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
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….