The Donegal fashionista behind The Fashion Chair blog shares her style secrets with Donegal Woman.
Emma Murray is a Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle blogger originally from Donegal but now residing in Galway as a Personal Shopper/Stylist and Store Trainer in Debenhams. ‘The Fashion Chair’ has a dedicated following of 30,000+ and over the past year she has worked at the prestigious London Fashion Week, Belfast Fashion Week and appeared on TV3’s entertainment and fashion show ‘Xpose’.
‘The Fashion Chair’ is a compact diary of her personal style, beauty finds and adventures and she likes to encourage people that you can look a million dollars on a minimum budget. Emma is hoping to undertake a Fashion Styling Diploma in London over the coming year, host her own styling master classes, personal shopping services, workshops and long term courses.
“As long as I am doing something in fashion and helping others I will be happy – find something you love and you won’t work a day in your life”
Here is Emma’s style study for Donegal Woman
1. How would you describe your personal style?
It changes all the time. I wouldn’t say that I have one specific look as I like to change it up all the time. Some days I may want to rock the Kanye West look, other days I could be channeling Audrey Hepburn! It depends on the occasion as well but the most important thing is wearing whatever you are happiest in.
2. Who is your style icon?
I absolutely love Olivia Palermo and British fashion blogger Sarah Ashcroft. They always look on point and never seem to get it wrong.
3. What is your favourite piece of clothing?
That is a tough question. Can I only pick one?! I think it would have to be my River Island Style Studio navy coat. I just love everything about it, the gold buttons, leopard print lining and how it is structured. I remember it was expensive at the time of purchasing but I knew that I would have it for years to come and that’s what I call an investment piece!
4. What inspires you when choosing an outfit?
It really depends on the look that I want to achieve. Normally if I am outfit planning, I gather everything together, put all my ideas on a rail and go from there. This is also a good way of practising how to mix and match what you already have in your wardrobe. Putting together different looks is one of my favourite past times and that’s why I love working as a personal stylist.
5. How would you accessorise a look?
I love accessories and it all depends on how much detail is involved. If it is very minimal I will add a statement necklace or earrings or if the outfit is a statement in itself I will just add a ring or bracelet. You will very rarely see me without a piece of jewellery on and I have a weakness for a bit of bling!
6. What is your most recent fashion purchase?
A yellow long line blazer from Penney’s. It also comes in powder blue so I might have to head back for that colour too!
7. Where do you usually shop for clothing?
As I work in Debenhams and wear their clothes as my uniform, I shop there a lot – Red Herring, Jasper Conran and Julien and Mc Donald are my favourite designers. I also love River Island, H&M, Zara, Nine Crows, New Look, Savida at Dunnes Stores and of course, Penney’s! I am a high street girl and always will be. I don’t get the fuss about designer items if I’m being honest.
8. Do you have any favourite local fashion boutiques?
In Galway there are lots of gems. I love Willow Boutique, Harper, Don’t Call Me Dear, Cari’s Closet and Nine Crows which is a vintage store. In Donegal I am a big fan of Get That Trend and Blush Boutique.
9. What are your wardrobe staples?
A good pair of jeans that are the right length, fit you well and are comfortable, a white shirt as it goes with everything and never dates, one pair of heels that not will not only take you from work to dinner, but also the bar, a neutral coloured handbag that you can dress up or dress down, a leather jacket and last but not least a onesie – I wouldn’t be without it!
10. Do you follow trends?
No. I am constantly reading magazines so I am aware of them but I prefer to choose clothing that I am comfortable in and I feel looks good. I don’t believe in wearing something just because it is a trend. You set the trend!
11. Heels or flats?
Ooh that depends on what kind of mood I am in. I have days where I want to be uber glam and wear heels with my outfit and on the other hand, sometimes all I want to do is stick on my loafers. I would have to say a healthy balance of both but definitely heels on a night out!
12. Shoes or handbags?
Definitely handbags. I have been obsessed with them since I was a little girl and the obsession continues!
13. What is the best piece of fashion advice you’ve ever heard?
In the words of fashion expert Jules Fallon, “Don’t judge something by how it looks on the hanger, judge it by how it looks on you”. We had a media training day with Debenhams and Jules was the guest speaker. These words resonated in my head and will stick with me throughout my career, especially when I am advising customers. She gave us invaluable advice about her experience in the industry and was a real inspiration to listen to.
14. What do you think about the fashion scene in Donegal?
There are some seriously stylish ladies in Donegal and I think it’s great to see! I love nothing more than someone with a unique sense of style who isn’t afraid to stand out from the crowd. That’s what style is about at the end of the day, not being afraid to express who you are.
15. What has been your best investment piece?
Without a doubt my Valentino replica heels from Savida in Dunnes Stores. There weren’t all that expensive but I have never got so much wear out of anything in all my life! They matched every single outfit I put on and were comfortable beyond belief. I even managed to wear them to work without ever feeling the need to change into flats. I’ve been telling myself that this is a great excuse to invest in a real pair but we’ll see … one day perhaps!
16. What’s the wackiest item you own?
Probably my vintage shirts. They are extremely colourful and out there so to speak but I love them!
17. If you could wear only one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably my black bodysuit and black PVC trousers. I threw it together one night before heading out and its now my go to outfit when I am not sure what to wear. A bodysuit will go with almost anything so I definitely recommend buying one!v
18. What has been your biggest fashion faux-pas?
Oh God there have been many! One that is very stark in my memory is when I attended my cousins christening. I wore a baby pink skirt that had strings attached to it and but these were longer than the skirt. I don’t think I even have to say much more!!
I have an excuse though, I was only 7.
19. If money wasn’t a factor, what would you buy?
It’s not clothes related but a white Range Rover. I will know that I have officially made it when I can afford one!
20. How do you feel when you’re in your favourite outfit?
As if I can take on the world! There is no better feeling than putting on your favourite dress or pair of jeans and not only do they look good, but you feel good and that’s the most important thing. When you feel great your clothes look great.
Want to share your fashion secrets in the #DWStyleStudy? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org