Every week we bring you a new mom to meet of every age and stage of parenting. And while today’s profile, Adrienne Shoom, has 3 kids all in their 20s (Sam, Jack and Edie), there’s so much to learn from how she has thrived. Her resumé is impressive: She was on the masthead at Flare magazine for 15 years, she spent 7 years at Joe Fresh as the style director and was integral to shaping the retailer’s brand image from the start, plus she’s worked on enviable freelance gigs along the way. In just months, all her kids will be out on their own or at university and she’ll get a chance to rediscover what’s cooking in her next step.
“Often I heard throughout my career that I was ‘nice-bossy’. The first time I heard it I remember coming home and telling my husband and his reaction was, ‘Are you surprised?’. It doesn’t offend me. I totally admit I can be obsessive and I like things being a certain way; so many stylists do and that’s where the bossy comes from but I also believe in working as a team, which is where the nice comes from.
I’ve always listened to what other people have to say and taken into account other people’s ideas and then worked them in with my own so we can end up the same page. There really are no bad ideas. Everyone’s ideas deserve to be heard and my job has always been to figure out how to come together with a unified vision, which also means accepting when I’m wrong and also knowing when to stand up for myself too.
I was on a shoot in Florida (and this is when there were only Polaroids on set and digital photography wasn’t around yet) and Suzanne Boyd, my editor-in-chief at Flare, had to wait until I brought them into the office to see the end product. I loved what we did and I took a lieu day when I got back from shooting because I worked over the weekend. Then I got a call from the office saying, ‘Suzanne hates it.’ I thought they were joking, then I realized they were being serious. I immediately jumped into a cab with my daughter Edie, who was only 2 or 3 years old at the time, and went to explain why I loved it and how we could make it look amazing. Sure, it wasn’t one of her favourite shoots but it went to print and I’m happy I made time to state my case. Wherever you work, it’s important to listen but also to speak up.
“I can’t imagine what it’s like now in [fashion media] covering the shows, keeping up with Instagram, making TV appearances—the workload is twice as much of what I used to do. I think it’s way harder for young working moms today.”
I was able to raise three kids while I was working because I had enough flexibility working at Flare. I could leave on time to be home for dinner when we weren’t on deadline or if I didn’t have a media event to go to. Sure there were a lot of mornings I thought ‘how the hell am I going to do this’ but I never burned out. Even when I travelled for a shoot or covered the collections, I knew the kids were home with their dad. It made it less stressful because I never really worried when I went away. And there wasn’t this outrageous pace. I can’t imagine what it’s like now covering the shows, keeping up with Instagram, making TV appearances—the workload is twice as much of what I used to do. I think it’s way harder for young working moms today than it was for me. Work-life balance was never really something we talked about in the ’90s and ’00s but I can see why it’s such a big conversation now.
This makes it even more important to work as a team. Learning to be a team player is part of life at the office and at home where everyone has to work together to live happily ever after under one roof. And I couldn’t have done it without my husband who’s our resident chef and supporter. When I had a full-time job, Mark freelanced and when I freelanced, he worked full-time and that just made it easier on our income and our schedules. I have three unbelievable kids. I don’t think anyone suffered from the two of us working. Life is expensive and luckily for me, I enjoyed my work and you need to be happy to do a good job.
Right now I’m busy reinventing my skills for retailers and even starting up my own small business. And I’m noticing fashion is changing; the next generation, as I see them taking shape through my kids, they’re focusing more on experiences like food and travel. Brands like Uniqlo do an amazing job of bringing function and style together for them. I don’t feel like fashion has the same status among young people the way it did even 10 years ago. I’m taking this all in and figuring out how’s it’s going to influence what I do next. My new mantra: ‘Inhale the future and exhale the past.”
HOME TOUR Clean lines, neutral tones & a sense of humour
“I’m a bit obsessive. I like everything in it’s place but I think a lot of stylists are that way.” What you don’t see? Behind the headboard is extra storage.
Signs from the now defunct Honest Ed’s, a local and iconic retailer. Echoing Adrienne’s personal style, her home is clean, simple and accessorized with the unexpected.
A gallery of her son Jack’s work, who studied illustration, lines the living room wall.
“Edie just bought this for Mark and I as a gift. We weren’t sure what to make of it at first but now we’re flattered to think she might think of us in that way.”
Rufus, the family dog, “is a red poodle who is 15 years old with 9 lives.” Can you spot his favourite chair?
MY FAVOURITE THINGS
“I’ve been lusting after this [Hermes watch] for as long as I’ve been married. Mark bought it for me a couple of years ago to celebrate our anniversary.”
“I got my first tattoo on my ankle. I had it done in my late 30s and it was a gift from the kids…the design on one of my arms is all about family. All five of us talk about getting the same tattoo one day but we can’t agree on which one yet.”
“I’m not really a make-up girl but I love this line. The lip stain is the perfect combo between a lipstick and a balm. I’ve tried a billion berry stains and ‘Jam’ is the perfect colour.”
“I worked with @therealdotti for a Joe Fresh shoot and saw this skincare line on her Instagram. It’s all natural which is what I want for my really sensitive skin. I even had a rosacea flare-up during my 30s which prescription antibiotics finally cleared up.” She’s also trying a jade roller to help perk up her skin. “I’ll let you know how it goes.”
“I’ve never worn panty hose in my life and I never wear skirts and dresses in the winter. When I do have to dress up, I’ll wear a tuxedo pant with a silk shirt and kitten heels.” Her preferred daily uniform: Baggy vintage Levis jeans, these Church’s brogues and the perfect tee layered with a loose-fit cashmere sweater (she stocks up on the men’s medium at Uniqlo).
A longtime vegetarian, Adrienne spent years as a vegan although she’s loosened the reigns since and relies on these cookbooks. “When I had Edie, we thought she was lactose intolerant so I quit dairy while I was breastfeeding her and I found out I felt better without it.” Books: Juice For Life: Modern Food and Luscious Juice, Deliciously Ella, and Refresh.