On 7th July, I turned 21, and the night before we had planned a big party at a local lounge bar. Of course, this was an occasion that called for a new dress, so my mum and I set off for a day at The Trafford Centre. I didn’t really have a set idea in my mind of what I wanted, only that I wanted something different from all of the other dresses I own, and something a bit special.
The Trafford Centre is a great place to shop, especially when you arrive as soon as it opens on a weekday. It is spacious, beautifully decorated, and really offers a bit of everything.
Mum and I weaved in and out of plenty of shops, and fairly early on in the day approached Miss Selfridge. At the door, we were greeted by one of the sales assistants, who handed us a card for the new, free, personal shopping service, The Dressing Room. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try on some things I wouldn’t usually pick up, and get some advice from someone that knows all the dresses, so I decided to go for it.
I was greeted by Saffron, and immediately felt at ease as she was smiley, approachable and looked immaculate. In fact, I loved the red lace pencil skirt she was wearing so much I returned to buy it a week or so later. She started by asking what the event was and what kind of styles I usually wear, then grabbed a mini rail as we did a circuit of the shop. Sometimes she would point at things and ask what I thought, and other times she’d add something to the rail, declaring that I ‘must try it’.
I was then shown into the reserved changing room, of course named The Dressing Room, and Saffron, my mum and the mini rail set up camp just outside the door. We probably had about 8-10 dresses to try, in all different styles, many of which I would not necessarily have picked up for myself. Sometimes a new pair of eyes is exactly what you need, as with each dress I tried on I realised there were a whole set of dress styles that suited my figure, that I would originally have walked straight past.
The Dressing Room has plenty of mirrors, magazines and candles to create a lovely atmosphere to try on the outfits, and it was really spacious. Saffron has also brought me through a pair of heels, so I could get the proper effect of the dresses. She wasn’t pushy at all, which was what I had been wary of. Certain dresses she loved on me, and others she agreed weren’t quite the right fit, or she could tell I wasn’t comfortable in.
The dress we decided as the favourite was a dress I would never, ever have tried on. On the hanger, it looks incredibly fussy, which would immediately put me off, as I prefer classic, clean shapes. However, as soon as it was on, the detailing spread out and it fit perfectly. It was also a colour I’d never have picked, but really went with my hair and skin tone.
Once the decision was made, Saffron wasn’t pushy at all, and said they could keep it on hold and I could return for it later if I wanted.
Mum and I set out for a further explore around various shops, but I compared every dress to the Miss Selfridge one, and so knew we would be returning very shortly…
In the meantime, we were hungry, and decided to try Pesto. It is part of a small chain, and basically offers Italian tapas. There was a lunchtime special of three small dishes for about £7.50, so that’s what we opted for. The food was delicious. Three dishes each was a bit overwhelming, but it was so lovely to be able to sample a variety of things rather than have a single big bowl of pasta. We also had great service, and it’s definitely somewhere I would return to.
About 3 or 4 hours after my session at The Dressing Room, we returned to Miss Selfridge to pick up the dress. As we reached the front of the queue and asked for my reserved dress, the ‘personal’ service continued. The girl on the till was so friendly, asking what kinds of things we’d tried on, and she seemed genuinely excited by this new service, talking about the training she had received. It was lovely to feel like this personalised element was continuing even when I returned later on, and I was really, really impressed.
I think The Dressing Room is only available at The Trafford Centre and London stores, but I’m sure it’s a scheme that will eventually be rolled out. I discovered new styles I would never have given a chance before, and loved my birthday dress.
Paired with a pair of nude heels from Office, I was more than ready to celebrate my 21st birthday.
Has anyone else tried personal shopping?