Style conscious with Suffolk tourist chief Celia Hodson
The chief executive of tourism partnership Choose Suffolk shares her fashion secrets
Why have you chosen these clothes for the photoshoot?I bought this suit after a really tough day when I worked in Westminster. I remember putting it on in the fitting room and feeling fab. If you can put something on when your hair has flopped, most of your makeup has disappeared over the day and still look good it has to be a must-buy item. After a couple of years it still makes me feel that way.
Are they typical of your day to day wear?Yes. I invest in work wear which I have pleasure in wearing. I think as a female chief executive it is important to dress to reflect your personality and individuality. I buy lots of accessories from Girls Love Roses in Ipswich. My husband bought me pearl earrings for my birthday eight years ago from Berridges in Ipswich, and I have worn them every day since. I didn’t get the hang of wearing my wedding ring, but can’t imagine not putting my pearl earrings on every morning.
If money was no object what would you wear?Just what I am wearing, but I would buy lots more of it. I love clothes and have a bit of a thing for jackets and buy early in the season to ensure I get what I like. I have shopped at Jaeger in Bury St Edmunds for more years than I care to remember. I go to the Jaeger catwalk show in London and then order locally as the customer service is great. I also enjoy understated shoes and Emma Hopes seem to fit me well, but I wouldn’t say no to a pair of Chanel satin sling-backs!
What’s the most outlandish thing in your wardrobe?I’m not really one for outlandish, but I do have the most beautiful pair of Louis Vuitton court shoes, purchased for an interview. With five-inch heels I can just about walk to the door by hanging on the wall, but never make it outside. I adore them and feel more than happy just looking at them in the box! Go on, we all have one item we just can’t bear to part with, don’t we?
Where do you buy your underwear?Figleaves or Agent Provocateur depending on the occasion! I believe in investing in good foundations. They make such a difference to the way clothes hang and work wonders on posture.
Do you judge people by their clothes?Strangely, not by their clothes, but their shoes. I think you can tell a lot about chaps, in particular, by the style and condition of their footwear. I hate trainers off the sports field, especially the huge white variety.
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Is there anyone in the public eye crying out for a makeover?Most senior female politicians. They seem to go for drab or floozy. I’m not sure which is more inappropriate. Arlene Philips would benefit from understanding that mature women are beautiful, stylish and individual and can enjoy fashion without looking a little like mutton dressed as mutton!
Do you have a style role model?Like most women, I look to Audrey Hepburn for simple elegance but I am not blessed with her tiny frame. Personally, I don’t see the attraction in SJP and Sex in The City-style ‘lookie-likie’, but loved Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada. I fear if I breezed into my office and threw my coat and bag on to my PA’s desk she would tell me to hang them up myself.
Are the current crop of style makeover television programmes provocative and interesting or bitchy and pointless? There is something strangely fascinating about ladies who put themselves through excruciating pain on national television, rebuilding their bodies to fit into an unrealistic media vision of what women should look like. However, if I was going down that route, I would like to be six inches taller.I have two daughters in their twenties and they adore Gok sweetie and have great fun personalising high street fashion. At the risk of sounding like my mother, I have now reached the age when I remember it all last time round and live to regret taking a Zandra Rhodes to the charity shop, but I’m sure it went to a good home. So, no, I’m not a huge fan, but give me a Kirsty Alsopp junk-shop-purchase/sitting-room-style makeover any day.
Who cuts your hair and how often?Katie at Paul Henri in Ipswich does all manner of things to my hair, including cuts and colours to cover up the grey. I started plucking grey hair from my head when I was 18 at college, but quickly realised I was on a losing battle. One day I will pluck up the courage to go grey, but not just yet, so, until then, it’s cuts and colours every eight weeks. Does that make me sound hypocritical following my growing old gracefully point?
Do you have an exercise routine?We are extremely lucky and have an apartment in town and a weekend place by the coast. I religiously have a good walk on a Saturday morning, no matter what the weather, and top up with a few sessions on the stepper during the week.