What was it like being appointed the youngest-ever fashion editor of a national newspaper when you were given the job of the Mirror’s fashion editor at 22?

I relished the challenge: they had never before covered the ready-to-wear shows in Milan, Paris and London, nor had they taken the fashion industry seriously as something to be written about.  So, we did that, in a way that worked for the 3 million strong audience. I was thrilled when I began to get sackfuls of mail from readers who were grateful for the coverage, and wanting more. I had been guilty of sterotyping tabloid newspaper readers prior to starting there, but it gave me a great insight into the consumer habits of the British public and an under standing that fashion is not just about elite style in glossy magazines. It is about real people in real situations.

What were the highlights of your time as the lifestyle and fashion correspondent for Sky News?

It was a real ‘in at the deep end’ role, but I absolutely loved it. With a background in daily newspapers, I was used to working to tight deadlines, but 24hr television news adds a whole new dimension to the adrenalin-filled process. I had no training but, thanks to a wonderful team of producer s and reporters who took the time to mentor me , I learned the ropes very quickly. No other news outlet had a dedicated industry reporter, and the likes of the BBC and the American channels suddenly started appearing beside the runway, realising we were onto something.

It seems antiquated now, but it was in the days of dial-up inter net, so when we covered London Fashion Week with a full-on outside broadcast unit, doing live commentary on the catwalk shows as they were happening, it revolutionised the industry. I had viewers contacting me from all over the world saying they loved having access to the shows. Designers consistently told me that boutique buyers across the world had seen their collection on our coverage and bought as a result. Today, in a world where live streaming is commonplace, it doesn’t seem a big deal, but we really innovated.

How has the role of being a fashion writer changed in the past 20 years?

It is no longer enough to write a weekly page and assume your readers hang on your every word. The public are much more style literate: it started with Sex & The City – outside the world of high fashion, no-one knew who Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were, then suddenly everyone aspired to own a pair of £400 frou-frou satin heels. Today, we all have a fashion voice, via blogs, comment pages and social media, and the media industry has had to evolve to meet the needs of its audiences. Fashion is no longer dictatorial in the way it once was: so our role is not to tell readers “what is in fashion”, but rather to translate different options and help them under stand what works for them. Style is much more democratic today, in that we have a future Queen who wears High Street and secretaries who carry designer handbags.

There are two kinds of fashion writer today: there are those who have created brands around their own image, being photographed trying trends and talking with a personal voice about the first person experience of different looks - some are independent bloggers and some are attached to newspapers and magazines. Then there are the respected do yennes of the industry, whose critical eye is about more than personal comment, but about the cultural context of design, a critique of garment construction, the informed historical influences on a collection, and the analysis of the business of fashion.

How has the role of being a fashion writer changed in the past 20 years?

It is no longer enough to write a weekly page and assume your readers hang on your every word. The public are much more style literate: it started with Sex & The City – outside the world of high fashion, no-one knew who Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo were, then suddenly everyone aspired to own a pair of £400 frou-frou satin heels. Today, we all have a fashion voice, via blogs, comment pages and social media, and the media industry has had to evolve to meet the needs of its audiences. Fashion is no longer dictatorial in the way it once was: so our role is not to tell readers “what is in fashion”, but rather to translate different options and help them understand what works for them. Style is much more democratic today, in that we have a future Queen who wears High Street and secretaries who carry designer handbags. There are two kinds of fashion writer today: there are those who have created brands around their own image, being photographed trying trends and talking with a personal voice about the first person experience of different looks - some are independent bloggers and some are attached to newspapers and magazines. Then there are the respected do yennes of the industry, whose critical eye is about more than personal comment, but about the cultural context of design, a critique of garment construction, the informed historical influences on a collection, and the analysis of the business of fashion.

How has your own personal style evolved since you started out on Fleet Street to today, when you are now a freelance writer and consultant? Does style evolve with age? Or is it also to do with circumstances and lifestyle?

I have always had a strong sense of what I like and don’t like, and have rarely been swayed by trends. Obviously if a style I like is around, I will adopt it because it is more a vailable, but I’m happy to continue wearing it long after fashionistas have moved on to the next big thing. For me, clothes have to feel good and flatter so I focus on tactile textiles, a good cut and something that is well constructed. I’m rather schizophrenic with my taste though: I love the clashing prints and textures of Dries van Noten and Marni, the conceptual design of Yohji Yamamoto or Issey Miyake, the drama of Vivienne Westwood and the romance of Ralph Lauren’s prarie style. In reality, being mum to a five year-old and working from home a lot of the time , I wear a mix of Winser London, Paul Smith, Margaret Howell, Eskandar, Shirin Guild, COS and GAP. My day-to-day staples are a pair of brogues from Grenson or Church’s, plus either a Liberty print dress or stretch skinny trousers and a shirt or a cashmere rollneck: that’s remained pretty consistent for the last 20 years, but I still love the chance to dress up for the red carpet!

Do you advise your clients on clothes and image as part of the service you offer with your media training business Shoot The Messenger?

Yes, I do, and I find it immensely rewarding. It’s my belief that in all walks of life, clothes make a big difference to how you feel and how others perceive you. A great outfit makes you stand taller, and face the day with confidence, and that in turn makes people respond to you more positively. Even the most stylish people (I work with men and women as a wardrobe consultant - both experienced presenters and those new to being on TV) can get stuck in a rut, or don’t know how to adapt their look for certain occasions – especially television appearances. Something that looks great at a wedding or in the office doesn’t necessarily work on camera, so I work with clients to develop a flattering, fuss-free, feel-good look that allows them to focus on delivering their message clearly, without distraction.

You kindly hosted our first Winser London event at Stoke Park Country Club. It was a fabulous evening and I hope you enjoyed yourself. Which pieces from the collection appealed to you in particular?

I am a big fan of the Audrey cashmere sweater – the wide boat neckline is extremely flattering, and I love the relaxed boxy shape. I’ve also adopted the stretchy capri trousers as my new school run uniform – they're great with brogues and loafers. And for client meetings, the multi-way shirt dress is a real winner. It’s made from a deliciously beautiful stretch cotton that manages to be crisp and drapey at the same time. The cut is fabulous, and the hook and eye fastening with a flyaway collar is both sexy and demure, and works really well - I’m hoping you’ll do a shirt along the same lines!

You are a golf fan. Do you pay special attention to what you wear when playing a game?

Sadly, I haven’t hit the fairways much since my daughter was born nearly six years ago. It’s just too time consuming. But yes, of course I care about my appearance on the tee! It’s much easier to buy stylish golfwear in the US and Europe, where more – younger – women play. Here, it is still, generally a game that appeals to older women. If truth be told, I’m a bit of a fair-weather player anyway, so if it’s time to put my shapeless waterproofs on, I’d rather not be out there! I’m looking forward to getting back out there, one day…

Any exciting new projects in the pipeline?

Every day is different in my line of work, so it’s always exciting. I am very fortunate to meet some really interesting people and to travel to some fascinating places. One day, I’ll be writing content for a new website, the next day I might be brainstorming as a consultant to a brand’s creative team. The next, I might be training a spokesperson to appear on television, and then I’ll be writing an urgent feature for a newspaper or an interview for a Sunday supplement. When a door is opened, I always walk through to see what’s on the other side, because that’s where you discover new challenges and stretch yourself to work in areas that you never thought you would.

Shop The Look