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When it comes to dressing there's satisfaction to be found in even the smallest of details. From buttoning up a crisp poplin shirt, to putting on a pair of denim that sits just right or hitting upon a perfectly layered outfit - so much that you turn to it again and again. Amongst those that have honed their skill for finding, combining and getting the most out of garments are stylists. We sat down with Layla Hemkens, our go-to stylist for photoshoots - and asked her to share her thoughts on reaching a personal style and how to do more, with less garments.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your personal style?
I work as a freelance fashion stylist in Stockholm. Generally, I strive for a basic wardrobe with garments that are easy to style both together as well as with more eccentric garments. A good look is all about comfort, and this can range from basic sportswear to a highly elevated and chique outfit.
What are your 5 go-to essentials?
Essential pieces to me are a white blouse, a classic pair of blue jeans, a nice pair of tailored trousers, a tank top and a nice thick knit. I like wearing these garments oversized, except for the tank top.
What role do basics play in a curated wardrobe?
They play a key role. Personally, I focus on quality because I own and buy relatively little, so every garment needs to be able to last many wears. Elevated basics work well as a foundation to your wardrobe, it enables the freedom to play around with more sophisticated pieces, including jewellery, shoes, bags and specific stand-out garments. A simple, well-made tee — for example — will always work with a pair of unconventional and fashion-forward trousers and heels. It even makes the latter stand out more.
“YOU'D BE SURPRISED BY HOW YOU CAN BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO YOUR GARMENTS SIMPLY BY WEARING THEM DIFFERENTLY OR COMBINING THEM WITH SOMETHING ELSE.”
What do you look for when buying something new (or used) to add to your wardrobe?
I am drawn to creative brands that value quality both in material and design. I am at this stage in my life now where I know what I like; I am very specific in what I want to add to my wardrobe and have allowed myself to take time in finding the garment I’m looking for; there's satisfaction to be found in the search. I never really buy anything spontaneously anymore.
What does the pursuit of less mean to you?
It means investing in staple garments I know I will wear a lot — it’s something I live by. I also try to take really good care of my items by for example not over-washing them, storing them correctly and repairing them at a tailor if needed. It also encourages you to invoke a higher level of creativity, because you have to make do with the garments you already own, rather than buying something new. You’d be surprised by how you can breathe new life into your garments simply by wearing them differently or combining them with something else. Finally, I think it’s important to find your own style and recognize what works for you. Everyone should have “their jeans”, “their tailored trousers” or “their knit”; garments that you can always reliably return to.
Is there a difference between being "stylish" and being "fashionable"?
Yes. Whereas fashion is more concerned with “the now”, style is more about timelessness and effortlessness. The person who is stylish exudes an air of confidence; his or her clothes reinforce the personality rather than weighing it down.