be a mom but she is the Mom Friend with a Dad’s Sense of Humor. When not at work she’s either playing a game, working on a game, or trying a new bread recipe.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I LOVED this post! Thank you, Elizabeth for sharing about your life and style! I loved your perspectives and recommendations for things that are sustaining sanity. The shout outs to pieces recommended by TME made me smile, and I liked the question/answer format.

  2. YES YES YES! So lovely learning more about you, Elizabeth! Can’t wait to read more about other readers as well….LOVE this idea! Thanks for being the first, Elizabeth, and sharing a bit of yourself with us.

  3. Elizabeth!!!!! So awesome! I loved this. From my brief interactions with you virtually I know you are just a solid person. So glad to see you here ❤️.

  4. So fun to see you here, Elizabeth Rafter! I’ve enjoyed and resonated with your comments on various heated threads here. It’s so nice to put a face to the words! Kudos!!!

  5. Thank you all so much for your kind feedback!!! You sure do know how to make a girl feel good about herself! And the you, TME, for including me! I was happy to be your guinea pig and can’t wait to read more about others sometime soon! Thank you all again!!

  6. I’m also a working mom of five kids (preK-9th grade) and loved this article! I’m going to start using your “don’t be a punk” admonition with my big kids. 🙂

  7. So much love for TMEfor this share of a beautiful brain and heart! Thank you, Elizabeth. I’d love to know which red lipstick is your fav! I’m so excited to hear from more readers. ❤️💕❤️

  8. Kate Kennedy, my all time favorite is MAC Cherry lipliner and Stila Stay All Day in Beso. It is a universally flattering color (there’s even a full post on it here from a while ago) and it truly does stay all day. I’ve recently found that if I put it on and then blot it on a tissue, it doesn’t bleed or wear off onto my masks! It’s a definite winner! And truly, thank you so much, everyone, for your incredibly kind comments!!! Thank you!

  9. I love this post! It so nice to meet you Elizabeth! I’m also a working mom of 5 kids. My oldest is 20 and my youngest 8.
    Great job TME for starting this new series.

  10. I really enjoyed this feature.

    “Don’t be a punk.” Love it!

    I’m going to steal it and add it to my set of last words, “Love you. Be safe. Don’t take candy from strangers and don’t follow puppies into unmarked vans.”

  11. Elizabeth is my kind of chick. I am a ‘mature student’ as well and I am a distance runner and will vouch for Adidas ultra boost. I ran the NYC marathon in them and it was the first race where I did not want to cut my feet off at the end. Great post

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