I would describe my style as chic, fashionable and comfortable. Chic in the sense that everything I wear is quite aligned, which the French do very well; fashionable because I do like to keep an eye on trends; and colourful because I’m rarely without something bright.
Becoming an influencer in my 60s proves that great style is ageless. My daughter Vogue [Williams] uploaded a picture of me to her Instagram and her followers suggested I should create my own account to share my outfits. Then someone came up to me in a supermarket in Dublin to tell me they thought I looked fantastic, so I thought ‘why not give it a go?’ I’ve always wanted to make older women feel they could experiment with new clothes and not feel stuck in the same old things. However, I’ve found that not everyone who follows me is over 60 like me – perhaps younger women like my style too.
Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries. In my experience, women over a certain age tend to avoid experimenting and stick to the same shops, but there are so many great brands waiting to be discovered. For example, I came across a store in London last summer called Nu and I can’t stay away now – the cut of every piece is just excellent. That’s not to say you should abandon your usual favourites but try to pick the odd thing that’s a little out of your comfort zone. You really can’t underestimate the power of adding a bit of colour into your wardrobe.
I don’t believe you need to spend thousands to look good. In general, the most I’d spend on a single piece would be £250. I’m a real lover of the high street and buy lots in Zara, Uterqüe and recently I purchased a pair of wide leg, tapered trousers from COS. Purificación Garcia is another Spanish high street brand I shop from – they have some very chic pieces at reasonable prices. However, I do think it’s worth investing a little more occasionally. Coats are one such example as you get so much wear from them – I have a lovely Max Mara coat that is probably my favourite piece, which I got on sale with 50% off. I live in it when I’m back in Ireland, so it’s totally worth the money.
Cherry pick current pieces and make them work for you. Don’t be afraid to look in Zara, but go for the styles that are more classic instead of fleeting trends. I have to say that Vogue and I often share the same taste in clothes but I can’t get on board with her ripped jeans – that’s one trend you’ll never see me in!
Wearing bright colour makes you and others feel good. You’ll be surprised by how many compliments you receive, because people love to see bright colour and, as a result, that will give you confidence. Just go for it! If you’re hesitant, stick to a base of white or black but add a colourful jacket or kimono for an easy way to dip your toe in.
I like to ensure things match. Whenever I’m getting dressed, I’ll start with one piece and build an outfit around that – if I spot a bit of pink, for example, then I’ll stick with that theme and add pink jewellery, pink shoes, a pink bag. This proves a challenge when I’m packing to travel, as I end up taking far too many pairs of shoes, but I do find a matching look is an easy way to make brighter colours work.
A good collection of blouses is a must. Uterqüe always has a great selection that won’t break the bank. Whenever I’m travelling, I always pack a few blouses, as they look very elegant with both maxi skirts and wide leg trousers. At the moment, I’m loving 100% linen blouses, as they’re season-appropriate, but I like a big sleeve to give the look some drama.
Lean on accessories to add interest to your outfits. My mother always wore a lot of hats, which explains the reason why I love them so much. I spend six months of the year living in Spain, so from a practical perspective they’re great way to keep the sun off your face, but I also find they’re the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. In the winter, I always wear gloves with a nice coat for a bit of polish.
These days I rely on layering. My style has evolved as I’ve got older and I don’t like to flash as much skin as I used to. So I’ll wear a lightweight kimono in the summer and go for longer length skirts and trousers to look chic. I recently bought a long orange and white kimono from Purificación Garcia and it completely proves that covering up doesn’t have to be boring.
Don’t play it safe. Even if you’re only going to the supermarket, dress up if it makes you feel good. The secret to great style is confidence, so wear whatever makes you feel your best.
Follow Sandra on Instagram @SandraWilson3614