A Personal Shopper Looks Beyond the Label!
I have lots of clothes in my wardrobe. None of them have a size label! How come? I cut them out of course! To me, sizing labels are just a guide to allow me (and any personal shopper) work my way through a rail for a customer. Although I am a size 10-12, clothes I own vary in size from a 6 – 18 depending on the shop, the style, the trend and what I want that item to do for me!
This is one of those valuable lessons I learnt once I really began to understand my body and the bits I wanted to show off and the bits I didn’t!
Our body shapes are all unique and high street retailers are also unique. Uniquely bad at finding a common way to make it easier for shoppers to find commonality with their sizing guidelines. There is no such thing as size uniformity when browsing through shops. It is one of the first lessons I teach in my personal stylists in training. Identifying your clients needs, asking questions about lengths, shapes and understanding what ‘you’ or your client wants from your clothes means sizing is one of those things that should guide but never lead your decision making process when shopping.
The difference from a size 8 in Zara to Marks and Spencer’s for example can be up to 3 inches around the waist! This leads many women I am have met to become stuck in a complete shopping rut, always going back to that same shop for fear of what a label might allude too if they veer off track.
Shopping was never intended to frighten, belittle or dishearten, yet somehow that is what high street labelling is inadvertently doing to shoppers.
Take this simple example, if you hold your weight on your hips and bum, you don’t want to create too much fuss or create too many lines around this area. You need to look at things like clever ways to draw the eye upwards by opting for higher waisted skirts and trousers for example. You also need to opt for a little bit more fabric, width or length on top so although you may be a size 12, perhaps a 14 would do a better job for your shape?
Below I am wearing wearhouse skinny jeans (size 12); cream top from M&S (size 14); grey jumper H&M (size 8) and pink coat from Littlewoods (size 10).
Here are some of my top tips.
1. If you are a personal shopper or indeed on a shopping spree yourself, bring two/ three different sizes into the fitting room. One up and one down from the size you think you are. Really examine the fit and go for the one that makes you look and feel best regardless of the label.
2. Think of a size label as a very vague guide to a kind of approximation of how large or small a garment is. That’s it. It has no value, particularly nothing to do with what kind of person you are! Whatever you do, don’t put your life, or finding and creating your personal style, on hold until you are a certain size!
3. So often women tell me that they’d like to see a personal shopper for a consultation, but feel that it is not the right time to spend the money on themselves as they are the wrong size in their own eyes and so deny themselves the valuable information they would gain, which is size irrelevant!
4. Check out this great blog post and software on this website. You can enter your specific bust, waist and hip measurements and it will give you ‘your’ size according to each (or most) high street sizing guide. This is a fun and definitely useful tool to try out!
5. Take a leaf from my book and once you buy, whether it is a size 8 or 18, cut the label out and get on with feeling great in the clothes you buy!