Having been an Image Consultant for almost eighteen years a big part of my job involves taking clients looking for an outfit or a new wardrobe or simply a few items to update their look. Quite often each time a person shops beside me once they will book to buy again because of the results.
What does it involve? A shopping trip is preceded with a wardrobe planning consultation within the client's own home to work through what to keep as well as what to discard. Thus giving me an idea of the client's current tastes and magnificence and what I think is missing off their wardrobe. If I haven't done wardrobe planning I'll have advised anyone on their colouring or make-up or indeed their style and how to dress, so I could possibly have an idea of them from that or I could be meeting someone from fresh only to shop.
If I haven't seen the client for a while or am meeting them initially, we tend to spend the 1st half hour or so having a coffee and allowing me to develop a picture of the client, their work, their leisure interests, their current style as well as what they want from the session - also useful is where that person has shopped before. Often I come up with a few notes plus a list of that person's requirements of waking time. And then we start shopping:
What shall we be held looking for? Good question! Wherever we elect to start our search for clothes I'm seeking good colours - if the client's been analysed that's helpful but not always necessary because i generally have a good idea of what shades I would like to seen them in. Once I've spotted the shades I will be looking at the shape of the garment to find out if I think it is the right one for my client (so details like turn-ups on long legs could possibly be fine - and not on short legs all are important). I'll also be considering easily think the garment will suit my client's personality and project the look they want. Provided that all these details are favourable will I suggest that the person tries the item of clothing on - i really am quite effective at walking through a few stores before I suggest that we stop and check out.
If we're stopping to use there are usually a few circumstances to try as I prefer to present my companion having a complete picture. For instance if I have found someone a good jacket I'll well select trousers, skirt along with a couple of tops to produce an idea for the client on what it will work in her wardrobe. Furthermore very often take advantage of having my client in a changing room to trawl the sales floor for any situation that will be useful to them in order to try.
Generally the shopping trips are successful - the clothes we purchase, sometimes from differing stores and ranges will fit together and mix well with one another because I'm pretty specific of what I select. So the leather jacket bought in John Lewis might go beautifully using the top from Kaliko and also the trousers from Country Casuals. Often it is not until the client has worn and dealt with the clothes for a few weeks that this true value of this type of shopping, for ease and simplicity of dressing comes across. (Male clients particularly like the thought that several shirts will work with several ties with several suits as this provides them confidence to mix and match without feeling they're "getting it wrong").
Should i stick to a budget? Am i allowed to stick to a budget?- Sometimes company is the answer to that, however a very important factor I've noticed is that the budget grows when the client is happy along with his or her choices and it's also only then that they can buy. No level of persuasion will ever make someone purchase what you don't believe suits them - there's 2 of you on the trip - not one.
Why do people book? Many reasons - a lifestyle change, new position, new partner, a wish to upgrade the items they buy, a wish for a co-ordinated working wardrobe as well as a sense that you can make sure they are look good and for some a necessary evil, in that they have to wear clothes, still need or want to look good and shopping with an expert can be the best usage of their time and money. Personal shopping - could it work for you - you do not know till you try it - it could be the best money you've ever spent on clothes!