I have embarked on my first new shopping project for a while, apparently something of a challenge, but the opportunity to use my skills to their utmost. I’ve met Charlotte, who many of you will know as The_Lady_Sybil on Twitter, with her own blog Gin Fuelled Bluestocking, at Twitfaced in April and since then we have talked about clothes almost every day!
After spending time with Charlie and talking at great lengths about clothes and her style, we decided to see what I could do for her, go shopping with her and find some new clothes. By her own admission, everything she owned was knitwear, dresses and similar, so we had set aside a day to go to Manchester city centre and find Summer clothes.
I had been given some direction and instructions already, no-nos when looking for clothes. I am used to this, I’m happy to accommodate and stick sort of closely to their rules….maybe. No animal print, nothing metallic (we will see), no diamante or rhinestone effect, nothing shorter then knee length and needs to have sleeves or be able to wear cardigan or small shawl with. The only rules I went armed with were go in as many shops as we can and try everything on!
Charlie’s own style is vintage, pretty dresses and skirts, in bold colours or bright floral patterns. I wanted to still keep in her comfort zone, so the whole day I picked out things I knew she would like as well as throwing in the odd curve ball to try on and hopefully surprise herself. To her credit, I didn’t have to convince her too much, almost everything she tried on she liked and then bought! Not as difficult as I maybe thought it would be.
Our day started in Debenhams, with their wide ranges and varied concessions surely we would start easily enough and find something? Venturing around the first floor we had collected a few items for Charlie to try on, usual dresses and skirts, simple to get into the day and not overface just yet. Fortunately almost everything was a success and we came away with a gorgeous orange bodycon dress from Wallis, a taupe polka dot shirt dress, a lime green kick-pleated skirt and two quite patriotic red, white and blue fascinators. Charlie loves hats and spent ten minutes trying them on while I tried to give another random lady outfit advice. I can’t help myself, I was drawn to tell her she looked nice in what she was trying on! As Debenhams is so spread out and there are that many concessions around the store, we eventually moved on about 90 minutes later…
Into the Arndale Centre, armed with the knowledge there is a nice strip of clothes shops all grouped together, we approached New Look with trepidation. Not the best of places for me, very rare I pick anything out that I like for my other half, so I wasn’t holding my breath for Charlie. Sadly I was right, the only thing we both liked were a pair of red tartan heels. But shoes were not on the menu today, so we moved on. Oasis, Warehouse, Monsoon were all ahead of us, I was optimistic we’d clean up in here having been stalwarts of my usual fashion habits.
Warehouse provided nothing for us again, no motivation or actual options sadly. Can’t win them all, I am happy to try every shop in the hope you’ll find one little gem. Oasis however was probably my achievement of the day, finding a nice deep blue/purple dress that Charlie was unsure of, so she tried it on and she loved it, bought it! Trying it on AND buying in the sale works!
Our final stop of the day (we were shopping for about 5 hours) was Monsoon. Before we had even entered the door, Charlie’s eyes lit up and she kept saying “Ooh I want it, it’s so nice!” Completely unaware as to what she wanted, she pointed at a mannequin dressed in a very nice tan sahara dress, which she is modelling to the right! I didn’t think it was something she would normally go for, so was nicely surprised that her style is wider than I realised. While in there, we looked through the sale racks and again Charlie found something that got her so excited, a full length black roman style keyhole-neck dress with splits from the knees. Trying these on, she was so excited, the black was something she had always been after, it was more expensive than the others but as she rightly said “all girls need a ‘fuck it’ dress!”
A very successful day for both of us. Charlie came away with a nice handful of clothes and I’d gotten some practice at shopping again and picking out new clothes!