Meeting Monica Ainley in London

There is the type of personality that I tend to call ‘cheerleader’, someone who likes to spread positive energy and who is concerned about a general good time especially when around others.  I try to live by this, sometimes more sometimes less successfully.

Maybe this is why Monica is my kind of girl, she definitely falls into the cheerleading category, besides being very smart and funny. To be honest, since I am a style hunter, I might have noticed Monica’s cool minimal style first. The former Features and Social Media Editor at JOSEPH, Monica still wears a lot of the mentioned brand that is a personal favorite of mine.

I caught up with Monica in London a few weeks ago (and coincidently a few days later in Berlin) to have a closer look at what makes her uniform. Not to forget, there are exciting things happening in Monica’s career this year like going Freelance and the Launch of

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Hi Monica ! You know I’ve been a fan of your style, thanks for letting me have a look at your closet. What surprised me the most is that you don’t have tons of things in there and that it’s a mix of high and low. Basically, it’s very well edited which I love and you really know what suits you … Hi Sandra, you’re right, I don’t buy a lot. I am lucky to have a few simple luxury pieces, and then I add on the seasonal essentials, which for me are often denim, navy blue, white or grey, and maybe a hint of red. I’m a sucker for cashmere in winter though and great quality white cotton things in summer. 

Also, my Grandmother played a big part in teaching me how to dress, and I don’t think she ever quite shook her British wartime mentality, even after living in Canada for so many years. She can make a feast with leftovers and steal the show in an old man’s shirt… I grew up watching her do both, and I guess it really affected my idea of good taste.

You’re traveling a lot, now you divide your time between Paris and London. Has the traveling influenced the way you dress and do you find that you dress differently in both cities ? Yes, I’ve had to learn to be much more strict with myself! It’s an internal battle whenever I’m packing, but it seems the key is picking the right shoes, bag and coat that will work with every look. 

In London the eccentricity is contagious. If I’m ever going to wear colour, it’s probably on a night out in London. Or at London Fashion Week, where I find myself strangely compelled to be part of the rainbow. But in Paris it’s rare that I stray from my boyish uniform. I walk everywhere there, so it’s a simple pair of trainers and sunglasses and maybe an interesting scarf and other than that a whole lot of navy. 

A few favorite designers … The Row, JOSEPH (men’s and women’s), Jonathan Anderson, and Barbara Casasola for parties. As for some more recent additions, I’m very excited about: Alighieri jewelry, Alex Eagle, Beaufille, Dubini Jewellery, Sophie Buhai, Admise Paris and Anna Quan.

What is on your imaginary fashion wish list for SS 2016 … Some pointy mirrored mid-heels from the Proenza Schouler runway, an off-white Valextra Twist 5 bag, and an Anna Quan shirt with my initials on the cuff, please.

Talking of career, you have worked for JOSEPH and Net-a-Porter, recently you went Freelance and you are also starting your own Blog … I couldn’t resist the idea of working on more than one project in more than one place, getting inspired by my surroundings and all that. I’ve been on a number of projects which involve writing, consulting, and right now I’m especially excited about the podcast I’m writing with a friend. Plus I’m about to launch my own little site, 

Finally, what are some of your favorite places in London to relax, have dinner or shop ? I must be honest: I spend an unseemly amount of time at the various  Soho Houses scattered around town. I use them as my office, canteen, entertaining space… So shout-out to those guys for putting up with me.  Also: The courtyard of the Victoria and Albert Museum for a culture time-out (the museum itself is not bad either). I hang out in Hampstead a lot lately too. There’s a very cosy pub called The Hollybush in one of the most charming parts of the area. And I love Granger in Notting Hill for a brunch with friends, if you can handle the queue.  The Ladbroke Arms, also in Notting Hill is the best for long summer weekend lunches.

For shopping, it’s Alex Eagle Walton Street, Dover Street Market, the top bit of the Portobello Market and… there’s no place like a British high street if you have the energy! 

 Finally, can I ask, who colours your hair ? I love that golden brown ! Thank you! Mr. Sun is my colourist – he’s very cheap but loyalty is a must. 


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Monica Ainley is a Canadian writer, editor, stylist and social media consultant based between London and Paris.  Monica has written for titles like T Magazine, and AnOther Magazine and was Features & Social Media Editor a JOSEPH and Community Editor for The NET SET powered by Net-a-Porter before going freelance.

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Wardrobe Credits:

Picture 1 and 2: Jacket: Admise Paris; Coat: COS

Picture 3: Brown suede overalls -Joseph; Scarf: Isabel Marant; Sportsbra: Calvin Klein; Jacket: Joseph; Earring: Alighieri Jewellery

Picture 6 and 9: Cashmere Coat, Jeans & Tee-Shirt: Joseph; Scarf: Vintage; Earring: Alighieri Jewellery; Bag: 3.1 Phillip Lim 

Picture 7: Jacket: Admise Paris; Scarf: Vintage; Jeans: Joseph 

Picture 10: Coat: JW Anderson; Sunglasses: Illesteva; Shirt: Alex Eagle; Gloes: WANT les essentiels de la vie 

Picture 11: Shirt: Alex Eagle




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