How to dress like a grown-up by the founder of Winser London

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Yasmin Le Bon modelling the new autumn/winter 2015 Winser London collection

Kim Winser OBE, is one of the most successful women in British fashion retail. Aquascutum, Pringle of Scotland and Agent Provocateur were all transformed with Winser's touch, so when she launched her own label the fashion industry sat up. To celebrate the arrival of Winser London's pop-up at Fenwick Bond Street, Alyson Walsh, author of Style Forever based on her popular blog That’s Not My Age - talks to the 56-year-old about her life rules, Yasmin Le Bon and the secret to achieving ageless style.

Why did you choose Yasmin Le Bon to be the face of Winser London?

I love having Yasmin modelling for us, at 50; though some of our models are 20. To me, it’s about a style not an age. Having a mixture of different models of different ages is an important part of who the brand is. Yasmin is a real woman, stunning stylish and genuine. And she has always been true to herself. She looks great in the collection and gives us real feedback on the garments, which we like. Hearing Yasmin’s viewpoint is brilliant.

What do you put the brand's success down to?

We’ve found a lovely gap in the market for very wearable, stylish clothes. Not silly clothes, not fashion. This is proper investment dressing in every sense. Our customer loves to mix-and-match and add to their wardrobe every season and they love the quality they are getting for the price.

What style advice do you always give to your customers?

Come and find what works for you – what suits your figure and your lifestyle. I like people who have their own style, their own tweak. I would like women to have confidence. Confidence comes when people find their own style, when they enjoy fashion and get it to work for them. I’m 5’10 and bigger at the top than the bottom, so I dress to suit me. Clothes are there to be enjoyed. How fabulous to open your wardrobe every day and see outfits that you want to wear and know you’ll look good in.

Has your style changed since you set up the brand?

I’ve got more things that I want to wear now! There are some brands who do a very good job like Joseph and COS, but I have struggled in the past. So setting up Winser London has definitely helped me – though I didn’t just do it for myself, I did it for other women, too! I like mixing it up. Today, I’m wearing pull-on tapered black trousers, a pair of mad vintage pumps, a Pima cotton T-shirt and a silk hooded top - I feel relaxed but smart. I really like beautiful quality with staying power; I don’t like clothes that collapse throughout the day.

What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

The head boy at school was killed in a motorbike accident and at very short notice I was asked, as head girl, to run speech day. The night before my mother said, “Kim, just be yourself”. I’ve never forgotten that. It’s important to be yourself - be proud of who you are.

What one thing would improve the quality of your life?

More time to do more sport. If I could find more time to play tennis and go swimming it would make me healthier. Also, more time to catch up with family and friends, to have a casual lunch relaxing in the garden or take the dog for a walk. I love being at home.

It’s holiday season – what are your packing tips?

I’m a ruthless packer. If I’m going away for a few days I always take a carry-on bag. I travel for business too often not to have a suitcase arrive when I get to my destination. I start with the shoes – just a couple of pairs, plus the ones I’m wearing (usually flip-flops so that I don’t have to take them off when I go through airport security) - and take it from there. I make sure colours match; I’m going on holiday to Spain for a few days and will be opting for black and white with a pop of red and orange.

Do you have a motto?

I always think if you give more than you take in life, you will always sleep well. I like people who work hard and are generous-spirited, people who are givers.

What’s next for Winser London?

We’ve just opened in California, which is very exciting, a whole new level of business. And we’re taking over a townhouse in Mayfair during London Fashion Week, in September. We’ll be there styling women all week – it’s invite only and is proving very popular but there are still a few places left…

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Winser has a pop up shop in Fenwick Bond Street throughout August.

By Alyson Walsh