Just over a week ago, I was invited by Marks & Spencer to their flagship store at Marble Arch, to style two very lucky competition winners with an outfit for a wedding. I’d seen a very brief profile on the ladies I was to be styling, so I had an idea of what to expect. This is the first time I’ve styled other people professionally, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and of course because I didn’t know these ladies, I had no idea what type of personality they would have.
When I arrived at the store, I had a quick look around so I knew what was on offer – Marks & Spencer have a vast selection of clothing ranges for women, especially at the flagship store, with Limited Collection, Autograph, Per Una, Per Una Speziale and Marks & Spencer Woman to name just a few, so I had no concerns about finding something appropriate for my ladies. Delia is going to a wedding in September in Portugal, so was looking for something light yet still dressy enough for a wedding and Helen is going to a wedding in Ibiza, where she is surprising a close friend who thought she couldn’t attend so also needed a lightweight dressy outfit.
As much as I was prepared to be helping out pick outfits for these two super-sweet and friendly ladies, I hadn’t anticipated that they would already have a very strong idea of what suited them, what they liked and what they didn’t like. I mean, of course they would – we all would have exactly the same ideas. So to begin with, it felt like it was going to be a tricky task. However, as we got to know one another, the dynamics changed and I felt like I was able to be more helpful and constructive. Its one thing styling someone else, but its another thing them wanting to be styled. Both parties need to be open-minded for it to work, and thats exactly what happened. We had fun, we laughed, we protected our finds in our trolleys with the lovely M&S Personal Shopper Judith as our security (its a dog eat dog world at M&S Marble Arch, especially during a sale). After choosing the dress as the main piece of the outfit, we were then able to build everything else around it. As tempting as it was to start off in what felt like a square mile of shoes, we covered the ground and first floors of womens wear, to make sure we had covered every inch of floor space, leaving no rail unturned.
And you know what happened? That first dress you find that you love but think, no, I can’t buy that – I’ve only just started looking, then you do the right thing and consider everything else you pick up. Well, Helen & Delia tried on at least 5 dresses each, if not 8 and went back to the very first one that they knew they loved. To be fair, its good to consider everything, because you never know how something will look until you try it on. The blandest black dress on a hanger looks nothing until its tried on, on a real person, on real curves.
Delia’s final choice of outfit was a beautiful sequinned dress, made up of bold coral flowers on a white background, perfect for a balmy Indian Summer wedding. The colours were striking with her dark hair, olive skin and green eyes and the length was demure and just-above-the-knee. We paired the dress with a pair of classic pointy pumps of nude suede, topped off with a rose gold toe cap – a subtle contrast to the coral from within the dress and accessories were silver and spider-webby.
Helen chose a sleeveless dress with a soft aztec print and a surprising netting underneath, providing the light, floaty dress with some structure and shape. Helen had already fallen head over heels, literally, with a pair of cherry red patent heels (similar here) which strangely worked with most things she tried on. I think she may have glued them to her feet as they weren’t coming off. With a gold clutch bag and accessories to match, Helen was also ready to go.
Delia had already seen the dress she finally chose, before she came to the Marble Arch store, so she had a good idea prior to the event of what she might choose, whereas Helen was 100% open to any suggestion. Helen told us that she would never have chosen what we picked together, which I hope is a good thing. Both Delia and Helen chose youthful colours within their outfits, which was the crucial part of the ensemble – muted pastels, linens and heavily structured dresses didn’t work for these weddings – wearing bright, warm, tropical colours kept the look fresh and lively – just like these ladies!
Thank you to Delia & Helen for making our styling experience so much fun – you were the perfect customers! Thank you to Marks & Spencer at Marble Arch and to the exceptionally helpful and friendly M&S Personal Shopper, Judith for your assistance and patience. Thank you to the patient photographer (whos name escapes me – sorry!) and finally, thank you to Megan at Propellernet for the opportunity and trusting me to fulfil the brief – I hope I did just that!