Ep. 14 “Unabashed, Unstoppable” with Abby Shumka

On this episode of Let’s Talk Clothes I sit down with friend to all dogs, Tyra super-fan, and fashion lover Abby Shumka. This episode Abby and I discuss her on-going love of clothing and fashion, personal fashion rules, and the intersection of parenthood and fashion.

Abby has had a long-standing love of clothing; since she was young she has loved everything about clothing and fashion. Upon reflection, this seems to be in contrast to her own mother’s disinterest in fashion. Abby’s mother’s relationship with clothing is in the school of “if it fits and you look okay, you’re good”. Abby has taken a much different approach to clothing, and while she values comfort, she also likes to take the time to look put-together, and that she cares about her appearance. She recalls growing up in Switzerland in the late ’90s, and hoarding copies of Seventeen Magazine to feed her need for fashion and style. This love of fashion has continued into adulthood for Abby, to the point that she started a podcast with two friends from fashion school. (If you haven’t listened yet, go now!)

In recent years Abby has started to challenge and let go of her personal fashion rules. She realized that a lot of these rules are being dictated from external forces (typically the media), and centre on making yourself visually appealing to men. A big fashion rule that she’s let go of is the idea of “flattering silhouettes”, and instead focuses on what’s comfortable, and makes her feel good. This philosophy extends to others as well; Abby’s adopted the mantra of “not for me, but great for you”. (This is something that I myself have been working on in recent years). There are some exceptions, though, the big one being not putting navy and black together. For Abby they’re too similar, but not the same.

As the mother of two girls, Abby is getting to play with and explore fashion in a whole new way. Her two daughters — who are 4 and 2 — are slowly gaining more of an interest in fashion, and expressing themselves through clothing. The oldest is very focused on the feeling of clothing, and has a roster of t-shirt dresses and leggings to choose from. She has also started getting dressed solo lately, adding to her sartorial autonomy. The youngest daughter is very particular about her clothing, and likes to get dressed first thing in the morning. This particular fashion sense can result in a lot of negotiations when getting dressed, but ultimately it’s her decision what she wears each day. Other ways that parenthood has informed Abby’s clothing choices: comfort and ease of care are now paramount (good-bye synthetics!), and she has started moving away from trendy pieces to ensure longevity of wear and versatility.

Other things discussed in this episode: Barbapapa, Hannah Gadsby’s 2018 Netflix Special Nanette, the children’s clothing line Mini Rodini (specifically a great seahorse print), and Warren Steven Scott’s latest earring collection.

If you want to see what Abby’s up to you can check out her Instagram account @abbyshumka. To see what outfits she’s put together, go check out @whatiworereport. As mentioned earlier, she is also the co-host of a great fashion podcast Fashion Hags. You can follow the podcast on instagram @talksclothespodcast, or get in touch by emailing talkclothes@gmail.com. Please spread the word by sharing, rating and subscribing on Apple Podcasts. Thank you for tuning in, and I’ll see y’all next month!

– Gabby

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