My day with Jennifer Kelly of Kelly & Port! An interview with a personal stylist and how you can look the goods doing the school run!
I don’t know about you but I found that when I left the corporate world and became a stay at home Mum (SAHM, I just learnt that acronym!) my whole wardrobe needed an overhaul. No longer required were the suits and heels and fancy bags (although I have kept the shoes and bags, never giving those up!) they were replaced with practical, everyday clothes (jeans & ballet flats mostly) that were functional for kid wrangling. While this is a foodie blog (there is a link to a recipe at the bottom) I wanted to do a post on this as I think it’s so important to still keep a sense of who you are, not just somebodies Mum and express that through your personal style. Do you agree? Somedays it’s seems like it’s just enough to get out the door let alone look halfway decent but that is where sorting your wardrobe out and having a few key “go to” pieces really helps. Let me introduce you to the very lovely Jennifer Kelly of Kelly & Port, personal stylist, designer, wife, mum and all round delightful lady.
I spent an hour with Jenny shopping a few weeks ago and then she kindly came to BE&S HQ to “style” me. So much fun! Now, I like to shop, yes, yes I do, but Jenny had me trying on brands I’ve never tried before and colours I wouldn’t normally dream of wearing and trying out lots of different styles. Clearly, I’m a loooong way from a model as the awkward poses in the photo’s coming up will show you and I really do hate my photo being taken but I’ve taken a big breath and am putting it all out there today. Jenny is a genius at putting outfits together that can easily transition from school drop off, to having coffee with a friend through to a “Ladies Lunch” with the girls (if you ever actually get to do that!). While I was playing dress ups I also interviewed Jenny and we had lunch. Perfect girlie day really!
How & why did you become a stylist?
“I had always been in fashion before children. I had a millinery shop in Kensington (near Royal Randwick Racecourse) where I made hats and styled the ladies for the races. When I had kids and had to drive them around everywhere it got a bit too hard so I closed the shop but I still wanted to help people achieve looking their best. I met Wendy Mak who trained me in styling and then I became I personal stylist.”
“I love seeing my clients transform, some just need some tweaks and others have a complete transformation. One particular client is amazing she came to me because she really wanted some help and struggled with choosing clothes that suited her. We worked together on her wardrobe for a couple of seasons and now she is making fantastic choices all by herself. It’s so rewarding to see the transformation and how good she feels about herself now.”
How would you describe your personal style?
“Eclectic, creative, one day a mismatch of prints and the next day classic”.
What do you suggest in regards to following fashion and determining your own style?
“I suggest getting the right silhouette for your body shape, that means taking into consideration neck lines and sleeves and working out what you want to highlight. Look at your personality, eclectic, classic, sporty, natural, feminine or edgy and your core style comes from that. (I’m sporty, natural!). Think about what suits your lifestyle, a lot of Mums are sporty, natural or if you are more the arty type then maybe you are edgy for example. Don’t be afraid to try new things you will know how it makes you feel in it and if you get compliments. If you don’t get the compliments it may not be the look for you”!
For busy Mums or anyone really what do you suggest are wardrobe staples?
“Good key basics depending on your lifestyle. Corporate is different to stay at home but I suggest a good pair of pants, a jacket and a little dress in neutral colours then do seasonal pieces in accessories or jewellery. You should work around your budget and invest in the key pieces. For Mums good dresses that you can throw on like a basic jersey knit dress that you then accessorise with layers of necklaces. Say you are having coffee by the beach, one layer of necklace going to lunch add another and change your shoes etc”.
Ok, let’s give that a go then…..
So here we are going for a quick coffee at the beach after school drop off, a change of shoes, add a necklace and off to lunch or maybe even a pop of more colour for a fancier lunch (dreaming of course)! Skirt is from French Connection, top is by Mango, sneakers are oldies but goodies from Seed, hat is from Elk, clutch was from a great girls trip to Bali last year and found in the markets at Seminyak, cuff is from Pratten (is on sale right now & is a bargain!) and the necklaces are Jenny’s. Amazing how changing shoes and adding a necklace can completely change a look!
That was fun! Do you have a “go to” recommendation for school drop offs / standing on the sports field etc?
“Gum boots for the sports field”! Slouchy pants and a nice cargo jacket are good in winter & layering with scarves. In summer hats can make an outfit and are also practical. Tailored shorts can be dressed up or down and they are smart, comfortable and cool.
Usually I recommend for every day style nice comfortable tops that give you shape, comfortable jeans that suit your look, and then throw on a necklace or blazer and you can change the whole look. Choose items that work together with other pieces in your wardrobe so that you don’t have to think “what am I going to wear with that.”
You now design your own range of clothes too what are the key pieces you have for this season?
“This is my first season of doing bottoms, in the past I have always focussed on tops. The key pieces are mild peplum tops, pencil skirts, I’ve done quite a bit in colour blocks, very vibrant fabrics. I’ve got a maxi flared skirt which is very ladylike”.
I tried on some of the looks and given that it’s Spring Carnival season Jennifer has some gorgeous outfits for a day out at the races or Melbourne Cup lunch! This is just a sneak peek but Jenny is showing her new collection this Saturday afternoon (in Sydney) and if you would like to join her for high tea and a viewing of her gorgeous clothes (with proper models, not me!) contact Jenny through the Kelly & Port website here
Just before we finish up a few more things about you, what do you never leave the house without?
“Lippy! Even when we go camping I take my lipstick and since turning 40 I now also never leave home without foundation either”!
Chanel said before you leave the house take one thing off (I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere!), what is your key piece of styling advice?
“Always focus on the good things about your body and fake it till you make it! If you like the look but are not confident give it a go and it will happen”.
What is your favourite piece in your own wardrobe?
“A special pair of Prada earrings that my husband gave me. Just before my birthday I saw them in a magazine and pointed them out to him, he then snuck off and got them for me. I love them because he did that and I love them because they are beautiful, a gorgeous emerald green”.
I can’t not ask, what is the favourite thing in your kitchen?
“My Magic Bullet”!
What’s your favourite meal to cook?
“Well my boys love my lasagne, I also love it but try not to have it too often”!
I can’t thank Jenny enough for all her time and effort that she put into “styling” me and showing me that even though life now pretty much revolves around kids you can still look decent and feel good with just a few key pieces. Don’t forget to check out Kelly & Port for Jenny’s gorgeous designs and contact her if you would like to go to the launch of her new collection this Saturday or for a personal styling session – I highly recommend it!
Are you in a fashion rut? What do you wear for the school run? Any plans for Melbourne Cup? Was this helpful? Like to see more of this type of post (not me posing)?