The fashionistas amongst you will instantly recognise Alex Longmore as she is one of the UK’s top fashion stylists with over 16 years experience in the British Fashion Industry. Alex worked for Tatler and Company magazine before becoming Style Editor for The Daily Mail. Since 2003, Alex has been enjoying a freelance career which has seen her style for shoots in the UK and abroad, for TV, film and advertising. I remember watching Alex presenting on the Lorraine Kelly Show (I love Lorraine!) and Britain’s Next Top Model, others might recognise her from Billion Dollar Babe and Big Brother’s Little Brother.
Alex’s current project is with Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure who are wanting to inspire the UK’s women to hold their own Maternity Swishing Parties and help raise money for the very well-deserving premature baby charity, Tommy’s.
To download your Swishing Party Pack head over to www.facebook.com/comfortzoneuk
My interview with . . . Alex Longmore
Q. What inspired you to walk the career path into fashion?
I always knew from an early age, perhaps 6 or 7 opening Grandma’s Vogue and seeing all the women dressed in amazing clothes. For me it was vocational, I geared myself towards doing fashion. I always thought I would want to work for magazines but I actually ended up in newspapers.
Q. Do you find yourself looking at some people who you come across in day to day life and think “I’d love to shake up your wardrobe?”
I do and I don’t. Sometimes I look around and think there is no hope for fashion and then I see someone who looks amazing. I asked Alex if she tells people when she thinks they look good because I always do. Yes I always tell people, it’s about improving their confidence.
Q. Where you do you start when styling someone?
Whether they are a celebrity or otherwise I always ask who would they most like like to look like. If they say Gwyneth Paltrow I know they like uniformed, classic chic. If they say Helena Bonham Carter, then I go more for the bohemian look. I try to be really positive and protective about their wardrobe and figures to give them confidence and then find out what they need clothes for etc.
Q. What top tips would you give to Mums-to-be to make themselves look and feel better about their body image?
- Choose the right colours for their skin tone.
- Make sure they feel in control of what they are wearing.
- Stick with colours they used to love wearing.
- Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise!!! Treat yourself to that must-have handbag or shoes to make you still feel like YOU!
- Invest in good makeup.
- Embrace the bump and show it off.
- Keep up with trends, just wear clothes a few sizes up – it doesn’t have to be maternity wear.
- Have regular pedicures and manicures to make you feel like a woman.
Q. Obviously you are encouraging Mums and Mums-to-be to hold maternity Swishing Parties. Do you think Swishing Parties are taking off in the UK or does the US still hold the monopoly on these?
Swishing it still a bit slow here because in the UK we are big into vintage. It is catching on and it’s a good idea so everyone should give it try. This is the year to try it what with the Jubilee and Olympics there is really good community spirit around. Maternity Swishing Parties get women together, they get mums meeting and talking whilst still doing something for environment. Recycle clothes, giving money to the premature baby charity Tommy’s – it couldn’t be better. And it can be as big or as small as you want.
Q. What is the key to a successful Swishing Party?
- One person needs to be the team leader to bring it together.
- Make sure all baby/maternity clothes look their best, washed with Persil Non-Bio and Comfort Pure to keep them smelling fresh.
- Lay out the items properly in a colour coordinating way to make it easier to see what you are looking for.
- Split the items into sections by age, item etc.
- Have one person committed to tidying as the party goes along to keep it all looking nice.
- Have yummy cupcakes – what’s a party these days without cupcakes?
- Make sure everyone has a chance to have a chat and a giggle
- Don’t feel guilty about swishing – it’s good!
Q. What would you say is the biggest challenge you have to face when styling someone for the first time?
Confidence, people hate feeling out of control. She get so much satisfaction out of making someone feel good about themselves. It doesn’t need to be massive changes.
Q. I have 3 double wardrobes of clothes, plus countless boxes of clothes in the garage which I really need to streamline. What is the best way to decide what to keep and what to ditch to move forward?
Get another pair of eyes in and have a wardrobe detox, try everything on and sort into piles; charity/swishing, sell, storage pile. Ideally you need 5 tops to go with a pair of trousers. Split clothes into winter and summer wardrobes and have a clear out twice a year! (Ooops it’s been about 15 years for me!).
Q. You are standing in front of a pick ‘n’ mix sweet counter, which sweets do you pick first?