A conversation with Clarice Chian, fashion stylist & blogger

24 May 2018 - interviews

Cover photo by Nathalie Malric, courtesy of Clarice Chian

Lifestyle photographer. Fashion writer and editor. Stylist. Content creator. Ex-lawyer. Ex-medical researcher. Mom. Clarice Chian, also known as brigadeirochoc on her popular social media platforms, is no stranger to an eclectic life.

Born in London, her family moved to Brazil before she turned one. While growing up there, Clarice watched TV shows such as CNN’s Style with Elsa Klensch, and it was then that her love for fashion and style blossomed. While she went on to become a lawyer and later a medical researcher, she found her way back to her first love when she decided to study fashion styling. Now, Clarice is an Australian-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor for Peut-être magazine, a fashion and food stylist, and a lifestyle photographer.

Her eclectic background translates into a beautifully curated Instagram account and blog that feature fashion, food and travel. But that’s not all she shares online. Interspersed with those images are intimate glimpses into Clarice’s journey of motherhood. This year, Clarice welcomed her third child, her daughter Isabella. Describing motherhood as having “1001 tabs opened in [your] head”, Clarice is frank about the challenges of balancing motherhood and work. “It can get tricky, such as when I have a full day styling on location or when I need to travel, so I have been selective about taking such jobs,” she says. “[But] sometimes [spending quality time with my children is about] the simplest things in life, like taking [them] grocery shopping, or taking them to the beach, playing with sand or jumping at the edge of the water when the waves hit our feet.”

We chat with Clarice about her favourite style items, her unique career path, and her advice for new moms.

The Mindful Company (TMC): What did you want to be when you were a child?

Clarice Chian (CC): Growing up I wanted to be many things (depending when you asked me), but what I remember most wanting to be was an astronomer. My dad is an astrophysicist, and I have always been fascinated with planets, the solar system and especially black holes!

TMC: What’s your morning routine like?

CC: Ah, routine... Not quite a word I get to use with a newborn. But before my baby, I would wake up, get the kids dressed and ready for school, make them their morning oats and send them to school, before returning home, straightening the place a little, and then get as much work done as I can before I have to pick them up.

TMC: What’s your favourite thing to do to unwind after a busy day?

CC: After the children are in bed and the kitchen is tidied up, I love throwing myself on the sofa and chilling with some Netflix or scrolling through my Instagram feed.

TMC: How has motherhood changed you?

CC: For one thing, I have much less sleep! Just kidding, I find that as a mother I have 1001 'tabs' open in my head at any given time so I have had to learn to multitask.

TMC: What is your favourite way to spend quality time with your children?

CC: Sometimes it's the simple things in life, like taking my children grocery shopping (I like getting them interested in the food I buy, and let them help choose a few dishes that I will cook that week). Other times, I love taking them to the beach, playing with sand or jumping at the edge of the water when the waves hit our feet.

TMC: What are your thoughts on balancing work with family life? How do you go about it?

CC: I am lucky that I’ve had a flexible work life since having kids. Working freelance has allowed me to balance my workload [with family life]. It allows me to do school drop-offs and pick-ups, slow down my workload when school holidays are on, and so forth... Sometimes it can get tricky, such as when I have a full day styling on location, or when I need to travel, so I have been selective about taking up such jobs. Thankfully I can call on my parents to help out on such occasions now and then.

TMC: What’s a piece of advice you’d give new moms?

CC: To cherish each moment with your little ones, even the difficult ones, as they truly do grow up so quickly. I may be waking up bleary-eyed every few hours at night to breastfeed my little one (who will be 12 weeks old tomorrow), but I know all too well now that these days will fly by so quickly (as they did with my other two), and I will look back on these (seemingly) weary days fondly very soon.

Clarice wears Maman Handwritten Ring and Two Flowers Bracelet in rose gold vermeil. Photo credit: Clarice Chian.

TMC: How do you practise self-care?

CC: To be honest, self-care is something I need to work on. Like many other mothers, I get so busy looking after others, that I forget to look after myself most of the time.

TMC: What’s the biggest lesson motherhood has taught you?

CC: I have learned that I am constantly learning...

TMC: When did you first learn about fashion/style and what called you to it?

CC: As a little girl I loved raiding my mom's wardrobe and playing dress-up, like trying to walk in a pair of her high heels. Growing up in Brazil, I got to watch CNN's Style with Elsa Klensch with my mom whenever we went to our beach house (where there was satellite TV), and my interest in fashion grew from thereon.

TMC: Who or what inspires you when it comes to fashion/style?

CC: I am inspired by everything around me. To quote Coco Chanel: "Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.”

TMC: How did your journey at Peut-Être begin?

CC: I had known the founder of Peut-être Magazine, Nathalie Malric, for a few years before she started the magazine. We bonded over the beautiful photographs she posted on her photography-based blog. Back then, I used to write lengthy posts about fashion and style on my blog, and when Nathalie decided to start Peut-être, she invited me to write for it as she liked my writing style. I loved her photography and aesthetic (still do, of course), and the rest is history.

TMC: What are 3 things you most enjoy about being a magazine editor?

CC: I love the variety of subjects we get to cover at Peut-être, from interviewing Pierre Hermé to writing about 3D printed haute couture. We are not trend-driven, but celebrate the savoir-faire behind [the creation of brands and things].

TMC: What are 3 things everyone needs in their wardrobe?

CC: A trench coat, a striped (mariniere) t-shirt and a flattering pair of jeans.

Find Clarice here and here.

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