‘People can think Fashion and Image is really frivolous but it’s the bloody armour we wear every day. It’s intrinsic, our personal style is so linked to our identity and it says so much.’ Sulkydoll Styling
‘People can think Fashion and Image is really frivolous but it’s the bloody armour we wear every day. It’s intrinsic, our personal style is so linked to our identity and it says so much.‘ Sulkydoll Styling
Such a candid person LOVE her individual style and attitude and once we’d had a short exchange I knew I wanted to know more, and she was true to life!
I interviewed Sulkydoll, aka Donna, over a Facetime call and she was extremely open and warm…this is Sulkydoll.
You are a Mum, how old are your children?
I have a really big gap, my daughter’s 12 and my son is 6 both the oldest in their year. With the job I do, when you are self-employed it’s hard and expensive to have 2 children in childcare at the same time and so I had to wait until one was in School to have another one! It actually works really well as my daughter doesn’t love me at the moment as she’s a pre-teen but my son is still at the stage he still loves me so I’ll never have two children who hate me at the same time!
You wear a few hats, what is it you actually do?
So, Instagram is not my job, I am quite clear about that. It’s amazing, it’s a marvellous, marvellous marketing tool. I love it and hate it in equal measures I think. But, For me it’s not my job, I am not a blogger I am a Stylist. I do Personal Styling, both men and women, but because of who I work with, a lot of what I do can’t go on instagram as it’s too personal.
I do editorials as well which I love. They are so creative, they really float my boat but they’re less frequent. When you get a big one it’s amazing, and you can get paid a lot of money for it but more often that not the bigger the brand the less they pay. It’s promoted as having value in exposure but I can’t feed my children on exposure, they need fish fingers. So I love doing editorials but they don’t come along as frequently. Last year I did 4 shoots, almost quarterly & I try and keep my hand in.
The majority of what I do is Personal Styling, I [also] write for a magazine, an online publication called Riddle, which I secured after doing a shoot for a friend of a friend of the Editor who liked my work.
It’s not massively lucrative, but I really enjoy it. I am writing about stuff that I love, and I would have been writing about it anyway on a blog piece or whatever on my site. I am British Fashion Council (BFC) registered Stylist so I’ve got published work alongside my editorials,
When I go to London Fashion Week I always feel like the oldest one there and I could have given birth to all the younger stylists, because I’m 43.
I am there with all these young, creative stylists & I love hanging out with them, their energy is infectious, but I always come away feeling slightly depressed thinking “I never get these amazing gigs because I’m not young and I can’t be at London Bridge at 2am with 12 hours notice when they want to do some epic shoot there”
BUT by the same token, half the time, they say “we want to get more personal styling because the editorials don’t pay enough” so even really big Stylists I admire do Personal styling but They don’t necessarily shout about it.
Personal Styling can be an absolute dream & lots of my clients have become friends. In fact some of my bigger celebrity clients have become very good friends as we spend whole days together and often much longer, and if we get on very well then it’s great.
With Personal Styling you’re a Lone Ranger & It can feel quite intense but I get a lot of satisfaction from that. Often, when I get a testimonials I end up crying at the impact I have had on somebody’s life, confidence and self esteem.
People can think Fashion and Image is really frivolous but it’s the armour we wear every day. It’s intrinsic to who we are, our personal style is clearly linked to our identity and it says so much.
In between my 2 children, I lost a baby, it was the darkest time and I remember it was the one time when I didn’t give a shit about what I was wearing because I was so grief stricken. I totally lost myself for a good six months, I just stopped caring I didn’t put on makeup and I didn’t go out as much – I think people who are very down on life often don’t care about such things.
So, like when women cut their hair after a break up & people say “she’s making a statement”. Its such a part of who we are that I get irritated by people who say image frivolous, its huge.
Often people come up to me and say “I like how you dress but I don’t want to dress like you” and I say ‘Well I don’t want you to dress like me either, I don’t want there to be lots of Donna clones, the way I dress is intrinsic to me and is so much about me, I want you to look like you”.
Once you’ve had children, your shape changes, your confidence can dip and as we age you kind of question whether or not you ‘should’ be wearing certain things. There are far too many expectations about what women should wear, how they should wear it, when she should wear it. I did a blog post for Selfish Mother called Schoolrunstyle and it was quite divisive, I definitely had a few mums at school ignore me after that for about 6 weeks because I basically said that there’s a uniform on the school run and…
I guess people do it to fit in, but the first time I picked my daughter up from Yr R I split the playground when I walked in in a denim jumpsuit! It was a bit like..”what the?!” It was that whole “ who does she think she is?”
Some people don’t want to stand out but you don’t have to stand out but you still want to be you. There’s kind of an expectation about what you should and shouldn’t wear but once you have confidence, because confidence is everything, you actually don’t give shit if anyone likes you or what you’re wearing.
It’s that is the thing with confidence, so it’s “not who will like me?” confidence is like, will I like them?
I think that’s one of the great things about being an older more mature Stylist is that I get taken seriously (probably more seriously sometimes) than younger Stylists by my clients because they know I have life experience. One of my clients is quite a prolific TV presenter who is a size 12 and she only uses me. She says the Stylists she used to use would turn up with size 8 pieces and she’d end up just in tears. I think that when you reach a certain age you have a clearer idea of what suits you & go with what works and you can incorporate a trend. For example, I’m 5 foot 2 and an hourglass so I play to my strengths & so I’m not gonna wear a long white maxi dress anytime soon because I won’t look great in it!
How would you describe your personal style?
I love the 70s – I’ve got the wrong body shape for it really but I love everything about it – the music the clothes, the vibe. I grew up watching Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman and Princess Leia and I am very influenced by the 70s. If you look back at models at that time they tended to be flat chested with a v lean frame and that’s not me, so I can wear those voluminous flares but it’s not a great look on me. I love the hair and the make-up from that era, I got lucky with the hair but as for the rest it doesn’t really go as I’ve got the wrong body shape. My body shape is more 1950s because I’m an hour glass and look much better in a nipped in dresses but it’s not a very practical look.
J-Lo is a big style icon of mine, and she must be drinking unicorn tears or something as that girl does not age! She is 49 this year and she just look s incredible. I look at J-Lo and I think she still sexy she wears some really edgy stuff but she’s still classy, she is clearly a red blooded women and she dresses to show that. People judge you before you even open your mouth when you’ve only just walked through the door you might as well give them something to talk about.
Where did the name Sulkydoll come from?
It Was my nickname as a child. People meet me and say “oh you’re not sulky!” But I really can be and as a child I was really sulky! What’s in a name is the talking point – its not a generic name and it’s memorable. Also Sulky doll is a kind of hint that I’ll push against things. I’m not sickly sweet – I’ll tell you how it is.
What are your two favourite accessories?
- Gold hoops! I have them in about 4 or 5 different sizes. If I leave the house without earrings then I will go back, I feel naked!
- A watch, I struggle without a watch. I am on my phone a lot but I always look at my watch. I like an oversized chunky watch.
I am a real shoe and bag girl too. I think one of the mistakes people make is when They put an outfit together and they don’t think about the shoes. If you start from the shoes up and build around the shoes then the outfit is perfect. Heels can be great. You hold yourself differently, it’s a definite mind-set. When I take a client shopping I always say bring a pair of heels, (walk around in flats) but bring a pair of heels because you want to see how it looks in heels. Some boutiques are really good and they’ll have heels available as you need to see what an outfit looks like in heels. It elongates the frame and gives a better silhouette.
What are your favourite places to shop?
Depends what for. H&M sizing is horrendous. It’s well known for it. Some of the fashion bloggers have just caught up with this and i want to scream “hello! it’s been like this about 10 years!”
I can be anything from a size 6 to a size 16 in H&M, their sizing is woeful but for me it’s a kind of one stop shop because it does Menswear, Womenswear and it does Kids. Their accessories are on trend and they do some cool collaborations.
Zara is THE best for on trend pieces. Their sizing is also a little troublesome as its Spanish sizing and if you are bringing in plus size clients larges it’s not great for the ego. But I just tell them Zara is daft sizing.
Dress for who you are. Once you’ve got your style, your image and your identity, you actually care less about what size it is. One of my favourite clients, about 3 years ago, told me “ I want to lose weight before I do this”, but I said do this now and you’ll lose the weight because the confidence comes first. And guess what? She lost 4 stone. Now, None of the things we got initially fit her anymore but she has said she wouldn’t want them to fit her as her style has completely changed, and evolved again just by losing the weight.
And I am not suggesting that all women need to lose weight at all. I style Helen from the Scummie Mummies
and she is loud and proud and is one of the best people to style because she is a size 18 and is SO comfortable with that there’s none of this hide this, hide that, NO, just get it out there. She is an hourglass shape though, so she goes in and out in all the right places which helps.
What’s one thing you’ve never done but would love to do?
[THIS ACTUALLY JUST HAPPENED!] I don’t know but I would love to style someone for the Oscars! A friend of a friend is in a film [“The Silent Child”] and she’s asked if I would like to style her for the Red Carpet.
The male I would love to style the most is Colin Farrell but that’s because I have had a crush on him since the 90s. And he looks so good in a suit!
Who are your two stylist idols?
she’s worked with some amazing people. I follow her on Instagram and I’ve literally never seen a shit picture on her feed. Its art, its actual art. Such a talent. She’s done some stuff recently with Kaia Gerber who is Cindy Crawford’s daughter & it’s so good.
one of my all time favourites is Kate Moss, she has basically given women my age permission to wear what they want, if she can wear it then why can’t I? Her style’s evolved as she’s aged & had a daughter but she still just nails it! And I love her ability to irritate the Daily mail almost on a daily basis. Like how she wears hot pants age 44 – Because she looks amazing! I like her because she pushes the boundaries, I like a bit of an edge too.
Thanks so much Donna, fascinating and so damn true! Congratulations on the Oscar Styling! AMAZING!