Style Rules: Sam Williams
Style Rules: Sam Williams

Style Rules: Sam Williams

Personal stylist and influencer Sam Williams has amassed a loyal following on Instagram for her classic and relatable style. From her latest brand discovery to her new season must-haves, here she shares the style rules she lives by.

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I started on Instagram as Buttons and Blazers almost four years ago. I wasn’t sure what to expect at first, but I liked the idea of finding inspiration from people my age and keeping a log of my daily outfits. I take all my own photos at home – it usually involves a tripod, a smile and a cup of tea! I try not to overthink it. 

My style is minimal, Scandi-inspired and slightly masculine. I tend to stick to neutrals and pieces without too much fuss. My simple style and my love for minimal looks has not really changed over the years. I don’t really follow trends, but I love to see what’s new in terms of fashion and on Instagram. 

Since joining Instagram I have embraced a love for dresses which I did not see coming. I didn’t even own a dress until a few years ago, but now I have lots. I picked up some great dresses from Zara and H&M over the summer. I tend to go for simple midi dresses, always with pockets and usually plain or with a simple two-colour print.

I don’t abide by any particular rules but the two things I always tell myself and my clients are that it’s never too late to try something new or rediscover your style. And don’t copy entire looks; be inspired and adopt ideas from a look but adapt it to your shape and personality – and try to make it your own. 


I do believe that less is MOST CERTAINLY MORE.

My signature is blazers. I adore them and I’ve been wearing oversized blazers since the 90s. I have an athletic body shape with very few curves, so jackets sit well on me and this has become my signature style. It’s also the reason I chose to call my account Buttons and Blazers. Some of my favourites are from Arket. In fact, most of my pieces are from Arket. They consistently nail that Scandi-inspired, pared back style and create good quality wardrobe essentials that can be mixed and matched with ease. Their tailoring and knitwear are some of the best on the high street.

I do believe that less is most certainly more. I love clean, minimal styling so I tend to choose pieces with simple lines and not too much detail. If you are a fan of print, frills, ruffles and bows, you can still keep the rest of the look simple so as not to overdo it. 

I tend to dress practically and for the weather. In summer, I tend to wear dresses but, as I’m not one for bare legs in winter, they are packed away once it gets cold and I switch to jeans and knits. Mostly, I like to be comfortable and my shoe choice will depend on how far I have to walk. I’m currently living in a pair of Zara suede loafers. 

When I’m getting dressed, I will usually begin with a simple base of trousers or jeans and a tee or fine knit. From there I will choose a jacket, then play around with shoes and a bag. Shoes can transform an outfit and take something from casual to dressy in one fell swoop. This is probably why I have too many pairs. I only ever wear simple jewellery, mostly from Mejuri, Monica Vinader and Orelia. A small pair of hoops and a simple chain will finish off any look. 



My style advice would be to TAKE YOUR TIME when choosing new styles and don’t be too keen to TRANSITION straight into an AUTUMN/WINTER WARDROBE.

When it comes to brands, I adore the likes of Joseph, The Row, Totême, Jil Sander and The Frankie Shop. They all have the relaxed tailoring and simple silhouettes I adore. My budget doesn’t quite stretch that far, however, so my high street go-tos are Arket and Cos. They produce affordable, quality pieces which are on trend but have a timeless appeal and can be worn for years. 

I don’t really follow trends. I try to invest in my wardrobe and buy more classic, timeless styles. If I buy into a trend, I will make sure it fits in with my personal style and will work with my existing pieces. I will often choose a scarf, bag or shoe to add a trend – a gingham bag or animal print scarf, for example. 

The five pieces I believe are worth investing in for the new season are a camel coat which will instantly make any outfit look expensive and you will wear for years. A cashmere knit always adds sophistication and warmth whether worn with a pencil skirt, jeans or trousers. Tailored trousers are such a versatile piece and wide leg styles are everywhere at the moment. You can dress them up with a low heel for an evening out or pair with chunky trainers for a dressed down vibe. Black ankle boots are a wardrobe essential – everyone looks fabulous in a black ankle boot with a great pair of jeans. And a blazer, obviously! A good quality wool blazer can instantly elevate a casual look and make you feel really put together. 

My style advice would be to take your time when choosing new styles and don’t be too keen to transition straight into an autumn/winter wardrobe. Drape a light knit over your shoulders for an effortlessly chic feel. Add a light jacket or perhaps a short trench coat – both are stylish and practical. Swap sandals for loafers to keep toes warm, but don’t dive into boots just yet – there’s plenty of time for that. 


My advice would be to remember that it’s NEVER TOO LATE to do something you LOVE and CHANGE YOUR COURSE in life.

I love charity shops. I’ve already mentioned I’m a fan of an oversized blazer and I have found some gems in the men’s sections of charity stores. I once found a Balmain blazer on the Oxfam shop website for £29. It’s beautiful. I still have it and wear it often. So it’s always worth popping in. 

I always try to buy designer bags on preloved sites. I love Victoria Beckham handbags and I have sourced several via second-hand websites. It helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for though. I find that, if you browse, you’ll end up buying something just because it’s there or heavily discounted. It helps to know what you want. 

My advice would be to remember that it’s never too late to do something you love and change your course in life. I was a police officer for 30 years and I could have fallen into a predictable job doing something related to the skills I developed in that career. Instead, I chose to do something totally different and retrained as a personal stylist. I absolutely love what I do, as I meet really lovely people and it’s a joy to make someone feel amazing in their clothes. It really is transformative. 

When it comes to shopping, try to make more considered purchases. Don’t impulse buy. If we have anything unworn in our wardrobes, it’s usually a result of being impulsive. Think of three different ways you can wear the new item. Think of different occasions it can be worn and what items in your existing wardrobe it can be worn with. We should aim to get 30 plus wears from everything we buy. 

I think it’s worth SPENDING A BIT MORE on COATS and BAGS.

A new find for me is Marcéla London. It’s right up my street and I’m going to have to sit on my hands not to buy everything. It’s all about beautiful tailoring in stunning fabrics, and very fluid and simple. I’m a coat addict and their current collection is just divine. There’s a buttermilk wool jacket with a scarf that I am obsessed with. 

When it comes to style icons, Diane Keaton is the ultimate. She has such unapologetic individuality. Emmanuel Alt always nails that effortless, French chic; and I also love Alexa Chung’s look because she always wears flats and still manages to look amazing. 

I think it’s worth spending a bit more on coats and bags. I believe in buying fewer quality pieces. A good quality camel coat will be an investment that pays for itself in no time. Don’t buy lots of bags though – instead, buy a few classic and well-chosen pieces. Think about the most versatile colour for your wardrobe and the most practical size. The right bag is the one that goes with everything. 

One of the first accounts I followed on Instagram is @EmmaHill. She has impeccable taste in fashion and interiors, and she knows her style and sticks to it. Plus, I’ve met her and she’s just lovely. Astrid Zeegen is another of my favourites. She’s quirky, funny, honest and super stylish. 

Some of my favourite items in my wardrobe include my Burberry long trench – I scoured eBay and other sites for months and months to find the right trench, but it was worth the wait. It’s vintage, in the perfect beige, and goes with everything. My square-toe black leather Zara boots – I adore a square toe; they have a block heel, are made of the softest leather and look amazing with cropped, flared jeans. I look forward to wearing them every year. I love slightly ugly, chunky boots. And finally, my Cartier watch. It’s a man’s watch and my husband bought it for me for my 50th birthday. I love it. 

Follow Sam Williams on Instagram @ButtonsAndBlazers 

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