I am always looking to support other bloggers and web business owners, not only that, I am interested in their approach to style. Denise from The Swelle Life has answered some questions below to give us a peek into her style psyche and perhaps also inspire us just a little bit.
Tell us about yourself:
I'm a Canadian living in the northeast of England with my husband and three year-old daughter. I left my career in marketing to concentrate on what I love which is indulging my passion for fashion and all things beautiful. As well as writing The Swelle Life, I contribute to four other fashion websites and also design and make my own accessories such as hand-felted, embellished handbags, neck-pieces and corsages - which I'm just getting back into again, I miss it so much and will do my best to balance the writing with the creating. New shop to launch soon! I very recently spent two months in Paris and attended several fashion week shows and after that, there's no going back!
Describe your personal style:
I tend to do 'ladylike' on the outside, which covers what is sometimes a bit haphazard underneath! I love proper structured hats, my pale pink felt cloche that I had custom made by a Toronto milliner is my favourite. And I have a silk tweed pink mix belted coat that is quite light just feels great to wear, it's about six years old and always looks fresh, I'll have it forever. I like to look put-together but without the effort because I just can't be bothered with anything that takes much fuss! Which explains my long hair that is always blow-dry and go. And while I love to do head to toe 'proper lady' it's usually the good jacket and scarf over jeans and some kind of old t-shirt with a long, interesting necklace. I don't consciously try to mix rough and pretty but that's usually the result so I guess that's my inherent style. And I adore dresses, I like to try to wear them everyday unless it's just not practical. I love good boots and heels (of course!) but thanks to a knee problem I have to think of my health first so I opt for my Kings riding boots by Paul Smith which look great with anything and you can walk forever in them. So it's hardly a compromise!
What are your wardrobe staples?
Great jackets and coats, long, beautiful scarves, dresses you can wear everyday and just enough necklaces that you always have something you can wear with anything. And a couple pairs of shoes or boots that will go with just about everything so you don't have to stress about it as you get ready to go out the door! And can't forget the charming tights.
What inspires you?
Romantic, beautiful images; anything French; pale pinks, ivories, lilacs and powder blues; peonies (I can't keep from touching their super-lush petals) and Piaget roses (they smell like perfume). Anything that lifts my spirits when I look at it, touch it or, I guess, smell it!
Who is your fashion muse?
The women of Paris. I just returned from two months there and no one else does it like they do. They look so put together, but it's effortless, because it comes from within. French women are confident, smart and savvy. And it shows. And they let themselves age which something we need to take note of. I'll never forget a 60ish year old woman sitting on a bench by the Seine who was the most stunning vision I have ever seen.
What is your favourite purchase of all time?
I'm sure there is something from my past I will think of later, but what comes to mind is a Les Bijoux de Sophie silver anchor necklace with pale pink porcelain flowers on a long silver chain (there's a name for those flowers that I can't recall!). It reminds me of Paris, it's from the most incredible boutique in the Marais aptly called Joy, which is owned by a most elegant, older French woman and her change room was so charming I took photos and dedicated a blog post to it. It had a red velvet-topped dark wood vanity with old Anais Nin diaries and other French books atop, a white wicker bird cage on the floor and a gorgeous hand-blown glass vase with a large feather plume and the most charming floral wallpaper. I didn't want to leave! As for the necklace, it's handmade, unique, delicate and beautiful. And it brings with it those memories. What more could you want?
What has been your biggest splurge?
On a single item, that would be the indigo blue leather jacket that I bought last month in Antwerp at Chine. It's a bit of a biker style without the biker-style lapels, it's got a lot of zippers but it's a bit more chic than rock 'n' roll. Funny, it was a bit of a rougher look I was going for, but in the end that's just not me!
What's your daily beauty routine?
Night time is where I concentrate my efforts. I use Eve Lom cleanser which you apply to dry skin and then apply a hot muslin cloth three times to activate the cleansing oils, then I use the cloth to exfoliate. I've used this cleanser for three years and I haven't had a dry patch of skin since and my skin has never felt cleaner. I use Naturopathica moisturisers for day (from the U.S.), they use pure, botanical ingredients (really all-natural as opposed to those that say they are but are full of chemicals, they define each and every ingredient on their website). And Clarins makes fantastic brightening products, such as their Beauty Flash balm which really does work - a must-have for days you don't look your best or want to look really great!
What jewellery do you never take off?
My wedding band! I think I took some kind of vow about that. I do like to wear a necklace or neck-piece with everything unless it's overkill, as well as something on my wrist as I've built up a bit of a collection recently. But I'm certainly more of a minimalist, I like the pieces to speak for themselves.'
Thanks again to Denise for answering the questions. How fabulous it must be to spend time in Paris. Be sure to visit her blog www.theswellelife.com and leave a comment if you have a spare few minutes.
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