Occupation Psychotherapist. Age Ungallant to ask. Personal style Efficiency chic

James Sherwood: Marlene Dietrich, Jean Muir, Catherine Deneuve: few women can wear tailored trousers with utter conviction, but I would add your name to the list, Sue. How did you find your style?

Sue Cubitt: I inherited my mother's love of fashion. She was an opera singer and rather flamboyant. I moved to London aged 16 and studied to be a nurse. Being in uniform all day made me long for the excitement and freedom of 1960s fashion. I spent every penny I earned at Biba and Mary Quant.

JS: Your career since then has been heroic: nursing Lady Lucan (before the scandal), working with alcoholics on Bermuda, being therapist-in-residence at the liberal boarding school Bedales and building a prestigious private practice. You must be the most glamorous psychotherapist in the business. What do your clothes say to your clients?

SC: I hope they say I am quite strong. I have to look credible, so my clients can believe in me, communicate with me and respect me.

JS: When I saw the insouciant jacket and languid trousers I thought you were in the fashion business. Talk me through the look.

SC: The jacket is MaxMara, the trousers are Boden, the T-shirt is from TopShop. The Russell & Bromley shoes are favourites, as it's difficult to find navy shoes. What did you think a psychotherapist would look like?

JS: Socks and sandals? Lumpy cardigans? I was one of those "stiff-upper-lip" Englishmen who thought therapy was for weak people. I've since seen a therapist who put me right.

SC: That stiff upper lip's interesting, isn't it? When I began, very few men came for therapy. Now 55 per cent of my clients are male. That is progress.

JS: What do you think about the "because I'm worth it" generation?

SC: There is a tendency with young men and women who want it all but don't want to put the time or effort in. That is a bit weak.

Get the 'I'm listening' look

Navy striped jacket £220, by Juicy Couture, at www.net-a-porter.com

Striped trousers £27, by Et Vous, at www.my-wardrobe.com

Silver cocktail watch £130, by Tissot, at www.ernestjones.co.uk