IN BED WITH JESS COLIVET
Jess Colivet is a Kildare-based stylist and personal shopper, and a graduate of London’s College of Style. She also studied Creative Thinking, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Trinity College Dublin and Event Management at the Fitzwilliam Institute.
Put the kettle on and draw your Moon + Mellow robe tight to find out how she followed her dreams, and how surviving cancer gave her a renewed lease of life.
What gets you in the morning, ie what motivates you?
Honestly, I genuinely love life. I love the challenge that every new day brings, whether I am working, or at home, everyday, is an opportunity to learn something new, and grow. I have never been one to sit around and wait for things to happen, even in the morning I love to jump up and get started with the day.
I have been trying to set my alarm a little earlier, so I can get a bit more out of each day. My goal is to develop a healthy routine that puts my mind in a good space and helps me feel ready to go.
What keeps you up at night?
My phone! I’m always working on it, and especially at night I often find myself aimlessly scrolling. It’s so hard to switch off. I’ve always been a bit of a night owl – when I lie down to go to sleep my head is full of ideas and plans for the next morning. I really love what I do and I put a lot of thought into each day and every appointment.
As a personal stylist I spend a lot of time thinking about each of my clients, who are they, where are the gaps in their wardrobe, what is their style? What’s their lifestyle? What pieces will work best for them?
It’s so important for me to bring an all-encompassing approach to each of my clients. It’s not just about the clothes, it’s about the person wearing them, how they feel and what message they’re sending out to the world. I view clothes as an extension of a personality which is why it’s so important for me to get to know each of my clients.
How do you balance work and wellness?
I start my day always trying to do something that I love – a walk, jog, or a good workout. I absolutely love the energy and the endorphin rush from a Zumba class, you just lose yourself in the music. It’s so much fun.
My five children keep me very grounded, and help me live in the moment. There is nothing more important or fulfilling to me than spending time with them. And catching up with my girlfriends is also really important to me.
As a personal shopper working with all women of all shapes any sizes, are there nonetheless any key items of clothing that all women should consider having in their wardrobe?
I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules, just a few guidelines. Be sure what you wear is a true reflection of the person you want to be. It’s all about finding your own individual style, and feeling comfortable in the clothes that you are in.
I’ve always loved the versatility of a good pair of jeans, they take you from day to night, and can look super chic with a cosy cashmere top and boots for daytime. I think it’s worth investing your time in finding the right pair and silhouette that really suits you. And a good coat can take you anywhere.
I like to encourage investing in the best quality and cut of clothing – pieces that will stand the test of time and are practical. I want people to absolutely love the pieces they purchase.
Can style be learned or is it innate?
Style can definitely be learned, it’s all about finding what works for you. Style is ever evolving, but there are always pieces that will remain timeless.
Style can be learned by sticking to certain rules – once you realise what does and doesn’t suit you – and I feel our personal style is constantly evolving. Style can also be an attitude, when people are comfortable and confident in what they’re wearing.
This year many office workers moved from remote to blended working. Squeezing back into workwear – and reunited with makeup and bras! – has been quite the shock for many women. Any sartorial tips on how to maintain comfort and formality in the post-pandemic workplace?
I think to make life easier for ourselves, it’s essential to develop a sort of work uniform. The bar has shifted when it comes to workwear, so the new everyday uniform needs to be adaptable and functional.
Creating a few put-together looks makes getting ready for work so much quicker and easier. I have always been a fan of the capsule wardrobe, it’s all about finding good quality timeless pieces that suit you and your lifestyle. It’s really all about comfort, but that doesn’t mean that you have to compromise your personal style.
You have faced more challenges than most, having survived breast cancer. How did you cope during the darkest times and what insights did you learn about yourself on your recovery journey?
Breast cancer is a very demanding disease, physically, mentally, emotionally. It challenges you in ways you can’t even imagine. When you think that your time might run out, when you are faced with your own mortality, you get the measure of what really matters. Life throws obstacles at us, and with the help of family and friends, any mountain is surmountable. People were waiting in the wings to help me, and I needed to learn to accept that help. Through adversity you learn so much.
Exercise also really helped me focus on what was important, it’s such a great stress reliever. It became a big part of my daily routine. Running and fitness kept me strong, focus and determined.
To me, survivorship is very much an attitude, it’s a state of mind; a positive state of mind. I learned to appreciate what I have, to enjoy life, and to live in the moment. I have my life back and now I appreciate it more than ever before. I no longer sweat the small stuff. Every smile I see on my kids’ faces, and every laugh I share with my friends are beautiful moments that I treasure. It’s so important to keep the faith, the hope, the love and most importantly the humour, there’s nothing like a good laugh to remind us how precious life is.
You didn’t always work in fashion. Tell us about your career u-turn and what advice you’d give to anyone looking to following their dreams?
I started my family when I was very young, and I never got to finish my college degree. I had always wanted to return to learning and to pursue a career. I did a post-grad in Trinity and quickly realised it was exactly what I had been missing. It was a big step outside my comfort zone but it gave me such growth and truthfully changed the course of my professional life.
Fashion had always been a passion of mine, beginning when I was a little girl – my mother was the epitome of effortless elegance and style. After Trinity I continued with a course in trend forecasting at Dublin Design Institute, with Laura Jordan (@stylesavvy_ie), which is where I realised I needed to do something in fashion, specifically styling. I followed this with a personal styling course through the London College of Style, which allowed me to take styling from a passion to a profession.
My advice to anyone looking to follow their dreams is that it’s never too late. Just go and do it, there’s no time like the present. Amazing things can happen in any stage of your life, it’s really about believing in yourself, loving what you do, and pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.
You’re a working mum of five. When was the last time you had a truly mellow moment and, money no object, if you could have one day or weekend of total ‘me time’, how and where would you spend it?
Nothing fills my heart more than a walk in Glendalough at any time of the year and in any weather. I always feel a wonderful sense of peace there, in the midst of beautiful Irish countryside, the mountains, lakes and waterfalls.
Further afield? Sailing around the beautiful Greek Islands would be my ultimate getaway – enjoying the magnificent scenery, the incredible seafood and the freedom of being out at sea.
Who would be your top three (celebrity) pyjama party guests and why?
Trinny Woodhall: she is an incredible inspiration, I just love her joie de vie, she embraces life and empowers women to be the best version of themselves. I did an Instagram Live with her last year, and her energy is infectious.
Audrey Hepburn: Audrey has always been a source of inspiration for me, through her style, her elegance, and most importantly her empathy and compassion for others. Her combination of kindness and humour makes her someone I would have loved to know.
Joan Didion: I love her style of writing, it feels like you’re a friend and she’s telling you a story in her own words. She had such a rich and interesting life.
Which are your favourite picks from the Moon + Mellow collection?
I have two… Firstly the jungle blue puff sleeve set. These pyjamas feel so beautifully soft and luxurious. I love the the bottoms, they are super flattering, a soft elasticated waist, and I love their length. The top has the most beautiful puff sleeve and mother of pearl buttons. And the jungle print is a classic combination of blue and white.
Secondly, the flora burgundy – the shirt has a relaxed tailored finish, a modern take on the classic pyjamas. The bottoms are full length, and finished with a cross-piped stand-out cuff. The pockets are lovely and deep, adding to the comfortable, relaxed vibe.
Jess's M+M Picks
Follow Jess on Instagram @jesscolivet