HITTING THE SHOPS OF PARIS - MY PERSONAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
No one says you have to spend every moment of your honeymoon together. Halfway through our stay in Paris, we parted ways for a few hours. Me, to do a little shopping...those adorable boutiques couldn't wait any longer. Mike checked out the Steve McQueen style exhibit (he is a HUGE Steve fan so needless to say we were both pretty excited).
If you are going to hire someone to take you shopping, research is needed. Especially in Paris as a quick google search brought up endless possibities. Fortunately I came across the website: Dress Like a Parisian. Reading through the stylist, Alois' bio these words resonated with me:
My motto: Buy less, dress better. When you know how to pick the right clothes, you only need a few to look your best.
I knew we would be a perfect match as this is my own style philosophy. I quickly sent off an email and received a prompt response. Unfortunately, Alois was going to be on holiday, but kindly arranged for me to shop with Diane, one of her trusted stylists.
Shopping with Diane instantly felt like I was shopping with a good friend. Not only was she warm and engaging, she had a lot of stamina and was determined to make the most of our time together. In just 2 hours we visited several boutiques (all of which she had visited in advance to check out the merchandise - something I do as well which I really appreciated), and while walking between stops she chatted about various french brands she felt might be of interest for me to watch out for during the remainder of my trip. She had a fabulous eye and was keen to mix up outfits and show how pieces could be worn in a variety of ways.
It was fun to be a client for a change. I was game to try anything passed my way. You need a lot of energy for these appointments and I had a new-found appreciation for everyone I have taken shopping who has enthusiastically powered through in the fitting room.
Diane kindly took photos which were helpful in the decision making process. Here is a sampling of what I tried, along with the verdict as to whether I passed or purchased:
Lace top: pass
This was the first thing I tried. Clearly it needs a cami, but that aside, I really liked it and was tempted to purchase. Great colour for my skin tone, versatile piece and good fit for me. Unfortunately it was priced far higher than I would be willing to pay for an item like this. I decided I would keep my eye open in shops like Zara for something similar.
Printed/embroidered bomber jacket: purchased
I was instantly drawn to the print on this jacket. It felt unique and interesting. The colours work well with pieces I already have in my wardrobe and I felt I could wear it for a variety of purposes and seasons. Because it was our first shop, I asked to put it aside. I continued to think about it throughout the shopping trip, so we returned at the end and I picked it up. Back at our apartment I had the pleasant discovery that it is also reversible. Such a score.
Orange mixed material jacket: pass
When Diane brought me this interesting jacket to try, I so hoped that it would work for me (knowing it woudn't). I loved the interesting fabrication and details. However, it is the wrong colour for my skin tone and too long for my frame.
Stop 2: Sandro
For the second stop, Diane chose a more popular designer French brand, Sandro. Her rationale was that even though it is a higher pricepoint, you can find those special pieces that stay with you a long time. Cost-per-wear, I speak her language. I explained that I don't usually shop designer, but was up for following her lead. Sandro is also a brand we can get here in Canada so I thought it would be worth seeing how the line worked for me.
Very cool high-waisted navy skirt: pass Puffy-sleeved white t shirt: pass
Don't get me wrong, I loved this skirt. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it was very cool. Such a great silhouette. Very different from anything I own. But, the fit wasn't perfect and for an investment piece (or any piece, really), it needs to be perfect. Too short to wear to work, felt a little snug in places. I just knew it wasn't for me.
I love the whimsy of these puffy sleeves. But again, anything here would be an investment due to the price, and I knew a trendy white top didn't fall into that category. I will keep an eye out for something similar in Zara or H&M though.
Pink flared textured skirt: purchased
This skirt was on the Sandro sale rack (and when I actually went to pay for it, it was further reduced - another score). I love the shape of this one and the fabric is a weight that could be worn in multiple seasons (bare legs or opaque tights). Diane had me trying a variety of footwear. The colour of this skirt combines well with what is already hanging in my closet. It won't be tricky to put together outfits - something I always encourage my clients to think about.
Printed dress - pass
Lace dress - pass
Loved the fun print of this first dress and it is a trendier silhouette that I wouldn't normally gravitate to. Fun to try, but for my lifestyle dresses like this are better found in those cheap and cheerful fast fashion shops.
The lace dress was beautiful (here Diane was pairing it with a trendy sneaker to illustrate how you can mix up dressy and casual). However, since I just got married, I recently purchased some dresses for events which I have worn several times and am loving. Not in the market for a new one, but good to know that this is a line I could check out in Vancouver if the occasion ever arises.
White t-shirt with relaxed shape - purchased
Printed necklace on black ribbon - purchased
This adorable little boutique in the Marais district carried many lines from Spain. This tee was on the sale rack. Loved the shape of it and very soft. The necklace comes on a long black ribbon and can be adjusted for length. Great price, unique, something I wouldn't easily find at home.
Printed ruffled knit top: purchased
Loved the print on this one. A very easy piece to wear with jeans or to work with a pencil skirt or slim pants. Also on sale - one I think I could wear during most of the year.
By this point, we were nearing the end of our 2 hours (and I was pleased with my purchases). But, Diane didn't want to waste a moment and whisked me into one last Marais boutique. She grabbed this blazer for me to try.
Cream and gold blazer: pass
I loved the texture of this and colour for my skin tone. I passed for a few reasons. First, I have several jackets in my wardrobe and don't need a new one. Also, it felt a little long for my frame. Thirdly, again, more than I would be willing to spend for this piece.
On our way back to pick up the bomber we had placed on hold, we ducked into a local shoe shop. There was nothing there that caught my eye at the time, but she chatted about various footwear brands that may be of interest at a moderate price-point.
We turned the corner and Mike was there at our meeting point. I was sad for it to end, but so thrilled with my finds and happy that I was able to spend 2 hours chatting about style with someone so knowledgeable and talented (Diane worked for Christian Dior and also does some designing in addition to personal shopping and styling). It was also fabulous to be introduced to shops I would have never found myself.
I left this experience energized and excited to get back to doing some of my own personal shopping and styling (now that the fall/winter season is here - and the wedding is behind us).
And, as you can tell - Mike was pretty stoked about his experience too.
Before our trip, I had decided I wanted to take on some Paris shops with an expert. Being a personal shopper/stylist myself, I knew there would be great value in this investment. I was so right. Not only was I exposed to shops I would have never found myself; the experience was fun, fruitful and informative.