We caught up with blogger Amanda Start, the mastermind behind The Online Stylist, to talk styling tips, influences and how to create a work-to-weekend wardrobe...
Amanda's world is as chic as you’d expect a fashion bloggers world to be. Serene, simple and slick (and – it goes without saying – all in excellent taste), she’s all about attainable luxury and ‘elevating the everyday’. Her style is similarly pared-back – “I am Mrs Monochrome,” she laughs – although she can always find space for a new cashmere jumper. Spoken like a true Hush fan.
What inspired you to set up The Online Stylist - can you tell us the story behind it?
Having been made redundant from a role in finance and just reached my 40th birthday, I started the blog just as an outlet to write regularly - it was more of an online diary to start with. Very quickly the post subject matter began to turn towards style and fashion and I realised that writing about it from the perspective of 40 onwards was a bit of rare thing at that point. Then I became obsessed and began living and breathing it! It felt amazing to feel that about passionate about something at that point in my life - like it was meant to happen only once I’d turned 40.
How would you sum up its USP in one sentence?
It started out just for me and then naturally gravitated towards a 40 and onwards readership. However I soon realised that style really does transcend all ages: clothing choices are an expression of who you are and how you feel and shouldn’t be attached to an age bracket. I want The Online Stylist to be known as a digital influencer for women seeking attainable luxury in their wardrobe and everyday lifestyle choices. My favourite hashtag #ElevateTheEveryday just about sums up my approach to life and style in general.
What's your advice to would-be bloggers?
Don’t be put off by the sheer number of voices already out there in the Blogosphere. Start off by using one of the free platforms such as Blogspot or Wordpress and start using Instagram and Twitter to connect. Write often and with genuine passion about your subject matter and be prepared to learn everything as you go along. I think there’s always room for new voices, so get inspired and get started!
How would you sum up your personal style?
I am Mrs Monochrome! Give me a wardrobe full of black, white and grey and I’m as happy as a clam! I adore simple shapes and unusual cuts. If you combine this with a mostly monochrome palette, the effect is so subtle and yet, for me, still a head turner.
Whose style do you admire?
I think in terms of bloggers, I adore Sara Donaldson from Harper & Harley and Amanda Shadforth from Oracle Fox. Sara is in her 20s and I think Amanda is nearer my age but if you take the pieces they wear and swapped them, they’d still work beautifully. I love the grungy style of the Olsen sisters but also the slightly more eclectic chic of Jenna Lyons. And I can never leave out Olivia Palermo - she is a prime example of glossy Manhattan chic and never puts a style foot wrong!
What are your wardrobe essentials?
A cashmere sweater of course! A pair of skinny jeans, a white boyfriend shirt and a really good quality long, black coat. I know they’re the pieces that most people would name but there’s a reason for that!
And what about your beauty essentials – any secrets to share?
Not many secrets as most of it goes on the blog! I do love Bobbi Brown - her skincare range and ALL the makeup just seems to work for me. I guess the one thing I would say is: don’t forget to exfoliate your face once a week. I recently started doing this again and, hey presto, the dry skin that plagued my forehead disappeared. Light dawns on marble (exfoliated) head!
Your dream wardrobe acquisition is…
Pretty much anything by Céline - but especially the Classic Box Bag in black.
And what would you never wear?
A midi length printed tea dress. Very specific I know, but I tried once and just can’t pull it off!
What are you looking forward to wearing for AW?
Cashmere and ankle boots. Tis the season!
Your top three styling tips are...
1. Don’t say “I can’t wear ….” until you’ve tried it!
2. Shop for those key pieces online so you can try them on in the comfort of your own home with your shoes/other clothes and accessories.
3. Invest in a beautiful classic mid size black handbag from your favourite designer. It makes everything else look amazing and will bring you joy on a daily basis!
Your current favourite…
Book… The one I’m currently reading is The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. Not sure on my verdict yet but I’m open minded and reading on.
Music… I have a Spotify playlist I created called Going Capeside. It’s a bit Dawson’s Creek-esque (I know - don’t judge!) and it mirrors lots of feelings and emotions I’ve experienced this summer. Also anything by Jamie Cullum - I’m a huge fan.
TV show… We’ve just finished watching The Good Wife and Billions so am on the hunt for a new box set to delve into, possibly House Of Cards with Kevin Spacey.