Guest Post: A Day in the Life of a Personal Stylist in London

by Roxanne C.

The red-brick terrace in Notting Hill gave no exterior hint to the quiet panic contained within.  When I entered the apartment, there lay heaps of clothing scattered about the floor. The dear lady was near to tears, as she looked up at me her mouth drew down as she began to wail:


“I have NOTHING to wear!”


She had contacted me in great excitement, tempered with a tone of worry. Called for an interview with a highly-respected school, she conveyed she wanted to make the best impression for the meeting. I assured her that she had made the right decision to call me.


She was not alone, I explained to her that day I walked in on her bomb site. Many women have clothing in their wardrobes they simply do not wear. Many find the pieces they own either do not fit, have gone out of style, or are so alien to the rest of their wardrobe.


Clothes on racks. Tons of it.


“What is the position you’ve made the application for?” I urged.


She had been an educator for a number of years and now had the opportunity to take on a very visible role for her current employer. She shared her worry she would not be taken seriously enough. She had a sweet temperament and shared a concern that her competition seemed much more aggressive. She wanted to convey a strong “leadership” quality in her appearance.


Now, we were getting somewhere. I glanced over the many piles of clothing on the floor and asked, “What were you doing with these items?”


“These”, she said, gesturing at the piles, “are all the clothes I usually don’t wear. Some are not comfortable, some have no other items to coordinate with and some are shabby, stained or torn.”


“Are there any items in those piles that are old favourites?” I inquired.


“Yes”, she nodded. “But most of them are quite worn.” I encouraged her to pull these favourite items from the piles and set them aside. The rest of the items, we folded as we talked.


“What three items must you own, that you would wear to work every day in your new position?”


She thought hard about the question. “I would need comfortable shoes and a long coat, in a dark colour.” She quickly added, “I would also need a sweater or jacket, because the rooms are often chilly.”


I made a mental note to encourage longer sleeves, sweater sets and suits as we progressed through the wardrobe selection process. As I looked over the items there, I was struck by the number of blouses with short sleeves. Most were soft, pastel colours. Beyond these, few solids were found among her clothing; I saw a lot of floral prints, plaids and stripes. We had a good selection to work with.


“What one item do you own that makes you look and feel your best?” I asked.


Without hesitation, she pulled down a lovely blue blouse, the colour of a robin’s egg. I asked her to put the blouse on, while I proceeded to look through the wardrobe.


My client’s hair was rather fine, slightly wavy with a colour similar to that of ripened wheat. Her skin was fair and her eyes a grey-blue. When she emerged with the blouse, I could see instantly why she liked it. The colour made her eyes shine, while the cut of the blouse flattered her figure perfectly.


Next, I asked her to do the same with her “old favourites.”  From the pile, she withdrew a threadbare suit with a nipped waist and a tapered skirt with a vent. In a vivid red, it was a stunning look, very powerful.  We agreed that we needed to look for an updated version, with toned colours to compliment the style of uniform required.


The shopping trip took us onto a busy Oxford Street in Central London, I managed to get her to try a light grey colour with a slight sheen on the fabric which she had thought wouldn’t suit her. She naturally preferred trousers and these were tailored to be a slim fit to show her figure nicely. The jacket was rounded at the bottom and had darker grey detailing over the lapel and pockets.  Eyes opened in amazement and acceptance to my suggestions.


Finding shoes with a small heel but a smart look was quite easy and we went with a darker navy blue and found a coat to compliment with a belt built in to the mackintosh style and altogether it looked great. She could use the trousers with some of her long sleeved cardigans and jumpers too and keep the basics look with mixing tops around.


As we parted ways in Leicester Square after lunch, she was transformed from a quivering ball of nerves into a strong and confident lady, assured that she looked every inch the part.  I dearly hope that she got the role.


Clothes that fit maketh the lady beneath.


{Author Bio:  Louise Goldsmith has been enslaved and seduced by fashion since she was a little girl.  From dressing up in her mother’s heels, to owning her first pair of Blahniks, Louise has travelled widely in pursuit of her aesthetic desires.  Currently, she lives in London and works as an assistant personal stylist for Coathanger.}