This week STYLE MATTERS is from Elena a Personal Stylist who’s 41 and lives in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. I met Elena at a summer Instagram meet up in Marlow and she’s just as lovely in person as she is across all of her squares!
I personally take daily inspiration from Elena, she makes me keen to wear colour! We both hope you enjoy the interview.
Love, Lizzi x
How do you describe your personal style?
I would describe my style as urban, bold and edgy. Lots of colours and not too feminine. I spent half of my life in Italy and the other half in the UK (mainly London); surely this has influenced my taste and it helped me to develop my own sense of style.
Why does style matter to you?
Style is my way to express myself; to show my personality and to feel confident. Style is my mood booster, it’s my business card.
Have you always been interested in style?
Always. I grew up in Italy where my mum had a little boutique so my youth was all about trying on clothes and finding what I liked. To my mum’s disappointment I was a real tomboy and never wanted to wear a skirt or a dress until the age of 14.
What would be your signature style look?
It’s hard to say as I love to experiment and try different things. I like to keep my style interesting and when I can, unique. I like to feel comfortable and that’s probably why I’m a big fan of maxi dresses and maxi skirts with a leather biker jacket on top and some flat buckle boots or sneakers. That would definitely be my ‘go to’ outfit.
What’s your view on fashion vs. style?
Fashion is what is in this season and gone next season. People follow fashion to try and belong somewhere. Style is what an individual wants to wear because it suits you, it suits your personality, it tells people about you.
When you find your own style, you don’t feel like you have to belong anywhere, you are faithful to yourself. It’s good to throw in some fashion items to complement your style but when you let fashion take over and forget what you are about, then that can go seriously wrong. A 30/70 ratio between the two would most likely work wonders!
What is your body shape?
I am an hourglass figure and I am borderline petite which means I can shop the kids range and the petite range too. I’m a size 6 to 8 but I do wear a D cup bra so it’s not that easy for me to find clothes. When I purchase bikinis for example, top and bottom have to be two different sizes.
I also train a lot and I have quite muscly thighs which makes it difficult to find size 6 jeans/trousers which fit me around the waist and don’t pull on my thighs. Last but not least, my legs aren’t exactly the longest, which means that most trousers are too long on me and not many brands offer different lengths or a petite range.
Have you worked this out for yourself or did you get professional advice/training?
I am “the professional” so I did work this out myself, if that makes sense.
To be honest I knew long before I qualified as a Personal Stylist that some garments look better on me than others! You just have to look at your body shape and find your best asset. Once you’ve identified what that is, emphasise it!
What I like the most about my job is when my clients look at themselves in the mirror and realise what a huge difference wearing the right clothes for their shape makes.
What is the best thing about being hourglass?
As a stylist I would say that hourglass figures are the easiest to dress as they are not too limited in the choice of garments, they can easily look good with most fabrics and cuts (although other things like the height or the size of the features have to be taken into consideration when choosing fabrics and cut).
None of us are perfect and none of us can change their body shape as that is mainly down to our bone structure but we can all learn how to dress in a way which enhances our best features and hides what we don’t particularly like.
What’s not so easy about your hourglass figure?
In my case, having such a tiny waist and a fuller bum and thighs; it means that I often have problems with trousers and jeans, they may fit my waist but they’ll be too tight on my thighs or flatten my bum.
I also find shirts can be a problem as they often pull on my chest.
What three styling tips do you have for hourglass?
- Tailored garments are always the best as they are created on your figure but they can be very pricy so the best second option is stretchy fabrics. They follow your curves beautifully and fit any budget. Just chose the right size as you don’t want them too tight.
- Belts tend to work wonders for the hourglass figure as the waist is one of our best assets. Invest in a few different belts, try different colours but whatever you do, make sure you have a sash belt in your wardrobe. Sash belts are used to create a waistline effect and on hourglass figures it almost recreates the corset effect.
- Try elbow length sleeves, they look amazing on hourglass figures! This is a visual effect that draws attention to your waist. Never thought of it? Try and stand in front of a mirror relaxing your arms beside your hips. Wear a long sleeve top first and an elbow length sleeve top after. Which one do you think draws more attention to your waistline? Simple tricks go a long way.
What must you avoid (regardless of if it’s in fashion) for your hourglass shape?
Well, shift or empire style dresses won’t do you any favours as they totally hide your best asset. Other than that, I would suggest you stay away from horizontal lines across the widest part of your body or legs, they tend to widen and shorten.
What are your three favourite stores to shop?
Zara, TK Maxx and H&M are my favourites at the moment, but I’m also loving this A/W M&S collection and independent shops.
What do you own that you will never ever give away?
It’s got to be my AllSaints exotic bird scarf. It must be 10 years old but every year without fail, I wrap it around my neck and fall in love with it again.
One useful advice to those who want to start finding their own style?
Start experimenting! Introduce colours in your wardrobe and a brighter lipstick in your makeup bag. You’ll be amazed to see what difference it makes to your mood and to the perception that other people have of you. But please don’t get too carried away!
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