I and my stylists spend most of our time helping people on a one to one basis, so one of the most rewarding things for me about writing this blog is seeing how many people are subscribing, reading and in many cases letting me know what they think.
On the other hand, one of the more frustrating things is that it’s hard to get people to actually experience what I’m talking about and that the blog really can’t replace individual advice. It’s like in any other advisory profession: reading an accountant’s blog, for example, provides you with useful advice to bear in mind when you go and hire an accountant – it doesn’t remove the need for an accountant’s advice.
Many people feel they ought to be able to buy clothes without advice. I disagree – which is one of the main reasons I started both Wardrobe and this blog (as I wrote in the very first post).
So what sort of advice should you be looking for in building your Personal Confident Style?
As in any advisory situation, you need to find someone in whom you feel confident and then build a relationship with them. They can keep an eye on what you’re buying and help you to build your capsule over the years; they can become, effectively, a professional friend; and you won’t feel like you are being sold to all the time.
One approach – and you won’t be surprised to read that I think this is the best route as it’s the Wardrobe approach – is to find a stylist within a shop where you generally like the clothes (and also you like the way they personally look – which is why I don’t like to see sales staff in uniforms). The second route is to find an independent stylist.
The shop stylist has a number of key advantages. First, working in a shop means working with lots of women of different shapes and styles, learning how to solve individual problems and sharing learning with colleagues. Another advantage is that the shop stylist is one part of a joined up chain from the designer, through the buyer to the shop floor where they work with the tailor to ensure the clothes fit your individual shape.
While you may be able to find an individual stylist with a good eye, they won’t have the close knowledge of the designers, buyers and tailors; they don’t have the advantage of working in an environment where, every season, the buyers train the shop consultants; and they aren’t involved in how the clothes are meant to fit together.
This is not to diminish the role of independent stylists in many circumstances – particularly if you don’t have access to a shop with a well-edited collection and well trained staff. It’s just that I think that, in the ideal situation, their most valuable role is to help clients find the right shop with good stylists. Several independent stylists bring their clients to Wardrobe because they themselves are confident enough in their own knowledge and skills to recognise that they and their clients can benefit from our extensive experience.
Either way, finding a trusted professional friend in whom you have confidence when you are putting together your wardrobe will both make the process more fun and increase the confidence you will feel in the result.
Next time: proportions