A Step By Step Guide To Personal Shopping

When people ask me what I do for a living, I try to sum it up as concisely as possible. From the What image would you like to project conversation to the full menu. Wardrobe PlanningColour Analysis Makeup and Personal Shopping
From the menu, It is the personal shopping that still leaves people the most puzzled. To clear things up, this newsletter will come in two parts: The guide to personal shopping and the guide to wardrobe planning. 

Being a style coach is about listening and building trust. It is creating an arena that is comfortable, inspiring and motivating. The results are a personal style that is relevant, authentic and highly successful in a social and professional context.

I would like to thank two people who have inspired me to create this newsletter (and whose testimonials you can read at the end)

KAREN  Travels between Munich and New York with her career as an opera singer. She came to me looking for more colour and to move away from her New York black. Being a few inches shorter than the average German woman, Karen wanted to find a European chic and for things to fit her height and shape. Read how her shopping trip went below.

JOHN  A long time friend and actor, continues to reap the benefits from his wardrobe, colour analysis and personal shopping sessions. Being colour blind, we had to build a strong wardrobe in identifiable colours, tones and styles to help him secure acting roles.The investment continues to pay off and allows him to feel on top of his game. Read more about his experience below.

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 PERSONAL SHOPPING IS FOR EVERYONE ELSE!

Having spoken to various groups of people over the years, I have come to realise that although many have heard of personal shopping, they think it’s not something for them but rather for everyone else. It can seem intimidating or out of reach. It’s what rich people do or bored hollywood housewives, right?

Wrong!

The people who use a personal shopper, use one from all kinds of reasons, backgrounds, cultures, ages, shapes, sizes and budgets. (and no, not just actors and opera singers!)
It is why talking to people, and creating workshops are important. They help bring the subject closer to the audience, making it more attainable and less intimidating.

You dont need money to look good, but you do need to know how to use the right tricks and techniques that apply to you and everything that is unique about you.

WHO USES A PERSONAL SHOPPER?

Take for example business professionals. They need to project an image that matches their role and responsibility in the company they represent. How they look and what they say should be unequivocal and create an impact before a word is even spoken. When it comes to climbing the career ladder, details matter and people do notice. 

Actors need to create a strong first impression. New York based John Pirkis has often seconds to gain the confidence of potential investors when he goes up for a new role. Dressing the part requires attention to detail.The suit John wears is from one of our shopping trips and continues to earn him praise in castings. His blog: ‘Diary of a Failed Actor’ describes perfectly the highs and lows of his profession.

Photograph of John Pirkis by Dan Harwood Stamper

 SOCIAL-There are social reasons. Someone may have lost their confidence (and their way) from a separation or divorce.They want to bring back some of the style they once had and start dating again. A session with a style coach can help them find a more relevant image while giving them the confidence and motivation to make a fresh start.

FAMILY-There are those who have raised a family and are looking to return to work or start a new career. This means bringing an image up to date and in line with other job applicants and is also an opportunity to turn a new page.
Personal shoppers are booked for birthdays, anniversaries and as leaving presents and gift vouchers are a popular choice.

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COPY CAT- It is no good copying a look in a magazine if it doesn’t translate to your body shape or the person you are. We all know that models don’t represent the majority of womens’ body shapes (or mens for that matter) but copying them can take out the hard work for us.

It takes time to develop a style and find something that you are comfortable with.
Being in a neutral, non-judgemental position allows me to speed up the process!
ON THE STREET- Surveys say that women dominate 65% of the global market. When it comes to retail shopping, It is evident there are still huge gaps in the market. Often I see women (and men) walking around stores in an effort and a daze trying to find something to wear. Help is either minimal or intrusive and not much in between.They exit the store minutes later, only to repeat the process somewhere else.

The experience is nil and the frustration is high.

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STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO SHOPPING

  • MEETING UP- To begin with there is an informal but focused consultation to discuss specific desires and goals. Meeting in person works two ways. It allows me to get a clear idea of bodyshape, height and natural colouring, aswell as the persons character and personality. It also helps build a level of trust and establish a friendly working relationship.
  • LOOK BOOK- Having a photograph to work with beforehand, allows me to prepare a few images I think are suitable (like a look-book) for the person I am working with. This helps establish a focus for ideas and drums up excitement. Together we discuss style, shape, colour, fabric, accessories and anything else that is important
  • RESEARCH-Before a shopping trip, research has to be carried out. This is an important aspect for a successful shop and the focus of everything I know about that person so far. From where to find the right length pair of pants, skirt, dress, jacket, collar type, material, tailoring, colour, pattern, accessories and so on. This also applies to skin care and makeup

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  • SHOPPING DATE-The big date has arrived and what we’ve been waiting for! When trying on clothes, I advise people to come wearing (easy to get in and out of) clothing. To bring heels if trying on dresses and business shoes if trying on suits. Clothes that are hampered with buckles and buttons will only slow down the process!

 

  • SUCCESS- Of the clothes I select, 99% of them are bought and successfully integrated into the wardrobe. The selected items not only double the outfit choices but work with existing pieces and new alike. Guided shopping can seriously breaks old habits because they are intensive one-to-one style workouts and a time of real focus. Many people report that they not only save money on future trips but are able to shop in half their normal time.

 

  • SELF AWARENESS- Finally, these sessions are a reminder that is important to highlight the best of ourselves for ourselves. Unique aspects that over time have been forgotten or buried under the layers of life.They are about bringing those positive aspects to the surface by recognising what we have got, not what we haven’t. Knowing how to reflect these qualities increases confidence, self-esteem, self-awareness and is always an inspiration to others.
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See what Karen and John had to say!

Rachel is fantastic – she is smart, talented, genuinely positive and amazingly tactful.   I am a typical New York “everything in black” girl, and also a good 6 inches shorter than the average German woman.The lovely european chic-casual style has been a mystery to me since I moved here. I had pretty much given up on ever finding clothes in Germany when I went to Rachel for help

She has a brilliant eye for colour and form, and after our initial consultation, even before we went shopping, she had me thinking differently about how to dress and what to put together.She has the patience of a saint – I had extremely vague answers to her questions about my personal style, since “black” has been my answer to everything for years.The shopping experience was amazing.  

I generally give up after one hour, but two and a half hours with Rachel passed in the blink of an eye.Not only did I end up with some beautiful clothes in lovely colours, but we also got some fantastic things in black that actually fit me.

Rachel very tactfully explained to me how to mix and match to achieve the look I wanted, and much to my delight, I can apply her advice to both my old and my new clothes.My “What Not To Wear” moments have dramatically decreased and miraculously, my mother, my husband, and my garment-district friends all love my new clothes!If you want assistance, advice or even just a ray of sunshine in your wardrobe, I highly recommend consulting Rachel for any and all of your fashion needs.

 

John
Rachel, I cannot thank you enough for the extraordinary results you have achieved for me! Not only restyling my wardrobe, but also taking the dread I had of shopping for clothes. Being colour blind just added to my problem.
Your patience, calm energy and passion for the task in hand made the event and effortless joy and education.
I feel confident to venture out on a shopping trip of my own and even look forward to it.
Thank you again.

 ‘‘People will stare. Make it worth their while” Harry Winston