Style Rules From A Mother & Daughter In The Know

Fashion-brand owner Caroline Smiley and her influencer daughter Sarah Corbett-Winder are both in the business of style. Ahead of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we asked them about the role this has played in their lives and relationship. From the shared sense of joy that comes with bonding over clothes to finding inspiration through fashion, here’s what they had to say…

On Discovering Fashion

Sarah: From a very young age, I have remembered people by their outfits; I would forget their names but remember what they were wearing. When I was a teenager, I’d spend my evenings trying on clothes and looking in the mirror at what would go with what. I am forever thinking about clothes and planning outfits in my head. I would also just look at pictures of outfits in magazines and often not read the copy. It's always been about the outfit.

Caroline: I have always loved clothes and fashion, so much so that I used to make my own clothes before I got married when I was just 17. Back in 1974, I used to tie-dye my clothes – I took one of my mother’s sheets and made tie-dye fabric in blue and white, and then made a pair of hot pants and a jacket to match, and thought I was the bee’s knees. I am a true believer that the right fashion makes you happy and we all deserve to feel happy.

On Their Careers

C: I started fashion-brand Moloh a few decades ago because I was really missing some good jackets in my wardrobe and the brand grew from there. The brand is simply what I want to wear. Everything is designed by me and my team in Tetbury, and one hundred per cent manufactured in Great Britain. When we design each collection, we think of a wardrobe and how the past collections can fit in. A lot of thought goes into where our customers will be wearing the clothes and how they will be feeling in them. I want to put the joy into getting dressed. The brand is classic, yet playful, and it will never go out of fashion. I'm a really strong believer in not saving things for best.

My MOTHER HAS TAUGHT ME to have FUN getting DRESSED and to have FUN when SHOPPING.

S: I am a stylist. Shortly after realising that I had an obsession with clothes, I knew that I had to make it my career. I also work as a personal shopper, which I love, there is so much psychology behind getting dressed, and I love giving women the confidence that they deserve. I also have a website where I curate the shopping world – with the amount of shopping I do, I thought it would be mad not to share it. I always remember my mother working and being busy, and I have definitely learnt that from her. She taught me that anything is possible, and I look forward to passing this onto my daughters, Nancy and Celeste.

On Personal Style

C: My style is generally classic, with a playful twist, but always practical. It’s definitely evolved with age. I have learnt to buy less and buy better, and keep true to what suits me in terms of style and colour. I was lucky enough to see a colour consultant 20 years ago and that has saved me a lot of time and money. And if in doubt, I size up – a slightly more forgiving fit is great as you get older as it looks much more chic and expensive.

S: I always have my cuffs pulled through and turned up and my sleeves pushed up, which I’ve definitely learnt from my mother. I am drawn to the more classic pieces, and I follow trends but I definitely cherry-pick them. I have learnt not to follow fashion but to make it suit me and always keep true to my style.

I have LEARNT an awful lot from Sarah. She has imbued in me NOT TO BE FRUMPY but to be COOL, which you can do when you get older.

C: I am all about good quality separates because they can be worn in so many different ways; and they work harder in your wardrobe. But I also love dresses as they are so easy. I love gold jewellery and am often seen with a wide tan Moloh belt and a jumper on my shoulders to add a pop of colour. I always feel complete with a good handbag. The things I value the most in clothes are colour and quality, that equals longevity. Clothes need to fit in with my lifestyle - as much as I would love to be wearing a ball gown on a Monday. I rely heavily on jackets that are beautifully cut, in amazing cloth, well-tailored and with great details – not just any jacket but a Moloh jacket. And a striped t-shirt. Aside from my own brand, I also look to the likes of Tory Burch for dresses and Ralph Lauren for everything – I would love it all!

On Each Other

S: My mother has taught me to have fun getting dressed and to have fun when shopping. Clothes are a great way to express oneself and should be a real joy. But as we have both got older, the emphasis is on buying less and investing in great forever pieces. She has also taught me not to be scared of colour, and also that it's okay to wear the same thing twice. She wears lots of tan and denim and always has the perfect shoes on.

C: I have learnt an awful lot from Sarah. She has imbued in me not to be frumpy but to be cool, which you can do when you get older. For example, I will now wear a wide-leg jean instead of a skinny one. You know when it's right because it feels right, do trust your own judgement. I also know that Sarah will always tell me if it's not right – I really value her honesty and I’m forever grateful for it.

S: I love that she keeps true to herself, she never tries to be someone she isn't. She still experiments and tries new things, but she knows what works for her. I love her classic take on things but she also keeps things simple, yet she never looks boring. She uses colour really well and always knows how to finish off a look with the right accessories. Of course, our style differs slightly. With the Me+Em suit worn here, my mother has worn a more classic trainer and I have worn a slightly cooler one. We can wear the same clothes but, overall, she will add more classic pieces to the outfit and I’ll add the slightly more trend-driven pieces.

My mother was such an INSPIRATION as I was growing up, she always LOOKED AMAZING.

On Finding Inspiration

S: My mother was such an inspiration as I was growing up, she always looked amazing. She had her own style and I loved that she didn't look like my friends’ mothers. I remember her wearing a lot of Ralph Lauren and she always looked very cool and chic. And I remember lots of great gold jewellery, as well as great bikinis and big hats. Aside from my mother, I adore Annie Hall for her masculinity and Jane Birkin for her effortless French feel. I am always looking for inspiration and then finding a way to bring it back and translating it into my style.

C: My mother was such an inspiration to me, too. She was a very handsome woman. She always said that she was the best dressed as she had so little to choose from. And I have always kept that with me: less is more. The less you have the harder your clothes have to work, but you’ll get more wear out of them. I often look at magazines but find they just show me that I already have that in my wardrobe;  I just need to re-style it. Fashion always comes around again and it's the classic looks that I am drawn to. It's not what you wear but how you wear it, and this is what my mother instilled in me.

Follow @Sarah.CorbettWinder and @Moloh.England

Photography by Emilie White

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