An Interview with Celebrity Stylist James Yardley

Freelance fashion, celebrity and commercial stylist James Yardley kindly agreed to be interviewed about his career. Based in London, he’s styled celebs including The Saturdays, JLS, Nicole Scherzinger, Kylie Minogue and The X Factor whilst working for Frank Strachan.

James now works independently with international and UK based-celebrities, including Rochelle Humes and Tess Daly, alongside commercial brands. He also works closely with suppliers such as fashion store Garment Quarter to achieve his on-point looks. We managed to squeeze in a chat with him amongst his hectic schedule…

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Fashion Stylist James Yardley

We’d love to know how your career path progressed to get you to this stage. Could you give us an overview?

I started interning at 21 at Attitude magazine under the then Fashion Director, Frank Strachan. I was supposed to only be there for two weeks and then after two months finally left.

On my first day working at my new job Frank called me and asked if I’d like to start work as his assistant. I took a massive leap of faith, quit my new job and joined Frank the very next day.

Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion stylists?

It’s so cliché but work hard and be kind. It shines like the brightest light in this industry. There are so many people who want to work in fashion and sit at a pretty desk writing emails, but in reality it’s long hours, hard work and determination that makes you into an actual Fashion Stylist. What I mean by ‘actual Fashion Stylist’ is being one of the few who can pay their bills with it as a job, not just write it in their Instagram bio.

We imagine your job’s pretty varied, but what does a typical ‘day in the life of James Yardley’ look like?

I actually couldn’t answer this. Every day is different. Some days are sitting in front of my computer for hours sending emails, others are spent out doing appointments and loaning/buying clothes and other days are spent on set at TV/photo studios. Every day is different, some amazingly fun and some not so much.

Which celebrities have you styled? Do you have any favourites? If so, why?

I’ve styled a varied amount of celebrity clients now but I’d have to say my favourite is Rochelle Humes. She’s just a laugh and she’s become my friend after all these years too.

How do you approach styling a client for an event? Do you get to know them first, research the event or TV slot, or have an overall objective?

It’s a complete meeting of minds. Recently I styled Tess Daly for the BAFTAs and I had an overall objective in my head. I could see the dress in my head and had drawn the design, and with the help of the designer and Tess’ opinion we created the perfect gown for the event. Overall the dress made Tess feel confident, and also gained the best press of the night.

How do you approach different body types? Do you have any tips for dressing different shapes – hourglass, pear, apple, athletic?

Follow what you know, not the latest fashion trend. Respect your body and do it justice by wearing pieces you know suit you and overall give you confidence.

Do your clients ever come with preconceived ideas of what they want? How much input do they have?

The beauty of styling celebrities and not just models is they have a voice and I love that. I would never say I completely styled someone head to toe. As I previously mentioned it’s a meeting of minds and all my clients have opinions – and I work with that when I’m styling them.

You’ve picked the outfit, but what about the extras? ow impoAre accessories, shoes, hair and makeup your decision too?

In the case of working with celebrities I always voice my opinion on hair and makeup but it’s again more of a meeting of minds. We all like talking about an outfit, hair, makeup etc. and by discussing it all openly and brainstorming ideas, I believe that’s how you create a killer look!

We’ve had a peek at your Instagram and noticed you co-designed a dress for Rochelle Humes. Is that something you’re looking to do more of? What else have you designed? Any upcoming projects?

Yes, interesting you ask. I’ve done a few bespoke dress collaborations with designers for Rochelle and also Tess recently. I really enjoy the process and having an opinion so it’s definitely something I’m looking into doing. There are a few upcoming projects – stay tuned!

The industry has had a lot of media attention recently about the introduction of plus size models. We’d love to know your views on it as a stylist?

I really enjoy the fashion industry for pushing limits, and I’m all for plus-sized healthy models but I’m not for promoting obesity. There’s a limit, that’s not for me to call, obviously, but I would never support the fashion industry in promoting underweight models, so I don’t think we should be promoting over weight models either.

Tell us about your relationship with Garment Quarter – how do you work together? What do you like about working together?

I LOVE the team at Garment Quarter. I’ve had a long standing relationship with them since I was an assistant and I’ve always enjoyed the amazing selection across a varied amount of brands. There’s always something new and exciting, and something I’m dying to put one of my clients in.

Is there any reason you’d choose designer brands over high street when dressing your clients?

I personally love to mix up designer brands and high street pieces when styling my clients, however I do tend to lean towards designer brands when it comes to quality and unique cut and design. It’s something that only designer brands can offer and can’t be rivalled by the high street.

Quick-fire round – snap-decisions please!

Nickname? Yardley

Tea or coffee? Coffee

Instagram or Snapchat? Snapchat

Worst habit? Not replying on WhatsApp even when I’ve read the message…

Best habit? Saving money!

Mood right now? Excited. I finally get a holiday this week.

Last thing you ate? Protein bar

Last thing you texted? ‘Sounds magical!’ To my flatmate

Favourite saying? ‘At the end of the day…’ I love to summarise everyone’s conversations!

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Rogers PU Biker Jacket for Matalan

Rogers Biker Jacket

Rogers Biker Jacket

Summer is practically over, and now the shops are launching their autumn/winter ranges which is the perfect excuse for me to start shopping (like I even needed one).

Rogers, the plus size brand that Matalan stock, has launched it’s latest line recently and I was lucky enough to get a sneaky peak at what was coming out, and even got to pick a piece for myself!

I chose the PU Biker Jacket because it’s gorgeous. I love the short, waist length as it helps to add more shape to my hips, and makes me look slightly slimmer which is always a bonus for me!

It comes in sizes 18-30 and has a gorgeous purple lining that my rubbish camera did not do justice. I love the positioning of the zips and this will definitely be a jacket I can wear during the day and for my rare nights on the town.

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Some other bits from the range I have my eye on are the Spot Print Panel Dress and the Embellished Shell Top.

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What are your favourites?

My Posh Date Outfit

This week I went on a date with a lovely guy I met from my safari dating last week, and I wanted to show you the outfit I chose for the occasion!

He took me for dinner and to the theatre, so I thought I’d better make an effort!

I wore a stunning dress by plus size designer, Verpass, which I bought from a gorgeous, Brighton plus size boutique called Emma Plus. They’re looking to start selling through their webpage nationally, and they even make alterations to the clothes to fit your individual size!

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Me Posing After The Date

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Selfie of the Dress!

I bought the dress in their January sale, and the lovely ladies even gave me a further discount: the dress was originally worth £179, and I got it for under £40! You can tell it’s designer from it’s beautiful stitching to it’s expensive fabric.

The dress is grey, white and neon pink, and to give myself more of an hour-glass shape, I added a black and pink belt I bought in the recent Yours sale for around £3.

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Belt from Yours Clothing

I painted my nails with silver and red sparkles, and teamed the whole outfit with black kitten heels and a black and silver handbag.

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My Sparkly (short) Nails!

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Me After The Date- Cat That Got The Cream!

As you can tell from the smile on my face after the date, I had a lovely time, and I seemed to turn a lot of heads so I need to start wearing dresses more often!

It just goes to show us plus size girls can look HOT- let’s hope my date agreed!

Would love to see pics of your great date outfits for inspiration, feel free to add them to the comments section below!

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Claire Tries Vintage!

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Me attempting to model for my camera whilst it balanced on my window!

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I put my Scarlett & Jo dress with some grey wedge heels from New Look

Now that I’m getting back onto the dating scene, I’ve been rummaging through my rather unflattering wardrobe and decided I need to start dressing with some style to feel more confident and attractive!

Thankfully, Scarlett & Jo have come to my rescue, by sending me this beautiful dress from their new Spring Romance collection for Evans.

The new collection celebrates Scarlett & Jo’s one year anniversary, and the range has a vintage 1940s and 50s theme, ranging from tea dresses to retro prom dresses, all of which seem to flatter my mummy curves!

This beautiful dress is their black retro wrapfront midi dress, which features a retro, swirled pattern, and I can tell it has been well made from its gorgeous, thick fabric, to it’s lovely empire seam detail. It has back ties for underneath the bust, and even small shoulder pSAM_0622ads to help create the classic hour-glass figure I crave so much!

I love this midi-length dress, as it covers the tops of my arms, and reaches my knees (two areas I prefer to hide), and it has a very flattering cut.  The only thing that would make it look better would involve me growing a decent-sized cleavage to suit the v-shaped, plunging neckline (plastic surgeons please feel free to get in touch).

Scarlett & Jo say their mission is to “inspire and express both personality and confidence” and I think they’ve achieved this with the spring romance range. I feel that confident in this dress that I intend to wear this to my first dating experience this week, and I’m already eyeing up others in this fab collection for my future dates!

To see reviews of other dresses in the range on Scarlett & Jo’s website.

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