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My Style Lessons: Sandra Wilson

With over 30,000 followers on Instagram, the former air hostess turned age-positive style influencer, talks to 55/Redefined about style, ageing and stepping into your confidence.

Sandra Wilson, now 68, first became known as the mother of model and TV personality Vogue Williams. Now with over 30,000 followers, she is loved for her bright, colourful outfits she shares on Instagram and her don’t-take-yourself-too-seriously and kind demeanour.

After her daughter, Vogue, posted a picture of Sandra on her Instagram account, followers suggested she create her own account to share her outfits. Having always loved fashion and styling, Sandra started documenting her outfits and it’s now become a daily hobby where she chronicles what she wears as she travels between Howth in Ireland, where she is from and has a property, to Spain, where her and her husband – highly successful businessman Neil Wilson – own a second property.

“Becoming an influencer in my 60s proves that great style is ageless,” Sandra reveals to 55/Redefined.

She confesses in our interview that she’s somewhat of a hoarder and has an extensive wardrobe at both her properties. As a true believer in a base wardrobe of key staples, she also enjoys layering and mixing and matching the old with the new. And a signature accessory would have to be a hat, although she tells me she is fond on handbags too. Sandra has a way of making dramatic silhouettes and bold colours look enviably elegant and easy to wear.

“My style is quite eclectic,” Sandra says. “I love layers and mixing and matching things. It’s a funny thing, I might start wearing pink and then everything for the next two days kind of goes on the theme of pink by default.”

An avid golfer who has four children – Amber, Vogue and Frederick, from her first marriage, and Alexander, from her second marriage to now-husband Neil – Sandra’s motto is all about making the most of things, doing what you need to feel happy in yourself and not subscribing to the idea that age should be a barrier to wearing whatever you please.

Sandra Wilson’s Style Lessons

From advice on confidence to tips for being more adventurous with your wardrobe, here, Sandra shares her style lessons she’s learnt over the years.

1.Style is Ageless 

I was reading a very interesting article in the Telegraph recently that was about over-50s. It was about how much over-50s spend. They are the highest spending group. Yet we are not represented in advertising. To me, age is just a number. I look at myself in the mirror some days and I say, well you look good. Yes, I see the changing face, but age is what’s in your head actually.

2.Don’t Fall into the Trap that You’re too Old  

My daughter, Vogue, and I often like the same things. I’ll buy something, and she’ll say to me, “Oh, I was going to get that”. We think we can’t wear certain things because of age but I am not sure about that. I’ll get a blouse and Vogue will end up taking it off me. And I don't mind, I love to see them on people. But that's good isn't it, we both suit things which shows you are not too old to try different things. We can all look good in the same thing.

3.Don’t Follow Trends – Buy Staples to Add to an Overall Collection 

I have so many clothes, it’s terrible really, I have things everywhere, but I always come back to good staples. I don’t really follow trends. I love really good basics and staple items. I bought a pair of cream trousers years ago for my youngest’s first communion that I still wear. This comes back to layering, with good basics one thing and can be changed three or four different ways. Always make sure you're buying with a mind to adding something to your collection that will work in multiple ways for years to come.

I like a nice kind of black dress, I suppose, it’s always the wardrobe staple. I also like a nice jacket and cool, nice pair of trousers. Like the cream ones. They go with lots of different things. I'm very fond of those products. I also like colour, so I probably would pair the cream trousers with different-coloured tops.

4. Shop Your Own Wardrobe 

During lockdown I would go through my wardrobe and I found things I forgot to add. Instead of shopping clothes because we couldn’t, I was mixing and matching. And that was very good and entertaining. With my fashion and clothes, I like show people something. This comes back to staples and showing people how you can put together the old with the new. I get lots of questions about where my clothes are from over Instagram, but I prefer to show people how they can put things together.

5.Step into Your Confidence 

At a certain age, you step into your confidence and you're happy within yourself, well most of the time, because like everybody you are going to have the little ups and downs. But if you're confident in yourself and what you're wearing and you're happy in your life, it’s going to bring you a greater feeling. My favourite thing about getting older, is you look back and think to yourself, “why didn’t I appreciate those years before and why couldn’t I relax and feel confident,” so I try and keep this in mind now.

6.Don’t Get Stuck in a Rut  

It’s quite easy to get stuck in a rut as you get older. People are afraid to try new things. I often hear people say, “Oh, I never thought of doing that or I never would have bought that”. I just don’t think like that. Don’t keep yourself in a box. I took my sister shopping recently and suggested we go into Zara. She said, “No, they never have things from me”. We went in and you know, she really enjoyed it. So instead of always saying no and thinking you can’t wear things or try new things, try and experiment. You don't have to keep the thing. If you get it home and you don’t like it, bring it back or just try different things. The point is to push yourself a little bit and just do something different. Trust me, you will feel happier for it.

7.Be Experimental with Fashion 

I would like people just to be experimental. A lot of people get the same things all of the time, like a nice little twin set. A lot of people seem to be afraid to try something new. Push yourself to experiment. Whatever you do, don't disappear into nothingness as you get older.

8.Dress to Lift Your Mood 

It’s so easy to just wear a tracksuit or leggings and a jumper and not go any further. When are you ever going to wear your clothes if you don't start wearing them now and dress up no matter what you’re doing? Even if I am going for a walk along by the sea or to have a drink, I'm always dress up because I like it. Even if I go to the supermarket. I mean, when are you ever going to wear all your things if you don’t dress up where ever you go?

9. Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously  

You see, Irish people laugh at each other and we take the rise. We laugh at ourselves and we make comments that are just jokey things. They're not serious. It's the best thing that you ever could do to learn to laugh at yourself. My sister and I are often laughing at stupid things and enjoying ourselves. Just Try Your Best, that's All You Can Do. Enjoy life.

By Alexandra O'Brien. You can follow Sandra Wilson on Instagram here. You are sure to get some great outfit inspiration as well as a daily mood boost thanks to her bright and beautiful style.