This is probably the busiest week of the year for Elizabeth Quill, who runs the mutuels department at Laurel and Pimlico race courses. Quill, a Laurel resident, will report to work on Preakness day around 3: 30 a.m. and call it quits around 9 p.m.
Quill, whose uncle, Sunshine Calvert, trained champions In Reality and Unbridled, can't tell you what steed to bet on. But she can tell you what she'll wear for her long day: "Most likely, a pair of Ralph Lauren linen Bermuda shorts with a botanical print, and a linen scarf."
Being able to dress eclectically is one of the many cool things about working at the track, says Quill, 38. "It's not like working in the banking industry, where you have to wear a suit every day. My wardrobe's very versatile; I enjoy clothes I'm comfortable in. I prefer natural fabrics, linens and cottons. The more comfortable I am, the more productive I am."
Describe what you mean by versatile.
I like to have a dress for every occasion or for whatever mood I'm in. Today I'm wearing a long navy blue wrap-around skirt and a navy blue DKNY sweater, a DKNY silk blue scarf with tie-dye going through it and an Anne Klein navy blue swing coat.
Are you feeling blue?
No, I'm not in a blue mood. Actually blue to me is a color that signifies strength. I respect blue more than I do red, even though it's known as a powerful color. I think red is very ostentatious.
Do you wear hats?
I love hats. I've worn hats since I was in high school. I can remember going with my mom and dad to Hutzler's to pick out a nice felt hat for fall.
Do you shop on vacation?
Whenever I travel, I will purchase something and when I wear it it reminds me of my travels. I have things from Italy, Saratoga Springs, California, Las Vegas.
Did you wear a hat on Derby day?
I did wear a hat. It was straw, with very pretty purple silk flowers.
Do you miss the old department stores in Baltimore and Washington?
I remember going shopping every Saturday. I always had to come home with something. We'd go to Woodies, Garfinkel's. I remember sitting at that little soda fountain at Hutzler's and getting a hot dog and chocolate soda. It's very depressing to me to lose places like that. There aren't many left.
Do you wear clothing with an equestrian theme?
I do look. I went out to Chevy Chase and searched at Saks for an equestrian scarf, but I didn't seem to find one. I do have a really neat Gucci pocketbook that from the side looks like a saddle.
Do you have a shopping buddy?
My mom, whose name is also Elizabeth Quill, finds great bargains. She found a Chanel purse for me that was nearly new for $10. It would have cost $1,200 to $1,500 in the store.
Do you know any snappy dressers? Let us know. Write to Stephanie Shapiro, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.