You need to look no further for mother style inspiration than Serena Hood, a fashion consultant and former executive fashion director of British VOGUE (Serena is a seasoned VOGUE girl, beginning her career in New York with American VOGUE). She juggles her fashion career with her even bigger role in life - as mother to beautiful 10-month old daughter Honor…
Raised in both New York and London, Serena takes her style cues from both sides of the Atlantic and shares an inspiring outlook on motherhood: “No matter what, your little one comes first and puts everything else in perspective”, reflects Serena. “I think it’s also been a good lesson that you can’t plan for everything and sometimes you just have to ‘go with the flow’.” I had the great pleasure of working at VOGUE in London with Serena. She is a consummate professional, yet also seems to possess an inherent work/life balance that we all strive for. Perhaps a great foundation to aid the transition to working mother. True to form, Serena reflects on the juggle with a dose of reality, “Between work and being a mother and wife I have to admit there isn’t much time for working out. But that’s ok too – I always say that my 40s will be the time when I can focus more on me.” We caught up with the super-stylish Serena to talk about everything from mama essentials (hint: Bobbi Brown concealer), to life at VOGUE, her penchant for print dresses, and learning to go with the flow of parenting… Photography: Lauren Michelle | Words: Emily Armstrong
Can you tell us about your childhood – where did you grow up, what are some vivid memories of your childhood?
What has motherhood taught you?
It’s shown me a new unconditional love. No matter what your little one comes first and puts everything else in perspective. I think it’s also been a good lesson that you can’t plan for everything and sometimes you just have to “go with the flow”.
What advice would you give to new mothers?
Persevere with a routine. It can be tricky to get off the ground at the start but it pays off and I think it makes for a happy baby and happy parents.
What do you recall about those early days in the offices of American Vogue – what was it like, what do you remember most about this time?
When did you move back to London and how does New York life differ to London life?
I moved back to London in 2010 to be closer to my family who reside here. Not long after I met my English husband and six years on we had Honor. One thing I love about London is that people entertain at home, so much of life in New York revolves around going out for dinner. The English countryside is very special and the access to visiting Europe so easily enriches life here.
How would you describe your former role as executive fashion director at British VOGUE?
I worked as the intermediary between the magazine and the fashion brands, so a lot of my time is spent with designers and PRs seeing new collections and assessing where they might fit in the magazine. Every day was different and each shoot was as exciting as the next. It required quite a bit of organizational work, but I like order so I don’t find that part difficult.
Describe your inbox?
Filled with too many newsletters.
What’s the one fashion trend you’re loving right now?
Dresses are having a big moment right now, which I’m very happy about. I find it much easier putting on one item that thinking about what to piece to together each morning.
How, in your opinion, has the fashion landscape changed over the last decade?
The growing world of digital has created new opportunities for designers, especially those just starting out. I discover many new brands scrolling through Instagram, some of whom have come to be shot in the magazine.
How long were you on maternity leave for and what did you enjoy most about this time?
I took 10 months off and am so grateful to have had those months with her at home. I feel lucky to live in the UK where they allow you more time than they do in the US. It can take a while to feel like your old self again, I was definitely not one of those women back in their old jeans after three weeks. Try five months!
How was the transition back to work?
I loved going back to work and feeling part of the real world again. But I love going home all the more now at the end of each day.
Pram of choice?
What were your new mum fashion and beauty essentials?
Did motherhood change the way you approach fashion?
I tend to wear clothes that aren’t too restrictive or dresses that are too short as you’re constantly bending over to pick your baby up. But otherwise no – I’ve always been someone who wears things I love and that hasn’t changed.
What three fashion items does every mum need in her wardrobe?
What kind of looks/brands do you dress your daughter in?
Bonpoint is just beautiful and timeless, my mother has kept my old Bonpoint dresses so we have dresses across the generations for Honor to wear. Rachel Riley is another brand I love and also feels very English, they do incredible printed PJs too. A new brand I discovered recently is Olivier Baby and they have beautiful liberty print and cashmere sets. Mini la Mode does the best baby grows with gorgeous smocking details that are really special.
How do you juggle work with motherhood? What kind of support do you have?
We have a great nanny who we all adore.
Talk us through a typical morning in your home…
Up at 6am to let the dog out, then breakfast with Honor before getting ready for work.
How do you unwind at night?
A warm bath filled with relaxing oils.
What are three time management tips you swear by?
If you are going anywhere with your little one leave 15 extra minutes. It always takes longer than you think it will.
What is your approach to parenting - are you big on routines?
I read Gina Ford while I was pregnant and have tried to keep to her routines through the different stages as much as I can. It’s a completely different approach to how my mother brought us up, but I find that being a working mother having a structure in place is even more important and necessary.
What is your approach to health and wellbeing – do you eat well/exercise?
Between work and being a mother and wife I have to admit there isn’t much time for working out. But that’s ok too – I always say that my 40s will be the time when I can focus more on ME.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee – a lot of it. I love Cru Kafe coffee and the pods are 100% recyclable. I’m so much more conscious now of unnecessary wastes and doing what we can to keep our planet beautiful for the next generation to enjoy.