Mom We Love: Angela Deviatova-Hageali of Mommy Plays Dress Up

If you’re like us, your love affair with stylish women you love has often started on Instagram. Our #girlcrush on Angela Deviatova-Hageali is a prime example. The Dubai-based mother of two caught our eye as we found her active within our beloved community of emerging designers. Along with admiring her sophisticated and eclectic sense of style, we often found her outfit credits representing some of our mutual pals. Suffice it to say, we knew we had to be friends. Lucky for us, we got the chance to sit down with Angela to talk about style, motherhood and those late night Instagram edits that keep our midnight scrolling filled with constant inspiration.

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TELL US ALL ABOUT YOU. My name is Angela Deviatova-Hageali. I live in Dubai with my husband, two boys – Aiden (5) and Leo (4) – and our pets, all of which were rescued locally. We moved to Dubai three years ago from London, our home. I’m originally Russian and my husband is originally Lebanese, so we are quite an international family, which is fun in many ways. The fact that kids get to bounce between Dubai, London, Beirut and Moscow is definitely one of them! My husband and I met through work, we were both in banking at the time. Since moving to Dubai I’ve been a full time mother, an opportunity I’m eternally grateful for. Mommyplaysdressup was born as a creative outlet which was much needed to break up my parenting routine. As mothers, we all have days when the going gets a little tough, I know I do. Children may be unwell or just plain cranky; this is where Mommyplaysdressup comes in – it’s my therapy if you like. Mommyplaysdressup and my beloved pets. If all else fails there is very little a good long dog walk can’t solve. I mean it!

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE? My personal style is a mix of classic and minimalist. This said, I like to play with unusual color combinations and textures to make my outfits stand out. My personal style may look put together or dressed up at times but in reality it’s fast, thrown together and easy. On average, it takes me all of five minutes to get ready.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE DESIGNER? Hmmmm, I have so many! I’m a huge supporter of the so-called slow fashion movement – independent emerging designers with a good story behind them. Caron Callahan, Miranda Bennett, Mr. Larkin, Sunja Link and Rennes are among my firm favorites. As for the long-established brands, Celine, The Row, Lemaire and, more recently, a Slovakian brand Nehera all get my vote.

WHAT’S YOUR DAY-TO-DAY GO-TO OUTFIT? A loose fitting silk or linen dress with Martiniano glove flats and a pinky ring. I feel naked without my pinky rings.

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WHAT’S THE BEST STYLE ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED? I’m not sure if this qualifies as a styling advice but my grandmother told me to keep my eye brows thick and my shoulders and back straight. It’s all about your presence and first impression, she told me. Now, the eye brows are very much a personal preference, but a good posture takes you good places, just like good shoes do!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR KIDS. Oh they are wonderful, even if they drive me borderline insane at times! They are 18 months apart in age so they are very close, it’s lovely. Aiden makes me laugh a lot (apparently I am not allowed to correct his grammar because he is not a ‘GROWL UP’ yet) and Leo gives the best cuddles and has a special way with animals.

HAVE THEY STARTED DEVELOPING THEIR OWN SENSE OF STYLE? I think they have! They definitely like their clothes comfortable and non fussy.

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BEST THING ABOUT BEING A MOM? So many things I don’t think I can pick just one. Hearing my children say “I love you” to me without me having said it first. Seeing the kindness in their hearts everyday. Feeling confident that I am responsible for who they are becoming and their values. Knowing that I am raising them to be the very best they can! I love that I learn from them something new every day. And of course all the cuddles and kisses, how did I ever survive without them before?

HOW DO YOU BALANCE WORK AND FAMILY? Multitasking and prioritizing are key! Most of my Instagram posts are edited while I’m putting the kids to bed, after our nighttime reading is done. It also helps immensely that my husband is extremely supportive of me and my work – we work good as a team! This said, I don’t always get the balance right. Hand on heart I would love to be even more active on Instagram, but while the children are still small, I have to put a limit to how much time I spend online. I want my children to remember me as a mother who showed up.

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HAS BEING A MOM CHANGED YOUR OWN SENSE OF STYLE OR APPROACH TO FASHION? Definitely. Once you have children whether you want to or not you become more aware of dressing for comfort and practicality. Flats over high heels, cross body or shoulder bags over totes kind of thing. I’m very hands-on when it comes to raising my boys and this very much dictates my day to day outfits. Funnily enough when I was younger I assumed my style would become more conservative once I became a mother, but the reality is I’m more likely to take risks now than ever before. I guess it’s because I’m getting more and more comfortable in my skin and I am less worried about what other people will think.

WHAT STYLE ADVICE WILL YOU GIVE THEM AS THEY GROW UP? Don’t be afraid of being different.

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We highly recommend following Angela over at @mommyplaysdressup.