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Meet Stylist Sara Delaney

By Sara Delaney on Mar 31 2014

1. Describe your personal style and what are your 3 favourite things in your wardrobe?

I used to be all about contemporary dressing, but having spent the last 5 years living and working in New York, I seem to have developed this preppy twist. I found it weirdly comforting when J.Crew set up store in London last Autumn… I worry that I’ve turned slightly Stepford!

The 3 fave things in my wardrobe have got to be my J.Crew/Goldsign patchwork denim jeans, which I seem to be obsessed with. I’ve cleverly figured out how to work them for any occasion from a dog walk to a cocktail do, so they are seeing a bit of overkill right now. Secondly, a pair of Sophia Webster shoegasmic heels which winked at me from the shelf in Harvey Nichols the other week, so I had to do the right thing and buy them. Also a 3.1 Phillip Lim cream tux jacket I bought a couple of seasons ago, which has such a flattering cut that I keep making up excuses to wear it.

2. If you could style anyone who would it be and why?

I’d love to style Cressida Bonas, Prince Harry’s girlfriend. She rocks a mean boho look but I’d love to see her segue into a more grown up style. She looks amazing working a casual outfit, but if she’s going to be marrying into ‘The Firm’ she will need to start figuring out a style which suits both her indie and creative vibe as well as conforming to protocol. I’d love to see her in some Erdem or Peter Pilotto or even Mary Katrantzou – she could definitely pull off those edgy Brit-based labels.

3. Have you always had a love for fashion and what did it mean to you growing up?

Like any other little fashion-obsessed girl, I loved to play dress up in my mum’s closet. I remember sneaking a pair of her 1950’s kitten heels out to wear with a pair of punk tartan trousers I’d snagged from Miss Selfridge and heading out to the local school disco – years later I looked for them again but they’d been donated to the local charity store, I wish she’d saved them. Every time I now do a wardrobe purge and ear mark a pile of things for Buy My Wardrobe, I hold back a few things to save for my daughter to tinker with when she gets a yen for this fashion stuff.

4. How did you get into Styling and why did you choose this as a career path?

I trained in marketing but retrained as a stylist when I had kids. I met my business partner and fellow stylist Ellen Lobler at the school gates when our kids started kindergarten together and we just clicked. We were bemoaning the mummsy looks surrounding us, so we made it our mission to shake everyone’s style up and we built from there. Just when things were beginning to boom my husband got relocated to New York, so we re-jigged the format of our business relationship, keeping the company name and brand, but both working solo in our respective countries. Since then Ellen has moved to Hong Kong. Undaunted by our global separation, we’ve harnessed the power of social media and have built up a strong online following making a lot of our work more web-based.

5. What are the highlights of your job?

I’d be crazy not to say I love the allure of fashion weeks – with up to 40 shows to cover in New York I do get a bit jaded towards the back end of each season – fashion flu is often a killer. In terms of personal styling I think the highlights are helping people realize they can put this stuff together themselves by simply following a few basic rules. Also when you find a bunch of pieces in closets and show clients how they can still work, that’s a nice sense of accomplishment.

6. What’s been your biggest challenge to date?

The biggest challenge to date has been relocating to New York for 5 years, keeping the business on brand, and then landing back here in London and trying to rebuild where we left off. With Ellen based in Hong Kong right now and me back in London, we’ve been leaning heavily on our social media to dole out style advice to our clients and followers who come from all over the world.

7. Who is your typical client?

A typical client used to be someone who was ready for a change – it could have been a professional worker, a yummy mummy, or someone hitting a life-changing step. These days because we’ve moved into social media consultancy and freelance writing we have B2B clients, personal style clients and brands and affiliates who we work with.

8. What do you think the benefits are of having a personal stylist?

I think the benefit of having a personal stylist is just that fresh pair of professional eyes overseeing your style decisions We know which trends are hot right now, as well as what’s coming down the line, so it gives you an edited take on what to buy. There’s a fallacy that having a stylist is a needless expense. The number of times we’ve saved people money by pulling together looks from neglected pieces already in their closet is amazing.