We've been quietly following @eb.stitch for a while now, enjoying her style and her thoughtful and often funny posts. We caught up with Elena recently and learned a bit more about her.

Your name: Elena

Where you live: Philadelphia, PA

Your job: I’m a medical student, although this year I’m also working on my MBA. After I (finally!) graduate in 2024, I’m planning to use my training to take care of patients and to work on business and policy solutions that improve our healthcare system. 

Elena in our new Maya monochrome in flame

Tell me a little about your style journey?

I have always loved clothes and style, which probably means the school uniform I wore for nine years backfired. Before medical school, my client-facing jobs required “professional” dress, so I explored fashion within the narrow bounds of pencil skirts and shift dresses. But, I was also fortunate to live abroad twice (in Malaysia and Ghana), which opened my eyes to local textile traditions and more adventurous color combinations. A few years ago, I got interested in supporting smaller brands and makers, and also started buying clothes secondhand through the Instagram slow fashion community. Some of my new internet friends were making their own clothes, so I was inspired to give that a try! Now I’ve been sewing and knitting for a couple of years, and these hobbies have provided a much-needed creative outlet during school. Most days I enjoy wearing “me-made” garments along with slow fashion, secondhand, and/or vintage.

How would you describe your style?

My favorite outfits to wear are architectural and adventurous, yet approachable. I love pieces with interesting shapes and structures, even if it’s a subtle detail like a gathered sleeve or block heel. I also love bright colors like chartreuse, cobalt, and super hot red. At the same time, as a medical provider, I never want to accidentally intimidate people, especially since I’m about 6 feet tall, so I try to keep things a little relaxed and playful. I’m happy to report that bold prints and fun clogs have been a conversation starter for patients and coworkers in the hospital! 

What are your favorite bryr clogs styles?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite, but my current most-reached-for pair is the Gabe in kelp. The relatively low heel and closed toe is practical for work, but I still feel put together and “me.” I wear them all year round! Honorable mention goes to the Miranda peep toe — I have two pairs and wore the white gold Mirandas at my wedding. 

Elena in our Gabe in Kelp

What's the last project you did and what did you like about it? 

I help manage a small foundation created to remember my father, who was a San Francisco architect. We grant scholarships to design students in California, focused on young people from groups that have been historically under-represented in fields like architecture and graphic design. Our Board just awarded our first nine scholarships and it’s wonderful to hear from our amazing students about how college is going! Plus, I love seeing the students’ animations and designs.

What piece of advice would you give the 20 year old you? 

In my 20s, I put a lot of pressure on myself to achieve specific milestones. At one point, I was rejected from a business school a bunch of my friends attended; I also lost out on a prestigious fellowship. Hearing “no” was devastating in those moments, but I wish I had a crystal ball to show me that these perceived failures would open the door to new journeys. Specifically, if those goals had worked out, it’s very unlikely I would have met my husband, adopted my dog, or even gone to medical school! To sum it up, failure is not the end of the world and often puts you on an equally wonderful, but perhaps less predictable path. Bonus advice: if you’re on the wait list for something you really want, don’t give up! 

Elena in Zoe in Spruce