Do you ever have days when you look at your wardrobe (no matter how full – ahem) and think, “Meh”? When you put on your default outfit and think, “it’s fine. It’s fine.” This is where I’m at right now. So when an invitation popped into my inbox offering me a session with a Topshop Personal Shopper (hey people, do you know it’s free?), my response? ‘Sign. Me. Up’.
This was my brief:
I love fashion, clothes and shopping. However, I have two small children and a job – therefore, I have very little spare time. So I shop on autopilot: I go to the stores I know work for my style and my body, I zoom around on autopilot, making a beeline for the items which I know will work for me. And yet, when I am persuaded out of my comfort zone, I like the results (witness my husband convincing me to try leather trousers – I resisted for ages. I was wrong – they are a wardrobe staple). I want to see myself through someone else’s eyes – I want to know what someone else thinks would suit me. So, whilst I don’t want to wear a rainbow, I would like to shake things up – I still want to look chic and sleek and classy, but I’d like to be surprised. Maybe – I said, confidently – even challenged.
Which, it transpire, I was. To an extent.
My quite frankly adorable (and gorgeous) personal shopper, Hannah, had pulled together two rails of excitement…
Your shopper will also walk around the shop floor with you – although, much as I wanted to do this (and, err, did), I tried to resist picking up too much – what I wanted was to be pushed outside my comfort zone, not to settle myself into it.
I would never have picked up these trousers [top]. I mean, c’mon… Cropped? Wide leg? On me? But teamed with this jumper (I love the zipped back) and these shoes, rather fabulous. So fabulous, in fact, that I would have added them to my shopping list had they been available in my size (size down in these if you want them to fit on the waist, not the hip).
Boutique Classic wide trousers, £85; Striped zip back jumper, £36; Jolene buckle shoes, £48
I tried a pyjama style shirt with some classic black jeans (which I already own and wear obsessively) – I also tried them with what might be the world’s brightest shirt. I would have given something this bright a wide berth, in truth – and I wasn’t wholly convinced, but I did love this mustard jumper with a pair of cute polka-dot trousers (which I cannot find on the website – will post on Instagram) and these pinstripe trousers.
Fine knit Ottoman trim jumper, £29; Pinstripe trousers, £40
I’m going to wear them with black heels. Although maybe I’ll walk to work in flats.
I loved this blush trench – so this season; so chic over grey. And this dress (which I am now wishing I had slipped into my bag) – this one was pretty cute, too. This shirt dress (again, not something I would have picked up) would be a brilliant basic.
Moto western stitch dress, £45; Ruffle bib dress, £55; Shirt dress, £85
Along the way, I picked up some rather excellent tips. If the hemlines in Topshop alarm you – head to the Tall section (xx recommends it for anyone over 5ft 5); if you like something but it doesn’t look right, size up – or (this surprised me) down. I had tried these classic cigarette trousers (navy, skinny – what’s not to like?) before, but they didn’t sit right. When I sized down, suddenly they looked sleek and chic.
Full details about Personal Shopping are here. Birthday? Workwear makeover? Big event? Total overhaul? How to wear the trends? Shopping session with your best friend? Done. I’ve been urging one of my best friends (just back at work after a year’s maternity leave) to try it out. It’s also so much fun.