Helen’s Story...

My dilemma

I never hated shopping, but then again I didn’t exactly like it, preferring to go out on my own when I really needed something. I suppose I didn’t think I had a problem as such but I did always stick to just wearing jeans and a top (usually black!). So not very exciting I guess.

I grew up in the country where practicality is everything so urban, trendy clothes didn’t come naturally to me. Inspired by the stylish clothes my friends were wearing I went shopping for more glamorous outfits but they just didn’t work on me. So I’d wasted my money and knocked my own confidence – so it was back to the comfort zone whether it was daytime or going out.

I felt I didn’t have a clue about fashion – I couldn’t figure out how to wear stuff I saw in the shops or how an accessory might finish off an outfit, in fact I thought they might make me look old – a bit mumsy. If I saw something a bit more adventurous then often my practical side would kick in “When am I going to wear that?” or “is it worth the money?” Occasionally I’d go to the other extreme and go for something crazy. And of course that didn’t work either.

As I got older my shape has got bigger and thus harder to dress, when I was younger I could ‘get away’ with more things. And I’ve always been conscious of having broad shoulders and large hips so trousers were a challenge to buy. Also, in the past, I’ve been self-conscious of being tall. But for a practical girl who takes a size 9 the biggest nightmare was finding shoes to fit and with a heal that wasn’t agony.

The solution

When the day came for my personal styling and shopping experience I was feeling a bit apprehensive (and maybe a bit defensive if I’m honest) as it was my partner’s idea that I should try a session with Caboodle Style, not mine. It’s hard to have someone challenge your thoughts on things like colours and styles that suit me – my pride was also going to be at stake as I stepped out of my comfort zone.

I’ll admit I found it a bit challenging at first. Most of the tops I have were in colours that didn’t fit in my “optimal palette” that Laura identified. It became really powerful when we started shopping and trying on the colours and styles identified as right for me. I could really see it. I was soon picking up outfits in colours I’d never even considered. We were like little children in the changing room as I tried it all on the level of excitement went through the roof. I was all “look at me” (which isn’t like me!)

Laura explained everything fantastically; what accessories will suit different items and occasions, why something flattered my shape, helped me find ‘my style’. Her lovely manner ensured I was nudged along gently on this journey so that ultimately I was totally comfortable with everything. (Although secretly I was thinking to myself I might still wear that black top I love, but in fact I haven’t picked it up since the session.)

The outcome

After the session I felt like a new woman and really excited about all my new purchases. Having that amount of new clothes in one trip, it was like Christmas basically. With Laura showing me how to put things together it gave me confidence that I’m going to wear these pieces and could visualise the outfits. Although still a little bit scared, I knew that everything I’d bought suited me and I loved my new hair style and makeup too. A brilliant feeling, exciting and I felt a lot more confident. Like a new lease of life.

Now I love shopping. I look at a shop floor completely differently, the way it’s all laid out, changing the way I shop – going to the colours first, staying away from the black, checking the shoulders/what the straps are like, and pushing myself. I still sometimes have to refer to my colour reference guide.

Colour coordinating and accessories are the biggest things – people are always commenting on my necklaces. Although I wore jewellery I never properly accessorised outfits – not statement jewellery, just practical jewellery.

The whole thing’s been amazing.

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