Just like me, you’ll already know that Pinterest and Instagram are really interesting places to find inspiration. For some months now, I have followed Michelle from @maison_abbott. My eyes were caught by her simple and classic style infused with a subtle sophisticated personal touch that makes all the difference…I also really like the way she mixes some of her finds from low cost brands with higher end ones, so the whole outfit never looks cheap.
I’m definitely convinced that you don’t need to be born in Paris to look chic and stylish ;)
I think Michelle is a perfect example!
I was curious to know more about her and her style… She kindly took the time to answer all my questions!
-How would you qualify your personal dressing style?
I would say that I dress in a classic style but with a contemporary twist. I can be a bit of a chameleon – one day I will want to wear a floral dress with a tweed jacket over the top, the next day, I might want a Rock and Roll t-shirt and leather trousers. I have found true confidence in my style, and know what suits me, since I came into my 40s. I think this is mainly because I don’t worry what others think – I dress for who I want to be, how I feel on the day.
– Did you always have an interest for fashion? If yes, where is it coming from?
I have always loved fashion and style since I was very young. I used to spent lots of time putting outfits together and matching everything – then as I went into my teenage years I experimented with alternative looks and liked to stand out from the crowd. One of my favourite looks was a Laura Ashley floral or polka dot dress with Doc Marten boots and striped tights! I wanted to be a fashion designer – I used to spent hours sketching designs and then taking clothes apart to work out how to make patterns, and then making my own designs. Unfortunately for various reasons, I did not follow my dream and have always wondered…what if… I guess part of getting dressed every day is the enjoyment of the process, and of how a great outfit can have a very positive impact on how you feel.
– What is your way of buying clothes? Do you often crush for special items without really knowing how you will wear them or do you plan your buyings knowing exactly what you need?
I am a terrible impulse purchaser – and I have made many mistakes over the years – but now I only buy what I feel great in. If I don’t like the outfit I am trying on more than the one I am already wearing, I do not buy it! I think I have a good eye for knowing what works on me, what shapes and styles suit me, but I am not afraid to try something different either. Sometimes it works, sometimes not, but you are never too old to experiment with new styles. I also do always have a wish list of key items I want to find, ie the perfect red bag, or a specific belt or coat – and I keep looking until I find the right thing, or until I can afford the wish list item!
– What are your favorite brands? Do you like shopping always at the same places or do you like to change often?
I love to mix high end pieces with high street finds. I get a lot of my clothes from H&M and Marks and Spencer, Whistles, Topshop, but I also love to purchase from small independent brands and this is where Instagram is brilliant for finding those brands who I would otherwise never see. I do love expensive bags and accessories as these are forever items, for example I have designer bags that I have owned for years and years but they never date and I still love them. I also really like preloved items as this is often a good way to find a very desirable designer piece for a great price. For example, I recently purchased an Isabel Marant jacket from a pre loved store, which was brand new with labels still on, and which I had actually had on my wish list some time ago, but never purchased. I was thrilled to find it and snapped it up!
– What inspired you to post your daily outfits on Instagram?
I began my Instagram page after a trip to Paris nearly three years ago. I had been following several style blogs for some time and aspired to start my own blog. The trip to Paris inspired me to take a step in this direction and I began posting snaps of my daily outfit. Initially, I was just experimenting to see what it was like as I had no idea really what Instagram was all about! I just took a quick picture of my outfit each morning and posted it – as simple as that. I liked recording my outfits to see how to use the things in my wardrobe. My ethos has always been that my outfit posts are ‘real’ and not staged, so what you see on the post is what I am actually wearing that day (anyone who knows me can confirm this!) – I do not post then change my clothes, and the only exception is when I am posting items I am trying on in the shops. I find Instagram an amazing place for style inspiration and love that you can connect with style from all around the world and have found an amazing sense of community amongst the people I follow and interact with. Women are very supportive of each other on there.
–You seem to be pretty busy, sharing your time between your job and your children… How do you manage to post everyday?
Yes, life is pretty busy – I am a lawyer and my work fits around my family life so that I can be around for my two young boys. I go into my office on Mondays and Tuesdays, which is why you will see ‘workwear’ outfits on these days! I literally take a quick snap either before or just after the school run each morning, then post with either some style notes or just general waffle, whatever is going round in my head that morning! It has just become part of the daily routine, and everyone expects me to be taking a picture before we leave the house!
– How do you choose your outfit in the morning? Do you check the weather forecast and think about it the day before or do you follow your morning inspiration?
On work days (so Mondays and Tuesdays) I try to plan my outfit the night before, simply because time is very limited on those mornings with everything I have to do (getting the boys organised and to school etc), and its just so much better to know exactly what I’m wearing. On other days, it’s literally just how I feel, what the weather sometimes dictates, and I just decide on the morning. I usually think about what I want to wear whilst I’m putting on my makeup and quickly have an outfit put together in my head. It’s not often that I put something on and then think, this doesn’t work! A bad outfit day can really have a negative impact, so I always try to feel the best I can.
–How to you deal with the “lazy” or “I have nothing to wear” days?
If I have one of those days where I need inspiration, I reach for a fail safe combination of a well fitting pair of jeans, a breton or slogan t shirt and a fitted blazer. I always feel good in this. Another easy look for days when I don’t know what to wear, is a dress – often midi length, with ankle boots or trainers, and either a leather biker or a denim jacket. For very lazy stay at home days, I will put on a pair of coated leggings and a sweatshirt and trainers – it’s all about comfort – but I still like to feel good.
-Do you have special clothes. Clothes that you will never throw away?
Yes, I am very ruthless with lots of items in the house, but I find it hard to throw clothes away. How often do you get rid of something only to wish weeks later that you had kept it? I have many clothes that I have had in my wardrobe for absolutely years – and still love and wear them. Often classic items such as jackets and coats.
I have certain items that I will always keep such as my designer bags, my classic trench, my ‘occasion’ outfits, and my shoes. Actually, I keep pretty much everything! I have the odd cull where I try and sell pieces or donate things to charity, but I’m not very good at it!
-Do you have empowerment clothes, clothes that make you feel really good and that you know for sure they will give you confidence?
I aim to feel my best every day – life is too short to save your best clothes for special occasions – I used to do this, but now I just wear everything, whenever I feel like it. On days when I am working, I like to feel professional and ‘put together’ so well cut, fitted clothes achieve that. I always feel more confident when I feel good in my outfit – that’s the impact clothes can have – and so I try to achieve this every day if I can.
-And finally… I noticed that most of your pictures are showing you standing in a position close to the leaning tower of Pisa ;)) Can you tell us why?
I would love to give you an impressive reason for the way I pose for my posts…. but the truth is, I found very early on that if I held my phone at an angle, I could then reduce the shot afterwards to fit it into the Instagram square without chopping off my head or feet in the post! It’s a simple as that! The angle thing just became my way of doing it, and now I use a tripod (because I got fed up with the boys moaning over whose turn it was to take my picture every day!) and I still position the phone at an angle.