It’s all well and good sourcing style inspiration from Instagram, but sometimes you’re better off heading straight to the experts. Alex Longmore cut her teeth as Style Editor at the Daily Mail before forging her freelance career as a stylist for celebrities and magazines, including Harpers and InStyle – so it’s safe to say, she has a few fashion tricks up her sleeves. We sat down with Alex to find out her summer dressing rules…
What’s your favourite trend this summer?
I love frills and the Gypsy vibe that’s so popular. And big long earrings are sure to stick around – the Bon Bons by Rebecca de Ravenel are my pick.
What’s the best high-end piece you’ve invested in this season?
A Leon Max chiffon cocktail dress with a bold floral print. It reminds me of Grace Kelly, long and floaty; its one of those pieces I’ll keep in my wardrobe forever.
What have you worn to death so far?
I live in Stella McCartney silk shirts, they’re my uniform for work. Off-duty, you’ll find me in a J.Crew stripped T-shirt and my Nike leopard print trainers.
In your opinion, who has great style?
Fearne Cotton and Gwyneth Paltrow have faultless style. Gwyneth because she looks effortless, polished and chic. Fearne because she has that rock and roll look and isn’t scared to experiment. Women shouldn’t be intimidated by fashion but embrace it and feel confident in whatever they choose to wear, these two do just that.
What are the last three things you bought?
Some cool leopard print pants from & Other Stories, a recent love of mine, Tabitha Simmons gold flats, which were a total steal, and a Wyse grey cashmere jumper with rainbow stripes.
What do you buy on repeat every summer?
T-shirts constantly – they never keep their colour or style so I suggest you buy cheaply from local markets or go for my favourites, J.Crew’s stripy tees. I also stock up on kaftans from Benirras beach in Ibiza and Melissa Odabash bikinis – for me, investing in swimwear is a must.
Any cool new brand discoveries?
Ulla Johnson – my wish list is virtually her entire shop. Rock The Jumpsuit is also one to watch, alongside Fariba Soltani, On The Rise and Rixo (a go-to for floaty, feminine florals).
What are the holiday accessories you’re loving this year?
My World of Ibiza clutch bag, it was a present and I use it every time I go to the beach. And my cross-body Gucci bag in red because it goes with everything. For sunglasses, Le Specs is my favourite brand at the moment – plus, they’re affordable.
Your failsafe tip for looking chic on the beach?
Get a spray tan before you go on holiday, wear some diamond hoops from Maria Tash and go miss-matched with your bikini top and bottoms à la Kate Moss. Finish with a bold kaftan and you’re good to go.
Any holiday beauty essentials?
I never leave home without Institut Esthederm sun cream, it protects your skin, helps you tan and moisturises all at once. Goop’s new Exfoliating Instant Facial Masque is as an organic, natural mini peel, so it’s ideal for making skin glow and Charlotte Tilbury’s Overnight Bronze and Glow Mask is perfect for a base tan.
Where do you turn for chic cover-ups?
The Cross in Holland Park has seriously beautiful cover-ups – the embroidery is incredible – but I also love throwing an oversized GAP white cotton shirt over a bikini for an effortless look. La Galeria Elefante has some chic designs, I always visit when I’m in Ibiza, and the brand is now stocked in Urban Outfitters so you can get your fix a little closer to home.
Which one summer shoe should you invest in?
A really great wedge for comfort, height and day-to-night style. A Chloé pair is the dream.
Let’s talk about summer in the city – what do you wear to look pulled together in the heat?
Baggy trousers or cut-off frayed jeans with a T-shirt. A designer handbag will always pull a look together – cross-body is best for no-faff in the heat. And comfortable flats are a must.
What about nailing wedding guest style?
Dress to impress but feel comfortable at the same time – go for block colours, avoid silks (which can crumple) and opt for structured fabrics or chiffons instead. Fascinators make a chic alternative to hats – Jane Taylor’s designs are particular favourites – whilst clutch bags in bright, fun colours and some killer heels bring a wedding outfit together. Also, SPANX will give a flattering line for clothes to hang.
Finally, let’s talk careers – how did you get into styling?
When flicking through my grandmother’s copies of Vogue at the age of eight I knew I wanted to be a stylist. On leaving university, I got a break doing unpaid work experience in various magazines before landing a job at the Daily Mail. I became the Style Editor and then after nine years I left to go freelance and the rest is history!
What’s the best thing about your job?
No day is ever the same. I get to be creative but the best bit is the research, I love predicting trends. People always think it’s glamorous being a stylist but 99% of it is being super organised. And it’s all worth it because I love making people feel better about themselves.
What one tip would you give those trying to build a styling career?
Be polite to everyone you meet as you never know when you might meet them again on your way to the top; a good work ethic is key, remember it’s not all Louis Vuitton and Chanel, there's a huge amount of hard graft, long days and nights along the way; have a positive attitude and believe dreams do come true. Hard work pays off.
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