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Telegraph / Life - Entertain

Party planner Fiona Leahy on how to do practical glamour

45-year-old creative director and founder of the eponymous event-design and production agency, Fiona Leahy, says be authentic and know your body shape.


45-year-old creative director and founder of the eponymous event-design and production agency, Fiona Leahy, says be authentic and know your body shape. 

Here, she offers her tips for effortless - but glamorous - style. 

Embrace what suits you 

''The benefit of getting older is knowing what suits you,'' Leahy tells The Telegraph. ''I’ve got boobs and I’m smaller on the bottom, so I can’t wear loose things or very busy pieces,'' she continues. ''I love colour, but I temper it with navy.''

Don't be in denial 

''Don’t be in denial. For many years I was like ‘oh I’ll just ignore the fact that I have boobs’ and I'd try to wear something that someone else who was rail thin and flat chested looked amazing in, but made me look like a tent,'' says Leahy. 

''You can look amazing in trousers and a t-shirt if you’ve dressed for yourself,'' she continues, citing a Saint Laurent dress with plunging sweetheart neckline from Anthony Vaccarello's most recent collection, as something she would love to wear but that she knows just wouldn't suit her. 

Fiona Leahy in a feather-trimmed Prada co-ord at a dinner at Spencer House last month Credit:Getty

Invest in pieces with longevity 

'''I don’t think things should be transient. I have pieces that I hope I’ll be wearing when I’m 80, like a hand-embroidered Vita Kin dress. And if I’m not wearing it, it can be a beautiful tablecloth,'' says Leahy. ''I don't believe that good things are cheap and I have a real appreciation of craft. I've had some of the same clothes for 20 years.''

Pinpoint what you need 

Rather than going on a blind spending spree Leahy recommends identifying what you need before you hit the shops: ''right now I'm looking for the perfect black cashmere bracelet sleeve sweater.''

Buy for your lifestyle 

''I believe in buying things for your lifestyle. That's something I learnt the hard way,'' Leahy admits. ''I used to buy a lot of evening wear that I didn't wear a lot, and I was really bad at casual wear. It's a new thing for me, because most of my life is in the studio, in the gym or walking my dog. How many sequin dresses do I really need?''

50 of the best party pieces to buy now for the festive period

We don't need at much as we think we do 

''We don't need as much as we thing we do,'' says Leahy. ''The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo and Stuffocation: Living More with Less by James Wallman inspired me to go through my wardrobe to see if pieces spark joy,'' she continues, describing how having to sell lots of pieces through Vestiaire Collective for considerably less than the she bought them for, forced her to think twice before she buys.

''And there's no shame in wearing something repeatedly,'' she adds. ''I have a Temperley jumpsuit that I’ve worn 20 times. It’s a passport to a good time – like wardrobe Lucozade.''

Be authentic 

''I think Dita Von Teese is amazing and very authentic,'' says Leahy. ''When you dress authentically it all sort of works together,'' she continues. ''There was a time when I would say ‘I want to look like this or dress like this’, or ‘I want to be sexy but I want to be classic,’ and now I kind of feel like I know my style and I’m not trying to be something.''

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