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Mother Essentials: Cynthia Rowley

Written by Erin Feher

We all know and love designer Cynthia Rowley—her womenswear collections have been ruling runways since the ’80s, and thanks to a series of smart spin-offs, she has been able to put her stamp on everything from furniture to staplers to wetsuits (we love this burkini wetsuit she designed for Sports Illustrated model Halima Aden). She credits her staying power to following her instincts, and saying yes far more than she says no. Plus, her role as mama—to 19-year-old Kit and 13-year-old Gigi—is one that she has seamlessly woven into her career almost from the start. These days, she is talking a lot about both parenthood and her professional journey on her new podcast, Ageless, which she started with her teen daughter Kit Keenan. Which made it the perfect time for her to open up to us about her own list of must-have Mother Essentials. From the sunnies always in her bag to her go-to grilling recipe, this NYC mama tell us what keeps her moving through her day (and jetting around the world) with effortless style.

Wireless Headphones. “When ‘I Spy’ has run its course and you just can’t agree on a playlist.” Beats Studio Wireless Headphones, $349.99, Target.

Classic Central Park Carnival. “This amusement park is the backdrop for our latest RE20 lookbook and video. I always love an old-school carnival, especially when it’s in the middle of the NYC concrete jungle.” Victorian Gardens Central Park, $8.50 (general admission), Victorian Gardens.

Havana Sunnies. “Never leave the house without a big pair of shades.” Cynthia Rowley x Haze Collection Havana Sunglasses, $145, Cynthia Rowley.

All-Day Kaftan. “I wear it as a coverup at the beach and dress it up with a pair of heels for date night.” Nairobi Marble Butterfly Kaftan, $450, Cynthia Rowley.

Badminton Set. “Family days are always more exciting with a little friendly competition.” Dunlop Play Smash 4 Player Badminton Set, $44.99, Amazon.

Tiny Two-Wheeler. “Riding a bike is like my equivalent of taking the stairs. This one is perfect for the kiddos.” Banwood Classic Pedal Bike, $349, Maisonette.

Compact Carry-On Suitcase. “My #1 travel rule: Never check a bag!” The Carry-On, $225, Away.

Mommy-and-Me Wetsuits. “You can never start ‘em too young.” Cynthia Rowley x Maisonette Girls’ Floral Wetsuit, $265, Cynthia Rowley; Women’s Daybreak Floral Wetsuit, $295, Cynthia Rowley.

Out East Rosé. “What I like to call ‘mommy’s special medicine.'” Out East Rosé, $19.99, 67 Wine & Spirits.

Favorite Veggie Grill Recipe. “We’re always grilling out in the summer. I’m currently obsessed with this grilled summer squash recipe paired with the catch of the day.” Grilled Summer Squash and Red Onion with Feta, Bon Appetít.

World’s Longest Lawn Water Slide. “The water-fun equivalent of a trampoline, it’s basically just a huge piece of plastic that, if you lay it out on a small incline with a sprinkler, you can really pick up some speed. It should definitely come with a disclaimer…” Wahii 75-Foot-Long Backyard Lawn Water Slide, $149.95, Amazon.

Surf-Inspired Mini Dress. “A spinoff of our classic wetsuit in dress form—the ultimate surf-to-soiree look.” Devon Neoprene Patchwork Dress, $275, Cynthia Rowley.

For more on Cynthia Rowley, check out her Instagram feed. And for more Mother Essentials, peep our past columns with children’s author Serena Minott, designer Taylor Jay, clean living expert Kristian Henderson, Oakland retail queen Sherri McMullen, eco-fashion designer Alyssa KerbelShahidah Zareef of Bossmom NationJoanne EncarnacionLaTonya YvetteMorgan Walker of Make.doJeanne Chan of Harlow & Grey, and more!

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