It’s been a classic case of too much on my plate for a while now. So much on my plate actually that I didn’t find the time to spend a Selfridge’s gift voucher, which I received with glee as a birthday present from Big M. In July.
When I raided through my winter wardrobe the other day, I have been much less gleeful with its remains: Soft cashmere jumper dress with baggy-belly courtesy of bulging pregnancy bump? Out! Empire style tunics to accommodate lactating double Ds? Out! Grey trouser suits to blend in with the bland corporate world of finance? Out! Out! Out!
My attack against everything unsuitable had left me with a gaping hole in my closet. But what to buy? Given the said lack of time, I was already seeing myself wearing jeans and jumpers on end this winter. Jeans and jumpers only? Why then do I suffer a weekly class of hardcore Pilates?
I needed a stylist. And I found one.
The lovely Amanda at Forty Not Out recently launched The Online Stylist. Of course I had to take her up on her offer. An online form, two emails and a paypal transaction of £32 later, I was eagerly waiting for her reply. My brief for her:
I need a day-handbag that doesn’t break my back and works well with my nude-coloured coat. I need new boots, a chunky cardigan and maybe shorts. I want to look grown-up-sexy-cute-cool, yet my clothes need to be practical in a mummy kind of way. I want to show off my legs without flaunting my underwear. And I need a seriously sexy pair of black heels to wear out on date nights. Think along the lines of these (without blowing my budget, please):
Amanda’s reply hit my inbox within a few hours, and here’s what she suggested:
Out of this outfit, the Malene Birger cardigan, the Mulberry handbag and the Warehouse dress made it onto my wishlist.
I warmed very much to the idea of the aubergine coloured Whistle dress and the Isabella Oliver cardigan.
The DKNY shorts and the Reiss daydress both completely rocked my boat.
And these lovely patent leather heels from LK Bennet were exactly what I was looking for!
Armed with a shopping list and a lot of great advice, I entered the World’s Best Department Store. I headed straight to the 3rd floor where I got stuck here. I am sure this wasn’t what Amanda meant when she was talking about shapewear, but it got me a fair bit closer to feeling sexy. And no, I won’t post pictures of myself in my new underwear.
Slightly encouraged by my success in the lingerie department, I ventured further into the fashion heaven of the 3rd floor. I gave in to the lure of my favourite brand, trying on pretty much every Marc by Marc Jakobs dress that was available in my size. One dress was prettier than the other, girlish, preppy, subtly sexy. I was in multiple loves.
Two bagged dresses later, and fulfilled with a sudden rush of post-shopping-endorphins, I glimpsed at my shopping list. Ooops. Ok, this one was practical-sexy-cool and that one was kind of close to the Warehouse dress, but it had most certainly blown my budget. I mentally ticked the item off the list anyway.
Next stop: shoes. I needed boots, but I wanted heels so much more. I tried on the LK Bennets and they fitted like gloves. (Gloves on feet. Does that make any sense?) I said goodbye to the gift card and made my way home.
Of course, that’s not the end of the story. When I woke up the next day, after a night of pondering and rolling around sleeplessly, I had made my decision. I would not keep a dress that is more expensive than a pair of shoes I was lusting after forever. Especially not if the dress is so special that you can only wear it once without everybody saying ‘Oh, she’s wearing that dress again.’
So I grabbed the LKs and the dress and went back to Selfridges to return them. I came home with a pair of shorts I picked up at GAP, a very versatile Alice by Temperly LBD (I didn’t have one, can you imagine???) and…
The handbag and the cardigan have made their way onto the Christmas wishlist. *wink, wink* Thanks, Amanda, for your great advice and making me think about what’s missing in my wardrobe.