My mission recently has been to rescue myself from a style rut of skinny-jeans-and-top-or-sweatshirt. So far, I’ve discovered a mega comfy dress from Next and experimented with jeans shapes and a cardi from Joules but sometimes you need an expert eye on things to really rescue you from a rut, good and proper.
Back when I worked on More magazine, the Fashion Editor took me shopping one evening, and helped me buy a load of new outfits – it was exactly what I needed, having just returned to work from maternity leave and unsure of what looked good on me. She picked out things that I never would have even taken a second glance at.
Similarly, when I had a session with the Personal Stylist at Intu Shopping Centre in Bromley, last week, my eyes were opened to a whole new fashion world. I know, that sounds like a massive exaggeration, but there’s something really fascinating about going shopping with someone who is a) a bit of a fashion expert b) not aware of the usual restrictions you place upon yourself, when you go shopping.
The session started with a consultation with Juliet – Intu’s Personal Stylist. She chatted to me about my style, what my daily routine was like, and she quickly established that I need no-nonsense clothes for doing the school run but also ways to smarten myself up quickly, if I have meetings in London.
She asked me about where I liked to shop, gave some suggestions of some new places I could venture into, and then came the good bit – Juliet gave me a colour consultation. (Having “your colours done” was a massive thing in the 90s, wasn’t it? I’ve always wanted it done, but have never had the chance, until now!) Juliet held up various pieces of fabric, against my face and asked me to look at how each shade changed the colourings and shadows of my face. It was brilliant! She established that I’m a ‘Spring’ – so I should wear navy rather than black, cream rather than white and deep plums, bright reds and pinks.
Then, we hit the shops! Juliet took me into a shop that I haven’t been into for YEARS – French Connection. I used to shop there loads, in my 20s, but then got it into my head that nothing suited me, or fitted me well. But after a good half hour trying on everything from dresses to jumpers to trousers, I found quite a few things I loved.
I left with a whole new outfit – khaki joggers and a printed vest top – and then it was onto Marks & Spencer – one of my all-time favourite shops. But even though I shop there lots, Juliet was amazing at picking out things that I usually would have skimmed right past.
We went into the changing room with cigarette pants, a 60s floral jacket, skinny jeans and a retro shift dress.
I loved this outfit (above) because the navy Autograph cigarette pants looked fab with my trainers but would also be great with heels or pointy flats.
But it was the Limited Lift jeans which were the real find of the day! As we all know, shopping for jeans can be the most depressing activity ever, so to find an amazing pair, kind of by accident, felt amazing. Even though I’m supposed to be getting AWAY from skinny jeans, I had to buy them. They’re high-waisted (*cough* great for holding in a mum-tum) and have lots of stretch in them, so they make your legs look great. I’m going to go back and buy them in two more colours.
I was really pleased with my buys – the khaki joggers and top are really different to the kind of thing I usually buy, and had I not been with Juliet, I would never have even gone into French Connection. The best thing about the Personal Stylist service at Intu is that it’s free! So anyone can book a consultation, and have two hours of shopping with Juliet and her expert eye.
I’m definitely going to book another session with Juliet – and if I’ve ever got a wedding or big party to shop for, I know who I’ll be speaking to first!
This post has been written in collaboration with Intu Bromley and as always, all views are my own. Big thanks to Juliet for the advice and help! Book a session with Juliet here or email email@example.com Check out the Intu style hub at intu.co.uk/fashion