Samantha Cameron’s 5-step guide to modern dressing

cefinn
Knit, £160; and skirt, £220, Cefinn 

Two years on from launching her fashion label Cefinn, Samantha Cameron has just opened her first shop. It’s a pop-up, so it won’t be there long, but it’s giving the recent incumbent of No. 10 a first-hand insight into what her customers – who span from thirtysomething lawyers to chic Chelsea seventysomethings (although not a 62-year-old Prime Minister, yet) – are thinking as they make those key decisions about what to buy this spring.

Pattern is proving a hit, so are pale colours. “It’s that expensive, luxury look that’s filtered through from the street style set at the shows,” she observes. Tailoring is flying, particularly colourful trouser suits which can be dressed up or down so easily and shift their tone from modern power-play to more playful occasion wear with the switch of a top.

What began as a sleek but slightly safe label of office basics has evolved into rails full of colourful, easy to wear clothes, some of which, like the high necked, slim belted dresses with piping, have already become Cefinn staples – suggesting that while women clearly wanted the versatile, functional elegance that was a core Cefinn principal, they’re willing to be bold. Black is definitely not a best seller, even if it’s what Cameron is wearing today, head to toe.

Printed dress, £390, Cefinn

Since it opened a fortnight ago, the boutique has had women shopping for Ascot, Henley and wedding outfits – more evidence that the way we dress is becoming less compartmentalised. If you love something, 2019’s smart-shopping approach is to buy it in as elevated a version as you can afford and wear it across your social calendar. A ziggurat patterned dress with a ruffled hem (the minimalist-minded Cameron’s big concession to this summer’s overwhelmingly saccharine girlishness) can do the business as well at weekends worn with plimsolls, as it can in the office with block heels.

Cefinn's new pop-up store in Sloane Square,  Credit:  

Since leaving Downing Street for her design studio in the less chichi edges of North Kensington, Sam Cam is better placed than most to dole out advice on how to get tonal shifts right.

Samantha Cameron's essentials for the fully flexible summer (and beyond) wardrobe...

1. Something patterned

I’m an instinctive minimalist, but pattern can make something more dressy. I prefer stripes, zigzags or a bit of green animal print to flowers and I always make sure there’s some black in there somewhere so that you can team it with black tights and boots.

Top, £160; trousers, £210, Cefinn 

2. Tailoring

I absolutely love a navy blazer and trousers, although I think a brighter colour is more fun, especially if you’ve got parties or weddings to go to. I like to tone them down for day with good white T-shirts and then lift them with a toning patterned blouse. A checked blazer is especially useful and it’s easier to match with other pieces.

3. A sleeveless top

I know lots of women don’t like sleeveless tops, but courtesy of yoga, my arms are the bit of my body I’m least averse to showing. Plus, sleeveless styles are neater under jackets.

4. A pale coat

It looks so elegant, goes with everything and works indoors or out – but not in a colour that’s a dirt magnet.

5. A smart knit 

Lots of women still haven’t discovered that a smart jumper can do a jacket’s job. It’s worth the extra investment. I love them with skirts – much easier than trying to get the proportions right with a jacket.