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Image / Fashion

The Secrets Of A Personal Shopper


by Jennifer McShane
28th Oct 2016

Woman in a fashion store department

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Ahead of our exclusive IMAGE shopping experience at Kildare Village this Saturday, Personal Shopper Natalie Svikle tells us a few of her shopping secrets.?

As a personal shopper, what tips would you give any woman who finds shopping for themselves a bit daunting?

Most women get overwhelmed by shopping simply because they don’t understand what they need to be shopping for. It is so easy to get lost in a huge variety of options and if you don’t have a plan for your wardrobe, you often end up either getting distracted by the first thing that jumps out at you or settling for the first ?this will do? option.

The number one recommendation I always give is never to buy unless you have items in your existing wardrobe to create a few looks with the new purchase. This strategy alone can save you from two very common and costly mistakes – buying one trick ponies and dead-end orphans (where you bring the item home, realise there is nothing to go with it and face the dilemma of either going and spending more money to make it work or stuffing it to the back of the wardrobe in the hope that something will miraculously appear to go with it).

Also, don’t be afraid to invest in quality, especially if you don’t like shopping. I always tell people to spend their money where they spend their time and to invest in the best quality items they can afford. This way, you reduce the need for regular shopping just because your wardrobe doesn’t have the durability to last longer than a season.

What are the most common questions you get asked as a personal shopper?

One of the things clients often worry about is being on the same page in regards to style preferences. One thing most people don’t realise is that the difference between a professional stylist and someone who has an eye for style is that professional shoppers never impose their personal likes and style preferences on clients. Anything I typically suggest to a client is based on a variety of factors, such as their lifestyle, colouring, shape, practicality, etc. It’s never about what I like but rather about finding the right pieces for this particular person that they will love. I always ask for honest feedback without any sugar-coating and take it on board immediately. I take guidance from clients and translate it into specific pieces that will flatter them, fit the brief and offer practicality and versatility that my clients might not necessarily find on their own.

Another common question is about a budget. Again, it all comes back to communication and respecting the client’s decisions. Price points are discussed well before we hit the shops, so there are never any nasty surprises. I’d never push someone into buying something uncomfortably expensive, in fact pushing altogether is not my approach. I do challenge and inspire my clients to step out of their comfort zone and experiment but it’s always in a supportive rather than pushy way.

What key items do you feel take an outfit to the next level?

The right accessories can transform any look and make even a budget-friendly outfit look polished and expensive. So don’t be afraid to invest in good quality stylish shoes and boots or structured bag. They will always add that refined and chic touch to your looks. Scarves and jewellery can significantly jazz up your wardrobe. Also, a great coat for the autumn winter season can elevate any look.

Classic styling or full-on trends??

I prefer to strike a happy balance rather than jump to extremes. Classic styling on its own can feel a bit dated and unadventurous while chasing trends is a never-ending marathon. I prefer timeless styles with a few trendy pieces mixed in. That way you have a core wardrobe that is reliable enough to take you from season to season but trendy items can offer diversity and make the overall wardrobe feel current and up-to-date.

What are your favourite trends at the moment?

I’m very excited to see that texture is a huge focus in a lot of the current trends and I’ll definitely be dipping my toe into the velvet trend once I find the right piece. I have a vision of a floor length velvet gown with an open back for all the upcoming Christmas dos, so the challenge now is to find it. I always had a soft spot for fur so this season I’ll probably make a jump and will get a bright coloured stole to go with some of my coats.

For the upcoming Christmas season, what advice would you give to those who want to to go festive but not over-the-top glitzy?

Dresses are a typical go-to solution for many women when it comes to dressing for the festive season, but I would recommend going for dressy separates instead – draped or full skirts, well-tailored trousers, flowing tops and blouses, fitted evening blazers, etc. Lace, embroidery, silk, gold and rose gold detail, embellishments, textured finishes like velvet or brocade, even leather – all of those things can bring a dressy element to even the simplest cuts. And don’t forget – appropriate accessories can further jazz up the outfit. By playing with separates, you have much more control over the final look and can get way more wear out of your clothes.

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