In My StylewithClaire Shields
Glamorous singer Claire Shields, wife of Colin Shields, the former all-time leading scorer for the Belfast Giants, Team GB, and the Elite League, is no stranger to looking stylish.
The 32-year old who lives in Newtownards with her husband and two pugs Norman and Richard, is the Regional Pharmaceutical Sales Manager for Astrazeneca).
Claire is well know in the some of the most popular Belfast bars and restaurants as she performs her live music sets. She also models for ACA Models.
Tell us a little about yourself Claire?
I am originally from the North Coast area although I’ve been living in North Down and Belfast since I attended university.
Whilst at university I worked for ACA Models , together with my brother David Lambe. I still try and squeeze in the odd photoshoot when I have a spare moment . I have been great friends with Alison Clarke for many years and in fact along with GMac (Graeme McDowell), we set up the blind date where Alison and Darren Clarke met almost 11 years ago.
I currently work by day as part of the pharmaceutical industry in Northern Ireland. For the last eight or nine years I’ve been employed by a company called Astrazeneca in various roles. You might recognise the name Astrazeneca from the recent news articles surrounding the trials for the Covid19 vaccine….here’s hoping we can deliver! However, by night and in my free time I also work as a professional singer and I play in a lot of the cool bars and restaurants across Belfast and beyond.
Singing has been my passion for as long as I can remember although I’ve only been a working professional for about two years. I hadn’t been performing really since I was in school but I truly believe it is never too late to do anything you want to do.
Live music is so huge now in Belfast it has given me such an opportunity to do what I really love. I also sing at weddings of course and various corporate events across the country. In January I was selected to headline an event performing in The Ulster Hall which was an incredible moment for me. I’ve also recently been working with a well-known Irish music producer who works with names like The Script, Hozier, Daniel O’Donnell and Brian Kennedy.
My husband is former Belfast Giants and Great Britain ice hockey player Colin Shields. He retired from professional sports two years ago and for the last six years he has owned a gym in Dundonald called Total Performance Fitness. I’m very lucky that my number one hobby has also become a career in recent years but outside of singing I love to travel, socialise with friends and I live for a bit of adventure. I also am in the process of learning to play guitar (never too late!) which has been great for the long lockdown evenings.
Describe your personal style?
I’d say my style is always evolving as I’ve aged although I do like to avoid the trends. I try to follow the French and stick to wearing more timeless looks like a great fitted dress and heels or nice jeans and a fitted blazer. You can’t beat that effortless Parisian style. Also choosing great accessories can give any look an edge with a nice bag or gorgeous shoes. Don’t get me wrong you might run into me in a lululemon gym gear ensemble as well, we all love to be in our comfies when we can!
Where do you find style inspiration?
Social media has given us all so many opportunities to get easily inspired on the daily. We even have so many great fashion influencers here in Northern Ireland. I am also lucky that a few of my close friends are also real fashionistas and we constantly have back and forth text discussions about what clothes would look great on one another. Pinterest is a great place for upcoming style trends. I’ve used it many times when you are trying to piece together that staple wardrobe or that frustrating ‘jeans a nice top’ combo.
Do you read fashion magazines and if so, which ones?
I’m not a big magazine person to be honest but if I was picking up one I’d usually go to Grazia for style and fashion inspiration. I like how they do a mix of expensive and inexpensive items which I think is a great way to build your wardrobe.
What is the best style advice you’ve received and who gave it to you?
I’m sure like every girl I’m going to be very typical here and say my best style advice has always come from my mum. She always said ‘just wear what suits you’ and I still think this is the best advice. It is so easy in this day and age in a world of online comparison to try to wear outfits that look great on one body type but not another. I can remember always being jealous of my tall long legged friends who looked great in shorts and thinking I’ll just do the same even though a skirt looked much better on me. Now I always forget the trends and dress for my body type and style!
What is your favourite fashion trend at the moment and why?
I’m loving the oversized blazer trend, this is perfect for ‘dress it up’ with a pair of heels and statement earrings or ‘dress it down’ with a cool graphic t-shirt and trainers. I also love this time of year for wearing different shades of white and beige together with gold accessories and a tan, this looks fabulous on anyone.
What’s the oldest item in your wardrobe and what is so special about it?
I have a pair of red low rise Diesel trousers I must have bought when I was about 13. This was in the Britney Spears era when everyone wanted their belly out in low waisted trousers. I’ve always kept them as they just brought me so much joy at the time thinking I would be just like Britney! Ha. I had the foresight to know this is something I would laugh at in years to come. I was correct!
And the most recent?
I recently bought an black OYE roman swimsuit (hoping for a holiday), they aren’t cheap but such an investment. You can wear it on holidays to a beach bar just as a top with high waisted trousers or a skirt. They have amazing structure which gives every girl a gorgeous silhouette.
Do you keep things in your wardrobe that you haven’t ever worn?
I try to do the Marie Kondo process with my clothes, it’s definitely worth looking up if you don’t know about it. You hold the item in your hands and if it doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in you then it HAS to go! It definitely works to avoid the habit of clothes hoarding.
What was your worst fashion mistake?
Oh my goodness, I dread to look back. I do remember when I was about 15 or 16 there was a trend of wearing Calvin Klein underwear in such a way that the brand would be showing above your jeans like a man’s boxers would. Awful! Also, who can forget the Avril Lavigne era where we all wanted to dress like skateboarders wearing baggy jeans, big trainers and lots of jelly bracelets.
What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
I’ve definitely spent more money on accessories like bags and shoes, this somehow feels more justified to me. Although I think a good coat is a real investment and I’ve definitely dropped some money on coats before. A couple of years ago I toyed with buying a Canada Goose coat when they were all the rage but eventually decided I much preferred the brand Mackage. It’s a French Canadian brand and they do stunning thermal coats. I bought a beautiful long light grey down coat with a fur hood which I adore and wear constantly over winter and on ski holidays. I’ve now about three or four Mackage coats because I love them so much. Not cheap but worth the money for sure.
What is your favourite item of clothing and why?
Oh this is a hard one, I have so many. I have a stunning Pia Michi sequin full length light blue formal dress. People always commented that it was very like something a mermaid would wear because the colour is so striking. We have a company gala every year and so I’ve gathered quite a collection of lovely formal dresses. I have such a plethora for ‘show’ dresses for performing, one wardrobe almost dedicated to it! This includes a red sequin catsuit with a floor length train cape. This was made for me for an event which was related to ‘The Greatest Showman’ movie. Other than that I have a gorgeous Jaquemus La Robe Bahia white shirt dress which is fab for this time for year.
What are your favourite colours for clothes?
I love white, beiges and camel tones on a blonde during the summer. I just think it’s hard to beat, especially with a tan.
I also hate to say it but I love black as well, if I wear a lot of black I like to mix in accessories and different textures. I love gold jewellery and wearing maybe a leather jacket or belt to add some texture. I think that looks really chic, understated and glam. A nice rattan bag and red lip also can spice this look up for summer.
What shoes do you wear most often and do you have a particular favourite pair?
My favourite shoes are my Lance heels by Jimmy Choo. I also wear the Lancer version as well. I originally saw them on Jennifer Aniston years ago and I had to have them. They are so comfortable as well.
If you feel like investing in a good timeless shoe this is definitely the one to go for. I really don’t rate Christian Louboutin heels, I find them all so uncomfortable and unwearable. They look great but if you can’t wait to get them off what is the point? I’d never buy another pair and I am a girl who lives in a heel!
What are your fashion pet hates?
Looking back on my own mistakes I would definitely start with too much tan and too much makeup. I’m glad that trend has really died a death as it wasn’t a good look for any of us. Aside from that I think just really following the trends to the point where you look like a ‘fashion victim’ so to speak.
I think wearing really obvious designer labels all over you in bold capitals isn’t a great fashion look. Just because it’s expensive doesn’t mean its stylish. I prefer that elegant understated ‘who are you wearing?’ vibe.
Who are your style heroes?
I love Hailey Baldwin’s understated but on trend style, also Olivia Palermo and the Hadid sisters always look cool and chic. Although I think we all get inspiration from people we see everyday though like our friends and family.
What fragrance do you wear?
I’ve been wearing Chanel Chance for years as my everyday in work perfume. In the winter I love layering a couple of scents from Jo Malone like English Pear and Freesia with Pomegranate Noir. As a tip, I always keep a bottle of perfume in the car for on the go when you feel like a quick spritz.
What accessories do you normally use?
I always have a pair of shades on in any season, mainly because I do a lot of driving and travelling with work so they are my must have accessory.
Also investing in a good handbag is worth the money because I’m not the kind of person who shifts to different bags a lot. Usually I’ll go from my main everyday bag into an evening clutch or cross body for dinner or a night out. I always have earrings on, my rings and a gold and diamond pinky ring I got for my 30th birthday. Occasionally I’ll stack a few fine necklaces on.
Do you think you can be fashionable without spending a lot of money?
True style I think doesn’t have anything to do with money. There are so many great shops to buy fab outfits at reasonable prices. Who doesn’t love Zara or H &M? I’ve pieces I bought from Zara that I’m still wearing years later. I’ve always been a true believer in sustainable fashion. I try not to spend money on throwaway items. They say if you don’t wear something 30 times then it wasn’t a sustainable purchase so I try to consider that before I buy anything. I want to make sure I can diversify the item, for work and for play. You only need about 10 items for a great staple wardrobe, these are simple pieces that you can buy inexpensively but you will always look great and put together.
What are your favourite local shops?
Zara of course! I also love Mango and Cos (which is in Dublin). Never Fully Dressed is also a great online brand designed for versatility. These are a few of the brands I live in day to day. When I’m looking more for an investment piece then I will go for a wander into Cruise in Victoria Square.