in conversation with

After so much shopping during the Thanksgiving weekend we’re ready for some insider tips and tricks to pull everything off, aren’t we? We met up with Baukjen De Swaan Arons, who co-founded Isabella Oliver in 2003, with the aim of providing unique, high quality maternity wear for women who dont want to sacrifice style during pregnancy.  We had a candid talk with her about maternity style, pregnancy and life.  This is a tcm exclusive you just can’t miss! Read on to learn a little bit more about the woman who creates some of the world’s most flattering pieces for chic mamas-to-be. We suggest you take notes -we know memory is not a preggonista’s forte these days- this interview is filled with the designer’s top styling secrets!

Who is the Isabella Oliver woman?

The Isabella Oliver woman is style savvy but time poor. She wants easy style and comfort from well cut clothes in luxe fabrics. She’s a busy woman who needs clothes that means she can go about her day looking and feeling great.

What are your top maternity styling tips?

Avoid buying pieces that only give you a couple of months of pregnancy wear. Our signature designs feature wrapping and ruching that grows with you throughout your pregnancy.

Choose pieces that celebrate your new curves. Buying a size up doesn’t flatter and you lose your pregnant silhouette. Isabella Oliver designs create a neat, fitted look and highlight the best parts of your body.

Go for versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down through the changing seasons. By creating a capsule collection of key pieces you will maximize your outfits. Add statement accessories to uplift your look from day to night.

What’s a go-to outfit a mama-to-be can put together when she doesn’t have too much time to get ready?

I love a maternity tunic and leggings. It’s a comfortable look and so easy to throw on. Style with ballet flats or ankle boots by day then add statement heels or sparkly flats and a clutch after dark.

What are the key staple pieces every stylish pregnant woman should own.  

One of our ruche jersey dresses is a must-have as they are so versatile – you can wear them for practically every occasion. Also a maternity tee will offer everyday style options as will a pair of skinny jeans. Finally a sleek pair of cigarette pants will give you confidence in the office but works just as well off-duty.

Being that we’re approaching holiday season, what Isabella Oliver items would you pull to create a winning ensemble for a festive event?

I love a sparkling accent, especially at this time of year and the Isabella Oliver Sequin Tunic Dress is the perfect party look. It’s designed in cool gunmetal coloured sequins and has a satin tie so you can cinch under the bust for a figure-flattering finish – just add opaques and heels.

How did your personal style change/evolve throughout your three pregnancies?

During my first pregnancy I really struggled to find maternity wear that was stylish as well as practical, which is how Isabella Oliver was born. Following the launch of our collection, I lived in Isabella Oliver Maternity for my next two pregnancies. I loved the ruche dresses which I wore with jackets and cardigans during the day and with statement jewellery for evenings out. The main difference between my first pregnancy and the other two is that I learned to flatter my pregnancy curves rather than hide them.

What’s your one style/beauty trick that you discovered/mastered during pregnancy and couldn’t have survived without (i.e 5 minute make up routine, dry shampoo to freshen up second day hair, clear mascara to tame flyaways etc)

Mascara! I didn’t always sleep very well during the pregnancies (especially during the last few weeks) and found that just by adding a touch of mascara, I looked a lot better. I generally don’t wear a lot of make-up but mascara was something I wore every day.

How do you balance your life as an entrepreneur, woman, mother and wife? How does your personal style reflect that?

The balancing act is a tough one. I work hard but I also make sure to have quality time with the kids. I avoid going out socially in the weekend if I can as I want to spend every moment with my family. During the week, I’ll make sure to be home before the kids go to bed and then once they’re asleep I’ll carry on working at home if I still have things to do. A big help is that my mother and step father live close by and they help us a lot. Like most mothers, I don’t have much time in the morning to think about what I am going to wear so my personal style is to keep it simple yet stylish. I take more time for evening events but for day my favourite outfits are a knit over leggings and ankle boots or a tunic over leggings and ballet flats.

Who inspires you?

Lots of people inspire me. But the one that inspires me most is my mother.

If you had to give one piece of advice to a future mama it would be…

Many people will give you advice whether you seek it or not. Take it with a pinch of salt and just do what feels right for you and your family.