The actual hiring was easy. A friend of a friend is a most excellent personal shopper, the marvellous Julie Ladhu, (www.julieladhu.co.uk), so it was just a case of making a phone call.
This was on the list because I have never been one to take great care or expense over my appearance. In fact since having children I am rarely sighted in anything grander than jeans and a top, and my idea of dressing up is wearing something clean. Comfort is everything. I once went to a dinner party with my slippers on. You get the picture.
So Julie had her work cut out. And she was more than equal to it! I spent a gloriously decadent day at her house, going through every item in my wardrobe, deciding what to keep, what to bin, what to reserve for gardening in, and what could be worn with what to achieve an overall look that was more sartorially pleasing than the status quo.
So phase one involved throwing literally all the clothes I own into the car, and driving up to London with them. My other half must have suspected I was doing a runner. Unfortunately the timings conspired so that I left home for the tantric sex workshop, taking my entire wardrobe with me. (I am not sure whether to put his lack of protest down to trust or indifference.)
But back to the shopping. Julie is some sort of magician, because I went from being convinced ‘I have no clothes’, to realising that in fact I only need to buy about 5 items in order to have dozens of decent outfits!
And what is even better, is that she then went out to find all the required items for me! And plenty of others besides.
So when we met again a week later, Julie had already mapped out the shops we would go to, the items she expected me to like there, and the things I could wear the new items with, for maximum effect.
We spent 2 hours power shopping, which was amazingly focused, and productive. I spent more money than I intended, but know that everything will be worn, everything suits me, and everything I bought means that more things I already own will not just be worn, but will look better. So I think it is money well spent. If I were richer, I would have no qualms at all about doing it several times a year, but even as a one off experience, it was very worthwhile – I have a much better idea how to ‘put myself together’! And I am converted to scarves!
Aside from the new clobber, I learnt much from the process. ‘Caroline’, Julie said to me firmly, ‘A top and trousers do not make an outfit.’
Well that was a revelation in itself. I have always assumed that if I am covered, I am ready. But it is undeniable that I do look better with a bit more detail. Some layering, a scarf, a statement necklace, that kind of thing.
Loved this one! (And would thoroughly recommend Julie if anyone is interested in the experience. She can work to any budget, and has no vested interest in what you buy, so you know that the items chosen are chosen purely with pleasing you in mind. Plus she is extraordinarily nice and fun!)