Emma Cullen is the type of person that could roll out of bed, throw on a burlap sac and look amazing. I’ve always loved her style, which is simple, sophisticated and always on-point. So, it wasn’t even a question that she had to be the person to kick off the personal style interview series. Here I talk to Emma about her must-have pieces for fall, trends she can’t stand and the pieces she can’t live without.
Name: Emma Cullen
Occupation: Recent finance masters grad and foodie looking to enter the grocery industry.
Contemplated entering the retail fashion world for a long time, but decided food was more up my alley. Fashion will always be a passion of mine. I love pulling outfits together with my friends and sisters. Whether it be adding new pieces or using what we’ve got in our closets.
Residence: London, UK
Provenance: Toronto, Canada
How would you describe your style?
Comfortable and classic.
What’s your fashion philosophy?
Never buy anything you need to purchase another piece in order to make “work” in your wardrobe…I’ve definitely been guilty of this but it can become a vicious cycle where one purchase just leads to another.
Good quality ballet flats, skinny jeans, a white top, big scarf (I’m always getting cold) and jacket. In the summer I usually go for a loose fitting silk sleeveless top, skinny jeans, flats and a small side bag big enough to hold my cards, phone and a lipstick.
Jane Birkin and Olivia Palermo
The thing you can’t live without:
French Sole ballet flats. They last forever and have such an elegant cut to them, I particularly love the Henrietta style.
Favorite place to shop:
It would have to be Zara. I love how they’re always reinnovating classic styles. Having been a student for the last year, they are especially great as a lot of their pieces are transferable between the classroom and workplace. Not to mention Zara is one of the few high street stores that I find actually fits tall people! I also love Canadian brand Aritzia. You see it everywhere at home but living in the UK it still carries a certain novelty for me.
Online vs. in-store:
In store for sure. Shopping is how I relax. I love that moment when you find an item and a whole array of outfit ideas pop into your head. Also, London’s shops are such a spectacle and entertaining in their own right. Take for example Selfridges — there is always something going on.
Splurges vs. Saves:
Splurges: Shoes and jeans. I love walking and as a result wear through shoes constantly. I’ve realized recently I’m better off buying good quality shoes I can resole than a new pair of crappy shoes every 2 months. When it comes to jeans I LOVE rag and bone. They fit like a glove and last longer than a lot of other jean brands at a similar price point.Especially to get the length right — spending the extra money is worth it. Saves: T-shirts. I rarely spend more than $20 on a T-shirt. Nothing beats the Gap for classic comfort.
5 Fall Must-Have Items:
You’re stranded on a desert island and can only bring 3 things from your closet – what do you grab?
Bathing suit, a linen towel (quick drying and the sand doesn’t get stuck), and a durable cotton shift dress.
My silver Lulu Frost #2 code ring stacked on top of a simple Monica Vinader band. I want to get the #6 code ring next to represent the 6 people in my family.
Favorite brand or designer:
Oh tough one! A monthly highlight is always when the new J Crew catalogue comes out, I love Claudie Pierlot and am always inspired by Chloe.
First stylish purchase:
You mean other than my Spice Girls backpack? Probably a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo flats. That was my first lesson in getting shoes resoled before it’s too late.
Day to day — I rarely carry a purse with me, which is silly because I’m constantly dropping my phone. Luckily, I have a Rifle Paper Co phone inlay case which has protected it…thus far.Otherwise I carry a card case with my Oyster and other cards and that’s it. I’m REALLY picky when it comes to bags and haven’t found the right one yet. Hopefully when I do I’ll be better at carrying day-to-day essentials.
Vacation: My tortoise shell persol sunglasses, card holder, burts bees lip balm and Bobbi Brown CC cream. I’ve learnt tans just aren’t worth the sacrifices down the line.
Trends on your black-list:
Short-shorts. And I mean those really short ones. Nobody needs to see your butt cheeks.
What was the last thing you bought that you instantly regretted?
A nautical striped top with a sailing whale cartoon on the front. I’ve loved whales since I was little and think that got the best of me when I spotted this top at Brick Lane market. Luckily it didn’t break the bank.
Memorable fashion victim moments:
The first one that springs to mind… Probably when I was in high school, scooping ice cream as my summer job I saved up for 2 lacoste polos. I’d seen them layered in an issue of teen vogue and thought it was so cool. So even on the hottest of days I’d walk around with one polo on top of the other. NO idea what I was thinking.