What a WIP I am

I need an over-haul. A whole new me – in the clothes department anyway.

I see clothes as a neccessity but I hate shopping for clothes. Ergo, clothes-shopping is a neccessary evil that I have done very well in avoiding for years now. The last-time I remember buying clothes was three years ago.

I tend to buy cheaply and for comfort rather than style. I think I have a personal style – I just don’t know what it is. I have never been a dedicated follower of fashion. I don’t buy “women’s magazines” and the only time I read the fashion pages is when there’s nothing else to hand at the hair-dressers. Even that’s a rare enough occassion since I only go to the hair-dressers two to three times a year.

I need to start from scratch.

It’s been on my mind to go to a stylist to get a make-over. Initially, I looked into getting an image consultant to advise me about my personal style and then come to my home to help me assess what should stay and what should go from my wardrobe. One I was looking at offers a package deal combining these things and also half-a-day shopping to buy outfits based on the advice. A worry I had was that this image consultant might reject my hand-knits and I’m not sure I can bring myself to throw them out, or even to leave them unworn in my wardrobe.

I put a call out on Twitter about going to see an image consultant and got loads of advice in return.

@Elana wanted to round-up a few of my fiber-friends and go on a shopping-spree – for me! There are a lot of advantages to this approach. I would save money on the image consultant for one. And I could imagine it could be lots of fun for the others who enjoy shopping – living vicariously through my purchases. However, 140 characters was too little to tell @Elana of the blast from my past this would be:

When I was in 3rd year in college we had a college trip to Jersey for a week to do a number of design projects. My luggage never arrived. For the first few days I got by with the clothes I was standing up in & a few pairs of borrowed (clean!) knickers. At some point, some of the girls hit upon the idea of taking me shopping for new clothes. So there I was, the reluctant focus of an entourage of five or six ecstatic shoppers with the (male) tutor – who would be footing the bill (these were the days before I had a credit-card). For some reason, that I have not fathomed to this day, we were also joined by one of the guys on the group. I think he was enjoying witnessing my misery! One of the purchases the gaggle insisted upon was a pair of peach-coloured leggings (this was the early 90s – if that’s a defence). When I wore these for a night-out later that week, it was commented that I looked like I wasn’t wearing any bottoms at all. Lovely!

This experience has permanantly put me off shopping with anyone outside of my immediate family.

One of my knitting buddies at the Swords Knitting group, @Rosiemonstre, told me about her trip to the personal shopper in Arnotts last September. This is a free-service that involved a chat to start with about colour-likes and dislikes; followed by a walk around the department store, picking things up to try on. Then she was “parked” in a changing room trying on about 50 odd things, with the personal stylist looking at most things on @Rosiemonstre. In the end, she bought four items and will go back again to work on her Summer wardrobe.

@JenbearDublin tweeted that she’s been given a voucher to go to the Style Counsel in the Dundrum Shopping Centre. For €65 she will have a private consulation with one of their stylists before being taken for a shopping spree on the mall. Further research suggests that House of Fraser in the Dundrum Shopping Centre also offers a free Personal Shopping service like Arnotts;. Unlike paying for the Style Counsel, the options would be limited to House of Fraser items though.

@Clarabel mailed me about a City Deal offer she came accross: Three-Hour Personal Styling Workshop with Make-Up Demonstration for €65 at Portobello Institute (Value €135). The session would include lessons in personal style management and promised answers to a range of style issues. I would be educated in colour combinations; all washed down with a glass of bubbly. This sounded like just the ticket though I’m a bit wary that it would actually entail being a model for a student as s/he plastered me with make-up and made some fashion-forward suggestions.

Another of my Swords Knitting buddies, @MariaCGray, lent me two of her books about style and how to build your wardrobe. One of the books accompanies Trinny& Susannah’s “What Not To Wear” TV series on the BBC. The other “Instant Style” gets you to fill out a work-sheet. I guess it’s like the chat part of the personal shopper/stylist constulation.

Now I’m quite confused about what I should do:

While I’ve started to look at  the books @MariaCGray gave me, I’m feeling a little over-whelmed. Surprising as it may seem, I’m so devoid of the basic information on the subject I’m reminded of what it would be like to try to spin yarn with only a book to guide me. I need a lesson! I need someone who knows about these things to take me in hand and explain it in person.

The image consultant seems like just such a person. However, though I like the idea of getting someone in to help me weed my wardrobe, I doubt I need to pay someone to – it’s pretty-much all shabby and has got to go! If I went for the Style Counsel or the free personal-shopping services I would save several hundrend €€€ that would be better spent on new clothes.

One of my friends in work helped me set me on the right track before I went off the rails (see what I did there?) Why not go for one of the free-consultations and see how you get on? If you don’t like what’s on offer in their shops, you’re under no pressure to buy. If that gets me no-where, broaden the search by using one of the paid consultants; starting with the Style Counsel. It’s a work-in-progress.


One Response to “What a WIP I am”

  1. @jenbeardublin Says:

    Great post! I love watching the US What Not To Wear and this is what inspired my friend to get me the voucher. I’ve learned from the show to look for wide leg trousers, dark jeans, neutrals with pops of colour and (for me anyway, pear shape) V neck empire line tops that float away from the body. I think it’s a good place to start, I just need to be pushed out of my comfort zone a bit. Looking forward to updates…

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