Elle Strauss has what most girls would call “The Dream Job.” The London transplant is Fashion Director at mega online fashion mecca Shopbop.com. And when not scouting new designers or styling photo shoots, Strauss is busy raising her 4-year-old daughter Honor with husband, photographer James Dimmock.
Like all women trying to balance a demanding career with motherhood, Strauss admits that time can be a limited resource, “Time is my biggest challenge. Spending quality time with Honor and my husband and also finding time for me too! My best advice is to just try your best and remember that no mum or dad is perfect. So try and enjoy the time you have rather than focusing on where you’re going wrong. Putting yourself under too much pressure isn’t going to help you or your little one.”
We caught up with the fashion maven about her tips on everything from staying stylish to keeping sane.
How would you describe your personal style?
I always go for a feminine look with a hint of rock n’ roll.
As Fashion Director at Shopbop, which 10 pieces would you recommend to new moms who want their style back but might not have yet lost all of the weight?
- Black blazer – A well cut and tailored blazer is a good idea for all women, not just new moms. It adds polish and structure to any outfit and is also super easy and pairs perfectly with jeans.
- Slouchy trousers – Camilla and Marc have the perfect pair of slouchy trousers; loosely tailored and so flattering. They are also versatile and can be worn with either a pair of sneakers or pumps.
- Slip on sneakers – New moms have no time for laces, so slip on sneakers are your best friend.
- Black pointy bootie with a low heel – Black pointy toe booties with a low heel are not only practical, but also help to elongate your legs (and being 5’0”, I love to give a taller illusion!)
- Long length cardigan – A long cardigan is the perfect wardrobe addition. It covers your bum, and is also super on trend right now.
- Super stretchy black jeans – Basically anything with stretch that feels comfy but also holds you in is ideal, especially the perfect pair of black jeans.
- Cashmere sweatpants – A stylish pair of cashmere sweatpants are perfect to pair with your favourite tee and a moto jacket.
- White boyfriend button down – An oversized white boyfriend button–down is super chic AND adds structure (hint: buy a size up!).
- Sweater dress – Cozy and forgiving, pair a sweater dress with flat Stuart Weitzman knee high boots.
- Straight wool coat – The borrowed from the boys trend is having a moment and a straight wool coat takes a page from menswear and adds structure, but not too much. A belted coat could feel too tight and restricting.
Which are your favorite maternity items that you carry on Shopbop?
- Citizens of Humanity black faux leather maternity jeans
- Hatch white button down
- Rosie Pope long sleeve heart shirt
- LeSportsac Ryan baby bag
- Monrow maternity vintage sweats
What 5 essentials do you recommend to new mothers who no longer have the time to put on a “whole face” but who still want to look pulled together?
- It’s all about the skin – prime with MAC strobe cream
- Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer
- Shu Uemura eye lash curler
- Brown eyeliner wiggled between the upper lashes
- And then as much mascara as is physically possible!
As a busy working mom, what is your best advice for other working moms trying to strike that balance between work and family? What is your biggest challenge?
Time is my biggest challenge. Spending quality time with Honor and my husband and also finding time for me too! My best advice is to just try your best and remember that no mum or dad is perfect so try and enjoy the time you have rather than focusing on where you’re going wrong. Putting yourself under too much pressure isn’t going to help you or your little one.
What do you do to carve out time for yourself? Meditation / Exercise / Nights out with girlfriends, etc?
Although I would love to say exercise, it would be a lie – but it is on my list of 2015 to-dos! In reality, our new weekend house in upstate New York helps me to get away from the hustle and bustle. It is such a privilege and keeps everyone sane.
How do you balance your time between work, your child and nurturing yourself?
I’m not sure I’ve found the secret yet, but I try and schedule regular catch ups with my girlfriends and I’ve found a wonderful spa near my house – it’s literally on my street so my husband and I take turns popping over for much needed massages. My husband, James, is also a fantastic help – we both travel a lot, so we’re a great tag team.
What are some of your specific gadgets, organizational tools or aids that help maintain a stress-free work/family balance?
We’re old school! It’s literally the calendar on the fridge – everything goes on there – play dates, school pageants, James or myself traveling, the list goes on!
If any, what changes did you make to your work hours/life in order to create more time with your daughter?
The house upstate was a big change for us; it has allowed us to spend 100% quality time with each other. No TV, not too much iPad, and breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a family.
With less time to get ready in the morning, what is your go-to look in order to look chic and put together for a full day and possible evening events?
I have more stripes than I know what to do with in my wardrobe. A striped top, black blazer, denim, and pointy toe pumps is one of my go-to uniforms.
What is the most valuable thing motherhood has taught you?
That family is the most important thing in life.
What has been the most surprising thing about becoming a mother?
Unconditional love – I didn’t know I could love someone so much!
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Photos Provided by Elle Strauss