In My Stylewith Debby Armstrong
Deborah Armstrong (44) is married to Northern Ireland World Cup legend and football commentator Gerry Armstrong.
The couple have been together for 17 years.
“He was a guest at my first ever fashion show,” explained Debby.
“I hadn’t a clue who he was and he didn’t know who I was.
“We met quite a few times when I was an air hostess and I used to fly him back and forth to Eurosport.
“Another night I was at another fashion show and he was doing a Northern Ireland game and we met in the Apartment Bar in Belfast. We got on really well and just chatted. He lived in London and I lived in Belfast.
“Then we met again at a golf tournament. The next day my friend Alison Campbell called and said he wanted my phone number and asked me if she could give it to him. I said sure.
“He called me and wanted to see me and that was that - the rest was history.”
Debby, who is the PR director at X Pro management and lives in Holywood, Co Down has always been known for her fabulous style and she gave us an insight into her loves and hates in the style stakes.
Tell us a little bit about yourself Deborah?
I am a mum to three beautiful daughters. Aishleen, Caitlin and Marianna, and wife to ex footballer Gerry Armstrong.
I moved to the province 18 months ago after previously living in sunny Mallorca in spain.
As much as I loved the sunshine and the amazing all year round summer glow there is no place like home. Belfast holds my family and friends as well as memories from when I was young. In terms of hobbies, I am very active and love the outdoors.
I especially love to play tennis and as well as take long walks with dog Sol. I also recently purchased a bike so that’ll be a new and interesting venture for me.
Describe your personal style
I’d definitely say that there is not a specific way to describe my style. I have never been one to follow social norms and copy on going trends. My style is very like my personality, it changes everyday. I’d say my style is very personal to myself instead of being a follower I’d like to say that I am a creator.
I am always open to stepping out of my comfort zone, I love to push the boundaries when it comes to my wardrobe. I do love a good wee dress up, but I’m definitely a killer for my comfies. Jammies and fluffy socks are a must!
Where do you find style inspiration?
I have always been involved in the fashion world. Since I was 16-years old I have modelled for the ACA model agency, I would definitely say I have picked up alot of my style inspiration and tips from different shows being surrounded by lots of designers and clothes. However
I can absolutely say a massive influence on my wardrobe has been from the many years and admiration to my good friend Alison Clarke. Alison’s looks were all so timeless. Her elegance and sophistication in her clothing was iconic, I can definitely say shes had a massive impact on my style.
Do you read fashion magazines and if so, which ones?
I previously trained in the London school of makeup and beauty, for my international diploma. A major part of my studies was researching through magazines for makeup and beauty inspiration.
I surely can say my interests in reading up about fashion started then. Since then I have really taken a liking to magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and the likes of Grazia and Elle. Grazia has always been one of my favourites especially since I’ve previously had the opportunity to feature in one of their articles.
What is the best style advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
My mum was a real style icon, and I looked up to her so much. She always hated clumpy heels as she was classy and ladylike and would have looked good even in a black bin bag. She used to say always have a black dress in your wardrobe you’ll never know when you need it.
What is your favourite fashion trend at the moment and why?
I recently came across a Zimmermann wrap dress in Selfridges that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. It is possibly one of my favourite summer silhouette trends to come about, I find them so flattering and classy. I’m absolutely in love with this season’s array of bold colours, light pastel pinks and red are my favorite right now.
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe and what is so special about it?
I actually have my mum’s black and white puff sleeve suit from the 1980’s that she wore to my sisters wedding in my wardrobe. It is absolutely divine it was bought in Bloomfield Avenue at Annabelles. It possibly the most timeless piece of clothing that I own, I actually have a hat and handbag to match. I feel like this is so special to me because it belonged to mum who passed away.
And the most recent?
Under the circumstances I actually have not been shopping in quite a while and I’m not great with online ordering. But my daughter, Caitlin who is actually my wee Carrie Bradshaw as she studies fashion branding in university in Glasgow, bought me a gorgeous white and red knit dress out of Zara for Christmas which I can’t seem to take off at the moment along with a beautiful pair of black sock boots out of Topshop which I absolutely love!
Do you keep things in your wardrobe that you haven’t ever worn?
Definitely - I think everyone’s bad for it. I don’t know who’s worse between me and my middle daughter Caitlin. There’s definitely a few items in my wardrobe that still have the labels on them. I actually have a teal dress in my wardrobe that never been worn that I purchased over a year ago.
What was your worst fashion mistake?
I once owned a matching Juicy Couture tracksuit which I bought in my early twenties. Looking back I am horrified at myself - it must be the most tacked out thing I ever spent my money on. I also had a pair of peach neon trousers, another horrifying purchase! It’s funny to see how all these colours and pieces of clothing are popular with the younger generation now I’ve seen so many groovy pieces of clothing that were popular in my generation come about again,
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought, clothing-wise?
The most expensive item of clothing I’ve ever bought would be between my wedding dress and an Alexander McQueen dress that I bought in the early 2000’s. The whole bodice on my wedding dress was embezzled in Awarovski crystals which really bumped up the price to a crazy amount, but can’t complain it was my wedding day and you can’t put a price on a day like that.
What is your favourite item of clothing and why?
My favourite item of clothing would be my sequin two piece dress that I bought from my good friend Aileen Wilson in Blush on the Lisburn Road. The dress is honestly beautiful and comfortable - I can hands down say you can never go wrong with any of the dresses in Aileen’s shop a lot of my wardrobe is actually bought in her shop.
Another treasured piece of mine would be again another two piece dress that Una Rodden in Belfast designed and made for me. I actually got this dress made for a family wedding and the colours and the print is so paradigmatic, however I think my 20 year daughter has managed to rummage in my wardrobe and nick it on me and that’s to say where a lot of my stuff disappears too. .
What are your favourite colours for clothes and why?
I have lots of favourite colours, but red, black and a royal blue is definitely my go to. I feel like I can’t go wrong with red, it’s always been the colour I buy a lot of clothing in.
I get quite a lot of my compliments in this colour too. Black goes with everything, you can’t go wrong, you could dress the colour up and down, regardless of the occasion. I could live in the colour day in day out.
What shoes do you wear most often and do you have a particular favourite pair - if so why are they your favourites?
To be honest, I’m always working and on the go whether that be running after the kids on school runs or working with my business partners at XPro so comfort is key to me. I do love my Converse. They are super comfy and easy to throw on when I’m in a rush but my most favourite pair of shoes which I don’t wear that often but I do keep for special occasions like when I’m heading out are my black Manolos or any of my wedges.
What are your fashion pet hates?
Platform heels - I absolutely hate! They are so unflattering. I have never really warmed to the trend. I don’t have many pet hates overall though, but that could possibly be because I’m so adaptable and open minded to new styles and trends. My style changes so much as does my personality.
Who are your style heroes?
Audrey Hepburn has always been a style hero of mine. Her elegance, personality and sophistication is something i’ve always tried to achieve when piecing my wardrobe together. Also another hero of mine would be Victoria Beckham - her clothing line is fabulous! The shapes and silhouettes of her designs are so flattering yet so graceful.
What fragrance do you wear?
I have used the same perfume for 25 years. Mugler Alien and Chanel Mademoiselle - these have always been the scents that I’ve worn and I’ve never really changed or tried anything new until last year when a friend of mine launched her own line of perfumes “Stories by Eliza Grace”. I have always been a creature of habit but I can honestly say Tonya’s scents are amazing. There’s a real classy element to them that reminds me of the Jo Malone scents. I honestly adore them.
What accessories do you normally use?
I LOVE sunglasses! They are always a great way to create an illusion when you don’t have any makeup on. I don’t really wear costume jewelry that often unless I am going to a function. Currently my essentials are my wedding and engagement ring and my chopard heart necklace. I also never take my diamond earrings out that I’ve had for about 15 years.
Do you think you can be fashionable without spending a lot of money?
Absolutely, you don’t need money to be fashionable! It’s quite funny actually, most of my outfit compliments are on my non label pieces that I’ve picked up from the likes of New Look or Zara. I am a killer for a bargain.
What are your favourite local shops and why?
My favourite local shops would be Zara, River island and Stradivarius which i got hooked on when I lived in Spain. And everybody’s favourite, whether they admit it or not is Primark, it’s great value for money.