Elizabeth Chambers, Human Rights Foundation chief correspondent and co-owner of San Antonio's Bird Bakery, shares the story behind the blazer she loves so much, she owns it in every color.
Not only is Elizabeth Chambers the co-owner of the popular Bird Bakery in San Antonio, Texas, she's also the chief correspondent for the Human Rights Foundation. The entrepreneur and journalist (who has appeared on E! News Bureau, Access Hollywood, NBC, CBS and more) shares the story behind the blazer that's accompanied her through various milestones, both personal and professional. In fact, she loves it so much, she owns it in every color.
So you have this Rebecca Minkoff jacket in every color of the rainbow? "I do. Not only that, I have three of them in black, two of them in white, because it's just so easy. I'm at the bakery right now, it's a crazy day, and even over a T-shirt, it ties everything together. You can't wear heels here, you're on your feet all day, so I usually feel like such a slob if I don't have something [dressier]—you can only do so much with Toms and a T-shirt, but this literally ties everything together."
How many do you have in your rotation right now? "Right now, I have probably nine, ten…"
Do you keep them in your closet all lined up? "I do! It looks ridiculous. I always go into these 'uniform phases,' kind of. And I think the attachment comes from the comfort of knowing that it's going to work. It's the difference between [getting ready] for two hours and trying on everything in your closet and discovering something, or knowing you can completely count on that blazer. Even though your jeans might not be perfect you know from the waist up you're covered.
I've grown so much in my blazers! I've had so many different experiences, personal and professional, and I've always had just the comfort of knowing, 'You're going to look polished, you're going to look put together.' They never let me down. I'm very emotionally attached!"
Recently you were wearing one of the blazers when you and your husband, Armie Hammer, learned the gender of the baby you're expecting! Can you share some other memories? "Yes, a few weeks ago, we were in the doctor's office. I was wearing the white one, so it was very gender neutral, and when we opened the bakery two-and-a-half years ago, we had a big opening ceremony and I was wearing my first purple one. [And], I wore an orange one on my birthday, it was a surprise birthday party, that was great. It was in August, I wasn't planning on having everybody show up at our house, and I had come back from a day of meetings, thankfully. You never know, I could have been coming back from yoga or something, but it was the blazer that took me from meetings and a very busy workday to literally, I just changed my shoes from ankle boots to some great Gucci sandals, added some lipstick and I was good for the night."
It's interesting to have a dozen copies of the same piece in different colors. Is that something you've done all your life? Find something you like and stick to it? "I always buy doubles of things that I really like. I have two phenomenal ankle boots that I got in London, and my favorite Burberry winter coat, I have two in black because you never know when they're going to stop making them or it could be at the cleaners, so you have to stock up. My mom's like, 'When you were little, you would choose a dress and think it was acceptable to wear it for two straight weeks to school, and it was a fight every day because you just had this uniform.' It was before I actually had a uniform, so I always thought it was okay to have five copies of the same things."
So you've always kind of had your uniform? "I think it works. If you know it works, if it's classic and can go anywhere, why venture away from that? It's fine once in awhile to experiment but I feel like everybody is in such a rush, it makes packing so much easier––I'm literally never at home, I'm always living out of a suitcase and it's just so nice to know you can just bring three things that are going to go with everything."
How do you style your jacket? I've literally worn it as a swimsuit cover up! Or, make it look really, really structured with tailored shorts and my sandals, I love that look for summer. I love it with ankle boots, J.Brand jeans and a T-shirt, and any dress I have, any cut. It goes well with skirts, dresses, high-waisted pants. We moved back four months ago—[my husband and I] were living in London for a year—and if you're going to different restaurants and places that you've never been not knowing the vibe, you can always put on a black shirt and a white blazer, and it's perfect for dinner. With a red lip, no matter where you're going, no matter how dressy the restaurant is, you're always going to be appropriate."
When you see all the blazers hanging together in your closet, what's the first thought or feeling that comes to mind? "I just feel safe. Knowing you can choose any of them, and it's going to elevate anything else you choose after that. I think you can experiment with new pieces more freely if you have that one staple that you know is going to work. And more often that not, I'll choose the black or white."
There's something to be said for the safety of uniforms, when you have that one piece you feel safe in, it allows you to take other risks. "Exactly. Of course you change your jewelry, you change your lip [color], you can change everything else. There's a reason that people are usually wearing similar cuts, colors, why people gravitate to certain things, and I think this is taking that to an article of clothing."
I think we all have that one thing that makes us feel safe. "For some people, it's a shade of lipstick that they always put on. Everyone has that to some degree, no matter what it is."