As careers in fashion go, interviewing such luminaries as Manolo Blahnik, John Galliano and Donatella Versace, styling royalty, and working as Fashion and Beauty Editor of Hello Magazine in Dubai rate pretty highly. Now based in Northleach and combining motherhood with a return to her fashion career, Sophie Jones-Cooper is using her wealth of experience to establish herself as a personal stylist, and is passionate about helping others find their signature style. Here she is in her own words.
On a typical day I drop my children at playgroup and school and then dash off to meet a client for a consultation, or race around boutiques sourcing outfits for another client’s new season wardrobe. Then I have to whizz round country lanes back to school for pick up. Once the children are in bed, I keep up with my Instagram and social media accounts, (@my_stylishfriend) then I plan any upcoming workshops and respond to enquiries.
Every client is different, which is great because I love a challenge! I get a lot of women coming to me with a real lack of confidence, wanting to conceal their lumps and bumps and wear clothes which flatter. I try to help build up their confidence and get them to understand their body. Dressing to flatter is all about balance and proportion and often about skimming and draping, not gripping. I advise each of my clients to come up with three words to describe their style which then sets the perimeters for what they are trying to achieve – mine would be eclectic, accessorised and effortless.
My clients range from aged 13 to 70 plus, both women and men. I’ve introduced a 75-year-old client to some wonderful boutiques in the Cotswolds, putting aside clothes for her to try on and save her time and energy, and recently I helped someone who has lost a dramatic amount of weight to completely rebuild her wardrobe from scratch. Some need help curating a work wardrobe, others are simply looking for the perfect dress. I am also launching a bridal styling sideline, helping brides and their tribe; bridesmaids, mother of the bride (and groom, of course).
My styling philosophy includes the following guidelines:
- Know your style and outfit formulas – once you understand your style, body shape and the silhouettes that work for you it’s much more straightforward to adapt your wardrobe for any occasion.
- Basic and essentials – invest in the best quality you can afford for these items because they will become the foundation for a totally fabulous, versatile, wearable and effortless wardrobe.
- Capsule wardrobe – less can be more. Developing a mix-and-match wardrobe and colour palette can actually give you lots of versatility and wearability.
- Accessories – a range of accessories such as belts, jewellery, shoes and scarves will change up an outfit instantly and add seasonal flourish.
- Outerwear – always think about the 'third piece' of an outfit, which is usually a jacket (or perhaps a bag). This will complete your look, add a certain style and give a polished and stylish finish.
- Making impulse buys and buying pieces we don't need or will only wear once troubles me greatly. This may sound at odds with my job, but being more sustainable starts with understanding your style and body, and what works for you. Once you have nailed this you can shop more efficiently, buy less, spend less and all of this will help the impact of the fashion industry on our planet. Being sustainably stylish needn’t be limited to buying from sustainable brands. Although this would be ideal, the fact remains that not all of us can afford to do this. Nor does it prohibit us from buying anything new, it can be as simple as making a few small changes: buy more second-hand and donate/swap/sell unwanted clothes; shop more wisely by investing in quality and buy clothes which can be worn across your wardrobe, from day to night.
- I'm not a big follower of fashion trends. To me, style is about wearing what you love and what makes you feel good, rather than feeling pressure to wear what is ‘in fashion’. Clothes can empower us and – I can’t say this often enough – once you find this ‘signature’ (the shapes, styles, prints and colours you feel wonderful wearing) you have the ability to curate a go-to wearable wardrobe rather than a closet full of ‘fashion’. I advise anyone to see trends as a selection of styles which someone in the know is offering you – like in a sweet shop, just pick the ones you think are delicious and cherish every mouthful.
- For anyone looking for quick updates for their wardrobe I’ve picked out some of this season’s more wearable trends:
Midi-length – midi dresses and skirts have been around for some time now. They’re comfortable and easy to wear but can easily look or feel frumpy. A good tip to make them look current is to add some edge - wear with trainers or brogues or add a leather jacket.
- Oversized blazers – a blazer is a wardrobe staple and this autumn think oversized and mannish. Blazers are a great way get more wear out of summer dresses, and the perfect finish to every day jeans and a tee.
- Statement outerwear – often your coat is all people can see, so why not make an impression? Go for structured and oversized shapes, bold colour or even a print and play with textures – there are going to be a lot of leather coats around and leather in general is big for AW19.
- Black biker boots – 90s grunge is heading our way for autumn, and biker boots are an easy option if you want to update your look. They’re also comfy and durable. They look very ‘rock chic’ with jeans and a tee and are a great way to dress down more formal looks.
- Polo necks – a polo neck is a fab choice when it comes to luxe layering and autumn dressing. Try it under dresses or shirts for a modern look
- Clothes have such power to affect and change how we feel. Seeing the smile on somebody’s face when I put them in clothes they wouldn’t have thought of wearing is easily the best part of my job. I know it's ‘just clothes’, but finding what you love can be so empowering once you know what works for you.
Sophie Jones-Cooper is offering OX Magazine readers a chance to try her personal styling services with 15% off any one-to-one styling session booked before 31st September. Contact Sophie on firstname.lastname@example.org or at mystylishfriend.net and mention OX Magazine when booking.