Try this: Style Clinic (the best £10 I’ve spent in ages…)
Like you, I know how I should shop. I should be ruthless, organised, minimal. I should seek out those crucial ‘key items’ for ‘building my wardrobe of wearable classics’. But do I do it? By T.K.Max, I don’t! ‘Capsule’ pieces? *Insert snort of laughter here* – ‘chaotic’ and ‘confused’ more like. A ‘5-piece French wardrobe’? *Snorts coffee right across the room*… I really love that idea. But I have never, ever shopped this way.
So when I heard that for just £10 I could have a one-on-one Style Clinic with Catherine de Crèvecoeur a really respected stylist (who does loads of work in London) at Alexandra Boutique, in Tunbridge Wells, I hot-footed it down there quicker than you can say ‘Mid-life Clothing Crisis’…
And I’m so glad I did. The first thing to point out is that Catherine (or Cat as she introduces herself) is not employed by Alexandra Boutique so her advice is entirely independent and I didn’t feel at any point that she was pushing the store’s clothing, more that she was showing me what works for me and getting a feel for what I like (we talked about other brands from New Look to Esprit). The point of holding these sessions in the shop is that it’s neutral territory – for a lot of women (me included) the idea of inviting a stylist round to your house to pick through your wardrobe is hugely intimidating. If you feel inspired to purchase something from the boutique after your chat, then so much the better, but there certainly is no expectation there.
The second thing to say is that Cat really knows her stuff. I mean she’s uber stylish herself (here she is above) without being ‘over-styled’ if you know what I mean. She’s very personable and I thoroughly enjoyed our chat. (I mean when was the last time someone listened to you waffle on about your low self-esteem for a full 30 minutes?) Style and clothing might seem superficial to some, but look, we all wear clothes and we all spend money on them so we may as well feel good about it.
As Cat says: ‘Whether you are a working woman, or a new Mum, confidence is everything. I’ve always believed that feeling and looking good in the right clothes helps build that much needed confidence we require for everyday life.’
For me, what I felt I really needed was advice on zhushing up my existing wardrobe. I’m a working mum and while, over the years, my life has evolved my wardrobe has not. I never put any time aside to shop – I just grab stuff chaotically while I see it or purchase stuff online – blaming lack of time or finances. But Cat pointed out that it’s crucial to have a plan and be organised about shopping. Buying the right jacket that you can wear to lots of different events year after year actually saves you money. She talks a lot of sense about ‘cost-per-wear’, meaning that if you invest in quality that you love it might cost more but you’ll get more wear out of it in the long run.
We pinpoint that what I need is a few go-to pieces that I can dress up for meetings or down for the school run. Cat helps me select a stretchy wool dress that fits rather fabulously and that I could wear just as well with heels as trainers (got my eye on those pumps above). I decide to take the hit on my purse and clench my buttocks at the £179 price-tag. But in the two weeks since I have already worn it four times to various meetings and events. And it felt gooooood.
I’m now thinking of taking the plunge and inviting Cat round for a full wardrobe edit (she’ll probably need to put aside an entire week). So whether you’re looking for a complete new style, a wardrobe update or simply the perfect outfit for a special occasion this £10 bite-sized style session is worth every penny.
The next Style Clinic dates are: Tuesday 18 of Oct, Thursday 20 of Oct, Thursday 3 of Nov, Friday 4 of Nov. For more information contact: Alexandra Boutique, 45 High St, Tunbridge Wells TN1 1XL, Tel: 01892 529959, alexandra-boutique.co.uk