The mother of 3 (Sienna is 11, twins Colby and Angelica are 4) runs a business, sees her friends (albeit not as often as she’d like), takes her kids to school (and picks them up) every day, reads an occasional book, and travels (with and without kids). She’s the quintessential role model for entrepreneur moms, and we say that without even the slightest eyeroll.
Besides overseeing her eponymous fashion line (that’s been around for 18+ years!), she’s also the Style Director at Elizabeth Arden, where she collaborates on the design of new products and acts as a spokesperson for the brand.
She talked openly with us about her difficulty getting pregnant both times (the 7-year age difference wasn’t “the plan”), dressing for her body, the secret to her amazing skin, and moving past divorce:
“A lot of tough things have happened to me: You can either get beaten down or just learn how valuable, fragile, and special every moment is. I’m not going to waste it!”
Meet the smart, beautiful, down-to-earth, resilient, and kind – Shoshanna Gruss.
When I started out, “heroin chic” was cool – slip dresses and grunge – and it did not work for my body. I launched the line to be inclusive of all body types and give options to those of us that really didn’t have many. It has evolved and grown with me, always reflecting my lifestyle, needs, and wants. It was fun and youthful when it started, and now it includes an evening line and kids’ swimwear (the first boys collection is shipping now!).
We changed the way stores sell swimwear: You used to have to buy tops and bottoms as a set. When we approached Bloomingdale’s about selling two-piece swimwear as separates, they were so hesitant. We convinced them to give it a try, and it worked of course, because most women are not one size on the top and bottom.
My daughter Sienna is 11, and she wants to dress somewhat grown up, but there aren’t a lot of age-appropriate options. That age is tough because some 11-year-olds look 11, while others look 22 – I totally related to that. I have been threatening my office to start another line; I would love to do the tween market!
Sienna and I are super close, and I had a very close relationship with my parents. One of the best gifts they gave me was they never made me feel ashamed or too sexy for my body. They helped me dress elegantly and feel confident. I want to instill that same confidence in her. We have a very open dialogue. I think the key is a constant conversation and remembering that it’s not about me – it’s about helping her feel happy and confident with herself, which will likely be different from what makes me feel happy and confident.
Parenting A Tween
Last night, we had a moment over homework and phone, and I remember being the exact same way – you want what you want. But I was able to diffuse it with a silly joke. It takes a lot on my part to not get frustrated, and it helps to put myself back in her shoes at her age, as empathy in any situation is helpful. I have a million parenting books, but I can’t get into any of them. I ultimately go with my gut. I’m learning it’s okay to say “no” – and to stick to my guns when I know it’s the right thing. It’s hard, and I have pangs of feeling like a “mean mommy”, but she still loves me afterwards.
My parents are both Holocaust survivors, and I have never believed that life was or should be easy. I feel lucky when things are moving in a nice direction, but I I am a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” kind of person. The divorce was hard, but I feel euphoric when I look at the kids every morning. It was a struggle to get them all into the world, and that’s not lost on me. I find joy in the simple things as I’ve gotten older, like an hour to myself reading the paper! I don’t stress about the mess of the kids – I can clean it up later.
I took all 3 kids to Hawaii over the holidays. I was terrified of the super long flight and the time change, but you have to try. There was one point when a flight attendant said to Angelica, ‘I want to kill you, little girl!’ and he was smiling, but I know he meant it – she was driving everyone crazy! But it was all worth it to make memories and go on adventures: We swam in the ocean, caught crabs, and built sandcastles.
We all went sledding recently, and that I did not enjoy. But I do it for them. I had to push myself, but I am happy I did. I relate a lot to my childhood memories and want them to have that when they grow up.
We struggled for 7.5 years to have the twins – so just having them is beyond joyous. But they are like 50 handfuls, and there is no rest in sight! My pediatrician reminds me that even though they were born at same time, they are totally different people. You can’t have the same expectations – boys and girls develop at different rates and are good at different things. Sienna and I have this unbelievable bond and had so much one-on-one time together, but they don’t really get that, so there is a lot of jealousy, which is hard. But there’s something to be said for a 24 hour a day built-in playdate.
Her Anti-Aging Secret
As you get older, I’m a firm believer in less is more when it comes to makeup. It’s all about making your skin look good. I’ve been doing Clear and Brilliant laser treatments for the last 3 years. It’s expensive, and you do it every 6 months, but it’s really changed the surface of my skin, removed fine lines, and made my pores smaller. I’m also better about eating and sleeping now, which helps. I got sucked into a “10 years ago today…” post (thanks Shutterfly!) recently, and I have to say I can see a big difference – I actually look younger now than I did then!
Gee, Her Skin Looks Terrific
I’m a runner – usually at The Reservoir, though I love getting lost on a path. It’s so old school, but it’s so helpful for my mind. I have so much clarity after I run – If I’m having one of those days, I can literally shake it off. Plus, it feels good to move, and I sleep better.