You might have come across her profile and fallen in love with her style through Instagram, but Zoe Msutwana is more than a pretty face that dresses well. She's also the Head of Strategy at OrchardOn25, a boutique communications agency based in Johannesburg.
We recently had a chat with her to find out about her approach to style, what she's reading, how she stays inspired and her travel bucket-list.
Who is your style muse?
Definitely the late Princess Diana. My love for polka dots and kitten heels is inspired by her timeless style.
What do you do with clothes that don’t fit you anymore?I’ve probably been the same size since high school (which was a very long time ago). However, certain trends can feel outdated after a year or two. This is why I shave my wardrobe at the end of each year. I give some clothes to my younger sister, and donate others to charity.
Five must-have accessories?
- Black handbag
- Black sunglasses
- Gold earrings
- Alice band
- Small waist belt.
What do you love most about fashion?
I love that it gives me a voice without having to speak. I’ve had so many people pointing out things they deem “so Zoe”without me having uttered a single word. My character is well-communicated and positioned through the way I dress.
I’ve always had insecurities around expressing myself through speaking, and thankfully, fashion allows me to let my style do the talking.
What’s the fashion rule you disagree with, and why?
That you should only buy clothes that fit you well or are flattering. If I see something I like, I buy it whether it fits me well or not as I’m super petite. I’ve turned to tailoring my clothes to achieve the most-flattering fits for my body shape. Almost every item I own has been altered.
If you had to give one piece of fashion advice, what would it be?
I’ve learnt that effortless style requires effort, but the key lies in not trying too hard to appear fashionable. That part should come naturally.
What’s the most treasured item in your closet?
My Dior J’adior slingback kitten heels. They were on my vision board for a year before I could afford to buy them. They are sentimental because they are my first item from one of my favourite fashion houses. The fact that I bought them while vacationing in Paris doesn’t hurt either!
Which book are you currently reading, and what are you learning from it?
I’m currently reading Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, who is the chief operating officer at Facebook. The book teaches you how to navigate the work environment as a woman. It also explores the reasons behind the lack of progress in women attaining leadership roles.
It has empowered me by suggesting solutions that I can use to inspire the women in my team to step into their power.
What resources do you use to stay inspired?I rely a lot on content, be it social media or a TV show. I look up to, and enjoy, consuming positive content, seeing people achieving their goals and living out their dreams. I’m also fortunate enough to have a good support system that I can always approach whenever I feel deflated – whether it’s my partner, mom, boss or friends.
I’m currently obsessed with Jo Malone London’s Rose & Magnolia fragrance. It’s my go-to scent.
Travel destination after lockdown?
I’ve been longing for a stunning villa stay in Knysna, Western Cape, with friends. It will take me some time to be comfortable with international travel. Once things get back to “normal”, then Greece and Italy will be at the top of my list. That was my intended vacation for 2020, but I’m happy with only going in 2021.