One of the most inspirational women in fashion, Chloe Lonsdale is the Creative Director of MiH Jeans, one of the world’s most coveted denim brands. Based in London, where she lives with her husband and three children, her simple, pared-down style is the very definition of effortless chic. Her beautifully-cut designs have become staples in the most stylish of wardrobes from Claudia Schiffer to Jessica Alba, Sienna Miller and Naomi Watts, and are coveted by women the world over. We are thrilled that she has opened her Style File for us….
“When you are really busy you need a uniform to go to.”
Mine consists of jeans with a pair of Converse and an oversized shirt, normally it’s as simple as that. We have an Oversize shirt in white cotton, chambray denim, black and navy silk, which I love. So, I’ll wear a white or denim oversized shirt in the day and at night I’ll just change into a silk one, roughly tucked into a pair of jeans. I love that shirt partly because I’ve been pregnant for the last 4 years, so it’s been something that I’ve worn right up until I’ve gone into labour. I also like simplicity. I like wearing crisp, natural fabrics. I don’t like patterns. I love colour, but I don’t feel comfortable wearing it and I only ever wear blue, so it makes it really easy for me to get dressed.
A uniform doesn’t have to be jeans and a t-shirt, but whatever works for you, whether it’s a black dress every day or printed tops with a pair of jeans. Having a uniform makes it super simple in the morning with kids and a busy life to get ready.
I tend to have a pair of jeans I love and then wear to death for 3 or 4 months before moving on to the next one.
Obviously with the business I’m always trying out new fabrics and fits, but generally I’ll just go to the same pair. Normally in the summer it’s our Paris jean, a little crop ankle length jean with a slim leg, and in the winter it will be the full length version, our Oslo or our London jean.
I tend to go for just a classic blue jean wash. Obviously in the winter I’ll go towards more of a darker shade and in the summer lighter, just anything as long as it’s blue!
My wardrobe is really really edited and at any one time there are only 7 or 8 pairs that I’m rotating. And then when I’ve worn them out, I get another 7 or 8 pairs from the range. With a pair of jeans, the more you wear them the more comfortable they get and you can create the jean around you.
“I love a great pair of heels, they can transform how you feel.”
I love Ruper Sanderson shoes – they’re quite high, quite striking heels. Although, the best heels you can buy are from J. Crew. They’re made in Italy, they’re the most beautiful fit with amazing colours and finishes on them. That’s where I bring colour into my look with heels.
In the day, I wear white, blue or grey Converse. I get them to a point where I have them for a year and then have to throw them away as they have loads of holes in them. I like having them aged and vintage, but I keep them washed, so they’re not too scruffy to wear to meetings. All my family wear Converse. We have this wicker basket next to our front door with about 25 pairs in it.
“Every season I’ll buy a jacket and a couple of pairs of shoes. And, once a year I’ll buy a great handbag.”
I have a gorgeous Saint Laurent Muse bag with burgundy and blue panels. It’s really lovely and with a blackdrop of blue jeans and a white shirt, it looks great. Bags need to be functional and look good as it gets more battered and worn. I don’t like anything too boxy or structured. It just wouldn’t fit into my language , they need to be supple and have movement.
I don’t really wear make up unless I go out. There’s just not time in the morning, so I tend to leave it with Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser and a bit of Clinique Naturally Glossy Mascara, which is just the most simple, natural mascara. I also like these chunky blusher sticks which you get from Tarte Cosmetics in the US, they’re very translucent and you can use them on your lip and your cheek. As for perfume, I use Red Roses from Jo Malone. I also go twice a year to an amazing facilalist called Linda Meredith in Knightsbridge.
MY MiH WISHLIST
Jade Boiler Suit, £218, MiH
This season, I really, really want our Boiler Suit, an all-in-one cotton jumpsuit, like the ones from the ’70s but modernised with little zips at the ankles. I also love our Camille check Oversize shirt, it’s a really soft cotton plaid with a MiH twist. It’s really nice to wear with our classic Halsy cut off denim shorts.
We also have lovely knitwear for the first time this summer. I love our lightweight beige linen knit and our Baseball sweater, which you can throw on when the evening gets cold. You need knitwear in summer, but you don’t want cashmere or wool. It’s quite hard to find cotton and linen knits that have a really nice drape and a slouch.
Crew cuts from J Crew is amazing. It’s a little bit more expensive than Gap, but it’s amazing quality and supercute for boys. My boys also wear jeans from Gap. There’s also a great Japanese store in New York called Tricofield which sells beautiful little vintage overalls and amazing printed t-shirts, but its all over $100 and it’s a little bit hard to justify spending that on kids’ clothes.
I also love Caramel. I always go there in the sale and buy stuff, they do really really lovely knitwear. It’s also brilliant for babywear for my little girl. I have Osh Kosh B’gosh dungarees for all of them and keep passing them down as they get better with age. Polarn O Pyret is brilliant for the basics, but again I stay away from the colour, so I stick to the white and blue and white stripes. All the kids kind of wear the same things. Plus my mother kept all our clothes from the ’70s, so we have stacks of old Petit Bateau t-shirts, cloth kits and smock dresses.
I buy a lot of vintage stuff and there are some great antiques stores on Fulham’s Lillie Road I go to. I’ll get old sofas recovered or buy bolts of fabric and get them made up into cushions. Cloth House, Ian Mankin and Baileys Home & Garden are great for fabric. I buy lighting from Bailey’s as well. And, I love the Conran Shop. We have a big classic Conran sofa that he designed in the ’70s, which is fantastic. I also like design classics like Eames chairs and classic Kartell FL/Y lamps. It doesn’t all have to be super expensive. You can buy their accessible classic design stuff which is timeless and lasts forever.
Collecting art isn’t my priorty at the moment, but we tend to go to Frieze and the Affordable Art Fair every year and pick up one thing. We have a few paintings by David Bromley, an amazing Australian painter. My sister Tahnee Lonsdale is an amazing artist, so we have some of her art in the house as well as some photographic work and some old vintage movie posters.
My favourite holiday destination would be Jericoacoara in Northern Brazil. My husband is a kite surfer and it’s great for that. It’s an amazing place with just hundreds and hundreds of kilometres of beaches and no-one around. It’s a bit windy for kids, but you stay somewhere that’s protected with palm trees. It’s simple and barefoot and where we love to go if we have the time. Closer to home we’ll go to Tarifa which is a big kitesurfing spot or inland Spain to Andalucia or somewhere like that.
Hotels are lovely but I prefer to rent a house for space and privacy. I travel so much for work and stay in hotels all the time, so on holiday, I love to stay somewhere really remote and just be away from it all. I use I-Escape and Boutique Homes, which is a completely amazing company.
We went on holiday to Tresco in the Scilly Isles last year, but we didn’t get great weather so my husband swore he’d never go there again! But, it’s completely beautiful and paradise for children. It is an amazing option, but it’s 6 hours on the train and then a flight or helicopter ride or 5 hour ferry, so you can literally be in Miami quicker, which is frustrating, but we will definitely go back there one day. The whole island is car fee, just tractors. A tractor picks you up from the airport. It’s the most magical place
IMAGES: Art by Tahnee Lonsdale; Scilly Isles, BBC