Having been an Image Consultant for almost eighteen years the spine of my job involves taking clients looking for the best outfit or a new wardrobe or maybe a few items to update her or his look. Quite often whenever a person shops with me once they will book to shop again because of the results.
Exactly what does it involve? A shopping trip is preceded by way of a wardrobe planning consultation within the client's own home to work through what to keep and just what to discard. This offers me an idea of the client's current tastes and magnificence and what I think is missing from other wardrobe. If I haven't done wardrobe planning I may have advised the person on their colouring or make-up or indeed their style and ways to dress, so I could possibly have an idea of them from that or I might be meeting someone from fresh only to shop.
If I've not seen the client for quite a while or am meeting them the very first time, we tend to spend the first half hour or so creating a coffee and allowing me to develop a picture of the client, their business, their leisure interests, their current style as well as what they want from the session - also useful is when that person has shopped before. Often I make a few notes along with a list of that person's requirements during the day. And then we start shopping:
What shall we be looking for? Good question! Wherever we elect to start our seek out clothes I'm trying to find good colours - if the client's been analysed that's helpful although not always necessary when i generally have a good idea of the items shades I would like to seen them in. Once I've spotted the colours I will be looking at the shape of the garment to ascertain if I think it is the right one for my client (so details like turn-ups on long legs could possibly be fine - although not on short legs all come into play). I'll also be considering if I think the garment will suit my client's personality and project the sort of look they want. Only if all these details are favourable am i going to suggest that the person tries the product of clothing on - so I am quite capable of walking through a few stores before I propose that we stop and try.
If we're stopping to use there are usually a few what to try as I prefer to present my companion which has a complete picture. For instance if There is someone a good jacket I'll well select trousers, skirt as well as a couple of tops to develop an idea for the client on what it will work in her wardrobe. Furthermore very often take advantage of having my client within a changing room to trawl the sales floor for whatever will be useful to them to be able to try.
Generally the shopping trips are successful - the garments we purchase, sometimes from differing stores and ranges will fit together and blend well with one another because I'm pretty specific with what I select. Therefore the leather jacket bought in John Lewis may well go beautifully with all the top from Kaliko and the trousers from Country Casuals. Often it's not until the client has worn and worked with the clothes for a few weeks that the true value of this type of shopping, for ease and simplicity of dressing finds. (Male clients particularly like the idea that several shirts will continue to work with several ties with several suits as this gives them confidence to mix and match without feeling they're "getting it wrong").
Do I have to stick to a budget? Am i allowed to stick to a budget?- Sometimes and yes is the answer to that, however a very important factor I've noticed is that the budget grows in the event the client is happy with his or her choices and it's also only then which they buy. No quantity of persuasion will ever make someone purchase the things they don't believe suits them - there's two of you on the trip - not one.
Why do people book? A number of - a lifestyle change, job, new partner, a desire to upgrade the items they're buying, a wish for a co-ordinated working wardrobe and a sense that you can make sure they are look good and for some a necessary evil, in that they should wear clothes, still want or need to look good and shopping having an expert can be the best usage of their time and money. Personal shopping - could it work for you - you don't know till you try it - it could be the best money you've ever spent on clothes!