Smashing! Architecture professor builds on a mix of patterns and colors

hhendren@herald-leader.comFebruary 21, 2014 

Liz Swanson doesn't shy away from color, or from patterns, for that matter.

On Tuesday, the architecture professor and artist wore a silky Zara shirt with a lovely floral print. Layered on top of that was a bright-red art smock decorated with 1970s-style trees and snowflakes.

It totally worked.

"I like eclectic mixes, mixing prints and patterns and textures," says Swanson, an associate professor at the University of Kentucky School of Architecture.

Many times she chooses items, such as the Zara shirt, that can be worn year-round. "I don't buy clothes all that often. I don't keep a very big closet," said the mother of two young children.

She buys local when she can. The smock was a Goodwill find. Her pants, with a soft brocade print, are from Figleaf in Chevy Chase.

Swanson, 41, shops at Good Foods Market for its natural products, including her favorite moisturizer by Kentucky-based Sassa Bella. A go-to item is the company's facial serum for long-lasting hydration.

Last summer, Swanson and her husband, Mike McKay, an assistant professor at UK's School of Architecture, travelled to Montpellier, France, to teach a summer studio.

On a weekend trip, the couple visited Barcelona, one of her favorite spots — a city that, like Swanson's style, is filled with life and fun and light.

"Barcelona is, for me, the perfect place, because it's urban, it's pedestrian, there's a beach, amazing culture, history, architecture," she said. "Everything's old and new and classic, tons of contrasts."

What she wore

Shirt: Floral print button-up from Zara.

Art smock: Found at Goodwill. "I love art smocks. ... Most of the ones I have are real '70s. I am a real sucker for all '70s prints — everything my mom used to wear."

Pants: Brocade-style pants from Fig Leaf in Lexington.

Shoes: Vintage, $28 at Street Scene in Lexington. "Murray Bender Custom Made" reads the label inside. Swanson spotted the like-new vintage shoes posted on the store's Facebook page one day. "I darted over there the minute I got a free moment."

Layered necklaces: A long tasseled chain is from a shop in Montpellier, France. A shorter, sculptured style accented with turquoise-colored beads is from a shop in Barcelona.

Earrings: Arty, exotic hoops from Montpellier.

Scarf (draped on banister): From Mulberry & Lime in Lexington.

Favorite hair and body products: "I'm pretty devoted to Moroccan Oil just because I have curly hair," Swanson says. For moisturizers, it's Kentucky-based Sassa Bella natural products, including the company's face serum, about $9 at Good Foods.

Smashing! is a new twice- monthly feature where we go inside the closets of stylish Central Kentuckians. Do you know a style maven we should feature? Maybe it's you. Let us know by sending us a photo of the fashionista, dressed to the nines, on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook with the tag #smashinglex.

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service