Lizzie Evans is an entrepreneur and owner of original lifestyle store, Smug, in Islington. She designs her own brand of printed homewares ‘Lizzie for Smug’, organises networking events, hosts a podcast ‘How to Curate your Life’ and as if she isn’t busy enough has recently become Mum to baby Constantin. Lizzie’s Mum, Margaret, can often be seen helping out at Smug but is also a Church of England Minister. We shot Mother and Daughter at Lizzie’s beautiful flat in North London.
Photography by Jon Aaron Green.
Lizzie, Tell us a little about your life with your Mum growing up and how she influenced your creativity and style.
Both my mum and dad have a great sense of style as well as wonderfully engaging personalities and interesting lives/stories. My brothers and I, now in our 30s and 40s see them on a daily basis and consider them not just wonderful parents but also our friends.
They were very cool and fashionable in the 60s and have maintained their style since then. I would say that they are far more timelessly stylish now. I'm sure my love of clothes and personal style come from them.
My mum wears a lot of Margaret Howell and Toast. Almost always with an M.Hulot leather cross body bag or satchel. She often has a SMUG tote over her shoulder as well. My parents have never put pressure on me and my brothers to achieve any specific thing academically or otherwise. They have however supported us hugely in nurturing the education, careers and relationships that make us happy. This has led to us all being creative entrepreneurs in one way or another. Following more interesting career paths than the norm.
It is hard work running your own business of course but one of the biggest perks is the flexibility to prioritise time with family.
Lizzie, Although SMUG is a homewares and lifestyle store it is obvious from your instagram outfit posts that you have a love of clothing and a wonderful sense of style. How did you hone your style and what makes up your wardrobe staples?
I love clothes. As with most things I buy, I’m a bit of a collector (read. hoarder). It helps that I’m the same height I was in my early teens, so some of my clothes I’ve had for well over a decade. I’m not out buying clothes all the time. I prefer to add a few choice pieces to my wardrobe each season. YMC is a big favourite for me, as is Toast. I also have a fair amount of staples from Urban Outfitters (my husband used to work there and treat me to t shirts, jeans, summer dresses etc). I occasionally pick up bits from Topshop, & Other Stories and I love a big tent dress from COS.
I wear Navy more than anything else and am often in a Breton t but I most enjoy layering subtle, slightly clashing patterns (often in whites, blues and greys but sometimes with a pop of colour), pulling the whole thing together with one of my many pairs of trainers or leather sandals. An M.Hulot bag over the shoulder always works with whatever I'm wearing.
Margaret, What style tips and characteristics has Lizzie taken from you over the years and is there anything you have taken from her more recently?
- Clothes are supposed to make you look and feel good - as in they should work for you, not you for them! So its a good idea to go shopping for clothes when you are relaxed and have time but not necessarily when you're made up and coiffed to perfection.
- The importance of coats, bags and shoes. Get the best quality you can afford and choose something you will always love - however fashionable or classic it might be.
- If you love something and it suits you buy 2. Saves time shopping and getting dressed.
Lizzie's always tried to increase my interest and improve my taste in underwear. I'm grateful that she's reformed my sizing but I think I'll always be a regulation black pants girl.
I love that you both wear M.Hulot. In your opinion, what is it that makes M.Hulot appeal across generations?
Lizzie: My personal tastes very much lean toward the classic and well made, with a modern twist and/or pop of colour. M.Hulot is exactly that in my opinion. Beautifully designed and made simple pieces with satisfying detailing, in pleasing palettes.
Margaret: Anna's bags are so beautifully made. The colours are wonderful, they are practical - you can fit what you need into the small shoulder bags and carry a tote - I love my big one too, they are feminine without being twee or fussy and utterly timeless. I now buy clothes to go with my handbags. Before M.Hulot it was the other way round!
Margaret, From chatting with you both, it was lovely to hear what a close knit family you are. Can you tell us about your decision to live in such close proximity and your ties to North London?
I was born in Orpington Kent - just a short train ride to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square. At primary school in the 50s when I was about 8 we drew a map of the Thames and I remember really knowing that I loved London. I've never grown out of it.
The extended family gathered weekly for Sunday lunch at my grandparents and everyone chose to live within easy reach by train or car. Treats always involved London - ballet at Christmas, dress fabric twice a year from Liberty's and nearly always feeding the pigeons and popping into The National Gallery.
Islington became the family's London centre when my one of my aunts discovered it on her route to work at Hackney Hospital. To date family members who've lived in North London include 3 aunts, 2 uncles, 2 sisters and a brother-in-law, 3 children and partners, 3 grandchildren, 4 nieces and nephews and partners and their 5 children. 21 still do.
We love eating and talking together. It's not so different from my Grandparents' dining table but without the meringue pie. And most of us follow the Arsenal
Lizzie, Your flat is extremely beautiful and is full of art and colour. Can you tell us how you made this home and what was important to you?
Again, as with my wardrobe, I’ve collected the pieces you see around my home over several years. Some of them from car boot sales, some of them bought from design stores carrying my favourite mid century modern and modern day designers. All of it treasured.
What is important to me is how the collection of furniture and smaller items are curated. As you can see we have a lot of bits and bobs all over the place. Old bottle openers, a horn collection, vintage sports balls, 80s toys and memorabilia, all curated on little trays on the sideboard or curated lovingly on our my sets of shelves.
Colour is important to me too. A pop of yellow hear, some washed out peachy pink there. Almost all of our walls are painted white. We let the objects. books and house plants bring the colour. And of course, comfort is important. We hope the place feels like a well loved home - I’m too messy for it to look like a showroom or museum and that’s just not our style.
We love sharing the space with our fur baby Mabel and her new little human brother Constantin and look forward to seeing how our home and tastes evolve over time as the kids get bigger and we continue collecting objects and furniture that make us smile.
Tell your Friends Discount | 25% off Full Price M.Hulot.
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