In the closet with Sandra Marvin


The Emmerdale actress customizes her look with vibrant prints and
bargain buys

Actress and singer Sandra plays Jessie Grant in ITV’s Emmerdale. With a theatre background, she has appeared onstage alongside Amanda Holden and Nicola Stephenson in Stepping Out and toured with Michael Ball. Sandra was also a backing singer for the sellout Kate Bush Before The Dawn tour and has performed with Liam Gallagher and Alexandra Burke among others. She is single and lives in Leeds.

How would you describe your style?

Mood dependent. Sometimes I wake up and want to be girlie and wear a skirt with heels, other days I want to look sporty and casual in Ash trainers and a slouchy jumper. I’ve also got a glam side.

Which colors and shapes suit you best?

I love bright colors and strong prints – anything 70s boho. I’m also a fan of flowy midi and maxidresses. I’m curvy, so styles that emphasize my curves while faking a waist are good – mine isn’t as tiny as I’d like.

Which is your favorite fashion era?

I once went through a 40s phase, wanting to wear the wiggle dresses, pencil skirts, and heels. I love that sensuous silhouette but I couldn’t give up my jeans. Probably my favorite era is the 80s, apart from the vibrant colors and embellishments. Who doesn’t love a shoulder pad? It’s Dynasty-style drama and glam that I love. I’m forever adding shoulder pads to my clothes.

How would you describe Jessie’s style?

She loves brights and big prints but dresses slightly older. She’s more adventurous than I am, especially with color. She recently wore a big green jacket with a tangerine jumper – colors you think wouldn’t work together – but they really do.

Which are your favourite high-street shops?

Zara. I love the colors, prints and high- waisted wide-legged trousers, plus Anthropologie – their clothes are a bit more unusual and exciting.

Who is your favourite designer for the red carpet?

Adrianna Papell. I have two evening gowns by her which I’ve customized. I cut up a black sequin top and added shoulder pads to a long, black halterneck style and removed a red sequin waistband from a long red chiffon dress for a simpler line. Both were transformed. Top of my wishlist, though, is Christian Siriano. His evening wear is divine.

Have you a style icon?

All the golden age of Hollywood film stars. I used to love watching the black-and-white films from the 30s and 40s on Saturday afternoons. I blame them for my fashion guilty secret. I have far too many evening gowns I’ll never have an occasion to wear, but I love them. For today, Tracee Ellis Ross. What is the most fun outfit for you.

have ever worn?

Probably when I was a backing singer for Kate Bush’s 2014 tour, Before The Dawn. There were three outfit changes – funky black leather, fisherman’s oilskins, life jacket, and woolly hat and a gold jumpsuit, cloak, and mask. It was surreal.

Are you a hoarder or do you clear out your wardrobe each season?

A hoarder. I have suitcases full of summer and winter clothes, plus packed wardrobes. I fill bin liners for charity shops from time to time, but clearly not often enough.

How many shoes and handbags do you own?

I’ve no idea. Off the top of my head, 50 pairs of shoes; not quite as many handbags.

What is the best fashion advice you have been given?

Black is not the only color. If you like something daring, wear it. Don’t limit yourself.

What is your current favourite outfit?

My stone-washed dungarees from Asos, which I wear with a striped Zara top.

Is there an “old favorite” you turn to in a wardrobe crisis?

A dirndl-style skirt with a big, colorful print, which I made with my mum. I wear it with an off-the-shoulder black top and raspberry-red squishy boots.

How much do you spend on clothes each month?

Not much – I’m on a ban because I’ve been splashing the cash too much. I made a pact with a friend that I wouldn’t spend a penny for three months and if I break that promise she’s going to be on my case.

What is the most expensive item in your wardrobe? And best bargain?

An evening dress for £350 and my Gucci and Chanel handbags, which cost considerably more. My best bargain has to be the squishy boots. I fell in love with a pair in Zara but they were £180 and I couldn’t bring myself to pay that much. Then I walked into New Look and saw a near identical pair for £8. Hallelujah!


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