How Samantha Cameron changed the face of Downing Street fashion

Politics and fashion are a great mix – just ask David Cameron’s wife…

Politicians aren’t necessarily known for their fashion sense, generally speaking. Policies, legalities, debates and of course, a grey suit, yes, but they rarely end up on the best-dressed list.

The wives, however… well that’s a different story. And the woman who single-handedly made fashion big news in Downing Street before anyone else was Samantha Cameron, who proved so popular with the media, that she was awarded the nickname Sam Cam.

The mother-of-four stepped out in a variety of incredible labels when her husband was in power. From Roksanda to Alessandra Rich, the stylish beauty always looked spot on, which meant she was a prolific figure in the style pages of all the biggest fashion magazines at the time, giving her serious fashion kudos.

Speaking to The Guardian, Samantha discussed having access to top designers, which really inspired her. “I was a much more minimal dresser at the beginning, but I was lucky to get to wear lots of fabulous British designers like Erdem and Christopher Kane, and that introduced me to the power of colour and of print,” she said.

HELLO! spoke with stylist Clare Chambers who explains why Sam made such a huge impact and shifted the political landscape in terms of fashion choices.

“What was always so appealing about Samantha Cameron’s style during her tenure as Prime Minister’s wife (and subsequent years) is that she mastered the balance of appealing to everyone by wearing masculine and feminine clothing – classic, well cut tailored pieces with a subtle modern twist. Whether it’s a feminine blouse styled with a pair of masculine cut trousers, or her favourite caveat: experimenting with bold on-trend colours,” she tells us.

She added: “It was that use of colour and the consistency of combining masculine and feminine pieces that ensured she stood out as an individual herself, and not just the wife of the Prime Minister.”

Sam Cam’s clever use of colour can has been passed down to future leader’s wives – just take Victoria Starmer’s symbolic red dress collection worn on the campaign trail alongside husband Keir Starmer as a case in point.

Samantha’s career
Samantha was the first politician’s wife to have a highly established career in fashion. Before her husband became PM, she was the creative director at the Smythson of Bond Street. The luxury British accessories brand is a beloved label that is hugely popular with celebrities and royalty alike.

Her knowledge of fashion was top notch, so much so that she was actually part of the judging panel for the Vogue Fashion Fund, working with some seriously big names in fashion, including Victoria Beckham. She worked in this fulfilling role, as well as being a prominent part of the British Fashion Council, too.

Her womenswear label, Cefinn, was established in 2017, one year after her husband stepped down from his role as PM. It was an instant big hit with shoppers, with dresses being the most coveted, although her workwear and knitted pieces were pretty great too. Tailoring is a big outlet in the design of her clothes, and in a passage online, the brand explains: “Our goal is to ensure that you look and feel great from work to weekend, desk to dinner, and at those unforgettable special occasions.”

The label is very much mid-range when it comes to pricing and is created in London. You can purchase it online and in their Belgravia store.

Speaking about the label, the designer has said: “As a busy woman constantly balancing the demands of home, family, and work, I find myself perpetually on the move. Like many women in the public eye, my lifestyle requires a wardrobe that works hard – seamlessly transitioning from early morning meetings to evening gatherings with friends – looking great – and importantly being effortless to maintain.