PUBLISHED: 17:57 05 August 2016 | UPDATED: 17:57 05 August 2016
How a John Lewis Bluewater personal stylist fixed my wardrobe worries
You know that feeling when you you’ve flung an outfit on first thing that’s meant to take you from dawn to dusk and beyond and it just doesn’t feel quite right all day?
Or you’ve agonised over what to pack for a multitude of different occasions on your much-anticipated summer holiday, yet when you unpack it all nothing quite works together?
If you’re super-organised, your whole wardrobe is colour coded and everything goes with everything else, then I salute you. If not, come with me to lovely Bluewater, and put yourself in the hands of an expert. Or indeed experts – I had arranged to meet personal stylist Sarah Unsworth on the John Lewis fashion floor and got the bonus of her colleague Caroline Jones as well, whose client was delayed. My lucky day!
I was there to try out the (free) John Lewis two-hour Style Experience, where you get to explore new styles and work the latest trends into your wardrobe under the guidance of a personal stylist.
Also popular for those in a hurry or with a specific need (that all-important interview outfit, maybe a special occasion frock) is the free Style Express 60-minute service.
The third option is a Style Profile, where your your colouring is analysed to discover your ideal palette and you get advice on which styles, cuts and fabrics suit your proportions and body shape so you can build a capsule wardrobe.
It’s recommended you follow this more in-depth service with a Style Experience or Style Express appointment to help put your profile into practice.
This service does cost £125, but it’s redeemable against fashion purchases over £500 when booked with a Style Express or Style Experience.
As we sat and chatted and I poured out my very genuine challenges – lots of social engagements, including the County Show (nice frock, might rain) and an exciting end-of-year trip to Sydney – I later realised that the experts were subtly assessing my body shape and colouring.
So while I enjoyed the luxury of a coffee and a rare bit of peace and quiet, Sarah and Caroline darted around the JL shopfloor they both know so well and came back with a rack of perfectly chosen outfits in ‘my’ colours (I’m a ‘Winter’) and just right for my straight up and down shape.
I don’t do frills or florals, but I do love stripes and red, white and blue – and there was plenty of that, to my huge relief. They’d also added bright green, and I realised how much I enjoyed wearing that shade too but had just been overlooking it.
I ended up with three dresses (two navy and white, one formal, one perfect for holiday wear, plus one in red and cream, seen on pages 11 and 107), two green tops (again, one for holiday, one for work) and a black, grey and stone top that worked brilliantly with the stone-coloured crop trousers I’d arrived in.
To ‘anchor’ everything we added a navy jacket with a stripy lining and a classic cream cardigan-jacket that was my investment piece (everything else was in the sale) and will be worn again and again. A tan leather handbag and comfy tan wedges completed several very different looks.
The joy of knowing I have a core collection of pieces that all work together is wonderful, there’s no pressure to buy but you do save so much time and stress putting yourself in the hands of experts.
Sarah and Caroline get a lot back from their job too. They’ve helped women feel good again post-surgery, coaxed a tomboy into a dress for the first time, and shared tears with a client who had been on a difficult personal journey but left the private changing area with her head held high.
“It’s not just clothes, it’s about giving women confidence, seeing them come in all shy, with their heads down, then see them walk out shoulders back and feeling a million dollars. That’s lovely, and it makes us feel good too,” beams Sarah. w
Find out more
John Lewis at Bluewater, Greenhithe DA9 9SA
Book an appointment at: www.johnlewis.com/our-services/fashion-advice-service or call 01322 624 123