I am not a good shopper. I tend to wear my clothes until it’s no longer decent to do so, except on the rare occassions where they stop fitting me or I start to hate them for some reason, in which case I will donate them. It’s not unusual for me to put on a tshirt I’ve owned for more than 5 years.
It’s partly money, partly time and partly just not really enjoying browsing for clothes in a real life shop. I can shop online for hours, but somehow I never actually buy the items I put in my “basket.” Because then I’d have to wait for them to arrive and then I’d have to try them on. What if they don’t fit? Or they look different in real life? Sending them back will be such a hassle. No.
Also, people are awful and they try to occupy the same space as me whenever I go shopping. We need to start teaching the Pauli Exclusion Principal earlier because people aren’t getting it. I’ll start looking at something and five other people will immediately decide they want to look at it too.
Enter personal shoppers. I was introduced to this concept a few years ago and I’ve done 99% of my shopping this way since. Usually at Debenhams because I like the variety available in a department store but I’m a poor student so House of Fraser is out of bounds. I understand Topshop and Gap also offer them, probably a few other places do too.
Here’s how it goes: I book an appointment, turn up and go to a special little room away from the shop floor and meet the personal shopper. I tell them my sizes, which colours I like and which ones hate and whether I’m shopping for something specific or if I just want a general update. The personal shopper makes me a cup of coffee, sits me on a comfy sofa and goes shopping for me.
They bring me a stack of stuff. I have learned from experience to try on absolutely everything and I’ve found some of my favourite pieces by trying on things I thought I’d hate. I tell them what works and what doesn’t and let them know if I need any of it in a different size. They go away and get me another stack of stuff to try on.
At the end of all this I tend to split stuff into three sections: Yes, no and maybe. I try on the “maybes” again and move them all into the “yes” or “no” sections. I check everything in the “yes” section will fit into my budget (and sometimes make a tough choice or two here) and then the personal shopper carries it to the checkout. I skip the queue and pay for it, often being surprised by how little it comes to once they’ve applied my student discount to everything they can.
This service is free. I’m not actually obliged to buy anything and the personal shoppers don’t get paid comission so I wouldn’t feel any guilt if I didn’t buy, but so far I’ve always shown up with a serious need for an update and I’ve always loved at least two or three outfits out of the ones I’ve tried.
I went last weekend and now I have a bunch of shiny new things that I’m so excited to wear, most of them things I would never even have looked at but which I’m really pleased that I chose. I think if I made more money I’d probably book this service a couple of times a year but as it is I find it hard to justify more than once at the moment.
Have you ever had a personal shopper session? Would you do it?