Fashion stylist Gemma Keil welcomed twins Louis and Grace four months ago, and is currently basking in the baby bubble at home on maternity leave. When we noticed her style was still as inspiring and effortless as ever, we knew we had to delve a little deeper into her journey as a mum and how she’s navigating her very own version of “mum-style”...
Here, Gemma talks us through twins, trends and getting to know her postman better than ever while she finds a newfound appreciation for black, machine-washable clothing…
You’re a new mum to twins, tell us about the process of finding out you were expecting two babies?
I’ll never forget that moment. We were having our first scan and I saw what looked like a mirror image appear on the screen of the ultrasound. I thought nothing of it at first, as the sonographer started to routinely point out body part after body part. Then the following sentence, forever indelible, “There’s the heart beat (pause) … and there’s the second heart beat!” I choked up with tears, equal measures of fear and joy, then turned to my husband, who was fist pumping the air with excitement.
Do twins run in your/your husband's family or was it a total surprise?
Yes, actually both sides have twins. My grandma on my dad’s side was a twin and my husband’s mum is a twin. Despite our genealogy, it was a total surprise for us. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been so shocked! In retrospect, we joke, that it probably should have been an introductory dating question.
What was the pregnancy and birth like - did things go as expected or to plan?
From all accounts my pregnancy and birth went smoothly, if either could ever be described as such. I finished work earlier than anticipated because I was exhausted and so large I practically had to be wheeled onto set. I will say, we had the most wonderful care at Royal Hospital for Women, Sydney. It was a first hand reminder of how lucky we are to live in a country with such outstanding public health care.
Describe a typical morning in your household right now?
With two to three hour feeding increments around the clock, I never really know when my day starts or stops. Though one thing remains a constant, my husband ensures I’m sufficiently caffeinated before he leaves for work at 8 am. Then it’s juggling the twins, quiet literally, between twin-changes, twin-feeds and twin-settling. I try and get out for a walk and listen to a podcast along the way to clear my mind from the constant ‘Row-Row-Row Your Boat’ that the twins seemed obsessed with. Attempts to reconcile myself and the state of the apartment are often futile. Instead, I’m lucky to put on a load of washing and eat what I can find with one hand.
Let’s talk clothes - as a fashion stylist, you’re always ahead of the trends - has your sense of style changed since becoming a mum?
I believe style transcends merely what one wears, and rather, how they wear it. My style hasn’t really changed over the years, but since becoming a mum my outfits are less fussy and overworked. I’m not heading into the office, so lots of my wardrobe is staying put, however I’m still managing to wear most of it – just back with more durable (and machine washable) basics and denim. For me, the transition to motherhood was a big one for my identity to adjust to, so I’ve made it a point of retaining my style and still try to put lipstick on before rushing out the door.
What are some of your favourite/most practical items of clothing to wear when you’re home with the twins?
I’m buying more black, and hard working staples. This way, throwing things together on a whim is easier. There’s no doubt I have less time for myself now, but ironically I’ve never shopped more. With lots of the day spent on the couch (twin-feeding), admittedly often with phone in one hand, I’ve been taking advantage of the ‘click through to purchase’. I’m now on a first name basis with the postman, Deepak!
What are some of your favourite stores and brands to shop from for yourself and the twins?
I shop from Matches and Farfetch, designer consignment stores Vestiaire and The RealReal, as well as sample sales and vintage stores. Brands I’m drawn to are Jacquemus, Balenciaga, Céline, Lanvin, Isabel Marant, Marni, Chloe, Christopher Esber, Ellery, Georgia Alice and Ganni.
For the twins, I love the French labels Bon Point, Petite Bateau and Jacadi, For basics, I’ve found Nature Baby great for swaddles, Bonds for bodysuits and Marks and Spencer for sleep onesies.
What are the items you always splurge and save on every season?
I mostly splurge on clothes and shoes. I’ll rarely buy into trend cult pieces, unless they really resonate with me – as they date quickly and I don’t like wearing the same thing as everyone on Instagram. I’m very considered with my purchases and ensure they are pieces that I’ll wear season after season. In terms of saving, if I feel like a shopping fix I’d much rather peruse ‘op shops’ and vintage stores than high street fashion retailers. It’s a more sustainable way to shop.
You’re currently on maternity leave, do you have any plans put in place for when you do return to work? How does the freelance/baby juggle work?
Louis and Grace are only four months old so I’m very much taking it one day at a time, soaking up all the baby deliciousness. I’ll return to my masthead position when they’re one and start freelance sooner, but logistics are still something to get my head around.
If you could give one piece of advice to another mum expecting twins, what would it be?
Enjoy the sweetness amongst the intensity and trust yourself!
Finish this sentence - Motherhood is…
The greatest gift.