Be yourself, dress accordingly

Sophie Fontanel used to be the fashion director for Elle France. She is now an inspirational force on Instagram, after a fortunate accident – at a fashion shoot, she became frustrated and put the clothes on herself and showed the 16-year-old how model how to pose. A 52-year-old style star was born.

She says that about a decade ago, surrounded by fashionistas, she had a style epiphany – everyone was dressed exactly the same – and started dressing for herself, stopped dying her hair brown and followed her intuition. Her style is now an interesting mix of menswear, over-sized shirts, pastels and her favourite brand, Céline.

Les juniors de la mode. Ils sont au #designersapartment 60 rue de Richelieu. Des loupiots qui me plaisent bien. @dawei_studio met son chat (Innocent, le nom!!!) sur ses imprimés. @victoriatomasofficial perfore (beau!) les habits, @proemesdeparis fait des robes en mouchoir, en cas de chagrin d'amour, @dadadianeducasse reprend le pied de poule du fameux tailleur de Lauren Bacall, mais en chemise. @savoarfer montre l'intérieur libre des choses. @mazarine_paris met des plastrons aux tee-shirts (notamment). @minimeparis fait des camouflages avec des cœurs. Et @kenta_matsushige fait de l'épure qui ne ressemble à aucune autre simplicité. Elle va puiser profond, cette jeunesse. It means : the newcomers worn by me ! #plcconsultingparis #pfw @plcconsultingparis

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Her advice for those who find styling a challenge is to firstly, not demand too much from your body. “One day you can wake up and think your body is marvelous. One hour later in front of the mirror, you can feel horrible – our opinion fluctuates all the time” she says. Instead, she advises keeping a nonchalant approach to getting dressed, and not to worry too much about the details.

Don’t be afraid to wear oversized pieces experiment with shape and silhouette, using belts.

Ah ben Mickey plus qu'ça! It means : when I am Mickey Jagger. #sophiefontanel

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She also believes that it’s more interesting add colour to your wardrobe. “When you avoid black, you enter a new era of colour,” she says. “I now love wearing white, baby blue and pastel pink – very soft colours that are the polar opposite of the all-black outfits I wore in my youth.”

Fashion does not need to mean sacrificing comfort. “The key to all my looks is comfort,” she explains. “But not ‘comfort’ as in I have forgotten my femininity or elegance. Have a good relationship with your clothes and with your body.”

It also doesn’t mean spending a fortune. Sophie is a great fan of vintage shops and loves to find a bargain. In fact, it often makes a piece special, being able to give it a new lease on life. Her other great love it white shoes – the contrast between a startling white shoe and grimy footpath really appeals.

She also advises simplicity and practicality – if a garment is too hard to care for or wear, then leave it out! Also, when it comes to swimwear, don’t be hurried – try on as many styles as you need to find the one that works. You must persevere and have patience when shopping for swimwear!

When it comes to t-shirts, Sophie says a good one is hard to find. When you find one which fits your shape and is a great fabric, stock up!

Here are her last thoughts:

  • Punctuate pastels with hard-edged black accents
  • Make sure expensive investments are versatile
  • Shop with friends, and trust them!
  • Don’t hide your body because you feel old, “You can show your body, it is important to be proud of it whatever your age.”
  • And finally, never underestimate the power of a smile