My Style Rules: Sophie Van De Vyver

My Style Rules: Sophie Van De Vyver

If you need a bit of persuasion to wear more colour, Sophie Van De Vyver, otherwise known as Sophisticated Box, should be on your radar. Her Instagram is a goldmine of bright inspiration, along with daily outfits you’ll want to replicate immediately. From the pieces she turns to for off-duty, to her top tips for always looking good, she shares her style rules with us…

My style is chic but not overdressed. I try to imbue every outfit with a playful edge but looking mature is important to me, too. The word ‘sophisticated’ says it all. 

When I see pictures of myself from my 20s I can’t believe how boring my style was. I never wore prints or accessories. My mother is very elegant, but her style is ‘less is more’, and when I was younger I dressed like her. In the last ten to 15 years, since my kids have started to grow up, my style has completely changed. My husband always comments on how much it’s improved. I needed the time from 20 to 40 to really grow into myself. 

Lots of women are scared of colour. They think that at a certain age it’s no longer appropriate – that’s certainly what my mother, and her mother before that, thought. The key to getting it right is knowing what shades are best close to your face – they have to complement your eye and hair colour. When I was 35, I had my colours done and that’s when my style clicked into place.

In my role as a stylist and colour advisor, clients always ask me for rules about what they should and shouldn’t be wearing. But there are no rules when it comes to good style. What’s important is whether you feel comfortable if you like what you see in the mirror. A lot of women can’t quite grasp – they want specific steps to follow. I appreciate not everyone gets that innate feeling. But for me, it’s like a click when I look in the mirror. 

It’s always accessories that will make a look click for me. I tend to start with a plain outfit and then I’ll add to that. Jewellery, a great bag, sunglasses – those extra touches are so important. Some people think if you’re wearing one detail, you should scale back on another, but for me, the more the better. I’ll never wear matching details, it has to be mix and match.  

I change handbags every day and sometimes I’ll decide on my outfit around the bag I want to use. My Chanel flap bag is my favourite and like most women I dream of owning a Birkin. I’ll never directly match my bag to the outfit – the colour needs to complement the shoes, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. I’m not a ‘shoe girl’ – I have a lot of shoes, but mostly comfy styles and I’m not really into pumps or heels. I once bought a pair of designer shoes – the Valentino Rockstuds – and after one hour of wearing them I decided never again. I am a sneaker addict or, in winter, I’ll wear Chelsea boots. That’s about it. 

The key to getting it right is knowing what shades are best close to your face – they have to complement your eye and hair colour.

If I have a quiet day, I’ll wear jeans with a nice sweater. I’m into cardigans and rollnecks right now. I’m not really a blouse girl and I never wear t-shirts. It’s pretty much always knits – cotton in summer, cashmere and wool in winter. I’ll add sneakers, of course, and always a scarf! I would never wear a full tracksuit, but at the moment I really like knitted jumper and pants sets for a comfy but chic at-home look. And if I need to go out, I just add my accessories. They’re easy to transform.

I try to never say never when it comes to fashion. Specific colours are the only thing I’ll steer away from – I never wear grey, it’s terrible on me. I always stay informed on the trends, but I’m not dictated by them – if I like it, I’ll wear it. I’ve loved the leather shorts trend this winter – I’ve worn mine all season with tights and boots – but I get comments on social media saying a woman of my age shouldn’t be wearing them. White biker boots were a trend that I didn’t think was for me, but then I was sent a pair by a brand and now I live in them. I get comments all the time saying they’re not for my age – but there’s no age limit to wearing something you love. Very short skirts are the exception, but if I’m at the beach I’ll still wear short denim shorts! If I still have the legs for it, why not?

I always stay informed on the trends, but I’m not dictated by them – if I like it, I’ll wear it.
I always stay informed on the trends, but I’m not dictated by them – if I like it, I’ll wear it.

Most things I buy are ephemeral I shop, I donate, I sell etc. The one constant is jeans – I’ll keep them until they’re completely unwearable. I have a denim jacket I love, and this year I bought a shearling-lined version so I could wear the look in winter too. I won’t wear boyfriend jeans but I like skinny and bootcut styles. Bootcuts are perfect for every age and every shape – they’re particularly good if you’re taller (you won’t see the shape if you’re too short!) but I think they’re elegant on everyone. A slim fit is also great for everyone, but they need to be a capri length – you want a bit of ankle on show. 

I love Italian brands – Twinset is a favourite. Their pieces aren’t necessarily on trend, but they really last. All the pieces I end up keeping in my wardrobe for a long time are from Italian labels – they really make the most beautiful clothes.

For big events I wear long if it’s appropriate, and I love a bit of bling, tulle – the lot. I’ll go heavy on the details and I love a bright colour dress – red or green – but I won’t play with colour, I’ll just wear one shade. I will wear a stole to cover my shoulders, or a very short fur jacket I inherited from my grandmother. 

I’m always asked who my style icon is and I never have an answer. I get inspired by so many different women – I may like someone’s shoes or someone else’s blouse, but there’s no one person whose style I try to emulate. I have unfollowed so many women on Instagram recently. They have all become so boring – their styling is great but they don’t use any colour – their feeds are just beige. It’s too dull for me.

One tip for looking good in your later years? Don’t forget your accessories, of course!

Follow Sophie @SophisticatedBox

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