Sophie Stanbury is the super connected interior designer who recently joined the cast of reality show Ladies of London with the most enviable long and shiny hair. Her style tips on how to achieve Princess Catherine’s volumised, swishy hair have catapulted her into the spotlight and now she has ambitions to help women everywhere achieve a glamorous look in minutes. Here we go behind the big hair to find out more about her life in London and why jeans are an essential part of her wardrobe.
DONNA IDA: Where are you from and where did you grow up?
Sophie Stanbury: I grew up just outside London in Surrey with my parents, sister and brother and always hopped on the short train ride to London in the early days! We were very into horse riding until we hit our early 20s and then went off to university.
DONNA IDA: Tell us about Ladies of London?
Sophie Stanbury: Where do I start? It was a rollercoaster of extremes between fun and emotions, because you are put into situations which are very intense. I was also going through my own personal roller coaster at the time of filming. Having said that it was also a huge amount of fun and the friendship that we built will last a lifetime as going on that journey bonded us in more ways than one. The other benefit was that it opened the door to another realm of opportunities. I have gone from running an interior decorating business to juggling some really exciting collaborations in fashion, jewellery, travel, cooking. I’m also developing my own unique set of hair rollers which I hope to launch next year.
DONNA IDA: How did you get started in the fashion, hair and beauty world?
Sophie Stanbury: I’ve always kept up with fashion and beauty through various jobs in London but I slowed down a little whilst having children. I got right back into my groove when we started filming Ladies of London as when we are filming, we have to be camera ready at all times. I’ve always had long hair so it has always been second nature to me to style it at home very quickly. I’ve never really enjoyed spending hours at the hairdressers so while I was living in New York in 1999 that I was taught how to blow dry my hair properly using rollers which volume to finish. Since then, I’ve pretty much tried every product on the market so I love finding shortcuts. I think you can get away with any outfit (within reason) if you have great hair and makeup!
DONNA IDA: What inspired you to start your blog?
Sophie Stanbury: I felt like I needed a proper outlet to share all my tips and inside scoop on all things I’ve found out through the years so it covers fashion, beauty, interior design, and staying in shape. I found that I could post a quick one or two sentence caption on Instagram, but couldn’t fully express everything I wanted to say without spamming everyone. So on my blog, I can go into detail on topics like how to style a specific outfit or advice on how to achieve big, bouncy, and glossy locks.
Sophie wears Miss Maggie Silk Blouse in To The Moon & Back
DONNA IDA: What are your tips for taking a great photo?
Sophie Stanbury: The key to a great shot is understanding your surroundings and carefully picking your location. Look for a backdrop which balances well with your outfit in terms of structure and colour. For me, when it comes to street style, less is more so try a simple background and make sure that you feel confident in what you’re wearing. If you don’t, that awkwardness will translate into the photos, and you never want to be a fashion victim. It’s not always flattering to be trendy.
DONNA IDA: Tell us about Fashion Week; what are your show highlights, what are you looking forward to and what are your survival tips?
Sophie Stanbury: I love the David Koma show, his dresses and jumpsuits are all knockout and I am hankering after several because I managed to get one last season which is now my absolute wardrobe favourite! I love Mark Katrantzou's fabulous dresses and prints and Temperley for a little glamour. I love dashing around a few shows for style inspiration between meetings and picking up my children from school, I love to to see what's coming up for next season!
DONNA IDA: What are your wardrobe essentials and how do you wear your jeans?
Sophie Stanbury: I have a few wardrobe essentials actually, especially right now as it’s so cold in London. You can't go wrong with cashmere jumpers that you can pair with any jeans, leather trousers or miniskirts. Good jeans whether flared, skinny, cropped, or bootcut are a must and I love to have a couple of pairs of leather leggings that can take you from day to night. A little black dress is a must-have for me as it’s so easy to dress up or down for a night out depending on your accessories - I like to wear mine with an ankle boot or over the knee boot for day time and a high heel shoe or strappy sandal for the evening.
DONNA IDA: Why do you think jeans are such an iconic item?
Sophie Stanbury: They’ve been around for such a long time and just don’t seem to date - with all the different cuts you can really find a pair for every occasion night or day. You can pretty much throw them on with just about anything and they will look great! I have a few favourites that I wear on rotation!
DONNA IDA: Which are your favourite jeans from our shoot and why?
Sophie Stanbury: I love the DONNA IDA Lois Mini Boot lace up jeans in black - they look amazing with the red lace shirt which is the perfect party outfit! They are different to anything I’ve got in my wardrobe so I love that little lace up detail.
DONNA IDA: Who is your denim icon?
Sophie Stanbury: I haven’t seen anyone look bad in a pair of jeans - Cindy Crawford definitely knew how to rock a pair - in fact she still does!!
DONNA IDA: Where in the world are girls best dressed? What kind of style do you admire?
Sophie Stanbury: I don’t think I could narrow it down to one place or city but every time I visit Rome, Milan, Paris everyone always looks effortlessly chic - and London too! Although different cities have different vibes - Shoreditch is a bit more funky and eccentric where women will wear bolder colours and more daring fashion pieces versus the more refined and tailored look of West London. Although, you can find both those styles in either place, and in any city around the world!
DONNA IDA: Describe your style highs and lows?
Sophie Stanbury: Everyone is guilty of making a fashion faux pas and I think mine was when I insisted on perming my hair when I was 15. I was inspired by Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science I think! Apart from that I have regretted a few buys but nothing too serious!
DONNA IDA: What’s your favourite restaurant?
Sophie Stanbury: It's hard to pinpoint one! I love Zuma for sushi and Isabel in Mayfair for a good scene and fun night out. The new restaurant at the top of 5 Hertford Street is also great and my old favourites the Wolseley and Daphne’s!
DONNA IDA: Where’s your ultimate holiday destination?
Sophie Stanbury: For total relaxation it has to be the Maldives which is total heaven or for a bit more fun Mustique with dreamy beaches!
DONNA IDA: What is your favourite fashion magazine?
Sophie Stanbury: I always grab a copy of Vogue at the airport or train and Grazia is a fun read on the rare occasions I get the chance to read a magazine.
DONNA IDA: What advice would you give to a younger you?
Sophie Stanbury: I wish I’d set up my own company sooner so I would have told myself to take a few more risks, set goals, be ambitious and don’t give up or be complacent.
DONNA IDA: What’s next?
Sophie Stanbury: Fingers crossed I will launch my all singing and dancing rollers - for salon ready hair on the go and in 5 minutes! As well as some more fabulous houses to decorate! There are lots of exciting projects coming up in 2018 so I just want to make sure I’m firing on all cylinders!