Saving time and money with the help of a personal stylist is not wishful thinking. Are you overwhelmed every time you walk into a shopping centre looking for clothes? Are the endless options so mind boggling that you choose coffee and cake and then head home empty handed? Was shopping always so difficult?
Well, only you can answer the first two questions but as for the last, the answer is no! Shopping has evolved into a very different experience to what it was midway through last century. Where once we shopped in a couple of favourite boutiques or ‘ladies’ stores’ in the centre of our suburban shopping strip, today we shop in huge, multi-levelled edifices crammed with stores stocked with low cost, imported product. Service consists of taking your money at the check-out after you have rummaged through endless rows of clothes dangling from coat hangers or worse still, lying discarded on the floor by the previous faceless shopper. To make the entire experience even more unsettling, every second night our favourite current affairs program is featuring some gorgeous young thing prattling on about what’s current, what must be worn by everyone this season and how easy it is to create this season’s “look”. Their words and accompanying images swim around in our brain as we trudge the tiled floor of our nearest shopping centre. When it all becomes too much and our cries for help go unheeded, we admit defeat and retreat to the car park.
Once upon a time there would have been someone there to help you – the shop assistant. She was trained, conscientious, experienced and there to assist (hence her title). She had a manageable array of product to present to her customers and she had a wonderful ability to know what suited the body shape in front of her. Alas, those days are long gone and that breed of shop assistant is almost extinct. In her place, we have seen the emergence of the personal stylist whose rise to prominence is in direct correlation with the decline in the quality of in store assistants. Where once department stores and boutiques provided service, these days we are on our own. Now if we want help we need to provide it ourselves. I suppose we could call it ‘out sourcing’.
For a long while women have been lost in the middle of this transition. Gradually, we are coming to understand what is going on in our shopping centres and mega malls and gradually we are realising we have to find a new way to do things. A personal stylist is not a luxury indulgence for the privileged few, but a sensible investment in one’s self. In previous generations women could rely on those trained and experienced in the fundamentals of line, design and colour principles to be there in the stores. It is different for women today. We need to find another way to access that expertise. Fortunately a personal stylist is only a Google search away.