shopping

PERSONAL SHOPPER ADVICE: HOW TO CREATE YOUR PERFECT WARDROBE

NO MORE WARDROBE MELTDOWNS is the title of the workshop I have handled on the 11th of May, in cooperation with Savio Los PT/Nutritionist and the Italian Fashion bran Liu Jo, at their flagship store in Marylebone, London.

The idea of this workshop came up from observing some of my clients. I have realized that more and more people, especially women, tend to buy lots of clothes and accessories every season, tempted by the millions of brands available in the high streets, by special offers, by the fashion trends of the moment and, sometimes, also by fashion bloggers.  As a result they usually end up with a wardrobe full of clothes and accessories, yet they feel they’ve got nothing to wear.

sounds familiar?! 

Well, Statistics show that the majority of people use a very little percentage of the items they own, and most of those items remain in their closet, sometimes still with the tags on.

I can tell you that most of the time having a minimal wardrobe can help us with our daily outfit choices and can turn out to be more functional than a full wardrobe! And the first step to get a functional wardrobe starts with our shopping choices. We need in fact to understand what to buy, to limit our purchases to what is really working for us: from the best cuts, shapes and combination to the best colours. It might seem difficult at the beginning but I can assure you that once you find your answers you will start shopping in a totally different way, more consciously and selectively and in the end you will find that this will also help you save money.

Another point that made me come up with the idea of this workshop is that most of my clients don’t just want to give a twist to their style, they actually want a dramatic change to their look and their image.  But, as I always say, while I can teach people how to enhance their features, I cannot change them.  So I thought to combine, in one single event, styling tips with fitness tips, thanks to the cooperation of Savio Los, an expert personal trainer and nutritionist.

Why have I chosen this particular store to host the event?! Liu Jo is an Italian fashion brand which is very popular in Italy and I’ve always been a fan. My opinion, as a stylist and a customer is that, apart from being original and different from other high street brands, their products have an incredible value for money, great quality and attention to details and great fit, especially for the denim, that is also their topic product, known above all for their exclusive BOTTOM UP formula. Yes...Bottom up! And it works!:-)

Anyway, fit and quality are, for me, essential elements for a good valuable shopping and a functional wardrobe.

Throughout the event we showed 5 models, each with a specific body shape and different proportions and colours. For every one of them I have created a personalized outfit, picking the best items to highlight their features; I called them one at a time, explained my choices to the audience. Savio could then give specific fitness and workout tips for every body shape we saw.

The first of the models was Benedetta

photo by Julia Andrzejewska 

photo by Julia Andrzejewska 

Benedetta is a typical inverted triangle, which means she has quite broad shoulders that are wider than hips; her point of strength, the one to be highlighted, is surely her bottom part (hips + legs) while she needs to be careful not to highlight even more her shoulders. This is why I created this outfit for her : the details are concentrated on the jeans, focusing the eye attention on what is her point of strength, while I chooses plain simple clothes in soft fabrics for the top. Benedetta has also very soft colours and contrasts, that is why I choose soft colours as well for her outfit, trying to respect her natural colouring; this way the colours can highlight and complement her features without prevailing or dragging her down.

Being her quite tall I dared a bottom fold at her jeans (not suggested for petit or for who has fuller or short legs instead); as for the accessories I went for a medium to big size handbag, good for her proportions, and high heels, but she can even decide to go for flat or small heels, as she doesn't really need to elongate the figure.

the second model was Maeva  another inverted triangle but this time with bright crispy colours and high natural contrasts 

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

To create her outfit I followed the same general rules as Benedetta, but I choose totally different colours and combinations, to highlight her features. For her, moreover, I choose a small sized handbag because she is a petit, and I also suggested (at least for her nights out) to wear always medium to high heels. 

To make targeted and right shopping choices, anyway, it is essential to know not only what works for us, but also what does not. For inverted triangles, like Maeva and Benedetta, here some clues of what to avoid: off the shoulders cuts, puffiness and volume on shoulders, stiff fabrics and horizontal stripes on top, specially if combined with plain darker trousers or skirts.

The third model was Crystel, this time a triangle, with deep colours and high contrasts.

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

Triangles have, typically, hips wider then shoulders and, generally, the bottom part of the body is curvy and full while the top is smaller, also shoulders are usually a bit slope. The rules for creating a perfect outfit for a triangle are exactly the opposite of the inverted triangle :-) So what it is working? ..Details and volume on top, puffed and padded shoulders, plain items and soft fabrics instead for the bottom; usually triangles are characterized also by a narrow waist, in that case it is also good to highlight the waist point with cuts and belts. 

What to avoid instead? Sheath and bottom clinging dresses, details on legs and hips, trousers with pleats and darts, stiff fabrics on bottom, patterns (especially bold) on legs and hips. For Crystel, besides, pastels or too bright colours are to avoid.

Then we saw Anna, a full hourglass with soft colours and light contrasts

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

photo by Julia Andrzejewska

We can say that someone is a hourglass when their shoulders and hips are even and they also have a narrow waist point; and when I talk about a "full hourglass" I mean someone with a quite curvy body. Basically hourglasses can wear any kind of clothes style, but generally speaking they need to pay attention to maintain their natural body balance with their outfits and full hourglasses in particular must take care to complement their natural curves with soft and fluid fabrics. They should also always try to highlight their waist through cuts and belts, being it a real point of strength. This is why I choose this dress for her, that gets all the elements to enhance her features. The outfit was then completed by a powder pink leather jacket (I am holing it in the picture) to create a nice soft contrast with the dress, high heels - good to elongate her legs - and a medium sized bag. 

What to avoid: stiff fabrics, sheath dresses, too much voluminous fabrics/shapes, horizontal stripes, stilettos (as their legs are usually quite full and needs to be elongated). For Anna, moreover, better to avoid bright or too dark colours and strong contrasts.

The 5th and last model was Giada, this time a neat hourglass with deep colours and soft contrasts.

neat hourglass_outfit

Giada, with everyone's great envy (in the good sense of course), is the luckiest of the models and in general she represents the luckiest of the body shapes: naturally balanced and proportioned and, in her case, also tall! As I said before, anyway, hourglasses must always take care to maintain their natural body balance; so for Giada I tried to focus the attention on the whole figure, by choosing a quite detailed top, enriched by the belt that is highlighting her waistline, in soft deep colours and soft contrasts to complement her natural colouring, contrasted by a white slim fit jeans. For her I choose flat sandals, as she doesn't really need high heels to elongate her legs, and a big sized handbags. 

What to avoid: I suggested Giada to avoid small sized handbags and pastel or bright colours, specially if worn close to her face.

For all of the models and the body shapes they represented, our PT Savio Los gave then his workout tips 

There are, obviously, many other kind of body shapes and features, everyone is different and have their own characteristics; would have been impossible to speak about and show all of them in one single event. But people looked impressed by all the tips they were able to get all at once, and the hour after the demonstration they could practice, with my help for a shopping consultation in real time.

We are willing to do soon another event, seeing the great success of this first edition! 

Now enjoy the photo gallery, with shots also from the backstage :-) and don't miss the video too 

Gallery 

All photos by Julia Andrzejewska

Video

PERSONAL SHOPPER ADVICE: SALE TIME..HOW TO MAKE IT A REAL BARGAIN!

Christmas is yet to come but shops all around London have opened the sale season already!

Christmas shopping clothes experience Stefania Bartolomei top UK Personal shopper fashion stylist One of a Style London

 

Sales are tempting, aren’t they?! Everyone is waiting for the sales to get the chance to renew their wardrobe with new fashionable pieces; sales are the great opportunity we have, twice a year, to catch great “occasions”! Yet, it is so easy to make the bargain become a bad investment (not to say a waste of money)..

We are tempted by those tags reporting a 30%, a 40%, 50% discount on and even more, and most of the time we buy certain pieces just because of those numbers, thinking “I can’t let them go, that’s a real occasion”!! Yet, most of the time, once at home we realize we have nothing to wear with what we bought on sale, or that they do not fit us that well, and eventually we let them “age” in our wardrobe.

shopping sales personal shopper stefania bartolomei one of a style london

If we would count all the money we spent in one year on wrong purchases on sale, I bet it is quite a big amount! With the same money we could have bought something more valuable, really good for us, something truly useful to complement our existing wardrobe, or we could have simply them.tI am an image consultant and personal shopper and among my services there is the wardrobe edit. My words come for a reason.. through this services to my clients' I’ve seen so many of these situations, new items still with the tag on, never worn, bought ages before, and the answer to the question “why did you buy it?” is quite often the same: “it was an occasion!”... was it?!

Do not misunderstand me, sales can really be a bargain, but we need to understand how to shop wisely and avoid compulsive choices that would make them become only a "trick".

So here are some shopping tips, simple advice that can really help you to save your money, time and energy during the sale time: 

Ask yourself “would I pay for the whole price”?

Despite the discount, asking yourself this question will help you to understand the real value of an item and your real need of it. If the answer to this question will be "no, I wouldn't" , then leave it where it is.. it means you don't really love or need it and that you are tempted by the price and the discount = it would become a trick not a bargain.

Write down a list

It's always good to know what your wardrobe gaps are, but especially during sales time! Having your list with you during your shopping tour will help you doing a first important selection.

Go beyond that list just if you really fall in love with something, even if it is not mentioned in the list (but never forget point 1).

Stick to your style

Despite the fashion trends of the moment, despite the percentage of discount and the sales assistant persuasion, before buying something ask yourself if it really reflects your style and if you are really going to use it and wear it the next season! Sometimes we are tempted by celebrities or fashion bloggers, we want to wear what they wear and sales are just the perfect time to buy something extra to emulate our style icons. Very well, but what suits them won’t necessarily suit you, so always think if what you are trying on is really reflecting your personality and matching your lifestyle, otherwise it will last the time of the journey back home to become eventually another “untouched” piece in your closet.

Stick to your size

If it’s not your size leave it where it is. Be honest with yourself..If it’s smaller don’t think you are going to loose weight just to wear it. If it’s bigger you know you are never going to wear it, cause you won’t like yourself in it, as it is not going to enhance you and I don’t think you would rather put on weight, at least not on purpose, to make it fitting you. Save your money for what fits you perfectly.

Go to your favourite shops first

Rather than going randomly from a shop to another in the High Streets, make a list of your favourite brands/shops and start with them in your shopping tours. What usually work for you or what usually makes you satisfied throughout the year rarely will let you down on sale time either. After that, if you still have time, money and energy, or if you won't feel totally satisfied by your purchases, go have a look to other stores/brands..there can always be room for new favourites to add to your list!

Be on your favourite store's mailing list

The problem with the sales is that shops run out of sizes and stocks very quickly, so being late means having less chances to find items that suit us, for size, shape and colours, with an inevitable sense of frustration. Being on the mailing list of your favourite brands will allow you to be there at the very beginning of the sales time , getting more chances of finding the most suitable pieces for you.

Plan your shopping time wisely

Avoiding weekends and afternoons in general will give you a better assistants in store, better services in general, tidier stores and so more chances to find what you are looking for, in a nicer and quieter atmosphere. Too crowded places can make the shopping experience become stressful and unsatisfying, while we want to enjoy it, don't we!?

Dress comfortably

You are supposed to try on lots of things or, anyway, more than usual, so having comfortable clothes and shoes, easy to put on and take off, will help you to do less efforts and waste less energies. Being fresh will make you take good choices.

Stick to your colours

One of the services I do in a personal styling package is the colour analysis. If you have been my client in the past or you ever had a colour analysis in your life you should know what your best colours are. During sale time be carefull not to be tempted by the price, buying something in colours that you know will drag you down or will overpower your features. Once at home you won’t wear it anymore. Not to mention that, if you followed your palette to build up your wardrobe, something completely different in shades would most likely not match all the rest of your wardrobe with a consequent abandon of purchases on sale. 

Well, these tips should be enough to prevent wrong and compulsive purchases from now on.

I hope you did enjoy my article and, more than everything, that you will find it useful for your next shopping tours.

Merry Christmas to you all

PERSONAL SHOPPER ADVICE: DO NOT WASH!?

I bet this is something that happened to most of you at least once in your lifetime, buying a nice garment and then finding this "funny" symbol on its care label the minute before putting it into the washing machine :

For those of you don't know it yet, let me introduce you the "do not wash" symbol.

I came up with the idea of this article after I had a personal shopping tour with a client. She was in love with a white coat, determined to buy it, and I was even encouraging her because it suited her very much; but right before going to the till to pay for it I asked her to check the care label and, guess what!? the "funny" symbol was there!  

Now...can you imagine a white coat?

Pure, clear, magnetic.... just for one day probably!

It could become greyish in a snap just by touching something or leaning the elbows somewhere; not to mention the chance of getting it stained by eating or drinking something (and if you wear it for your nights out there is a high chance for it to happen).

So, what options did she have? Apparently two : buy it but leave it hanging in the closet, well preserved in its packaging, waiting for a very special occasion, or leave it in the shop. My clients, following my suggestion, choose option 2. A coat is quite an expensive piece of apparel, even in the high street chain shops, so she wisely thought it wasn't worth spending money on it. 

But, honestly, this is not fair; when it happens that we like a garment and it also really suits and enhances us, we should be free to buy it! 

I really wish to say something to all the apparel companies : probably they don't know it but a garment needs to be washed, If not right after we bought it, at least once we've worn it.

The problem is I've worked for several fashion companies in the past, because I used to be product developer and fashion designer before being an image consultant, and I know how it works. I can't and don't want to generalize, but most of the time companies simply prefer to avoid risks - by putting a "do not wash" symbol on a care label they prevent complains related to the washing/care of a garment. This is an easy and convenient option for them, not as convenient for their customer actually.

Let me tell you something : there is no fabric that cannot be washed! And in case it really exists it shouldn't be used to produce clothes (am I wrong?!). Obviously I'm not telling you to wash everything that has that symbol on its care label, I cannot guarantee that your garments can be really washed, there are many factors to be considered (for example if there are beads, delicate embroideries or any kind of embellishment on it) but I can tell you that as long as it's plain and the fabric is silk, viscose, cotton, linen, rayon, polyester, nylon and even wool, you can hand wash it or do a delicate and proper washing machine program; and if it's leather, a coat or a down jacket you can have it dry cleaned at the laundry. 

I've also got several garments that apparently cannot be washed, most of them are high quality brands and quite expensive, and I noticed this detail too late, but I decided to run the risk : I washed them! And you know what? The outcome was unbelievably perfect.

This is another reason why I'm writing these few words : now as in the past, when I was on the brands' side, I hate that customers are cheated! 

Take my words just as a warning but do what you really think is best for your clothes and act according to your ideas.

I just want to give you a warm advice for next time you go shopping for clothes : before buying a garment don't just look at the price tag, also check the care label and if you see the "do not wash" symbol leave it where it is, possibly explaining your reasons to the sales assistants. Your money is valuable, spend it wisely and avoid surprises!

This is, in fact, something I help my clients with during their personal shopping experiences with me. With my background in fashion I know well fabrics and how to treat them.

40 shopping clothes exclusive total look outfits Stefania Bartolomei top UK best Personal shopper stylist One of a Style London.jpg