Today I am very excited to introduce you to the beautiful Tabitha, who some of you may know from Bourbon and Pearls. Forgive me for my crude description, but for me Tabitha is a prime example of one of those perfect English ladies out there who is always impeccably dressed, freshly showered with beautiful hair and ready with a quick zinger. She has fabulous style – I’ve included some favorite pictures throughout the interview – and is the friend you’d probably most want to have some tea and go shopping with (though you might want to leave your Vuitton Speedy bag at home…as you’ll see below).
And, she’s 47. Yes, you heard that right, 47. So awesome and jealousy inducing. Enjoy meeting Tabitha!
First things first – who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
My name is Tabitha, I live in Scotland. Like the devil I am large, I contain multitudes – which is a fancy way of saying I have a portfolio career – which is a fancy way of saying I have two or more jobs. I work from home as a freelance writer and I’m assisting in the development of a documentary. I also muck out and exercise two horses a few days a week.
I’d like to hear more about your style. What’s a typical day outfit for you?
A typical day outfit is gym wear, or wellies and jodphurs, think Nick Nolte in Down and Out in Beverly Hills, but in the freezing rain and mud and you’re pretty much there.
How about a night look?
As I spend my week days shuffling around in either slippers, trainers or wellies I tend to be the most overdressed person in the room whenever I venture out at night. Cinders has nothing on me. My core colours are white, camel and grey but I also love jewel tones like emerald and red. I have no brand allegiances whatsoever but I favour simple clean lines and body skimming sheath dresses and always wear heels. I’m quite minimalist, and keep accessories and jewellery to the bare minimum – usually none at all.
Tabitha’s Smython bag
What are some of your favorite brands and mainstays of your wardrobe?
When I was younger and living and working in London my wardrobe consisted of Gucci and Prada but those days have passed. I really don’t care about the provenance of clothing anymore but I do still appreciate individuality and fine craftsmanship, so I would name Manolo Blahnik as my favourite shoemaker. Classics are my leitmotif, I don’t like to fuss too much over clothes. I also favour Smythson for stationary and handbags.
How about some brands which are just not your style, that you may think are overrated and/or overpriced?
I would rather be tarred and feathered than be seen carrying an Louis Vuitton logo bag or any bag or garment that has obvious branding. I think discretion is underrated these days. Had you seen me back in the 80′s I would have been toting one of my eight Louis Vuitton bags – shudder. I had to detract from my curly perm and blue eyeshadow somehow.
Tabitha’s lonely shoe closet
I’d love to hear about some of the splurges you’ve made that have had the best “cost per wear”. What have they been? What about the items that you’ve splurged on that now you regret?
1. I have worn my Manolo’s into the ground. However…
2. I bought a Chanel jacket which was a size too small for me, I’ve worn it twice. It is heading to eBay.
3. I bought three Chanel 2.55 bags which I have carried about four times.
4. I have a sideboard full of designer shoes which I barely wear nowadays.I don’t even really like Louboutin anymore – like Louis Vuitton it has become too much a part of our “WAG” culture in the UK.
How about some of your favorite high street stores and your favorite buys at them?
Marks and Spencers for underwear and slouchy house wear, and I have an addiction to the American store J.Crew which by the time it reaches these forgotten shores ends up costing me designer prices. I am trying to kick the habit!
Charlotte Olympia Pandora clutch – you can swap out the insides!
How do you budget for fashion? What percent of your wardrobe do you shop at sale vs. full price?
I have never bought anything on sale, I’m too far away from most of the shops that I love and my shoe and dress sizes usually sell out long before sale time online. I buy what I need each season rather than want, yet reserve the right to fall in love with something whimsical and impractical and buy it the drop of my debit card. Last year that accolade went to my Pandora clutch bag by Charlotte Olympia. Carried once – groan.
And how does your wardrobe/fashion spend relate to your travel spend?
I’ve been travelling since I was very young, I had ticked off all of the countries I had wanted to visit by the time I was 27 and so I then wrote out a list of Grand Hotels that I wanted to visit – legendary in the sense of history, of secrets whispered from walls, of assignations and affairs and intrigue. I came to the end of that list last year. I have no goals left travel wise bar going on holiday as a sun seeker a few times every year.
Tabitha’s lovely bathroom, wallpaper by Don Loper created for Beverly Hills Hotel (right)
What are some of your other major passions and hobbies?
My passion is interiors; DeGournay, Zuber, Manuel Canovas and Pierre Frey excite me more than any other designers. My interests include opera, theatre and art and I love baking, spinning and fencing, though not at the same time.
This one is just for fun – what are some of your pet peeves?
1. The use of certain words: sunnies, lippie.
2. Bad manners.
3. Calling tech support in Uttar Pradesh.
4. Lack of consistency at Starbucks.
Preppy on the left…with an Hermes Jige clutch on the right
Can you share some learnings about style and shopping that you’ve had to learn the hard way over the years?
I think everyone should have fun with fashion and trends when they’re young and not take clothes too seriously. I think too many people get hung up on what they are supposed to wear or how they are supposed to look, I can’t bear style books that roll out a blueprint for dressing.
What have I learned? Well, I spent my entire 20′s purchasing designer clothes non stop. I used to be a ridiculous clothes horse, who would happily spend £700 on pair of shoes without batting an eyelid but now I’ve realised that I’m really not that bothered about clothes, as long as I have a few good pieces hanging in my wardrobe I’m perfectly happy.
How about some general life advice?
Decide on a career early and stick with it. I didn’t.
And finally…please share something surprising about yourself!
I am world championship surfer. (This may or not be true.) OK, it’s not but I would love to be a blonde blue eyed surfer girl. I also used to be a punk; I still am in many ways.I hope you enjoyed reading about Tabitha as much as I enjoyed putting together this interview. She is a great inspiration and I love that her style is classic without any touch of stiffness to it. Tabitha, thank you for sharing your photos and thoughts with us, and for more, check out her blog here.