As women on the go, we’re always looking for ways to maintain a healthy balance. Whether it’s juggling our personal and professional lives or living in both glamour and comfort (who said you can’t have it all?!), we are constantly inspired by examples set by the strong women around us. Here, Belgian fashion blogger, entrepreneur (she just launched her own lifestyle brand called Sanui) and mama-to-be Sofie Valkiers of Fashionata shares some career and style tips that will keep you motivated yet grounded.
The Zoe Report: What are three things you do to start your morning?
Sofie Valkiers: I've recently made some conscious changes to my morning ritual, because I used to start my day by checking my phone. So bad, right? The three things I focus on now are: number one, hydrating—I love my morning elixir of fresh ginger tea with a few mint leaves. Second, I do one very simple satisfying thing, like making my bed, watering the plants or getting in extra cuddles with my sweet cat Bobke. Third, I take the time to determine my mood and choose an outfit to match. Rather than choosing an outfit based on the occasion, this technique allows me to ensure a look that reflects my mood of the day and makes me feel comfortable all day long. These little things have made such a huge impact!
TZR: What is your go-to outfit for important meetings?
SV: Powerful pieces to me are those things that stand out without being obtrusive. So for an important meeting I usually go with reinvented classics; subtle and sophisticated with an edge. A structured women's suit or flattering jumpsuit in a bright poppy shade (such as pink, deep blue or bright green) is just perfect to make a statement and show that you're not afraid to be different and go after what you want.
TZR: What always makes you feel glamorous?
SV: I'm very much into an all-natural homemade face mask that I picked up from my sweet Brazilian in-laws. It's super easy to make: Just combine half an avocado with a quarter-cup oatmeal, two tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of lemon juice, massage it gently into your skin and let it sit for 20 minutes. It might not look the most glamorous when it's applied, but I swear it's the best pick-me-up after a long flight, and it always makes me feel revived! Fashion-wise, a golden-detailed pair of statement mules or feathered kitten heels will definitely do the trick.
TZR: What is your favorite evening piece from Rachel Zoe Collection and how would you style it?
SV: This silk pink women's suit is totally me! It's one of those outfits that's so much more versatile than you'd think at first glance; dress it down with a simple white statement shirt and sneakers for a lunch with your girlfriends, and transition it into night by pairing it with a matching pink blouse, strappy sandals and oversize earrings. I've never been opposed to hot pink monochrome looks, so I'm super excited that these will be so huge this year!
TZR: What inspired you to launch Sanui?
SV: Creating my own lifestyle line was something I had been dreaming about for so long! I really wanted to make something tangible that was 100% me, that represented all my personal values regarding beauty, fashion and a balanced lifestyle. I'm so proud to say that every Sanui product is made of the purest high-quality ingredients that are genuinely good for you. That's what real luxury is all about for me. Further, since I adore traveling so much, I wanted to pay tribute to the inspiration I get from it through Sanui. Our toxic-free candles celebrate one of my favorite places on earth, the Brazilian town of Itacaré, where my boyfriend of 10 years (who is Brazilian) first took me on vacation. It's a clean, slightly sweet coconut-y fragrance that takes me right back. I carry it with me on all my travels, as it makes every hotel room feel like home in an instant. Sanui is just something that's so close to me; it makes me very happy to work on it, and we have so many exciting future projects coming up!
TZR: Any advice for fellow businesswomen on juggling their professional and personal lives?
SV: Give yourself a break! While this may not always be possible in a literal way, it's important to at least give yourself an emotional break by not regretting decisions from the past. As a natural perfectionist I really had to teach myself to let go and embrace imperfections; that's honestly one of the hardest things I've had to do. With every business decision I make, I follow my intuition—and if something turns out different than I expected, I try to remind myself that if it appeared to be the right decision at the time, it was valuable in that sense. So give yourself a break, embrace imperfections and allow yourself to learn from your mistakes!