On the morning of my Personal Shopping training I was very careful to choose what I wore. Firstly, I needed to make sure that my footwear was comfortable as I knew there’d be a lot of walking. I also needed to make sure I looked well put together and groomed. Not only so the models (our volunteer guinea pigs for the day) respected my style and judgement but that the shop assistants did too – sure to get better service that way. Hence I decided against my tie dye, cut-away mini dress and patent thigh-high boots so to avoid any Pretty Woman scenarios.
I was due to meet Gail at 10am so we’d have time for a catch up and debrief before we met our first model, Ali, at 11am. I was half an hour early. I’m a bit of a time freak - I hate being late and I’m not very patient waiting for people who are late either.
If Gail was late, I didn’t notice. I was fascinated by the dialogue that was going on between a young male shop assistant and an unnecessarily demanding, commanding, unsmiling and rude elderly lady in the shoe department (and they say it’s the young that don’t respect the elderly? Pah!). In my opinion, the shop assistant lad deserved employee of the day. I was very impressed how he kept his calm and didn’t raise his voice once. I won’t relay the whole conversation to you, but suffice to say, had I been in the shop assistant’s shoes, I’m not sure I would have been able to resist surreptitiously replacing the pretty little patent heel courts in her carrier bag with a pair of gentleman’s corduroy slippers in the hope that it would teach her a valuable lesson in karma and respec’. Innit!
Anyway, let’s move on. Ali arrives and, over a coffee, she runs through her shopping list with me and Gail. It’s a very organised list on a sheet of A4. I’m impressed. I love a list. And I love an A4 clothes list even more!
I don’t think I was quite prepared for how quickly Gail can identify and pick clothes off the rails – she was on fire! It took me a while to get into the same mind-set as I kept gravitating towards clothes that were best suited for me rather than Ali! I was very nervous as I knew that Gail would be watching me closely to see if I was picking up the right clothes, sticking to the brief and following all the theory that I had been studying at home. Let’s just say that I got braver by the minute and very quickly got into the flow. So much so, that my arm started shaking with the weight of the clothes draped across it. I physically couldn’t hold anymore and so it was time for us to head to the fitting room.
For those of you who know me well, you will know that H&M is my favourite shop. And to concrete that further, something amazing happened in here when Ali tried on an Olive Green jersey dress. I felt tears burning behind my eyes because she looked so totally fantastic in it! Yep, tis true. I asked Gail if it was normal to feel that emotional and she said it was – phew! And I’m so blooming sorry that I didn’t get a snap of Ali wearing it – I was obviously too overwhelmed to get my phone out of my bag. Ali, if you’re reading this, please send me a pic to share with the world (no pressure!).
Now, Sarah’s list was significantly shorter than Ali’s. Sarah needed skirts and dresses which she finds tricky to get due to her inverted triangle body shape - as what fits on the hips often doesn’t fit on the waist.
It was good experience for me to see how tricky and obviously frustrating this can be. She tried on many, but sadly they didn’t fit or were unsuitable for what she had in mind. But armed with a few tips, she can now at least continue her search online and in other shops at her leisure. We discovered that she definitely suits a pencil skirt shape and that she needs to avoid skirts with waistbands and opt for those that sit on her hips instead.
But please don’t feel too sorry for Sarah - she found a top that quote “I will wear all the time!”. The top was lucky to make the final cut actually as it cost a few more pounds (well 50 more pounds to be precise) than Sarah wanted to spend on a top – but it did look brilliant and the cost per wear will make it great value. She also bought a beautiful blue scarf, a silk shirt (that she wore to an interview this week and got the job - congratulations!) and a gorgeous pink, fine knit, V-neck jumper. These items will revitalise any existing clothes she has in her wardrobe – and can often be the most rewarding purchases.
My conclusion is this. The day confirmed to me that being a style advisor is what I was born to do. And as I was born over 41 years ago I really do need to get a right old shifty on, finish my training and get out there!
A want to say a massive thank you to Gail for allowing me to showcase my ideas and knowledge on the day and for generally just being her very stylish, approachable and lovely self. And of course to Ali and Sarah the models – I hope you’re enjoying your new clothes - you look pretty darn gorgeous, ladies!
Next time, as an antidote to Jean Genie, I will be taking the 'No Jeans to Work Week' challenge. That sounds more 'half naked' than I intended it to be. Let me clarify. I have to wear either skirts, dresses or trousers to work - no jeans allowed. I have no idea how this is going to work out as I'm sure I only have 1 skirt suitable for work in my wardrobe and possibly only 1 pair of trousers - think I'm regretting this already. Time to get creative!