In My Style - with Tori Shaw
Tori Shaw is a busy mum from Belfast who is both beautiful and stylish.
The Danske Bank Compliance Manager took time out of her very busy life to give an insight into her style and fashion secrets.
Tell us a little bit about yourself Tori?
I work full time for Danske Bank in Belfast city centre, so that takes up quite a bit of my time!
I work in Risk Management and my role is focussed largely around data protection and vulnerable customers.
I love working in town, and the proximity to the shops means my lunchtimes are often spent browsing in Zara!
I’m married to Jonny, I have a little boy, Oscar, who has just turned seven, and a daschund called Sharon, so that takes up the rest of my time!.
I enjoy yoga and walking, and love getting out with Oscar on his bike or scooter for some fresh air; particularly at the minute with lockdown. When we aren’t locked down, we love eating out in Ballyhackamore and spending time with friends and family.
I worked for ACA Models when I was at school and throughout University, and I still come out of retirement every now and then to do the odd fashion show.
I’ve worked with Rebecca McKinney who is so passionate about making sure the models for her events are representative of all ages, shapes and sizes, and I love dipping back into that world, spending time with the girls and getting glammed up.
I competed in, and came runner up in Miss Northern Ireland in 2002, which actually still doesn’t seem like that long ago, even though it really is!
I helped Alison Clarke with last year’s event, in chaperoning the 22 finalists across the gala final weekend at the Europa. It was fantastic to be part of it all again.
It is such a busy weekend for all the finalists, and they need lots of support, between getting ready for the final show, the photo calls, rehearsals, hair and makeup calls and pre-judging. Alison (Clarke) warned me beforehand that I would need flat shoes!
You would normally be hard pushed to find me out of a heel but I did heed her warning and bought trainers especially for the weekend.
Describe your personal style
I would describe my style as pretty classic. I like clean lines, good tailoring, and block colour looks. I love my heels, and I would say my favourite and most reached for ‘look’ is skinny jeans - Topshop are the best for my shape - a nude or white shirt or tshirt, a blazer, a high court and a big blow-dry.
For work I always dress up and work clothes shopping is a favourite pastime of mine!
I have to be comfortable and professional when I go to meetings both in and outside Head Office and my work style is reflective of that.
I have pencil skirts and pleated in black, navy, green, white and nude, and usually team those with a sharp shirt or blouse.
I have a tonne of work dresses too and I love cigarette and wide leg palazzo shapes in trousers.
I always wear heels on my Glider commute and during work - my favourites are black, navy and nude heeled courts and occasionally if I am going for an all-black look, I’ll wear leopard print, yellow or red to add a pop of print or colour.
If I have a big meeting or an important presentation to do, I’ll go with a red lip for a bit of extra confidence!
When I’m in ‘mummy’ mode, I wear skinny or mom style jeans with a sweater or t-shirt,and if I’m going ‘out-out’ I love to be glammed in a little black dress and strappy heels.
I feel like my look is never complete without a blow-dry from the girls at Michele International. I have a collection of black, white and red evening gowns that are reserved for red carpet style occasions.
The spare room in my house has been renamed my ‘fashion room’by my friend’s little girl and when she’s at my house she goes in there and tries on all the dresses and shoes.
My makeup is mostly kept simple, - my nails are usually French polished or nude and I don’t wear a lot of jewellery. I love sunglasses, and when they aren’t on my eyes they’re on my head - whatever the season, whatever the occasion!
Simple and chic is generally what I hope to achieve.
Where do you find style inspiration?
I actually get a lot of inspiration from people watching. I love being in town and seeing what and how people are styling their looks.
My girlfriends also give me a lot of inspiration - we all have our own individual styles but we have some common themes that we love, and will regularly send each other pictures of things we have seen that we think would look good on each other.
We are also regular visitors to each other’s wardrobes when there’s an event or something special we need to go to and don’t necessarily want to buy something new.
I also get a lot of inspiration from being involved with and attending fashion shows and increasingly on Instagram these days, particularly with branching out and trying things perhaps I wouldn’t ordinarily.
Do you read fashion magazines and if so, which ones?
I do - I buy Vogue religiously and sometimes treat myself to a US or French edition just to mix it up. I’m also usually tempted by Grazia or Hello while I’m queuing to pay for the groceries in M&S.
What is the best style advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
I was around 14 or 15 and starting to carve out my own style, trying different looks out and moving more from being a girl to a young woman; learning what worked for my shape and crucially what didn’t. My mum always told me to balance out my outfit - if you’re going with legs out, don’t do low cut on top and vice versa.
I could always tell with one look from her whether I got it right, or if I was going to have to go back upstairs and change.
She always keeps me right on what she thinks - even when I don’t like the answer - at 36 I still listen to her! S
he’s supportive now of most things I wear provided I stick to the rule - dress for my shape, don’t go too revealing and don’t buy anything you don’t love.
What is your favourite fashion trend at the moment and why?
I love a short suit. I just ordered one from Ros Oir Boutique in Dungiven - it is baby blue and a linen mix – I have decided it is going to be my return to the office outfit - provided that’s not in winter! At the moment I’m mostly in active wear and sweats from ASOS and Jack Wills - comfort is key for home working!
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe and what is so special about it?
For a trip to Buckingham Palace in 1988 my mum commissioned a custom-made suit. It is jade green and made up of a corseted strapless midi dress and a jacket.
I now have both in my wardrobe - the jacket is super 80’s with shoulder pads and a frilled hem, but the dress is an absolute classic – and amazingly, it fits me perfectly. I wore it to my friend’s wedding a couple of years ago and felt so special wearing it. It is now 32 years old but still amazing.
I also have a fur coat that belonged to my granny. My grandad bought it for her in the late 50’s in Anderson and McAuley. When I was a little girl I used to dress up in her house in my auntie’s bridemaid dress, the fur coat and high heels – not a look I would necessarily go for now but it’s lovely having a family heirloom that belonged to her!
And the most recent?
I’ve made quite a few online purchases recently – there haven’t been too many days that packages haven’t arrived at the door. I bought a couple of summer dresses inspired by the recent good weather and dressed up in one last weekend to walk to the butchers round the corner from my house just to cheer myself up!
Do you keep things in your wardrobe that you haven’t ever worn?
I do - mostly with online purchases rather than in store. The items seem like a good idea at the time or I like the idea of how they might look on me; then when they arrive and don’t quite work, I never seem to get round to sending them back. I clear them out every so often and take them to the charity shop in the comfort that someone will get use out of them and a great bargain!
What was your worst fashion mistake?
That’s a tough one - I don’t know that anything really stands out but I’m sure there have been plenty back when I thought a great look was a chainmail top, very low-cut jeans and a bandana, but I blame Britney Spears and the early 2000’s for that!
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought, clothing-wise?
I don’t buy a lot of expensive clothes - accessories would be more my weakness on the expense side, but I do have a couple of special dresses that I spent more on than I usually would. I bought a red Vivienne Westwood dress for a friend’s wedding last year and I have a couple of Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dresses that are timeless, so totally worth the investment!
What is your favourite item of clothing and why?
My camel coat. I bought it a few years ago on a shopping trip in London and it is getting a bit worn now but is a totally classic shape and is perfect for any occasion - worn casually with a big scarf and jeans, or for more glam occasions over a dress.
What are your favourite colours for clothes and why?
I am trying hard to diversify away from black, but it’s tough. I would say 75% of my wardrobe is black - I must have at least 30 black dresses! I also love nude and white, to break up the black, and I also love a nautical stripe, and like most people, a bit of animal print.
I tell Oscar my favourite colour is black but he says that’s not allowed, so I usually go with green for him. It may be a bit of a hangover from my old school uniform but I do love most shades of green - mint, apple, bottle - only one I steer clear of is lime!
What shoes do you wear most often and do you have a particular favourite pair - if so why are they your favourites?
My nude courts from Office are my favourite - I buy four or five pairs a year of the exact same style.
I have nude Jimmy Choos that are strappy and totally stunning, and surprisingly comfortable for going out, and a couple of pairs of Louboutins that are reserved for very special occasions which don’t require me to walk too far or stand too long!
What are your fashion pet hates?
I hate ill-fitting clothes - if I’m not comfortable in it I won’t wear it. My shape doesn’t tend to fluctuate too much but if I’ve put a few pounds on then I go by the rule that just because you can get it on, doesn’t mean you should get it on.
I was shopping with Oscar in Zara a few months ago and tried on a cute bodycon dress. He’s a very helpful shopping partner and I asked him what he thought, he looked at me in the dress for a second then asked innocently, “do you think it might be a bit tight?” I laughed, wholeheartedly agreed with him, and put the dress back!
Who are your style heroes?
I love Rosie Huntington-Whiteley’s style - it’s clean, classic and she always looks effortlessly glamorous and polished. I am a big fan of the TV Show Suits - my work wardrobe seeks to emulate a bit of a mixture of Meghan Markle and Sarah Rafferty’s characters, Rachel and Donna. I also love Amal Clooney’s style - she always looks so sophisticated and poised.
What fragrance do you wear?
I wear Chanel Allure and have done for years. Occasionally I change it up with a Jo Malone fragrance but I always go back to Chanel.
What accessories do you normally use?
My bags are my investments! Day to day I carry a Saint Laurent shopper which is plain ,and big enough to carry my laptop and all my essentials. I have a couple of Louis Vuitton bags including a limited edition patent nude clutch that I got for my 30th birthday, a Mulberry Bayswater and my most recent special purchase, a Chanel Timeless. I bought it in the store on the Avenue Montaigne in Paris. The whole purchase experience was just perfect, including the complimentary champagne, and in spite of my fairly traumatised husband!
Do you think you can be fashionable without spending a lot of money?
Absolutely - a capsule wardrobe with classic pieces is timeless, and can be refreshed relatively inexpensively. A good pair of jeans from Topshop or Zara never fails me and I love that you can pick up reasonable dresses and tops to provide seasonal influence in H&M and Mango.
What are your favourite local shops and why?
Zara is generally my favourite high street go-to - I don’t think I’ve ever managed to leave without something - even if it’s just a top or a scarf!
I also love independent boutiques like Sarah Alexandra in Newtownards, Rós Óir in Dungiven and Cameo in Doagh.