Today’s Stylish Thoughts comes from UK based Evolve Your Style member Amanda Hyatt
What is the secret to great style?
Confidence. The confidence to wear clothes that reflect your personality. The confidence not to follow trends, wear what your peer group is wearing or what the high street fashion is dictating.
What is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?
Cashmere! I buy most of my cashmere from Brora, a Scottish company who do beautifully blended colours and have a sound ethical policy. I do wait for their sales but its still a big investment for me.
I’m a quality over quantity shopper. I’d rather have one lovely thing than several compromise buys. About 50% of my wardrobe is from charity or vintage shops and dress agencies and 30% I buy in sales or at discount. I’m quite a frugal shopper and I only buy things at the beginning of the season if I think they will be so popular they will not reach the sale in my size.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t spend a lot of money on?
‘Special occasion’ wear that I will only wear once or twice. I’ll try to find something pre-loved, or recycle something in my wardrobe, and if needed buy a lovely accessory that I can use again. Also I don’t spend a lot on t-shirts & basic jersey tops.
Who inspires you?
Women who are artistic and creative in their wardrobe styling inspire me. I wouldn’t copy their style but the gift they give is the confidence to be true to my own style. They lead the way and say its okay to stand out and look amazing. Lisa F White and Sue Serle on the EYS style challenge are inspirational to me in this respect.
My other source of inspiration is films. They are such a great way of observing clothes in motion and seeing how different personalities are dressed. The costumes always fit beautifully too so its a real reminder of the adage if you can’t sew, find a tailor! Costumes I love, well there are so many but:
• all of the great female led films from 30s-60s whether its Ginger dancing or Katherine Hepburn making masculine feminine, Lauren Bacall showing us understated sexy dressing or La Dolce Vita’s va va voom.
• Renee Russo’s Michael Kors for Celine wardrobe in The Thomas Crown Affair (sacrilege I know, but I prefer this to the original Steve McQueen & Faye Dunaway version, although Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie & Clyde wardrobe is ultra-desirable of course)
• Jean Seberg in Breathless, Catherine Deneuve in Belle du Jour for that je ne sais quoi French dressing
• Grey Gardens for full on eccentric styling
Do you have a signature piece or style?
Not really, although I do like a stripy tee. My husband thinks my signature is ‘wonky’. I often have my collar skewwhiff or my buttons done up the wrong way. I have been known to leave the house in odd shoes (accidentally, rather than as a style statement). I’m the first to admit I’m not a glamorous, polished dresser.
What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?
Being just a little bit quirky. This might be layering, lots of textures, quirky or coloured shoes, accessories, bold pendants. I love clothes, rather than fashion and I think dressing should be fun, not something to stress about. When I’m outfit planning I always have music on and make it a playful experience.
The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?
Find your own style. You can’t copy style or buy it, but I think you can develop it. Cultivate your inner goddess, listen to what she wants to project and wear this. A great example of this is Stephanie Ruby Feldman on the EYS challenge. She knows and projects her inner goddesses so well in her ‘French Gamine Audrey Chic’ style.
One of the lovely things about the Imogen’s EYS challenge is how we are all helping each other to experiment with new looks, be bolder and have the confidence to present our true selves. I think this is easier amongst strangers (although EYSers feel like friends now) than trying to do it with your friends. Its lovely to see all these stylistas emerging. Pamela Woodruff – I’m especially looking at you here! It’s the best $5 investment I’ve ever made in myself and its so much fun.
What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?
Spend time planning & trying on your outfit in advance so you don’t have a last minute panic and leave the house wearing something you’re not actually enjoying wearing. It has the potential to ruin your day, in my experience! Obviously, once we all have our capsule wardrobes sorted this advice may be obsolete, in which case my second favourite tip is.
Unless you absolutely love something, don’t spend more than three hours salary on it.
What’s your favourite short cut to style?
A great haircut or hairstyle. If you have short hair or a precise haircut (eg a bob) I think a great cut, and regular cutting, is really important. If you have longer hair, with more styling ‘flexibility’, then knowing how to style your hair to show off your outfit and your face. Alison Goodman on the EYS challenge does great long hair. Never be afraid to ask a stranger who their hairdresser is if you admire their cut. I’m attempting to grow my fringe out so my hair is looking quite messy at the moment and I’m very self-conscious about it.
How would you describe your personal style?
Eclectic! It blends a number of different elements and my challenge is to combine and balance these in a harmonious way. As part of EYS we develop our style statement, which I see as an external statement of my inner goddess. I’m still working on mine but at the moment it is:
- English Eclectic
- Lives on the Left Bank
- Dreams of Japan
The English Eclectic is about textures, scarves, bold but simple jewellery, quirky shoes, increasing use of prints and colours. It also allows me to foray into other themes.
So my Left Bank style is more understated, a few carefully chosen low key luxe items. It tends to be what I wear when I’m feeling more insular.
Japanese dreaming is my love of asymmetrical cuts, architectural clothes, layering and the combination of skinny + volume and come to the fore in my summer wardrobe.
Who are your style icons?
Vivienne Westwood, Daphne Guinness – I’m a Brit, we love a bit of eccentric dressing.
Tilda Swinton – I love the striking, sculptural shapes she creates.
The Advanced Style dames, especially Beatrix Ost – I just want to be one when I fully grow up.
SJP and her quirky alter ego Carrie – my most favourite ‘celebrity’ dresser.
Elsa Schiaparelli – if I could own one vintage piece.
I love this, on a day I was very sad and upset, it made me smile. I was honored to be mentioned! I feel I have evolved even further with my style even from when doing my own guest stint here, and Amanda was one who was a big influential part of that!
I echo so many of your sentiments Amanda and it was a joy to see your original style reflecting your personality so beautifully here. Look forward to seeing more as the seasons change.
Amanda, your style captivates me. Your style is so inspirational and I love how you captured them so succinctly with the titles, English Eclectic, Left Bank Living, and Japanese Dreaming. These well defined “portraits” are to be studied over and over. I have usied some of your elements in my style stories and more borrowing will be evident from here on in. Those wide leg trousers in the Japanese Dreaming have my name all over them….l-o-v-e…..so…so…..much!!! Keep the quirky and eclectic elements in your style personality always. Your fun and playful personality take these qualities, mixes them in the most interesting ways and then sets them free in the most singular and unique ensembles that keep you head and shoulder above the rest. Rock on!
Great interview, Amanda! So I’m an emerging stylist? Wow! Thanks to the great advice and comments from all you wonderful EYSers who’ve gone before. 🙂
I have to admit, it really is fun to see the “baby EYSers” coming along behind us as they make their first few tentative steps into style, then they seem to “get it” and start coming up with fantastic outfits! You can tell from their comments on other outfits and the advice they give that they’ve learned to analyse something and figure out why it does or doesn’t work.
Amanda, I love your quirky English style, your sense of humour and your generous spirit. Thank you for the shout out – I am honoured. You are such a delight!
What a fantastic write up on your quirky fun style – love it Amanda.
I really loved seeing your style and reading your style words for yourself! You bring an element of fun that always says you are going out to enjoy life and look good doing it! You are hereby dubbed the “Fun and Flair Faery”!
I have loved seeing your style on EYS and hearing you talk about it is great. You always come across as a life embracing, very stylish woman who I would love to know in person! Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas.
A woman who can pull off a below knee-length dress with lace-up oxfords is a woman after my own heart. She throws the rule books out of the window and with great style.
Love it all (and I am 100% with you on Rene Russo and her looks in the remake…and well, Pierce Brosnan too ;)…)
I’m blushing. Thank you all so much. It was such fun doing this and I’m really touched by all your lovely comments. This style journey is so empowering and I hope Imogen realises what an amazing effect she is having on so many women. My creative self is regaining her confidence and will soon be flying off in her faerie wings!
Absolutely loved your post – just love your personal style descriptors – so unique and original