The Colour File Interview: Chloe Samwell-Smith

Chloe Samwell-Smith was a talent manager at Endemol before taking the plunge to blog about fashion and style. Now mum-of-three Chloe – who is on instagram as @ChloeLovesToShop – has a massive and dedicated following for her down-to-earth yet elegant style. Oh, and she is queen of ‘storying’ – mainly from her car…Here, she tells The Colour File’s Martha Roberts what colour means to her…

Martha: Can you describe your first colour memory?
Chloe: I think this would have to be my very first pair of pink satin ballet shoes. I remember feeling like the happiest little girl in the world and never wanting to take them off. They probably sparked my love for the colour pink. Ballet and all it’s pinkness is a very strong childhood memory, which has rather wonderfully come back into my life as my middle daughter is as passionate as I was.

“My first pair of pointe shoes, which my mum kept for me.”

Martha: Do you have a favourite colour and has this changed over the years? 
Chloe: Pink has always been favourite colour, but as I have got older, I have realised that red is a colour that really works for me. I love what it does for my mood and for those around me. I think it’s important to find a colour that is your mood enhancer, and whip it out whenever you feel like you need a lift. It could be as simple as a bright lipstick, but it really can change the way you feel.

Martha: What is your favourite colourful object/objects and why?
Chloe: As you can see from this photo [see below], our house is fairly monochrome. I love it this way because it feels peaceful, but I was starting to miss colour, so we turned our ‘snug’ (sitting room) into a room that is splashed with different colours. We painted the walls a charcoal grey and filled the room with colourful sofas, cushions and artwork. My favourite colour object has to be my boucherouite kilim rug that I bought from edit.58 last year. It completely transformed the room and became the centrepiece that allowed me to play with a variety of different colours and patterns in the room.

The monochrome kitchen…
…and the colourful snug.

Martha: How does colour make you feel and how do you use it in your work or personal life?
Chloe: I love using colour to lift the mood of my followers on instagram. For example on a really dull and grey day, posting a photo of a bright outfit (usually a red or pink top) always seems to lift spirits. Yellow is another colour that really lifts the mood. At home, I have used a palette of very soft, gentle colours like greys and pale pinks in our bedroom to create a calm and peaceful atmosphere.

“Yellow is another colour that really lifts the mood.”

Martha: Do you have a colour you could happily do without? 
Chloe: I could happily live without brown. My senior school uniform was brown and as a teenager, I thought making girls wear the colour brown everyday was the work of the devil. I don’t think you’ll ever catch me wearing that shade of brown again. Camel is as close as I will go.

Martha: What does colour mean to you in your day-to-day life? 
Chloe: Colour is so important. As a mother, I have found it fascinating to watch the children find their ‘colours’. At the tender age of two, Charlie knew is favourite colour was green (not my favourite, I might add!) and so I let him choose his own clothes, knowing that he would be happier wearing a colour that he loved. I recently redecorated his room and used green as the accent colour. I couldn’t quite bring myself to grant his wish for green walls!  The girls developed their own sense of style and preference for colours from an early age and rather than fight against their choices, I learned to accept and respect them, with a few little suggestions here and there along the way. Fortunately they both enjoyed wearing pink and one still does! As a blogger, I enjoy showing my audience how to play with colour when it comes to dressing. My favourite way to use colour is to add the unexpected ‘pop’ with a bag, a pair of shoes or just a bright lipstick.

Martha: Do you think there are rules about colour? Or are rules made to be broken?
Chloe: For me, there are no rules when it comes to colour. I love seeing people wearing clashing colours and prints. I tend to play it a little bit safe, but that’s not because I am following rules, I think it’s just a reflection of my personality.

Martha: Do you have a colour story or anecdote? 
Chloe: In my final year at school, we had what was called a ‘Matric Dance’ (I grew up in South Africa, it was the Prom equivalent) and I had a dress made for the occasion. My mum kept it (along with everything else!) and recently brought it over to me in the UK. I still can’t believe this, but of all the colours that I could have chosen to wear, I wore a full length BROWN dress. Strictly speaking it was ‘mink’ but I wouldn’t be seen dead in that colour now and can only assume that some kind of colour ‘conditioning’ had taken place from wearing a brown uniform every day. If I had a time machine I would go back to that dance in a red dress.

Martha: If a colour was created in your honour, what colour would it be and what would it be called?
Chloe: It would have to be a shade of pink and it would be a cross between a baby pink and a blush pink. Let’s call it ‘blush-baby’

Splashes of pink

Martha: What advice would you give to someone about colour?
Chloe: Don’t be afraid to experiment. Try on colours that you think won’t suit you and see how they make you feel. I didn’t think that I could wear yellow, but this was one of my favourite dresses from last summer. (Granted I had a tan, and I think you can wear almost any colour when you have a good tan!) When it comes to dressing, create little ‘flatlay moodmoards’ with your outfits. Lay them down and play around with accessories and shoes until you find a palette that seems to work. I am not suggesting you do this every day, but it will give you some ideas for colours that you enjoy wearing together and makes putting outfits together really fun and interesting.

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