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The Rise of the Personal Shopper

The London shopping  scene can turn into a kind of urban endurance course – too many stores and shopping streets and too little time! If the array of sizes, styles and labels on offer is enough to make your head spin while keeping your wallet shut, a personal shopper could be the answer. The Sybarite reports on the rise of personal styling.

Once the preserve of red carpet regulars, personal shopping used to be squared solely at celebrities looking to outshine each other at award ceremonies.

Not any more. In London 2016, there’s an ever growing army of fashion advisers – from in-store shoppers to freelance stylists – on hand to help us mere mortals find the right clothes and accessories, as we wake up to the importance of the image we project.

For arguably, it’s never been more important to look good both in business (formal LinkedIn profiles anyone?) and for pleasure (think social media snaps).

And to ensure that sartorial slip ups are a thing of the past, the capital’s chicest men and women are now seeking professional fashion assistance.

In this image conscious world we live in, it’s a decision that makes sense. For decades, we have relied on interior designers to help create a home environment that reflects our individual style so why not turn to professionals to pull together a wearable wardrobe – just as we do when planning our homes, holidays et al?

One of the easiest ways to get started is to head straight to your favourite store. You’ll find that most of the major retailers offer personal shopping assistants who, after asking questions about your lifestyle, will happily scour the shop floor sweeping up suggestions.  What’s more there’s usually no fee for these-store shopping services – although you will of course be limited to the merchandise that said store stocks.

At smaller, independent boutiques, seek advice from a single sales representative with whom you’ve established a rapport. Explain that you’re trying to build a wardrobe, and establish a relationship this way. Again, that sort of personalised service costs nada.

However for a genuinely personal experience, nothing beats a premier personal shopping service with an elite personal stylist. London’s menfolk would do well put Daniel Johnson – who featured in the recent BBC documentary The Millionaire’s Gift Guide – on speed dial. The dapper Johnson charges from £325 upwards for personal styling while British former fashion editors, Lauara Fantacci and Petronella Stofberg’s prices start at £1,000 for services such as home wardrobe consultations, personal stylish and shopping trips. The latter is  ideal for those of us who don’t have time to leave the office or can’t face the thought of schlepping around Stratford’s Westfields…

Regardless of which service you plump for, you’ll find that personal shoppers are trained in the art of diplomacy. In the same way that a fortune teller wouldn’t tell you that you’re about to get run over by a bus, a personal shopper won’t say that you’re a little on the large side – they’ll just discreetly hide the Herve Leger bandage dresses.

Whether you’re searching for something special for a summer wedding or after a knock out outfit for a well deserved night out on the town, this new breed of fashion consultants can help. They can also recommend hairstylists, makeup artists, manicurists and facialists in a bid to make your busy life easier – and more stylish.

If you’re reading this and already no slouch in the style stakes, you might now find yourself wondering if you could look even better. Possibly. At the very least you’ll end up with a fresh perspective. But more than that, who couldn’t do with a dash of magic in their life? For, like the best hotels, spas and concierge services, a personal shopper experience leaves you feeling truly pampered….

How to get dressed

DO

  • Edit your wardrobe before you hit the shops. Be ruthless. If anything is in less than pristine condition or hasn’t been worn for two years, get rid of it.
  • Make your own inspiration book, as the designers do. Cut out your favorite things from magazines at the beginning of the season, and call the stores to see when they are coming in.
  • Remember that the key to looking great is good grooming. It doesn’t matter how chic your new wardrobe is, if the rest of you is all wrong.
  • Buy essentials at the beginning of the season and indulgent purchases at the end when they go on sale.

DON’T

  • Be a colour coward. Experiment!
  • Wait for the signature bag, shoe or belt, or it will be gone. If it does go on sale, the trend is over.

By Kaye Holland

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