Rented partywear and chic wellies: Willow Crossley's guide to dressing for town and country

tartan green coat
Willow wears corduroy trousers, La Llama; jumper, From Future; coat, Mango; trainers, Golden Goose Credit: Andrew Crowley

This week, floral stylist and author Willow Crossley shares her wardrobe secrets...

Q. What’s your personal uniform?

A. Either a boyfriend jean or corduroy flare, Golden Goose high-top trainer (the more colourful and glittery the better) and an oversized navy cashmere jumper – or a mini skirt, ankle boot and more of the same chunky jumpers. I wear a lot of jumpsuits, too. I’m obsessed with comfort; I have aspirations to wear beautiful wispy chiffons and tight, slinky little numbers, but I get so cold as most of my life is spent outside flowering, and I can’t bear feeling restricted.


Q. Which pieces do you spend the most on?

A. Shoes and coats; I’ve convinced myself that they’re investment pieces, though with three sons I’m not sure who’s going to benefit! My biggest “investment” was a coat bought from Anya Hindmarch at Bicester Village. It’s covered in crystal space invaders: completely barking mad, but it makes me really happy.

Q. What are your go-to brands?

A. Alex Gore Browne and Madeleine Thompson for knitwear; La Llama for trousers (I have them in three different colours); Anya Hindmarch for coats; Missoma for jewellery. Isabel Marant, ba&sh and Maje for every day, Saloni for evening wear, Desmond & Dempsey for pyjamas, and Vita Kin for life enhancing!


Q. Do you shop on the high street?

A. Yes, although I’m trying to buy less and dig out old pieces I’ve forgotten about. I’ve also started renting special pieces from My Wardrobe HQ. But I do love Zara, mostly in the summer months for their cotton dresses, and HM’s premium collection is incredible.

Q. What’s the hardest-working item in your wardrobe?

A. A navy merino wool long-sleeved top from Cos that I wear every single day (I have three!) under my clothes. They’re so old and shredded now, I really should invest in a new one.

Q. Who do you go shopping with?

A. My mother [the artist and gardener Kate Corbett-Winder] is an excellent shopper and one of the only people I trust to tell me the absolute truth about how something looks.


Willow wears jeans, Isabel Marant; cream jacket, Chloe; boots, Aquazurra, all Willow's own Credit: Andrew Crowley

Q. What’s your holiday wardrobe?

A. Marysia swimwear, Kalita sundresses and floaty, colourful kaftans – I have a blue one from Dosa with tiny mother of pearl buttons that I treasure.

Q. Is there anything that you wear now that you wouldn’t have worn when you were younger?

A. Tartan. My mother was always trying to get me to wear it and I loathed it; now I can’t get enough of it. I got a gorgeous tartan tasselled jacket from Zara in the autumn, but my husband laughs and asks if I’m going to a country and western party.

Willow wears skirt, Cos; jumper, Alex Gore Browne; boots, Chloe, all Willow's own Credit: Andrew Crowley

Q. Do you dress differently for country and town?

A.At home in Oxfordshire, I’d probably wear a dungaree, lots of layers, as many coats as I can fit on, wellies (they’re quite chic ones though, cropped navy Le Chameau) hat, scarf, gloves… For town life, the nicer parts of my wardrobe come out: more heels, more sparkle.


Q. What’s your beauty routine?

A. I go to see Jeanie Scott for regular facials; she’s utterly brilliant and put me on a routine using lots of Dermalogica (the Phyto Nature Firming Serum is one of my staples). I love Votary too, the apricot cleanser is gorgeous. Make-up wise, I use Chantecaille, Bobbi Brown and Trish McEvoy, plus Crème de la Mer lip balm. I’m so pale that fake tan is essential; my friend Amanda Harrington has a line that is unbelievably brilliant.

Q. Do you have any beauty secrets?

A. Yoga once a week with my teacher Rose van Cutsem.

Read more from Willow in Flourish: Stunning Arrangements with Flowers and Foliage (Kyle Books, out now) and The Wild Journal (Bluebird by Pan Macmillan, available March 19th 2020), willowcrossley.com.