Interview with a fashion stylist

Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston

Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston - Credit: Archant

Meet Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston, a renowned fashion stylist and get her A/W wardrobe must-haves

Stephanie handpicks items for her clients

Stephanie handpicks items for her clients - Credit: Archant

Music and fashion have always intertwined and Manchester’s music scene has long dominated; we only need to rattle off Oasis, The Smiths and Joy Division to prove our point. Which is why it comes as no surprise that personal stylist Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston was heavily influenced by music and culture when it came to discovering her love for fashion. ‘I think Manchester has some of the coolest styles,’ she enthuses. ‘I love seeing people walk around in the 80s revival looks that the city is known for.’ Stephanie, who once called Chorlton home, now splits her time between Cheshire and Buckinghamshire. ‘I’m in London around three times a week and I love seeing the differences in how people dress in the South compared to the North. Seeing how people interpret style and trends gets my creative juices flowing.’ Though Stephanie has always had a love for fashion, she first pursued a career in the corporate world, which worked perfectly whilst raising three children. ‘It’s funny, but the CEO of my old job was the one who told me to pursue a career in styling,’ she laughs. ‘I was always styling people and offering advice and he finally said it’s something I should do!’

After attending fashion college, Stephanie now styles both men and women, from as young as 16 up to 75. ‘What’s interesting is that I tend to get a lot of professional women who find they need help after having children,’ she explains. ‘I think a lot of women lose themselves after having children, their body shapes have changed and they’re unsure on how to dress. I help them rediscover themselves and it’s one of the best feelings. When they send pictures of themselves in outfits, I’ve helped them choose, I feel like a proud mum!’

Being a stylist means more than just choosing the right outfits. For Stephanie, her job includes reading people, learning about their lifestyle and counselling them through any issues; much more than the frivolous world of vanity many see the world of fashion as.

‘When meeting new clients, I first conduct a personality analysis,’ she explains. ‘I’ll then ask who their style icons are because that can tell you a lot about a person. I ask them to create mood boards of anything they like; it could be of clothing, favourite cities, literally anything that inspires them. Then I’ll take them out styling and document it through photographs.’

Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston splits her time between Cheshire and London

Stephanie Crawshay-Ralston splits her time between Cheshire and London - Credit: Archant

Researching trends is a huge part of Stephanie’s job and it’s something she loves to do. ‘I can honestly spend hours looking up trends and researching looks. I’m consciously trying to put my phone away at night,’ she laughs. Her favourite trend this season? The puff sleeve. ‘There are so many ways to wear it and have it suit every look,’ Stephanie says. ‘I think it’s flattering to all body shapes, and you can easily dress it up or dress it down. I’d pair it with a good pair of leather pants which are a great trend this season.’

Like many stylists, Stephanie appreciates all forms of style, pairing high-end designers such as Alexander McQueen and Chanel with beloved high street favourites like Zara, and can hardly narrow down a favourite. She does believe, however, that everyone should have certain staples in their wardrobe. ‘I honestly think everyone should invest in a decent pair of white trainers! They never go out of style and they go with everything. I think a puffer coat is also a must. It has an ageless shape and they can be used season after season; a good coat should always be an investment.’

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For anyone afraid of trying a new trend, Stephanie has some advice. ‘I would say, create a mood board of the trend you’d love to try. Pinterest is a good place to start. Then start adding small aspects of that trend to your everyday look and see how you feel in it. You might love it, you might hate it. That’s what makes fashion fun, finding your look.’

Stephanie handpicks items for her clients

Stephanie handpicks items for her clients - Credit: Archant

Alexander McQueen show leather trainers, £390,

Alexander McQueen show leather trainers, £390, - Credit: Archant

Black Croc Leather Belt with Gold Keeper, 32,

Black Croc Leather Belt with Gold Keeper, 32, - Credit: Archant

ALPHA Black Crocodile Chunky Leather Chelsea Boots, £95.99,

ALPHA Black Crocodile Chunky Leather Chelsea Boots, £95.99, - Credit: Archant

Oversized down jacket, £89.99,

Oversized down jacket, £89.99, - Credit: Archant