Islander Eliza Quigley is proud of her closet because it’s the first real one she’s had.
“Most of my former closets were the size of a suitcase,” Quigley said. Her closet at home growing up was minuscule as were the closets in the many places she’s lived. So, after remodeling the Galveston home she shares with her husband and children, Quigley finally got her walk-in spacious closet with lots of shelving and a place for everything.
The daughter of former Galveston Mayor Lyda Ann Thomas, Quigley is a fifth generation Galvestonian whose ancestors include Harris and Eliza Kempner. Harris Kempner’s enterprises on the island included railroads, banks and real estate. Harris and Eliza Kempner had 11 children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. When Harris Kempner died in 1894 at age 57, his wife, Eliza, was determined to keep the estate and family together. Descendants, including Quigley, have continued a long tradition of philanthropy and community service.
“I grew up in a family of strong women,” Quigley said. “I have fond memories of spending time with my great-great aunt Fannie Adoue and my great-aunt Nonie Thompson.”
Although born in New York, Quigley moved to Galveston at age 2, and left for boarding school when she was 14. After obtaining an art history degree from Boston University, she lived in Europe, Manhattan and Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles that she decided to pursue a Master of Social Work. She returned to Galveston in 2005.
“Growing up in Galveston gave me a real perspective on reality and I always had a calling to make a difference,” Quigley said.
Today, she is executive director of the Galveston ISD Educational Foundation. Social services and creating systemic change in the community is her calling, she said.
“I feel a great sense of responsibility and dedication to continue to give to what people five generations ago started,” she said.
Married to Danny Quigley, with whom she has two small sons and a teenage stepdaughter, Quigley is a working career mom who describes her fashion style as “sporty chic.” She loves J. Crew, Diane Von Furstenberg, Tory Burch and Gucci, she said.
Quigley is extremely proud of the fashion items gifted to her by the generations of women on both sides of her family, particularly scarves, jewelry and handbags.
“I can envision these items being worn by them — women of distinction, grace and intellect — at a cocktail party or at a charity event, wearing the lovely gold rope starlike fireworks brooch, a string of pearls and carrying an elegant handbag,” she said.
Q: Do you wear these items often?
A: Yes, and I am full of pride when I do.
Q: Did you play dress-up as a child?
A: Yes. My grandmother Lyda Kempner Quinn let me play in her closet, spray myself with Chanel No. 5, put on her red lipstick and sparkly star sapphire earrings.
Q: Do you wear Chanel today?
A: No, my mom does. I wear Bottega Veneta for now. I’m always looking for my own distinct scent.
Q: What about red lipstick?
A: Rarely. I wear a lot of neutral makeup. Plus, I’m a lip gloss junkie. I have about 20 tubes, mostly by MAC.
Q: What are your favorite accessories?
A: Handbags, earrings and brooches.
Q: What about shoes?
A: I have more Pravda than anything, but I love Stuart Weitzman wedge shoes, Ferragamo low-heel and peep-toe pumps. Tory Burch ballet flats and handbags work well for me because they are practical and standup to career mom wear and tear.
Q: What do you normally wear to work?
A: Flowing, comfortable trousers — linen or cotton — dresses or skirts in the summer. In the winter, I wear boots, leggings and jeans on Friday. I love Joe’s and AG.
Q: Since you attend a lot of social affairs, how do you go from office to evening?
A: By throwing on a scarf, changing a handbag and pair of shoes. I always have a second pair of shoes in my car.
Q: Where do you like to shop?
A: J. Crew, Saks, Target, Marshalls, Anthropologie and The Cotton Club. I won’t buy something I can’t wear more than once. It has to be multipurpose.
Q: What colors do you prefer?
A: Blue, orange and coral. Black in the winter.
Q: Name an item that all working moms should have in their closet.
A: A great pair of black pants and a wrap dress.
Q: What is the one fashion item you cannot live without?
A: Basic tees. I love good cotton T-shirts in all colors, especially J. Crew and Vince.