Here at Wardrobe ICONS, we celebrate all things classic, whether it’s the perfect white T-shirt, the super-flattering pair of jeans or the navy coat that you’ll wear forever – so today, as our EXPERT of the month, what fashion advice would you share with your 17-year-old self?
[Laughs] I’m not sure you really want to know the answer to that. Actually, I think the most important lesson is to always be yourself. For me, that is an aesthetic that embraces a decadent Hollywood era as well as a Victorian dandy. And I’ve always dressed like that, regardless of what is in or out of fashion. You’re not going to see me wearing a tracksuit (ever!) and I don’t wear T-shirts apart from when I’m doing yoga.
As a fashion designer, do you have a style maxim?
I suppose my style maxim would be not to overdo it; try to look effortless and relaxed. When we see people looking for bridalwear, we remind them not to create a monster. And that really starts with understanding what works on you, about getting women to really think about their body shape. Always. For me, the details are in the clothes, jewellery and your lipstick: everything else should be invisible.
We love staples – those everyday, go-to items that you never tire of. What are your top five wardrobe must-haves?
The things that I own in multiples are waistcoats, white shirts, flying scarves, fat-lace-up brogues and over-the-knee leather boots, which are all items that we sell. It’s an aesthetic that looks to a waisted, Victoriana silhouette that I love. It’s also a bit Out of Africa, but Somerset, too, where I grew up. Very practical – it’s the country girl in me – but also a bit decadent.
We have a section on the website called The Transformers – what are your top three wardrobe game-changers?
A long tux evening coat (this looks fab with everything!), a good heel, either by Tabitha Simmons or Charlotte Olympia, and statement jewellery by my sister, Mary Temperley, who makes rings and earrings with the wow factor.