Today’s interview is with W – a former lawyer and ultra stylish mother of four currently living in Hong Kong. W has some of the most spectacular and beautiful accessories I’ve ever seen, yet is humble, down to earth and very well rounded. I really enjoyed meeting W (and getting to peek at some of her amazing closet) and I hope you all will enjoy meeting her as well. Get ready for some gorgeous photography – here is W!
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
I’m W, a full-time mother from Hong Kong.
You used to be a lawyer, and now you currently are staying home as a mother of four. How was the transition, and how different is your life now?
My expertise is in personal injury and conveyancing litigation. A career as a litigation solicitor means a job with long hours, as a lot of time can be consumed by attending court hearings, while drafting papers and other preparations occupies the rest of the day.
It has all been a natural progression for me: I got married after working in the legal profession for a few years, and very soon after that found myself pregnant. I decided to take a break from my career when I was carrying my first child. Then my second child was born in the year right after. Now, I have a pair of toddler twins too.
I believe parenthood shows one’s unknown capabilities – since the parent is performing so many tasks daily and it’s impossible to quit your job! It’s not easy at the beginning I must say. Nonetheless raising children is one of the most amazing things happened to me, as you can see them learning and growing everyday. The achievement is immeasurable.
You were born and raised in Hong Kong, a city that’s evolved greatly over the years. What have been some of the biggest changes you’ve seen? Are you planning on being a life long Hong Kong resident?
When the economy of this land was picking up in 1960s and 70s, the working force had very long working hours, from factories to construction sites. Everyone struggled for a living and not a lot of young people receive higher education – exactly the story of the older generations in my family. But these hardworking citizens represent the stamina of Hong Kong – they never give up and are willing to provide the best for their families and society.
It is exciting to see that the people of Hong Kong are now enjoying a better quality of life. Families are spending more time together, and people are taking a holistic approach in living their lives full. Our society also wants to achieve sustainability in reconciling environmental, social equity and economic demands too.
I’m proud of being born and raised in this lovely city. As much as I like travelling to other parts of the world, Hong Kong is always my home.
You have a beautiful collection of accessories, especially Hermes. Can you share a little bit about how you got started…and some of your favorite finds?
Surprisingly, the first Hermes item I bought was for my dear cousin’s birthday – a Clou de Selle pendant. I was in college back then and began to understand more about taste and elegance that Hermes exemplifies. Afterwards I acquired more silk scarves and accessories – these classic staples brightened up my office attire.
My current collection is mostly Hermes bags in exotic skins, in styles like the Birkin, Kelly and Constance. I just love the superb craftsmanship and how exquisite they look. One of my favourite finds is a 30cm Indigo matte Porosus Birkin – my first exotic skin bag. It is like an ethereal sapphire, shimmering with understated beauty.
A recent find is a 28cm Gris alligator Kelly from 1988. Hard to determine whether this is Gris Claire or Gris Moyen as the skin has since aged, but very evenly. I was screaming (albeit secretly) “I have to have it!” when I saw this on an online auction in Japan.
There is a little story with this bag: since the bag was unable to be shipped to me without the requisite document, I took a day trip to bring it home. I felt particularly successful since I made my way to (and back from) a suburb area completely foreign to me, where the bag was located.
I’m very lucky having picked up some most gorgeous Hermes items. I guess I owe a big thank you to my sweet husband.
If you could give yourself advice back when you first started buying luxury goods – what would you say? Anything that you’d buy and not buy given the chance again?
I’d say, “take your time and understand what you really need!” There are some items a lot of us regard as “classics” and “must-haves”, but which actually may not suit your lifestyle. I used to have a number of Chanel small flaps. They are great and are definitely classic, but then I realize that every time I use them, not all my belongings can fit in. Not only because I’m toting the children around but also I’m not a “small bag person” in essence.
If I could turn back time I would definitely get more Hermes Kelly bags – particularly tri-coloured ones. I know this now, as I’m always looking for them from various sources!
You’re a fan of vintage costume jewelry and fancy colored diamonds! Can you share some more details behind this? What are some of your favorite pieces?
I’ve totally been drawn to blingy costume jewelry since I was young! My favourite contemporary brands are Tom Binns and Venna. Ottoman Hands from London is also on my list too. I hope that I can collect more vintage costume jewelry from brands like Trifari and Weiss when I have more leisure time in the future.
As for coloured diamonds, I received my first pink diamond ring from my husband several years ago. I find it very interesting as the colour variation and intensity of it can be so unique for each different stone.
It’s going to take me a long time to build up a decent collection, but these are some of my beloved pieces. Just love the purplish hue of them!
Can you share a piece of advice about style/shopping/budgeting that you’ve learned over the years?
The term “cost per wear” has helped me a lot. If you are certain that you can rotate an exorbitant item through your wardrobe, and won’t get tired of it, then just buy it! However, if the piece is only for a short fashion trend or you know you won’t wear for a second time, my advice is steer yourself away, as it will never have the chance to re-surface from the closet.
Also, don’t fall into stereotype in dressing yourself poorly, even when your role in life has changed. It is sad to see some ladies let go of their looks or in all mumsy style clothing. Mommies can be chic too – Gwyneth Paltrow is my inspiration in this respect.
What are some of the most often worn items in your wardrobe?
I literally live in Uniqlo’s Heat Tech t-shirts in winter – they are so comfy and light! The cashmere GM shawls from Hermes is a great accessory, colourful and keep me warm. I wear Roger Vivier flats a lot too.
What are some of your other passions and hobbies?
I enjoy exercising. My regime during the week includes Zumba, Pilates and personal training at the gym. It’s really important to look after my health now so that I can take care of my family.
Travelling is a must to me – whether with or without kids! My favourite cities are Tokyo, London and Paris. Tropical places like Thailand are my choice as well since my children like swimming.
Food is another passion of my life – I love macarons and chocolates to name a few!
Finally…please share something surprising about yourself!
I never danced until April of this year when I joined a Zumba class with some of my friends. It is a wonderful experience and I’ve never felt so empowered!
I actually really enjoy Zumba as well but in all honesty would prefer it take place in an area with no mirrors because I am a hideous dancer. I’m sure W doesn’t have the same problem as me. W has such a gorgeous collection of beautiful accessories – not to mention some absolutely gorgeous gems. Thank you W for taking the time to share some of your closet and life experiences with us here today, and thank you all for reading!