Thursday 7 September 2017

Know Your Style with Alyson Walsh

Today Alyson of That’s Not My Age launches her eagerly awaited second book Know YourStyle. I have known Alyson for many years now and it is great has been wonderful to follow her success as an author and with her blog. In fact it was Alyson who told me about blogging and giving me a voice and platform to show my work too. Never underestimate the importance of a good friend. Her is her story.

D: Tell us about yourself and your journey in fashion so far.

A: I’m a northerner. Born in Blackpool, I studied my degree in Manchester and then moved to London after graduation. I’ve worked in the fashion industry and the fashion media industry  - online and on women’s magazines for many years. I’m now a freelance fashion journalist, author and founder of the popular blog That’s Not My Age. I  write for the Financial Times and the Guardian – and one of my recent highlights was being described by the Daily Telegraph as one of the ‘women over 40 influencing the internet’.

D: That’s Not My Age, I have always thought this was a brilliant title for your blog what inspired the title and the desire to do it? Do you think the career path you took from Fashion Editor at Good Housekeeping to fashion journalism helped steer you in this direction?

A: That’s Not My Age started nine years ago – because I felt that women over-40 were being ignored by the fashion industry. All the emphasis was on youth and being young and yet I was seeing all these wonderful, older people everyday. Whereas, I have always believed that it’s not about age, it’s about style. After working on a magazine and writing all those prescriptive style rules, I just wanted to talk to women in the way that I talk to my friends. I hope That’s Not My Age is empowering and fun and offers style advice in a down-to-earth way. I’m lucky to have a loyal following who I am eternally grateful to because without them my two books wouldn’t exist.

D: You have just published your second book Know Your Style tell us about it.

A: For my second book, the aim was to talk less about age and more about style. To try to figure out what goes with what (and that was the tentative title of the book at commissioning stage). How do we know what to buy when our lifestyles are constantly changing – today more people work remotely from home than ever before – and there’s so much on offer? How to colour match or mismatch? How to wear flat shoes?

My conclusion is that with a little bit of practice, any woman can be stylish. That looking good is not about buying loads of new stuff but spending time figuring out what makes you feel chic and comfortable. I enjoyed gathering thoughts and style tips from the women who inspire me, including: Lucinda Chambers, Caroline Issa, Linda RodinPat ClevelandSarah Jane AdamsMichelle Ogundehin (editor-in-chief Elle Decoration), Lyn Slater and many more.

D: What is it like to sit down and write a book? Do you have any tricks you employ to keep you going, other than the deadline, of course.

A:   It’s quite intense and not as easy as you’d imagine. I’ve written for years  - features for magazines and websites, I write for the FT’s How To Spend It and the Guardian, as well as shorter blog posts for That’s Not My Age - but writing a book is a totally different experience. You’re on your own and just have to keep going, to keep writing a certain number of words everyday. Some days I felt like I was really having to dredge anecdotes and stuff up from the depths. At times like these I’d take short breaks to give my brain a rest and head to my favourite local coffee shop, or go for a walk around the park.

D: After the book launch and tour, what’s next?

A: I want to focus on That’s Not My Age; to continue providing interesting, informative, well-written content about age and style and to continue to engage with my lovely, loyal followers.

D: Who or what inspires you?

A: I’m inspired by other women, of all ages – and the best thing about being the author of That’s Not My Age and two books has been meeting and interviewing lots of fantastic women. These are role models, industry experts and women of substance who I admire like. I loved interviewing them all.

D: Describe your own personal style.

A: It’s what I call Casual Glamour, a blend of day and eveningwear and flat shoes or trainers.  I often wear jeans or a jumpsuit but I do like to mix things up. I have a sort of Split-Personality Style: half minimal, menswear-inspired dressing, half bohemian, hippy-punk - with the occasional Advanced Style moment thrown in. And I think as we continue to reinvent ourselves throughout our lives, most women have become more comfortable with this high-low, pick and mix approach.

D: You are in great shape what exercise do you do?

A: Not as much as I used to do. I was very sporty when I was younger. Now I ride my bike, swim a couple of times a week and do Pilates. I really want to start running again, I did my back in a few years ago and have to be careful. Add this to my list of things to do after the book tour…

D: What advice would you give your 16 year old self ?

A: Get a pension!

D: Movies or the theatre?

A: Cinema.

D: Favourite city?

A: London. But I love Manchester, New York, Paris and Stockholm, too.

D: Tell me something surprising about yourself.

A: This is not my entire globe collection!

Clothing credits –
Shot 1, 3 and 6 - House of Khadi, blue shirt, Gap jeans and New Balance x J.Crew trainers.
Shot 2 - H&M Pyjama-style top, Me+Em posh track pants, and Common Projects trainers.
Shot 3 – French workwear brand bought from MHL, black jumpsuit, Vans trainers and earrings from Brixton market.
Shot 4 – APC denim jacket, Me+Me striped t-shirt with Gudrun Sjoden khaki trousers.

Both of Alyson's books can be bought here and here.

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