Please introduce yourself
I am Helen and I run the Instagram account @instyle.by.helen. Like many, I started out writing a little blog, Fashion40ish. Can anyone actually remember the days before Instagram? It has been my happy, creative space for the past 8 or 9 years. I am thrilled to say that it has become my career, for want of a better word. I am now working with some wonderful brands which affords me an income that supplements the earnings I gain from my position within our family business.
I started out in fashion and design and even owned and worked in my own boutique. I learnt all about styling and advising women on their own choices. I would help guide them to stepping out of their comfort zone and to give things a go. To my surprise it worked, more often than not.
I live in Shropshire with my Husband and teenage daughter. My wonderful Step Daughter is a beautician and she regularly visits to carry out vital maintenance work!! We have 3 dogs and I get asked about them so much I created an account all about my home and pooches @houseandhoundsbyhelen
How do you describe your signature personal style?
I am a fairly safe and steady dresser with a style that centres around simple looks and guidelines. I am a lover of a good jean and own far too many pairs. I tend to follow the ‘Ahh’ rule. If you pop your clothing on and you stand in front of the mirror with a smile then that is more than likely hitting the ‘Ahh’ and you are good to go. I know when I have made an error, it isn’t always immediately apparent but I just know when something is not quite right. If I am perfectly honest, the best ‘Ahh’ items for me are the simple blazer and jeans with a top or T Shirt then add weather appropriate footwear. After that, a cheeky accessory, here or there, is easy. I have a mix of high street with limited amounts of high end. I usually find that the investment in more expensive items should be with your accessories followed by the odd designer jean or coat/jacket or shoe. My money is in handbags, my watch, jewellery and my gorgeous silk scarves.
Who’s style are you inspired by? In real life or online.
My inspiration comes mainly from Pinterest and Instagram. I can lose hours. It doesn’t have to be complete outfits, I usually find that it is a nod to something that I already own that will trigger an outfit idea. I have a huge amount of images saved via Instagram as well as Pinterest and I have many favourite accounts. I have noticed just recently that the naughtiness that is @CarolinesStyleHacks has persuaded me to part with some hard earned cash!! The one celeb that I always gravitate back to has to be Jennifer Aniston. She is my perfect style icon because she is so easy to copy, she is my age and about my height but with better arms, legs and hair. She also has quite a lot more in her bank account but I am not jealous.
If you had to pick your favourite piece from the Just Add Style luxury silk scarf collection, which would it be and why?
I am so chuffed that I actually don’t have to pick just one style from the scarf collection as I think I now own them all!! I do have a soft spot for my original, orange and black, beauty though. I openly admit to being fairly rubbish and tying them so, again, I keep things extremely simple. A nice bow and I am good to go. I have used the scarves on bags and as belts too.
How did you become a fashion influencer?
I don’t particularly like the term ‘influencer’ and, if I am one, it crept up on me as my account grew and became more popular. Everything has been organic as I fundamentally disagree, passionately, with accounts buying followers, comments, reel views and likes. It is cheating. I think if you are yourself and completely honest it shows through and you find your tribe.
Which three Instagram accounts do you currently love and want to recommend?
When I am scrolling, I always stop when Kat Farmer (@doesmybumlook40) pops up. I have followed her for years. Before Instagram, when she started her blog, I remember emailing her and I have met up with her a few times. She is so dynamic and nutty too, completely obsessed with all things fashion. I wish I had half her energy. I have already mentioned Caroline, (@carolinesstylehacks) whom I have also met and she is delightful. I love so many accounts but if you are tying my down to three I will add in Astrid (@astridiwantyouinmylife) because we have followed each other from just after she started with this craziness and she has gone from strength to strength. I love her over the top, colourful, adventurous looks. Only she can pull them off and she never fails to look completely stunning. I have not met up with Astrid but she is top of my list. She exudes warmth and kindness. It really is naughty keeping me to only three.
Follow Helen and her relatable, easy chic style @instyle.by.helen