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Faced with the question "Would you like to go shopping for a work outfit with a professional clothes consultant, all expenses paid?" what could any self-respecting City solicitor say but "yes"?
Clothes shopping is something I rarely have time to enjoy, and rather than make costly mistakes I have tended to buy what I know suits me.
When I met Ruth, we discussed the type of clothes I normally wore to work and I described my wardrobe. Ruth did not (as I had privately dreaded) take one look at me and shake her head in despair. We both agreed that the Armani style of simple, classic and well-cut suits was best for me. Unfortunately, I could not compete with Julia Roberts in 'Pretty Woman' trying on clothes beyond my wildest dreams, but was faced with the clothes rails in Next.
According to Next, the Armani look is no longer "in" so we abandoned any attempt to select a business suit. Ruth's mission became to find a smart weekend outfit. My scepticism at her initial selection of a long brown knitted waistcoat as the basis for an outfit did not bode well. The light brown leggings and checked scarf were good ideas, but Ruth's suggestion of a skinny rib was overruled. The ensemble was neat and colour co-ordinated, but uninspiring.
The shop assistants finally found a three-piece Donegal tweed trouser suit in the basement. Ruth declared this a success. The skinny rib was rejected again in favour of a softer roll-neck jumper. She then added a cream and oatmeal checked scarf and was satisfied. It was an improvement on the first outfit, but with so many layers I felt like the Michelin Man.
Having a style consultant is a great idea if you do not know what you like or look good in. However, I would only pay if I trusted the individual concerned.
Ruth and I were on the same wavelength. She had good suggestions and gives you the confidence to try out different clothes. However, our experiments were limited.
Shopping with Ruth confirmed that the style which I had worked out for myself was right for me.