Tagged as: personal shopping

I need a Personal Shopper? – Shopping Skills for the Mid life Woman

i need a personal shopper


A bit of mid life background!! 

In recent years there have been a multitude of articles stating that the high street doesn’t cater for the middle aged woman. As recently as yesterday India Knight (who I love) bemoaned the UK high street in her column in the Sunday Times magazine. After having taken many middle aged women personal shopping  ( I hate that expression middle aged – it seems to imply a frumpy woman who has lost all purpose and style in life –  but for the purposes of this blog I will say that it covers the age range 39-64)  I can categorically state that whilst there isn’t any shop that is expressly targeting the 40+ woman, that within every high street retailer there will be pieces that work for us.

Typically the clients who I shop with , my friends and acquaintances and myself… all in the mid-life bracket (that sounds better than middle aged) have the below body issues…this is certainly not an exhaustive list but some of the key issues that come up time and again…

  1. typically have had children and therefore have the mum tum as a badge of honour often complete with stretch marks. If not a mum tum then certainly a menopausal tum..In any event its a tummy that needs camouflaging.
  2. tops of the arms starting to sag
  3. a morbid fear of getting their legs out – citing their “pasty white flesh” (their words) as unsightly unless masked with fake tan
  4. a belief that there is nothing available for the 40+ woman to purchase
  5. a fear of getting it wrong and looking like mutton
  6. a general lack of awareness of the colours and styles that suit them (unless they have had a session with me)


Why I find personal shopping easy for both myself and for my clients

However, I am a 44 year old woman with a mum tum, heavy thighs and long monkey arms. Yes I’m tall which does give some advantages but if you have met me you might disagree that I have the above issues but isn’t that the point of what I do – to disguise the bad and flatter the good?

Anyway despite the above body challenges I find it easy to shop and find things that I like and that suit me – be it from John Lewis, a pop up preloved sale or a charity shop. Sometimes I wish I didn’t find it so easy..my credit card would thank me!

I find it easy purely because I:

  • know my colouring and understand what colours suit me and why I have to step away from black and bright colours
  • understand my body shape – the good and the bad
  • get my lifestyle and the impact it has on my wardrobe and shopping choices..i.e. there’s no point browsing cute tailored jackets in shops or on line as I don’t have any need to wear them however much I might like them.
  • am aware of my budget and what I will and won’t spend money on – yes to handbags and shoes, no to tops and jeans
  • appreciate my natural style – I like a lot of denim, statement jewellery pieces, heels at times, stripes and clean lines with only a bit of pattern from time to time. I also like wearing current trends when they suit me and are appropriate to my lifestyle

The same applies to my clients. Obviously ones I have worked with prior to going shopping I know well. However, even with clients who I just meet to shop with, I can find out the above information which gives me a good starting point as to what they should be buying and wearing.


A typical shopping trip

I start off in Monsoon, head over to Warehouse, All Saints (if the client can wear cool colours), Dune, Cos, Kurt Geiger, Hobbs, John Lewis, Clarks, Apricot, Zara, Next and M&S. Possibly popping into Dorothy Perkins and H&M if we have time. Online I would peruse Boden, Finery (also available in John Lewis), Me & Em, Baukjen, Uterque and &Other Stories.

My clients have ranged from early 30’s to late 60’s, from 5 feet to 6 feet from size 6-8 to size 18 and every single shopping trip we have found items of clothing in the shops that work for the client’s budget, colouring,bodyshape, lifestyle and style preference

How to apply this to you – do I need a personal shopper?

  • Get a colour and style analysis done – if not with me then another personal stylist or at least self diagnose using online tools.
  • Decide your budget
  • Evaluate your lifestyle; what do you wear for work and for leisure
  • Sort out your wardrobe and then decide what gaps there are and start making a shopping list of items to purchase.
  • If you have any events coming up – do you need to buy something to wear or can you wear an existing item and refresh by buying new accessories
  • Follow my shopping guide as a starting point (this actually follows the layout of Westfield Stratford but could apply to any large city centre)
  • Accessories are an easy starting point to add colour and interest to your wardrobe. If you see an item of jewellery or scarf that you know will work for you then buy it. You can make an outfits with it in due course.
  • A great pair of  shoes adds instant oompf to your outfit – especially coloured or patterned ones
  • Invest in metallic accessories. Silver or pewter if you are cool skinned and yellow gold and copper if you are warmed skinned. Rose gold suits everyone.
  • Keep abreast of trends by either subscribing to a woman’s magazine like Red, Woman & Home or Good Housekeeping or following a  fashion blogger who actually wears outfits that could be worn in the real world of Essex/Suffolk. I like NotDressedAsLamb and The Edited


So to summarise this is not a exhaustive how to clear out your wardrobe and go shopping but more a rebuff to the constant articles that state there is nothing to buy if you are 40+. My empirical evidence of my shopping experiences with clients and shopping for myself lead me to definitely state that the UK high street ,both off and online is a fantastic place to source clothes and we are very lucky to have easy and immediate access to it. If you follow my tips in – how does this apply to you do I need a personal shopper? – you should find finding the right clothing items to purchase much easier and overall shopping should become a pleasurable experience. Obviously I would love to work with you to take you personal shopping but if you follow the above tips you should have more than enough skills to be your own personal shopper and stage your own successful shopping trip.

Don’t believe me or have any comments.. I’d love to hear from you!


What to wear now – Latest Fashion trends for Women – Spring Summer 2017


latest fashion trends for women

Shirt Top Shop

latest fashion trends for women

Trousers Net a Porter

So now it’s finally the first day of spring, the days are lengthening, the flowers are coming out and we can definitely smell spring and eventually summer just around the corner. Could it finally be time to throw off the winter coats, boots and thick tights and turn our attention to what to buy for the coming 6 months? Let’s hope so!

There is a plethora of information in magazines, online and in daily mailshots from retailers and industry blogs about what to buy and wear now so here’s my quick and easy guide to navigating exactly what the latest fashion trends for women are right now.

My advice is to just pick and chose a couple of trends that you like, that suit you, your body shape and your style preference and lifestyle and focus on them. No need to access every fashion trend…just a few key pieces that give a nod to current trends to mix and match with your current wardrobe..maybe a gingham shirt, or a bomber jacket or a floral dress. There is every permutation of option available combining multiple trends..tread carefully with a gingham skirt with a ruffle peplum down the bias or a gingham off the shoulder top with ruffles or bell sleeves as that screams right now and won’t stand the test of time… If you do want to go for the full Monty with an item don’t spend too much money..such a trend led item will be here today and gone tomorrow.

Buying into only a couple of fashion trends updates your look, shows you are aware of the latest trends but stops you looking like a fashion victim.


Fashion trends still going strong from last year

latest fashion trends for women

Bardot top – Net a Porter

Shoulders out. Be it cold shoulder tops, bardot or off the shoulders tops and dresses. A multitude of options are out there…particularly in cotton type fabrics as shirting is having a moment right now.


latest fashion trends for women

Shirt Zara

Florals. On anything and everything and floral embroidery also a big trend right now. Available widely on the high street.


latest trends for women

Bomber French Connection


Bomber Jackets. H&M do a great and inexpensive range in a multitude of colours.


latest fashion trends for women

Cropped Trousers M&S


Cropped trousers. Be it jeans, trousers, culottes.. they are everywhere and continue to be very versatile..how did we cope without them? I am living in my cropped jeans and trousers right now.


latest fashion trends for women

Shoes Boden


Block heels with ankle straps.  Look particularly good when paired with cropped trousers and jeans as it draws your attention to your slim ankles



Latest fashion trends for Spring Summer 2017


latest fashion trends for women

Skirt Topshop

Gingham.Everywhere  in tops, dresses, skirts, trousers..you name it you can get it in gingham right now. Try Topshop and Zara for excellent ranges.


latest fashion trends for women

Skirt Topshop

Ruffles. In every colourway, permutation and location including peplums, on shoulders, on the back, on skirts on sleeves… Definitely an option for a romantic style preference. Widely available on the high street.


latest fashion trends for women

Shirt Topshop

Shirting. All manner of styles and patterns but if you get a gingham one with bell sleeves and a few ruffles on it you are bang on trend. Available all over the high street. Wearing button up shirts back to front with a shoulder showing has been all the rage among the fashionistas but for us lesser mortals just stick to wearing your shirt the right way round.

latest fashion trends for women

Top &Other Stories

Bell sleeves. On tops, shirts, blouses, dresses. I particularly like the offerings from Finery and Zara. I think whilst the sleeves look good they are not particularly practical so think this will be a short lived trend.


latest fashion trends for women

Trousers Net a Porter

Paper bag Trousers. Otherwise known as high waisted trousers with belt or some other form of gathering at the waist. Not for anyone carrying weight on their tummy – better left to those with defined waists. M&S and Next do a good range.


latest trends for women

Mules Topshop


Mules. Flat and heeled. Available everywhere. Boden has a good selection of flats. Topshop and Zara both have an electic range of heeled and flat versions.

latest trends for women

Ballet flats Sam Edelman


Ankle ties on shoes. Particularly ballet flats. Some high end versions from Chloe are being endlessly copied. I particularly like these Sam Edelman ones.

latest trends for women

Shoes Whistles


High cut toes. Mainly on court shoes. Continuing its range of excellent and affordable shoes M&S does an excellent range as does Whistles.


So there you have it – my quick whip around current trends for women for the coming season. I personally don’t like gingham, florals or ruffles as I have a Classic Natural style preference but will definitely be getting some paper bag trousers as I am hour glass shape and they will show off my waist and all of the shoe options. I always find it easier to add trend led items to my wardrobe by buying current style shoes. Also no need to try on in the changing room or post back if it comes in the post but doesn’t look like I thought it would.

If you’re not sure what trends to go for based on your body shape and style preference please get in touch to arrange a personal shop.


Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my regular newsletter on my homepage.

Stylish Women’s Trainers for 2017


stylish womens trainers

Am sure you have a pair of ancient converse somewhere in the depths of your wardrobe or cloakroom and possibly even a pair of white Stan Smith-esque trainers.. certainly the trainer of choice of the discerning woman in 2016.  However, what if you want a pair of stylish women’s trainers that aren’t white? White trainers may be the choice of the fashion blogger but they certainly aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. I have been toying with the idea of a pair of white trainers for months but white isn’t quite my colour of choice for my footwear especially as I have size 7 feet and think they could make my feet look bigger..Also is a box fresh white pair of trainers really the look I’m looking for? Whilst umming and aahing I have been looking around online and in shops for other cool and stylish women’s  trainer options and have created a quick list of stylish trainers I would most certainly consider if I don’t settle on the Stan Smith or maybe as well as…my podiatrist would certainly be happy if I started wearing trainers most of the time!!

The price point on some of the trainers is quite high but if you wear them several times this spring and summer and the same the following the year the cost per wear will be quite low and therefore probably worth the spend especially if you love them!


stylish womens trainers

Bussey – Air and Grace – £139


The Bussey Trainer from Air and Grace. Retailing at £139 – it comes in 5 different colourways including my personal favourite rose gold shown here.  The two metallic options are out of stock right now but more stock coming in March and you can sign up for an alert when they restock. A metallic shoe or trainer is always a good option as it will go with everything much as black, white or navy footwear would.


stylish womens trainers

Essentiel Antwerp £145

Belgium brand which can be found online at www.essentiel-antwerp.com or on sale at local Colchester boutique Simply Living. The leaf print is really unusual and would work really well for someone with autumn colouring.The platform sole and pull on design make them a really stylish option.


stylish womens trainers

J Lindberg – £145

Found on Atterley.com website. These have the 3 velcro straps similar to Stan Smiths but come in 3 colour ways – blush, bright blue and white and are made in Italian suede..hence the high price.


stylish womens trainers

Rose Rankin – £189


Found on the Collen and Clare website and also available in their shops in Suffolk and Norfolk this pull on chelsea boot trainer is quite unusual and the stars make them really quirky. A very high price but if you wear and wear them for a few years worth the money. As  they are a metallic colour they will go with everything.

Stylish womens trainers

Ash Virgin boot – various prices

A long time favourite of mine. I have the taupe pair which are now so battered I have replaced them with a metallic colour in the sale. Really useful for all eventualities and the Ash sale is always fantastic with discounts as high as 70%. Have a look at their current sale items here. The Virgin Ash boot comes in multiple colours so take your pick. I have recommended this trainer boot as an essential item to several clients and none have been disappointed in terms of comfort, style, use and value for money.


stylish womens trainers

Office – Fluffy Pompom Trainers – £38



This cheap and cheerful option from Office  is really good value for money and come in off white, grey and pink. The pompom is very now but they can be removed once the trend passes.

stylish womens trainers

Vagabond Pink Trainers- £75


Found on Urban Outfitters website and comes in pink and black.


Obviously there are loads of trendy trainersque shoes on the high street and online from places such as Office, Schuh and Dune but this selection is hopefully items that you won’t necessarily find  on the high street..something a little bit different to consider buying.

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my regular newsletter on my homepage.

Personal Shopping comes to Town (Colchester Comes Good!)


shopping personal shopper

Fenwicks, Colchester


Having moved to Colchester from greater London six years ago I was underwhelmed by the shopping opportunities here and rarely shopped in the town unless I saw something whilst running errands. I certainly wasn’t taking anyone personal shopping in town – apart from the odd brief trip to Williams & Griffin (as was).

Fast forward to autumn 2016 and I am happy to say that it’s an altogether different shopping experience now. The new and improved Fenwicks has been launched which now has some great new concessions including Mint Velvet, Eileen Fisher and All Saints to name just a few, plus the welcome return of Great Plains which has long been a favourite of mine. In the beauty hall Bobbi Brown, Jo Malone and Charlotte Tilbury now feature. The handbag and scarf sections are new, improved and quite extensive in terms of brands and ranges. Every autumn they hold two 20% off shopping days or evenings plus events and offers throughout the year so it is definitely worth getting on their mailing list if you haven’t already signed up.

The newly opened Fanny and Frank on Crouch Street is a welcome addition to the street and the town. Sister shop of branches in Woodbridge and Saffron Walden it offers contemporary classics; knits, jeans, boots, bags and accessories from a number of Scandinavian,Dutch and Italian brands such as Gestuz. Munthe, Ricke, Day Birger Et Mikklesen, Oska and Ottod’ame to name just a few. Service is always very friendly and they will be holding bi-annual fashion shows at their premises.

Simply Living – the successful clothing offshoot from the interiors shop offers clothing at a slightly higher price point than some of the other boutiques. Also, on Crouch Street it has offerings from labels such as Marlene Birger, Second Female, Velvet and accessories from Coccinelle.

No 27 – my personal favourite of all of Colchester’s boutiques. Located at the bottom end of Crouch Street towards the town centre. Offering a  lovely jewellery selection, accessories and bags and contemporary items from Great Plains, French Connection and Twisted Muse amongst others. New stock is brought in on a weekly basis which keeps their stock very fresh. They also have a great jewellery and accessories selection.

Belle Love on Eld Lane and Frippery on Issacs Walk both sell contemporary knits, tops and dresses alongside super stylish accessories, bags and jewellery and all at very inexpensive price points. Frippery also does a great range of home and giftwares.. I defy you to walk out of there empty handed.. I know I never do. They also sell online.

Tilly’s Boutique on Head Street(just down from the Odeon) offers a great range of day and evening clothing ranging from tops to dresses to trousers and coats. An excellent selection of bags, accessories and jewellery is also available and all at similar price points to Belle Love and Frippery. I bought a bronze metallic top (shown below) which looks great over a long sleeved t-shirt for day or alone for night. I have worn it loads and it was only £24. I will definitely be returning to make more purchases. Tilly’s Boutique also has a good online offering..making their shopping experience even more appealing.


shopping personal shopper

Top – Tilly’s Boutique

Like what you have read? Why not use my quick guide to see what the local boutiques have to offer and you never know you may find that perfect Christmas Day or Christmas party outfit.

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my regular newsletter on my homepage.

Personal Shopping – Perfectly Affordable!

Personal Shopping often seems to be equated with the super rich and something that only celebrities can afford to do but in reality it is not expensive and using an independent personal shopper will save you both money and time.  A freelance personal shopper such as myself has the whole of the high street to go at in terms of where to shop and crucially has a full understanding of what colours, shapes, patterns and accessories you should be buying. We are also very objective about you and your body and can therefore see clearly what will and what won’t suit you without any pre-conceived ideas of what you usually wear and what you tend to go for.

I spent a few hours shopping in Westfield Stratford with 2 sisters last week who have previously been colour and style and wardrobe audit clients. The first sister Lisa had around 2 hours with me at a cost of only £80 and this is what she had to say of her shopping experience:  ” We both had a wonderful day and achieved a lot more than we would have done on our own. I felt that outfits started to fit into place the more types of items we found. I achieved so much more in a couple of hours than I would have ever expected.  Definitely value for money to get items right first time rather than making time consuming online purchase mistakes.”

Natalie, the other sister, had around 3 hours with me concentrating on her requirements which included a new winter coat (she bought two) and helping her chose a pair of glasses that suited her face shape. This at a cost of only £120. She said the shopping trip was “exciting, useful, informative and a real confidence boost. My wardrobe now has a style and colour injection. A truly informal and enjoyable day”.

Natalie & Lisa

Lisa (left) and Natalie before we started


Both Natalie and Lisa had saved up for a few months to have some money to go shopping and to cover my cost.  Instead of buying 1-2 random items per month as so many of us do, they saved the money ready to be able to buy a selection of items that combined with their cleared out wardrobes, to create several outfits for a variety of occasions. Against the spend of a few hundred pounds each, my fee paled into insignificance as they ended up with a fantastic array of clothing that will suit them for years to come and will work with what they already have and without ANY need to return anything to the shop. Nothing will hang in the wardrobe untouched with tags still on as they are itching to start wearing everything, as they looked amazing in everything they bought. Shopping is very easy when you know what colours and styles you should be going for.

Lisa & Natalie in John Lewis

Natalie & Lisa in John Lewis


Both of them will only need to shop a couple of times a year so saving hours in unproductive shopping trips and even factoring in my fee will save a fortune as they will only buy what suits them and what they need and everything will get worn so their cost per wear will be low. A win win all round!  We’re already all looking forward to our joint shopping trip in the spring.

All shopped out!

All shopped out…a successful day!

Going on a shopping trip with a friend or relative and taking a personal shopper with you is a great way to have a fun day out but get your shopping done too. There’s always time for a coffee or two and lunch… it’s all part of the day out!

Other options would be to go in a group of 4-6 people and have just 1 hour each with me. Quite long enough to get an outfit for an event or shop for a specific item like a winter coat. Other options would be to start the shopping yourself and just have me around to sense check your purchases before you buy and suggest some outfit combinations.

Always wanted to have a personal shopper but just never quite got around to it? Now you know what good value and how easy it is, give me a call or drop me an email – I’d love to hear from you. Locations and prices are flexible. Whatever your requirements I’m sure I could accommodate you.

Follow up

For any questions about this blog or to contact me to find out how I could help you dress well call 07500 443974. If you like this blog please share with your friends and/or comment and to get regular updates on  what to buy and how to wear it please like my facebook business page and subscribe to my monthly newsletter on my homepage.