Interview with Stylist and Colour Analyst Anna Shaw // Dress yourself well

What do you do? How would you describe your working life? 

I'm a Stylist, Colour Analyst and Fashion Writer. I’m freelance and run my business, Dress Yourself Well, from home in North London. I think my working life would best be described as hugely varied – no two days are the same! One day I'll be based locally doing colour and style consultations, the next I'll be on set styling for TV or red carpet events and the next I’ll be running around Oxford Street choosing beautiful clothes for my clients. 

Did you show any early signs as a child that indicated that you would end up where you are today? 

My mum tells me I was obsessed with fashion and determinedly picking my own outfits from the age of 2. I used to put together some absolute corkers - 10 scrunchies on top of 3 padded alice bands, neon rah-rah skirts over stripy pedal pushers. More is More was my look and Etam was my Holy Grail. Without a doubt my first major style icon was my mum. My wardrobe is still full of her beautiful vintage dresses and she continues to inspire my work every day.

Describe your morning routine

Mornings in our house are something close to organised pandemonium. On work days I wake early, check my schedule, clients, travel logistics, emails, social media, the news, then I'm up at 6.30/7 with my 19 month-old son and a whirlwind of breakie, bathing and dressing ensues. On home days my wee man and I lounge about eating toast, watching Cbeebies and reading books before his first social engagement ensues (hands up if your kid has a better social life than you?!). Nap times are spent feverishly writing blogs, booking clients, researching the high street and updating social media. 

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration from and when do they arrive? 

The amazing people I work with give me constant inspiration. My clients range from those recovering from major illness, those with various health challenges, low self-esteem following personal and professional upheaval and those who simply hate shopping. My interpretation of fashion is very much tailored to the every-person. I’m all about normalizing the industry and helping people look and feel their best. 

When motivation wavers, how do you get back on track? 

I take some time out - even a couple hours - to recalibrate with my family. Sometimes you need a break and there’s nothing like going for a good walk and hanging out with your nearest and dearest to reignite your motivational mojo.

What is the best thing about your job/lifestyle? 

The best thing about my job is being able to genuinely help people feel better about themselves. Whether it’s working with a new mum returning to work, someone with psoriasis who’s scared of showing their limbs, someone who’s body conscious following weight gain/loss, or someone who’s newly single, it’s extraordinary what a boost to your self-esteem can do. I’ve seen people walk taller, start socialising again, take foreign holidays for the first time in years and all because they feel confident enough to do it.

The other wonderful thing about my job is being able to control my work/life balance. In a former life I was a TV and Digital Fashion Producer and the hours were insane. Whilst I’m still extremely busy, I’m often able to work from home and can work around my wee one.

If you could do something else for the day- what would you do? 

I’d probably be a professional cake taster or maybe a luxury holiday reviewer. Both feel like they’d be fairly epic choices.

(Enter 'dress' as the promo code for 50% off) 

How do you overcome any challenges in your working life? 

I talk them through with my husband and then my dad. Both are my professional idols, full of wisdom, experience, insight and measured reason.  

How do you celebrate your successes? 

A night out with my husband (rare) and a long boozy lunch with my best friends (rarer).   

Do you have any tools/resources or rituals that you couldn’t live without? 

Hair straighteners for my fringe (if only I'd had such a thing during what I call the mushroom heed years of my youth), my drapes for doing my colour analysis, my laptop for writing and a good bright lippy to give me an immediate lift, even on my most knackered days.

Which books from your bookcase would you recommend? 

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie – a huge professional inspiration for me, I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith – a stunning read with incredible family insight and The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – an unparalleled historiography into one of the most vibrant decades of fashion and frolics.

What are your daily essentials to make you feel ready? 

Mascara, lippy, some form of breakie, a good teeth scrub, Chanel Allure, heels and a kiss from my wee man and my old man. 

What advice would you give your teenage self? 

Stop worrying you massive nerd – it will all work out in the end. 

Where would you like to be in 5 years time? 

My dream is to build a charitable branch of Dress Yourself Well into a national, nay global charity that gives style-based confidence workshops to individuals suffering from identity and esteem issues following periods of ill health. In five years time I would like to be well on the road to achieving this, having aligned with major high street brands that will host and donate outfits and created a community of patrons and ambassadors who help those most in need to feel better from the outside in.   

Anna is kindly offering a 10% discount on all her services. Find out how she can help you here

Create your plan of action by watching below: