Recently I spent an afternoon with my friend Kelly as my personal shopper and style consultant. The first time we met she had worked with two of my friends and neighbours and came highly recommended. I had just had my second child and although I loved being pregnant and a mom, the changes my body had gone through were tough on my body image. I gained many pounds with both my pregnancies, but for some reason, was unable to get rid of the weight very quickly with my second. I decided to embrace it and feel good about who I was becoming as a mother of two, and for me, this meant enjoying how I looked every day. The next step was to buy some new clothes. I no longer fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes but very little in my closet fit me or felt good. Time to call Kelly.
At our first meeting Kelly took my measurements, talked to me about what styles I enjoyed, looked through my current wardrobe and made some suggestions as to what would both look good on me and what I should look for when I shop. These guidelines were lifesavers and became incorporated long after our day of shopping together.
Fast forward five years. I now had a sense of my personal style but my wardrobe needed an update. Striving to become increasingly minimalist and environmental, I wanted to purchase some key items for my closet but with a focus on sustainability. Kelly suggested a day shopping consignment stores on Main Street. Perfect! As I have never been a natural shopper and quite honestly saw it as a necessity rather than an adventure, Kelly was determined to change my perspective.
After our initial meeting to look through my closet again and create a desires/essentials list, the fun began.
Step One: ResearchAs I have enough pieces of clothing as a whole, this was all about patience and clarity. I had a list of items to search for and no real rush to find them. In a world of instant gratification, this was a surprisingly satisfying piece of homework with future benefits.
- Kelly gave me a list of Instagram accounts and Facebook pages to follow for second hand items
- look for second hand Fluevogs (my shoe of choice), both online and in chosen consignment stores
- go to Anthropologie to try on and size some skirts to set myself up for second hand hunting
When I found possible items online, Kelly would walk me through the process of deciding if it was sound for purchase.
Step Two: Main Street
Our goals was to get to know and support local stores, particularly consignment, while seeing if we could find some good deals. Here are a few of the stores we hit: front and company, Fab Finds, The Main Exchange, Turnabout, and Shameless Resale.
Highlights of the day:
- building my confidence to find pieces that would work with my current wardrobe and paying bargain prices for them; having a trusted second opinion is always great
- my options really opened up as we discussed the possibilities of layers. Because Kelly knows my closet really well, she could share a variety of possible combinations and outfits
- Kelly told me what each item could be paired with or how it could be worn
- a lot of time was saved as we were both looking at the racks and she pulled options I wouldn't have considered
A note to stores:
- customer service at stores makes a huge difference; chatting with your clientele, taking the clothing to the change room for them...atmosphere and care for your clients makes me want to go back to some stores and not others
At the end of the day I had purchased some of my original list, a few extras that fit the criteria we had set out, and a few pieces I am still searching for. However, I walked away with so much more knowledge and feeling good about being able to make ethical, sustainable choices with a more focused, patient and playful approach. Thanks for a great day, Kelly! If you haven't ever experienced a personal shopper and this is something that intrigues you, check out Kelly's website at kellyhenry.ca.