Claudia Hulshof (49) is writer of ‘Signalen’ (Signals), a book on personal and professional style. The book is a guide to explore your personal style and explains how you can use this knowledge in strategic ways. Claudia works as an image consultant and journalist.

What makes your wardrobe green?
I have a lot of second hand clothing and just a couple of new ‘sustainable’ pieces. But it’s really mostly second hand because I don’t like the sustainable brands that much, the ones I know seem to focus on young people rather than on women who want to dress elegantly and timeless. I have some pieces that were very pricy and will wear for a long time, some I’ll wear for more than 20 years.

24-6633Can you tell something about your wardrobe?
I love dresses, so basically the biggest part of my wardrobe consists of dresses. I feel most comfortable wearing a dress. I have pants but I mostly wear them when I‘m home or when I’m taking my dogs out. But honestly, it’s just dresses and sometimes a skirt.

Do you keep things neat?
Yes, I think I’m very neat. I didn’t need to wash or iron anything for your visit. Everything was ready to wear. I keep everything hanging in my wardrobe. After I wear something I usually put it back in my wardrobe, or hang it outside. If I want to wear it the next day I’ll hang it in the bathroom and if it needs to be washed I’ll throw it in my laundry basket.

What is your process getting dressed in the morning?
Quite simple. I never have to think very long about what I’m going to wear. I take a shower, put on what I chose the day before or I just grab something new out of my closet. It’s a super fast process.

Do you have any dress rules?
I don’t like skirts that are too short. If I wear something wider on top I’ll wear something more tight at the bottom. I love wearing complementary colours. So for example: orange and blue/turquoise, red and green or purple and yellow/ochre. And I really like to wear natural and vegan fabrics, although two of my favourites are wool and silk…

Any missing items?
I love prints, but I hardly ever seem to find beautiful ones. If I would find them I’d wear it more often and combine it because I love the combination of prints. But the designers who offer that are generally too expensive for my budget. Recently I started making my own clothing again so I hope to make myself something with a beautiful print.

Can you tell something about your taste and style?4-6063
I’m drawn to the beautiful stylish designs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. I love subdued en chic fabrics. If I would have to choose between chic and sexy it would always be chic. Timelessness and the silhouette are also very important to me. I love to wear heels, they look elegant. But I definitely don’t want to look too common. Jewellery and wearing things that have an asymmetric design for example keeps my look from being common. I also love woollen fabrics a lot, but that gives me a bit of a conflict because I’d rather not wear animal products. So that’s why I buy second hand wool, silk and leather shoes also.

Does your style change when getting older?
I used to wear wider skirts, but my waist is getting a bit wider so I’m giving up on that style slowly. My thighs are becoming thinner so I’m wearing more straight and tube shaped skirts. I don’t mind this change at all, I love it. My hair and my figure change and I honestly think it’s fantastic!

What does fashion mean to you?
I love the constant change, that there is always new inspiration. However, to be fashionable is not important to me, sometimes there’s just something I like. I do have to know about fashion, what’s in the shops and what’s going to be trendy next year. This is because I should be able to advise my clients about what is happening in the world of fashion.

Something missing in fashion?
I wish that fashion would help clients better about what suits for them. I look at it that way, what a specific design does to someone. Shops are filled with all kinds of styles and clients just have to figure out themselves what is made for them, what makes them look more beautiful. I really believe the fashion industry has to focus on taking care of the clients more, and respect people, the animals, and the planet. I plead for a much more innovative and sustainable fashion industry.

14-6388What do clothes mean to you?
Clothing is like a second skin. It’s something I choose, something I need to like and feel at home in. I love presenting myself in different ways every day.

Are there things you admire about how other women present themselves?
Look at for example the actress Helen Mirren. I love the way she presents herself… She’s a beautiful woman with a great figure, but she is not a typical ‘movie star beauty’. She can look incredibly elegant, but when you look closely she also has this tiny little tattoo on her hand. I love her personal style. I like characters rather than fashion models or ‘movie stars’. I like characters with a personal style who do not need to copy others or dress trendy, because they don’t know what else to do.

If you could build up your wardrobe from scratch, what would you do different?
Some synthetic fabrics I wouldn’t buy again. I don’t like how they feel on my skin. But technically they become better, so I wouldn’t say that I’m not trying again. I would also visit more high fashion outlets … and I would want to wear more special outfits. I would shop less in regular shopping areas because there I usually can’t find what I’m looking for.

How and when do you shop for clothes?
Not a lot actually. But when I go it’s on holidays or days off. When I was in Blaricum I randomly bumped into the Gooische fashion outlet, nice place! I also search online. But it usually happens as a coincidence. I don’t really plan and look for it.

Do you have shopping rules?18-6474
I rather would not buy something again if I don’t at least wear it 35 times. I often used to save things for later to wear. But later is right now, so I’m not saving things to wear on a special occasion. Now I just try to wear everything I have all the time.

How does money play a role?
I don’t spend a lot of money on clothes. I buy via Marktplaats.nl (the Dutch e-bay) and etsy.nl. I think I spend about 100 euro’s a month. I’m making clothing myself, or I’ll ask someone to do it for me.

If you buy clothes do you think of the person who made it?
Yes, I believe that’s part of my profession. I love it even more if I know who made the clothing piece I bought and I know that this person is treated well. That’s also why I like buying on Etsy because my money will go straight to the person making it. At least, that should be the case. I like that and I think it’s really important to support these people.

Do you have favourite shops?
Marktplaats is one of my favourite shops. I like some shops on Etsy, like Couvert, Dig for Victory and Arosha. Yoox.com I also like, it has a quite large sustainable choice.

What are your tips for other women?
Go check out a good style coach or image consultant. It’s such a great investment to know what fits well, looks good on your body and compliments your character. It is also valuable that a professional person can tell you how you probably will perceived by others when wearing a certain outfit.
Also browse through those outlets and check out Marktplaats for brands you love. It’s way cheaper and more sustainable that way.
Let your clothing just air outside, or put it in a bucket of water, some salt and vinegar. It works fantastic and you don’t need the soap you buy in the shops. Clothes don’t need to be washed that much. And avoid the dryer as much as possible.
Lastly. It’s very useful to know what more sustainable fabrics are. Tencel, (knitted) linen and cupro for example are beautiful and you can find these at mainstream shops as well.