When I was 11 years old a surf brand called Hang 10 was hugely popular in Australia. All the cool kids were wearing it, and I wanted to wear it too. I begged mum to deck me out in the brand, but she refused. Her discouragement only made me want the brand more, so I turned to my big brother. He was six years older than me and really good at art. So, in a light bulb moment I grabbed a big thick black texta and asked him to draw the Hang 10 logo on my hat. It was a genius plan! No one would be able to tell the difference and everyone would think I was one of the cool kids – but it didn’t turn out that way. My darling brother wrote Hang 9 instead of the very cool Hang 10 on my hat, ruining the fabric and ruining any chance I had of hanging with the cool kids.
At around the same age I lost interest in fashion, and I would blame my brother for this if I hadn’t already developed a love of fluoro socks and convinced my family, via mismatched outfits, that I was actually colour blind. As I got older I just never seemed to have the funds for cool clothes, and so I stuck to what I knew – mismatched colours and fluoro socks.
I decided not to admit any of this to my lovely personal shopper when I turned up for my two-hour session at Debenhams in Lincoln. My personal shopper was immaculately dressed and smiled warmly when we talked about my favourite colours, styles, my wardrobe, and what I wanted to change in it. When I said ‘everything’ she nodded, gave me a cold drink and told me to sit on the leather couch in her office (a private room in the store with a huge mirror, coffee machine, dressing room and fridge full of water and wine), and then she disappeared. I thought she may have run for the hills and deemed me a hopeless case, but to my delight she returned a few minutes later. Her arms were filled with tops, jackets, dresses and jeans – many of which I would never have picked from the rack. To my surprise, it was these items that I loved. Clothes she had skilfully matched to my skin tone and personality.
I hadn’t had someone shop for me since I was young enough to think Hang 10 was cool and it was really nice to sit back, relax, and have someone else zoom through aisles to find fabrics, change sizes and pick out colours. Her skills were admirable; not only her ability to find gems on racks that I hadn’t seen, but also her ability to watch my reaction to her choices and subtly make items disappear that hadn’t tickled my fancy. Her passion for fashion was contagious, and it reignited my admiration and interest in the fashion world – my credit card had better watch out!
If you’re feeling the need for a fashion fix, come to the University of Lincoln’s fashion show this Friday night. For details and tickets go to:
Personal shopping sessions are available FREE at Lincoln’s Debenham’s store: