Style Spotlight: Leighanne Jones

Free People is synonymous with boho style, and its creative brand director Leighanne Jones embodies the aesthetic to a tee. From cool denim to floaty dresses, here she talks us through her personal style, favourite brands and some of the outfits she’s loving right now…

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I would describe my style as feminine, relaxed, sometimes chic and sometimes beachy. My shopping philosophy is to buy pieces that make me feel comfortable and that suit my personal style. If I ever deviate from that it never quite works. 

The places I've lived are the biggest influence on the way I dress. For example, I lived on the east coast of the US for ten years and spent summers at the beach in Montauk and, at times, Malibu. All I wore was easy dresses in natural fabrics and lots of beaded anklets and bracelets. In New York, the winters are cold, so my wardrobe was very practical – wool coats, boots that could withstand the snow and cosy sweaters. There was no pressure to follow trends either – you could just be yourself and completely comfortable. In London, fashion is more trend driven and I'm enjoying that it's a little smarter here too. My style is now more tailored and Parisian-inspired, but there’s still that beachy element – be it the messy hair, a basket bag or a pair of Birkenstocks.

I would describe my style as FEMININE, RELAXED, sometimes CHIC and sometimes BEACHY.

As a rule, I don't follow trends. I wear what I feel comfortable in. But this season, I have really loved the waistcoat trend. It’s such a classic piece that's been reinvented and styled in a new and contemporary way. It looks so good with loose tailored trousers or baggy relaxed jeans.

My go-to look this summer is a breezy dress, a Dragon Diffusion basket bag and K Jacques sandals. This year I've also been buying a lot of linen or cotton trousers – teamed with a feminine crop top they feel tailored for the city but still relaxed enough for the season. 

One piece on my wish list right now is a simple pair of western boots. I really like the western trend and I recently invested in a suede fringe jacket and western-detail belt. Isabel Marant has some great suede ankle and mid-calf options that are pretty versatile. I can see myself wearing them with jeans or trousers tucked in, with a belted blazer or with a longer dress. 

The person whose style I most admire is Jane Birkin – simple, chic and a little sexy. I'm a big fan of her quintessential summer look: pretty white tops with jeans, crochet mini dresses and, of course, her iconic basket bag. 

My favourite brand for a splurge is Celine. When it comes to designer accessories, its hardware feels really timeless and the styles are so chic and wearable. 

I don't like the concept of fast fashion. I like brands that stay true to themselves and have pieces that won't go out of style. Free People offers beautifully crafted pieces that feel unique compared to the rest of what’s on the high street. Plus, the price points are always accessible. I also like Arket and Cos.

One of my favourite independent brands is Ciao Lucia – a small California brand I discovered about five years ago. Its pieces are all limited edition and made locally. Anaak is another brand inspired by bohemian dressing and all its pieces are all created in the most ethical way, through working with local communities to support disadvantaged women. Also, Rowse. It makes plant-based skincare in Lanzarote, and I love the summer body oil.

It's very hard to be fully sustainable in fashion. But it’s encouraging to see more and more brands trying, and this will hopefully influence the wider industry to think differently about how we shop. I think Christy Dawn’s farm to table collections are heading in an exciting direction – the brand owns 25 acres of land in India and works directly with farmers and local artists to replenish damaged and derelict land. 

My favourite destination to discover small and sustainable brands is Vestige in Philadelphia. Ashley the owner has the most beautiful taste in everything – from vintage to home ceramics, beauty to local designers. It’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area.

I prefer to INVEST in QUALITY pieces that will stand the test of TIME.

When it comes to resale platforms, Reluxe is my go-to. It’s curated by Clare Richardson and you can find a really nice edit of pre-loved pieces. They also sell old-season pieces as well as of some of my favourite smaller brands such as Tove and Matteau

I prefer to invest in quality pieces that will stand the test of time. I still have a pair of Jesse Kamm sailor pants that I bought six years ago. At the time they were a splurge for me and, seeing as they are made from cotton canvas, they were a little stiff to begin with. Now they are the softest trousers I own, the colour is perfectly washed and the fit is better than ever. 

One of the most treasured pieces in my wardrobe is a Chanel bag my husband bought me on our first day back in London after living in the US for ten years. We were walking around showing our children the Christmas decorations – no city does Christmas like London – and he suggested we go to Chanel. I've worn it almost every day since. I’m not too precious about it; I love how worn it's becoming and the idea that I will pass it onto my daughter one day.

Follow @Leigh_AnneJones on Instagram

Photography by Anna Stokland


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