Carving out a music career as an X Factor graduate can be tough once all the post-show buzz has died down. But two years after her shock 6th place exit (she had been tipped to win) Ella Henderson and her debut album Chapter One have scored critical praise, skipped to the number one slot and won A-list fans including Lily Allen and Chloe Moretz. She’s enjoyed a pretty cool fashion evolution along the way too, swapping those ditzy print skater skirts for Valentino jumpsuits and Gucci trousers. Though she still won’t be parted from her favourite pair of River Island jeans.   

“My style has always been driven by my music. Growing up I was massively influenced by old fashioned artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday and I loved their retro look, rolling up my hair and wearing patterned skirts that nipped in at the waist.” 

“The day before my X Factor audition I went to River Island to buy my outfit. I remember picking a floral dress because I didn’t want to look too tomboyish, but as I’m not a fan of heels I wore it with high tops. For an audition like that it’s important to wear something which reflects your personality.”  

“During the X Factor live shows you really get a chance to experiment with your look. One week I’d be in a skater skirt and jewelled top, the next a beautiful gold Matthew Williamson dress. The only outfit I wasn’t so keen on was my one for Halloween week. I looked like a cross between a devil and Black Swan!” 

“In the last few years I’ve learned to dress my body shape better with tailored outfits, like jumpsuits and smart trousers. It’s all about zoning in on what makes you feel confident. I like things that accentuate the waist as that’s the smallest part of my body.” 

“I used to think it was OK to go out wearing just a onesie, a beanie hat and no make-up. I still have a onesie I like lounging around at home in but I would never go out in it now!” 

“I used to be scared of wearing high end designer stuff because I thought it was just for skinny Minnies. But then I got some amazing Gucci trousers, which just fit me perfectly. I’ve also recently fallen in love with this Valentino jumpsuit which I’m going to take on tour to America with me.”

“If I wasn’t singing I’d definitely be doing something with hair and makeup. I loved art at school and I think the face can be like a canvas, though I do take a less is more approach.” 

“As a woman in the music industry I feel more comfortable covering myself up, because that’s what makes me feel confident. Though hands down to people like Beyonce and Miley Cyrus. If doing [a sexy look] makes them shine as a performer then why not.” 

LOVE LOVE LOVE: Ella’s Fashion Favourites 

Topshop leather jacket 

“I have so many leather jackets. I put them on over everything.” 

River Island jeans 

“I own six pairs of the same River Island jeans. They’re such an amazing fit I’ve just repeat-bought them!”   

Tom Ford make-up 

“His contouring gel and highlighter help my skin look fresh and accentuate cheekbones.”

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Interview by: Lucy Pavia @lucypavia