Ask a stylist: An Interview with Isabel Gleeson

Deborah Mistry

The events of the last two years have thrown so many aspects of our lives into question and accelerated our need to change, evolve, and streamline our lifestyles, focussing on what really matters to us. And nowhere is this need for change more apparent than in our wardrobes. Was I the only one who was crying into my pile of beautiful dresses at the start of the first lock-down, thinking I might never get a chance to wear any of them again, and I should have stockpiled pasta instead?! 

Of course, life has gradually returned to ‘normal’ and thankfully our pretty outfits can come out of hibernation. But we are not the same people as we were in 2019. Our lifestyles, our tastes and our figures might all have changed, and for many of us our social and environmental conscience has grown too, making us want to spend our money more carefully…

With all this in mind, there is no better time than now to employ a stylist to help you curate your new wardrobe and your new look for 2022, so it is my pleasure to introduce you to Isabel Gleeson, a fashion buyer who also runs her own styling business, Styled By Isabel. I talked to Isabel about how she works with her clients, her own wardrobe, and of course, how she would style Sugar Sand…

Tell us about your career background and what inspired you to start your business... 

I have been working as a fashion buyer for various high street brands for the last 6 years. I always loved the idea of using some of my styling qualifications and one day having my own business. The pandemic meant that I was able to start this much sooner than I had originally planned, after all there really is no point in waiting when you have an idea. Being on furlough from my job, meant that I was able to qualify as a Colour Consultant and really put the time into building my website and brand. I was inspired by a bunch of successful women who go after their dreams and I wanted to build something I could be really proud of. I love the idea of helping other people to feel better about themselves and my colour consultations have helped thousands of people at this stage learn about how to feel better when getting dressed in the morning!

You offer a number of services to your clients, including colour consultations, event styling and wardrobe refreshes. Which aspect of the work do you enjoy the most and why?

I have to say my favourite service which I offer is the event styling package. I am absolutely dress obsessed and it gives me a great excuse to be alway checking the New In page on my favourite brands websites! I can honestly say I enjoy all of it, from curating my Instagram feed to gorgeous emails from clients, I just want to keep expanding the business and styling more people.

Something I have always wondered about stylists is how they manage to step outside of their own taste when working clients and help them create looks that they will actually love! Can you tell us more about the process? 

This is a great question but I think it just comes from really listening to your client. I have phone calls to discuss exactly what they are looking for, budgets and brands that they love so I will always try my best to get them to their desired look! A lot of my favourite brands cater to many different ages and have a great breadth of choice which makes it easier to find something for everyone. I do find more people I work with will purchase one of my services because they like my style so that can make it easier I must say!

What is your favourite item of clothing that you own and why?

This is a really tough question and I have two answers I am afraid! I love my Olivia Rubin wedding dress with its pastel bows down the back, this is for sentimental value as I wore it the day I officially got married at the registry office but also it is such a fabulous forever piece. I also adore one of Kitri's SS21 dresses, it is the vintage inspired Stevie dress and for me it ticks every box. It is unusual, flattering on and easy to wear. 


Isabel Gleeson in Olivia Rubin pastel bow back dress

Isabel Gleeson in Kitri Stevie Dress

If you were packing for a holiday, which Sugar Sand dress would you like to take and how would you style it?

I adore the Hampi white cotton top and skirt set. It is a dream and would look amazing with a tan on the beach. I would style with a chunky sandal for a contemporary look. We held off on our honeymoon and will be going this year in a couple of months, so I may need to make this purchase :) I absolutely love the pink trim on this set- stunning! I would also love to mix and match the pieces!


Hampi white cotton matching set

If you were a bride-to-be again, and you wanted to wear Sugar Sand for a pre-wedding event, such as the engagement party, or bridal shower, which dress would you choose and how would you style it?

In another life, I would have loved an abroad wedding in the sun. I think that the Lalibela one shoulder dress would be stunning for the day before with your bridesmaids. It is simple yet stunning! Timeless elegance to look back on in photographs for sure. I would love to style it with Bottega Veneta heels. 




Bottega Veneta straw heels

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