Personal styling for the New You

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Personal Stylist CARLENE NOEL takes Michelle Norris around intu Lakeside Shopping Centre to give her wardrobe a New Year makeover with a free personal styling session…

Carlene NoelI’M the first to admit that my clothes need a little updating – my work wardrobe consists of a rotation of comfortable stretchy dresses with leggings and my old faithful cardigan, while my casual clothes are very much the same; stretchy, comfortable and reliable.

But with the New Year comes a new promise to myself to update my look and embrace a new stylish me for 2016 – and I definitely needed some help!

So I booked in for a free styling session with intu Lakeside’s Personal Stylist Carlene Noel. Offering a completely free service, Carlene is the shopping centre’s resident stylist, ready to give some expert advice and gentle guidance into finding the right look for you, whatever the occasion.

As a Personal Stylist for the entire shopping centre, there are hundreds of shops to choose from and no obligation to buy a thing. Carlene doesn’t earn a commission on any sales, so she’s a far cry from a pushy sales assistant – honesty is definitely her policy.

And having worked in the fashion world for several years, including on music videos for Girls Aloud and the Sugababes as well as being a personal shopper for Selfridges, Carlene certainly knows her stuff.

Meeting at the Personal Stylist area in the new Customer Lounge, we sat and chatted for a while about my current wardrobe and how I’d like to see myself in the New Year – stylish yet still practical.

After analysing my body shape in the mirror and discretely letting Carlene know my dress size, it was off to the shops.

“I will always start out with the basics,” Carlene tells me. “First of all we’ll look at body shape. There are five main body types and once you know which one you are, you’ll find it easier to find the right styles for you. An item on a manikin may look great but it may suit a pear shape but not an apple. So it’s all about figuring out what styles will suit you.”

page16_17.qxdHaving determined that I have an hourglass figure (although I am a little ‘hippy’ too) Carlene explained that the best styles to look for would be figure hugging dresses and tops to show off my waist, wrap style tops and tailored shirts as well as high waisted styles on my bottom half including skinny jeans and pencil skirts.

But before we began looking at dresses and jeans, we headed to the underwear department in House of Fraser.

“I will always start off with bra fit, because it’s so important,” says Carlene. “Having the right underwear can affect your whole shape and will help you to show off your best assets.”

Next up was a look at some good quality jeans – Carlene is a big believer in spending more on clothes that will last, so we headed to Levis to try on some of their high waisted ‘Mile High Super Skinny’ jeans. I’ve never been one to buy ‘real’ denim, opting more for stretchy fabrics and ‘jeggings’ but the fit on these jeans was incredible.

page16_17.qxdWe swiftly moved on to Miss Selfridge, another store I had never set foot in, where Carlene found a fitted grey jumper dress for me to try. I’ve never been a fan of showing off my curves, opting rather to cover up my waist to hide my hips and tummy, but after a little convincing, I tried the dress on and was pleasantly surprised by my reflection. Instead of being faced with a frumpy slug as I expected, I suddenly saw my waist and the V cut neckline didn’t make me look as busty as I thought. Needless to say I bought the dress there and then!

After an hour and a half shop, Carlene left me to it and armed with her style tips in mind, I headed around the shopping centre to see what else I could find. I can never resist a sale so popped into Dorothy Perkins and found a gorgeous khaki wrap around dress with a belt to bring in my waist and show off my curves – and the best part was it was a bargain in the January sale!

Each Personal Stylist session at intu Lakeside includes a 30 minute consultation followed by a 90 minute look around the shopping centre. Packages range from Seasonal Updates and Special Occasions to Accessorise Me and Man About Town. For more information or to book your free session call 01708 684 351 or email Carlene directly at personal.stylist@intu.co.uk.

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