Today’s Stylish Thoughts comes from Newcastle (Australia) based Evolve Your Style member and purveyor Vintage and Pre-loved clothing via her online store Over the Hill and Far Away, the lovely Sue Serle.
What is the secret to great style?
Confidence! Knowing that every day is a new opportunity and confidence is the key. Style to me is intuitive and entertaining. I only wear the styles I love and I try to push myself to put outfits together in unique ways, embracing my changing self and making the most of what I have. I like to think about a styling around a creative concept or narrative for the look I want according to my mood. I put my own spin on it. If you don’t get it right, don’t worry, hold your head up high and smile. I enjoy decorative details. So I might add coloured leggings, a faux flower, a brooch on my cuffs, or a bird clip in my hair to reflect the story of who I am today. Of course people are going to look at you….that’s the point!
What is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?
I spend money on high end designer pieces that have a reputation for cutting edge style, quality and originality; a label which has an individual creator behind the look, because the strength of the designer’s original signature and quality is evident. I buy unique pieces. This asymmetrical, architectural, sculptural silk and cotton dress is by Robert Owens and the eyelash photographic print scarf by Lost and Found are timeless pieces. I would also pay more for high quality unique artist-handmade jewellery, especially silverwork and one-off vintage pieces, such as original hats.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t spend a lot of money on?
Swimwear, lots of great styles at all price points are available in Australia, so you can always find seasonal lower cost bathing suits. There are plenty of accessories from wraps, flip flops, funky sunglasses, head bands, beach towels and bags around to create a wow factor at low cost.
What are your top tips for looking stylish when travelling?
Take a good well cut jacket, outfits with limited colours and separates for layering. If you want to be practical and stylish take some permanently pleated pieces such as Pleats Please by Issey Miyake which weigh next to nothing and roll into a tube. Unstructured garments look worse when you travel, so outfits need to have some ‘body’ or shape. I often include a fully lined dress. Be smart with coordinating colour. The Japanese produce some very fine knits for travel that are versatile enough to be worn in different ways, such as the ‘Muji to Go’ range which combine wrap, cardigan, scarf in one.
What’s the secret to looking polished?
Go to a professional hairdresser every six weeks for a cut and colour and aim for a relaxed rather than rigid style. Wear great undergarments such as matching fitted bra sets, shapewear if needed. Finish off your look with bold accessories, jewellery and make up. Dress like you are going to run into your worst enemy!
How do you balance new trends with a more timeless look?
I wear bolder patterns or prints that have a retro inspired look, such a winter floral with dark background or soft blended colours that have a connection to vintage classic styles. I wear both new and vintage hats with floral dresses and coats. Keep hair modern when wearing retro looks.
What is your current obsession?
Artist made jewellery! And finding comfortable, stylish shoes is a permanent but impossible ongoing quest.
Who inspires you?
What inspires me are books and films, the world of visual and verbal imagination, poetry, art, music and nature. I am an interior designer, so I make mood boards and collages of the things I am inspired by. Initially, I am often inspired by a textile or fabric.
Do you have a signature piece or style?
My glasses tend to be cutting edge designer statement frames and are so highly visible they are a signature feature of my style. I also often wear fluffy collars and large wraps and scarves around my neck. Hats are also regularly featured and a sense of humour.
What’s your secret to making yourself stand out?
Colour, texture and pattern are my not-so-secret weapons. Velvet, mixed with mesh, leather or silk fabrics combined with rich colours. I like to define my waist whenever possible and wear ankle boots.
The one piece of advice most women need but don’t get?
You don’t need to dress plainly, conventionally and conservatively as you get older. Unisex all the time is unattractive and boring. Update your wardrobe every season with key pieces. Too much flesh everywhere showing isn’t sexy. Confidence is your key to being stylish.
What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?
“Never shop without a plan” from a shopping centre stylist. My own advice to myself: Dress to suit your mood; Variety is the spice of life; Men love women in dresses.
What is your favourite current trend?
I like vintage inspired floral with a Bo-Ho twist and Diva inspired animal print glamour.
What’s your favourite short cut to style?
Wear a dress, coloured leggings and a semi high shoe. Or a dress that has shape and drape, then throw on a colourful long scarf or wrap or a fluffy collar.
What’s the worst current trend?
I am not crazy about strong graphic trends, retro checks, primary colours, black and white and 1980s inspired looks. They look great on some, but they are not my style.
What are your favourite websites?
Imogen Lamport’s Inside Out Style Blog, of course!…..
The Design Files
Not Dressed As Lamb
How would you describe your personal style?
My style is Softly Dramatic with decorative, detailed and designer influences. The way I mix pieces can be eclectic and layered. I like creative concepts, soft dramatic styles with flowing lines, decoration, theatrical romantic looks, vintage feminine, womanly waistlines and a splash of asymmetrical architectural minimalism with added details. I style outfits around fabrics that have shape and drape.
Who are your style icons?
Edith Head, Rick Owens, Jean Paul Gaultier, Brigitte Bardot
Where are you based?
I live in Newcastle but my true home is in Melbourne Australia
Name of your Blog and URL
Name of your business (if appropriate) and URL
Over the hill and far away Vintage
Thank you, Imogen! It’s been so exciting to be involved with Evolve Your Style. These images are the some of the ones from your 31 Day Style Challenges. I cannot tell you how much fun this process has been and what fantastic friends and contacts I have made here. The next step for me is to partake of your wonderful style training. I have been so inspired by your work and the evolving styles of those in your program. Thank you again for featuring my efforts here. Sue xx
I’ve been ignoring colours and patterns, now breaking out. Sue’s style is an inspiration, and adds fun and joy as well as beauty. Love the way Sue combines items. As with Lisa White’s post, I am struck by the power produced by self knowledge, dressing to ones own style – an authentic and a consistent one.
I am much of an age as these two, and one does not often see such interesting playful great dressing – it has made my day.
Thank you Imogen.
WOW! Love this interview with Sue Serle…one of my style icons. Now, everyone has the opportunity to see why. Artistic, creative, original, stand-out style diva, master-class style..those are the words that come to mind when I try and absorb all the fantastic details of every outfit. I don’t remember the bottom two photos, but I love every look Sue has posted and these are no exceptions. Fantastic!!!! Confidence is the key and it is just bubbling over in every one of Sue’s pictures. I am going to follow up on the laser sharp and generous advice she throws off so casually in this interview. I will also be checking out Pleats Please by Issey Miyake and Muji to Go. Impressive job, Sue. Thank you Imogen, too!
The black draped jacket and ensemble is my favourite. Very “creative director” – looks amazing. Polished, classy, and eclectic. Hair is fantastic, the whole thing, just sharp as hell.
Why it’s the lovely Sue Serle! I miss you! Lovely as always, greetings from Hainan. You are such an inspiration :).
Inspirational! Totally original styling. I love the way Sue curates her outfits. They are always full on fabulous but what actually shines through is Sue’s personality and that, for me, is what style is about. The individual pieces are beautiful, the overall effect striking, but I’m still seeing Sue not a mannequin.
Sue, you really are a great fashion icon and a wonderful role model here in Australia. You are so creative with your fashion ideas and have bucked the mainstream trends for your own look. Your glasses definitely give that signature edgy style. I loved watching you ‘evolve’ over the challenge, you have a great sense of humour and your confidence in inspiring. It was a great feature article and you should be proud. Thank you Imogen for posting about this very interesting fashionista. Looking forward to checking out Over the hill and far away (love the name!).