‘I hate the word cool; my style is quirky’

Psychologies’ image expert Mandy Lehto talks to entrepreneur Calypso Rose about keeping her look fresh and how her work inspires her wardrobe


‘I hate the word cool; my style is quirky’

When you live on a houseboat, wardrobe space is at a premium. ‘My clothes are quality over quantity,’ says Calypso Rose, 34, founder of The Indytute, which runs inspired lessons on anything from blues guitar to planting terrariums. ‘I like to participate in the lessons, so my wardrobe needs to be practical,’ she says. She cycles most places, ‘even in heels’. The practical bit of her wardrobe consists of boiler suits and playsuits, ‘things I can move in,’ she says. ‘Then I add an eclectic twist – something to make the look fun and approachable. My look represents my brand.'

‘I’m constantly trying new things and moving around,’ she says. ‘We’re about to move our houseboat to west London. I don’t like staying put for too long.’ She uses the same approach with her wardrobe. If she hasn’t worn a piece for a year, she donates it. ‘I don’t want to stay moored in my own look either.’ Does she aspire to look cool, I ask? ‘Actually, I hate the word “cool”. My style is quirky, but still chic. I’m inspired by Shoreditch. I like shopping in independent boutiques like Secret Emporium.’

In her first business, Clippykit, a personalised handbag company, Calypso often wore her company colours. ‘I was dressing quite girly, wearing lots of pink and red.’ When she founded The Indytute, her look evolved into its current eclectic form. ‘I realised how much my work affects my style. I wear more yellow and orange now, which are my new company colours.’ Before starting her businesses, Calpyso – like so many of us – wore a lot of black. ‘My granny, who was fashion editor for Picture Post, used to tell me off for wearing black. Now I see that she was right, colour is fun.’

I ask Calypso to talk me through her most-worn eclectic pieces. ‘A leopard print coat or dress always cheers up an outfit.’ The key, she adds, is to underdress the leopard. ‘Try pairing it with flats. And hats,’ she enthuses. ‘They make an outfit fun.’ Her advice is to spend money on pieces that you love and wear often – and don’t feel guilty about it. ‘Clothes make you feel confident, which opens up a world of possibilities.’

How to keep your look fresh:

  • Rotate your wardrobe by season to save space
  • Pare down. Spend as much as you can afford on a few good pieces
  • Get eclectic. Start with coats and shoes
  • Mix the unexpected: a sequin skirt with a well-cut grey t-shirt. Or team a quirky print dress with flat brogues

Photograph: Ki Price

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