Personal stylist and Insta fashion influencer Abby Wood. |

As of July 2023, #fashion (1.1bn) was Instagram’s third-most popular hashtag, just behind #love (2.1bn) and #instagood (1.6bn). Little wonder therefore that London-based Abby Wood (@styleupwithabby) is killing it in her career as a personal stylist and Insta fashion influencer. Abby chatted to the Bulletin from her sunny second home: Mallorca.

“Fashion affects us all,” says Abby. “We have to get dressed as, with very few exceptions, it’s illegal to leave the house naked. ‘What am I going to cook tonight?’ and ‘what shall I wear?’ are the two questions we’re almost guaranteed to ask ourselves on a daily basis – so we may as well get them right. The good news is you don’t have to be born with a sense of style; you can learn it. With a well-edited wardrobe, you can reach in, throw a few things on, and look sensational - and I am here to teach you.”

Now in her late 40s, mother-of-two Abby has always loved clothes. As a young teen, she’d swerve homework in favour of taking pieces out of her wardrobe and trying them in different combinations. As she grew older, Abby became the unofficial go-to person for friends unsure of what to wear, or how to wear it, but her day jobs were neither fashionable nor glamorous. Abby worked for an online bank, in the railway industry, as a social media manager – and then COVID came along.

“In 2020, I stumbled across an online Personal Stylist course with the London College of Style - I literally had no idea such a thing existed. It was a lightbulb moment. I thought if I can train in it, earn a qualification, I would have the confidence to do it as a proper job, so I seized the opportunity with both hands. I put together, created an Instagram account and I was up and running.

“I’m not a ‘look at me, buy this’ fashion influencer, neither am I a fashion stylist who selects clothes and accessories for celebs and magazine shoots, I am a personal stylist who works on a one-to-one basis with everyday people. I’m talking 40+ women like me, women who’ve probably put their own needs to the back of the queue for 10 or 20 years and aren’t sure what works, or what they even like, anymore.

“I offer three main services: style session, wardrobe edit and personal shopping. 99% of my style sessions are done online. They take about one hour, and we often start by solving specific issues, like what to pack for an upcoming holiday or how to get out of a skinny-jeans-and-jumper rut. My favourite question is: ‘how do I style this top/jacket/dress/skirt?’. I show them how to wear the piece in different ways, styled up or styled down. I also love a ‘wow’ moment when a small adjustment makes a massive difference, a turn-up on a plain jean to expose an elegant ankle can be enough to flip the frown upside down.

“The wardrobe edit is a deeper dive into the closet to see what works and what doesn’t. I ask clients ‘do you wear it?’ and ‘do you love it?’ - the answer must be ‘yes’ to both. If they’re hanging on to an item of clothing, even though they’ve not touched it for ages, I encourage them to wear it for an entire morning - to Mercadona, it doesn’t matter - and see how it makes them feel. Garments should also be in good nick - us 40-plussers deserve to wear hole- and stain-free outfits - and they need to fit. The edit takes three hours, it’s good fun and surprisingly therapeutic.

“Personal shopping always comes after a style session or a wardrobe edit. It’s crucial for me to understand what’s in someone’s wardrobe before we add to it. There may well be things in there that they’ve either forgotten about or don’t know how to wear - and they can be unexpected gems. We then hit the high street to fill the gaps and find knockout outfits for upcoming special occasions.

“Every session starts with the fundamentals: body shape and style personality. Understanding your body shape is the key to dressing well and creating balance and proportion. Meanwhile, your style personality determines what you want to look like - anything from floral and floaty to urban and edgy. Often clients struggle to describe it, so I propose they create a Pinterest board of looks they’re keen on, and we go from there.”

With 85,000-plus insta followers, Abby inevitably gets offered lots of clothes. Her mantra is only to accept things she really likes - and then promote them with style advice and ‘how to wear’ tips. Abby’s also rigorous about following her own advice and regularly edits her wardrobe. Anything surplus to requirements is gifted to friends, sold on Vinted or eBay, or dropped off at local charity shops.

Abby’s Top Ten Style Tips

  • 1 Every wardrobe needs good quality staples: a well-fitting pair of jeans, a nicely-tailored blazer, a soft leather jacket, the perfect white trainers.
  • 2 When shopping, ask yourself ‘can I wear this in three different ways and for three different occasions?’.
  • 3 For a put-together outfit, go tonal. Pick a colour and accessories will take the look from basic to brilliant. Whack on the necklaces and have fun.
  • 4 Well-fitting underwear is key. I’d say 95% of people I style are wearing the wrong bra size – get measured by a professional.
  • 5 Ditch the heels, comfort is key, and if shoes pinch or rub you know what to do with them.
  • 6 Don’t keep things for best. Life is too short and ‘best’ may never come. Wear your gorgeous clothes and feel amazing. In the same vein, I advise clients to debut new outfits ASAP.
  • 7 Go to the high street – Zara is ideal – for wardrobe boosts. They may be more trend-driven pieces, but you’ll still get a good few seasons out of them.
  • 8 For summer shopping in Mallorca, head to Porto Pi. All the major brands are there and it’s air-conditioned. Local to me, I have several favourites: Verdissimo, My Port, NdB and In Love in Port Andratx (there’s also an In Love in Valldemossa) and Bangels for accessories.
  • 9 Dodge the sales. Never buy something just because ‘it’s a bargain’.
  • 10 Avoid fast fashion. Support sustainable clothing brands where possible.