Within this fashion-focused interview series, The Style Edit dives into the style tips, tricks and secrets of our favourite fashionable people. This week, we’re chatting to Nicola McLaughlin, owner of Sequin Cinderella fashion boutique and blogger.
For boutique owner and blogger, Nicola McLaughlin (@sequincinderella), fashion consumes both her home and work life simultaneously and like many style aficionados, she wouldn’t have it any other way. Nicola’s award-winning boutique, Sequin Cinderella was established in 2016 but her love of fashion dates right back to her very early childhood when at age three she was ready for the catwalk, performing mini fashion shows in her family living room. Since Nicola first launched her blog in 2011, a few years prior to opening her beloved Buncrana based boutique, her love of all things fashion has only deepened.
Here, Nicola chats us through her bold entry into the fashion industry, her approach to workwear and the biggest lessons she’s learned in approaching personal style.
What drew you to the fashion industry?
I’ve been surrounded by fashion since I was a kid. My mum had several boutiques of her own before I was born and always talked about them so to have my own was a dream of mine for as long as I can remember.
Tell us about your first fashion-related memory
I used to try on all of my clothes and pose on the sofa to have my picture taken. I couldn’t have been more than three or four but I used to call them my little fashion shows. The pics are still in my house somewhere.
Do you try to incorporate a particular outfit formula to your workwear?
No, not at all. My style changes from day to day and as I have my own business I don’t have any set uniform or style that I have to wear. One day I could be in a dress and the next in jeans, depending on my mood.
Does your approach to fashion differ with workwear and weekend wear? If so, how?
I always try to make an effort, so even if I am dressed a little more casual I will always have my makeup done. When I go out at the weekend I feel I have to really make an effort so that I don’t feel the same as I do every day at work. Although I have to say, my favourite weekend look is my hair in a bun, a hoodie and no makeup as I very rarely get the chance to do that.
What does fashion mean to you?
Everything. I know that sounds cliché but it is literally my life. My job, my hobby – everything.
Most sentimental item in your wardrobe
Probably my formal dress. It’s a pink floral Versace dress, My Mum and I went to London and had such an amazing time picking it out. It’s one of those pieces that I will have until the day I die.
What’s the best shopping tip you’ve learned?
Don’t buy something just because it’s in style and don’t pay attention to the size on the label. Every brand and every shop have different styles and fits. Buy what works for you and you only, not anyone else.
What excites you most about the fashion industry?
The most exciting thing for me is the way that it is always changing and evolving. I always knew that was the nature of the industry but now that I have the boutique, I always have to be ready for the next big thing. You can never just sit back and roll with the punches, you have to know what trends people want before people even realise that they want it.
What’s your go-to confidence-boosting outfit?
My style changes depending on my mood. I definitely couldn’t be categorised into a certain look. I just wear what I want when I want. That’s why I love fashion so much. It’s a form of expression.
One fashion rule you live by
Don’t follow any rules. Be yourself and do your own thing.
For fashion, definitely Vivienne Westwood and for accessories, the Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton Collection.
Tell us about your dream designer purchase
I love buying designer accessories and mixing them with high street clothes. I like to buy investment pieces that will never go out of fashion. My first ever designer purchase was a Louis Vuitton bag that I still use all the time. I love to set myself a goal to work towards and treat myself when I achieve the goal.
There are so many pieces on my wishlist at the minute so I need to work a lot harder and maybe, start entering the lottery.
Tips from going from desk to dancefloor
A good pair of heels. I work such long hours that I often don’t have time to get changed for an event in the evening. I find if I wear a dress with a nice pair of trainers for work, I can add heels later and I’m ready to rock.
How would you describe your personal style?
Ever-changing. I am not afraid to be overdressed or to stand out from the crowd. I love using my style to make a statement and to help inspire others to be true to themselves.
What’s your biggest fashion weakness?
Black boots for sure. I have about 15 pairs in all shapes and styles but I practically live in them. I wear them with tights, bare legs, jeans, everything. I can never have enough.
What are some pieces in your wardrobe you couldn’t live without?
My nude sandals from River Island. I wear them with everything. Also, my black leather jacket from Mango and my Spanx leather look leggings from my own boutique.