Grainne Maher: My top fashion advice is dress to suit yourself - and smile

Grainne Maher
Grainne Maher

Mother of three Belfast milliner Grainne Maher talks fashion and beauty with Kathryn McKenna

Grainne Maher, 43, is the Belfast milliner renowned for turning heads at such high-profile events as Royal Ascot, and received international attention after Dame Mary Peters wore one of her designs to Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE.

Milliner Grainne Maher

Milliner Grainne Maher

One of the best known local fashion designers across the Province, Grainne’s creations are regularly worn amongst local fashionistas to top events and her designs regularly feature at Belfast FASHIONWEEK.

With beautiful fresh skin, a stylish wardrobe and flawless complexion, the petite mother of three gorgeous children reveals why taking off her makeup before bed is ‘‘gospel’’ and why she simply doesn’t have the time to be indecisive when it comes to getting ready.

How would you describe your personal style?

I tend to go for the smart casual look, which means I can wear my flat shoes to work, then have spare heels and maybe bling earrings in my bag to glam up at the drop of a hat! I’m quite short at 5ft 1, which is so difficult when buying clothes, so I’ve got a uniform of black skinny jeans and an entire wardrobe of jackets in every shade of the spectrum.

How often do you tend to go shopping?

I’m an avid online purchaser as I’m so busy in my work life and am also a mum of three, so it’s tricky to hit the actual high street.

I have a high heels addiction, and adore kimonos and jackets to cover up my arms which I dislike. I definitely buy at least one new pair of shoes and a jacket per month!

Where do you tend to buy your clothes?

I love investing in some key designer items, especially bags which used daily are easier to justify the price-per-wear ratio.

Where possible I like to buy previously loved items, I really love giving a new lease of life to items that are no longer of use to someone else.

High Street chains online are always a bit of a draw though, and I think the trick is to combine all of those to create your own unique look.

How long do you spend getting ready?

I’m quite low maintenance and I’m quite happy to throw a look together quickly -I don’t tend to have time to be indecisive!

Glamming up with different accesories and updating my makeup look with a strong lip colour is the best solution for going from day to night.

What does your beauty routine consist of?

Removing makeup is gospel at night. If I ever skip that, I truly regret it! I use a four-step skin regime at the moment with face scrub, toner, vitamin C and retinol in the evening. In the morning I moisturise with added SPF, and apply eye cream.

How often do you buy new beauty products and makeup items?

I’m pretty good at replenishing my makeup bag every couple of months, especially things like mascara which tend to dry up.

I would also tend to purchase a new lip colour to maybe tone in with a new jacket which can really make a statement with minimum cost.

Would you ever leave the house completely makeup-free?

Very, very rarely!

How would you describe your approach to fashion?

I work in fashion essentially, but I’m really not fanatical about it. I’m in my 40’s and I think it’s crucial to stay stylish and classy. I don’t get caught up in trends or fads as much.

One beauty item you can’t live without?

Red lipstick.

Do you have a style icon?

I adore lots of strong stylish females including Victoria Beckham and Paloma Faith. I think Meghan Markle is a breath of fresh air, oozing style and grace.

One piece of advice you swear by?

Dress to suit yourself. Consider how to maximise your body shape, whatever that may be. And smile!