I have spent most of my career in the economic development/ international policy space. I have worked for the United Nations in China and Kenya and have worked for international economic forums such as APEC and the G20. I am currently working at the Prime Minister’s Department in Canberra so my work wardrobe in itself is an investment as it’s important to look good at work. We have to look a certain way – very corporate, stylish and chic – I confess not much colour makes it into my work wardrobe. Before I began showing, the majority of my work clothes were from Cue.
I love fashion and I adore getting really dressed up when the occasion calls for it. Melbourne cup events and weddings are my favourite events because you can go all out. I’ve won around a dozen fashion on the fields events, maybe more. My mum was Miss Filipino in the 70s so I think I’ve taken after her a little bit in that respect. I love wearing big hats and fascinators paired with little gloves, clutches and parasols if the occasion calls for it.
I would describe my style as versatile. I can be a bit of a chameleon depending on the event. For the most part comfort and mobility are very important to me as I lead an incredibly active and busy lifestyle but I like to be stylish at the same time.
As I’ve matured, my style has definitely become more classic and I tend not to chase the latest trends anymore. My default colour palette is for darker hues and I generally avoid bold or flashy patterns so I can match outfits with statement jewelry pieces.
I definitely used to care more about style than I do now. Now I have a more balanced view of fashion. I used to model in my 20s and had modeling jobs across Australia, China, the US and Mexico. In the modeling industry there is a lot of pressure to look a certain way and there were times in the past where I would have spending blowouts of a few thousand in one store. It’s ridiculous but sometimes I wouldn’t even wear some of the purchases. While I still like to look stylish and feel great about the way I look, I am much more practical now.
If I could go back in time I would tell my younger self that you don’t need to follow the trends and don’t spend so much money on pieces you will only wear once! Sometimes I see girls spend one or two month’s salary on a single handbag. It just makes me laugh and shake my head!
And also that less doesn’t necessarily mean more! As most 15 year olds, I wore way too many mid-drift tops, boob tubes and mini skirts. Skimpy clothes are part and parcel of being a teenager – I’m not sure how my parents coped sometimes. I wish girls could realise they actually look more attractive when some things are left to the imagination.
My life goals have changed, which strongly influences the way I view fashion. Now I prefer to save for property and invest in my future so when I make a purchase I prefer to choose classic pieces – like a black fitted cropped blazer with skinny jeans and pointy heels or tailored dress – that wont look dated in two months.
My style has definitely changed since I fell pregnant. My husband and I just bought our third property so over the past 12 months we’ve been saving for that – as well as for the baby. I’ve been trying to choose pieces that can work for me while I am pregnant as well as that will work for me after pregnancy as well.
For this reason I haven’t actually bought any maternity clothes since I’ve been pregnant and my maternity style consists of stretchy clothes or free flowing dresses over maternity clothes that I will only wear for a couple of months. Maxi dresses and light flowing summer skirts with singlets have been my go-to. I definitely think it’s easier to dress your bump in summer than it would be in winter. In winter my clothes tend to be more tailored and fitted.
While working for the United Nations World Health Organisation in China, one of my good friends was from San Francisco. She invited me to come and stay with her for two weeks when I was on my way moving to Mexico to learn Spanish intensively for a year. On the first day – at a 4th of July American Independence Day BBQ in Golden Gate Park – she introduced me to her cute blond haired, blue eyed friend, Dan. It was electric, but at the time I didn’t think anything would come of it as I was on my way moving to Mexico. Despite all the obstacles though, we made it work.
Dan is a guitarist and asked me to be in his music video in Los Angeles, then we went travelling around Central America together and he visited me in Mexico a number of times. On my way back to Australia I lived with him in SF for three months and I toured with him and his band in the US (I was their merchandise chick!) and met his parents. We always have such crazy fun together – getting engaged just happened naturally for both of us. Now over five years later we are having a baby together. He is my life partner, my best friend, confidant and the best source of support a girl could ask for. I have no doubt we are going to grow old together and have many grandchildren! Sometimes I think it’s weird that my children wont have the same accent as their mum, but I love Dan’s beautiful accent so I don’t mind.
I can’t wait to meet my new baby! It’s my first baby so everything is very new and exciting. That said though, I’m also daunted by the prospect of sleepless nights. My routine is usually quite regimented also, so I hope I can handle the chaos a new baby brings!
My husband and I acquired our most recent property because I wanted a project for while I am on maternity leave. We just moved in and I am very excited for the renovations in the pipeline. I think this is nesting phase I’ve heard described so much!
For the most part my pregnancy has been easygoing. I feel incredibly fortunate and blessed. I’ve kept up my exercise as I believe it’s important to stay fit for the labour and I think this has really helped. Now I’m in my eighth month I have pared back most onerous physical activity and limit exercise to light walking. Luckily I haven’t had too many problems sleeping.
My morning sickness lasted for about three weeks in the first trimester. I was so incredibly nauseated all the time. I lived off hot chips, tomato soup and orange juice. This was quite a shift in my normal diet as I usually eat quite healthily. I really feel for mum’s whose morning sickness lasts months and sometimes even their whole pregnancy!
At our 20 week scan, my husband and I had a bit of a scare, which thankfully turned out okay in the end. But it was hell on earth while we waited for our results to come back. I literally couldn’t think straight I was so overcome with grief. All any young mum wants is to have a healthy and strong baby. I have the utmost respect for women who have challenging and difficult pregnancies.
If you are expecting, enjoy your bump and don’t be afraid to show it off! This is such a special time in your life. I love wearing tight fitting tops and dresses that emphasise my bump… and so does my husband!
How did you dress when you were pregnant?
Photography by Sara Keli. Words by Elizabeth Hoyt.
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