I Spent $2,000 in Under Two Hours on Clothes and Learned Important Style Lessons

But many of us also feel strapped for time, a bit insecure, and overwhelmed with choices for years.

“The idea of ​​having a personal stylist and doing it all in one fell swoop, and just having help and advice from someone with an expert eye and an objective opinion really appeals to people, especially at this time of year. [the change of season],” she says.

Stylist Lee Baker-Louis with client Tara Pokarier in the personal shopping suite at Sydney’s David Jones store.Credit:Louise Kennerley

Bradley Lauten, director of David Jones’ personal style suite, agrees. There are months of waiting for styling sessions at Sydney’s Elizabeth Street store and the Bourke Street store in Melbourne.

“It eliminates shopping anxiety for some people,” he says. “Especially in a store our size and with the ability to choose from so many brands.”

The men are also getting in on the action. While the core clientele remains women, Mackinnon and Lauten say more and more male clients are embracing expert opinion.

“Certainly more businessmen are coming, but also the husband [who] doesn’t like to shop, so his wife will bring him over,” Lauten says.

And, quite simply, that makes it fun. Why spend hours in the store looking for the right size, color or fit when you can call on the experts?

Why consult a personal stylist?

It’s been 15 years since my brief stint as a fashion journalist, and in that time I’ve grown and nurtured two babies, developed a roller coaster relationship with running and gyms, and lived through a pandemic in the city the most closed in the world. .

Tired of hearing me complain about my wardrobe of WFH leggings, tank tops, and long cardigans, my husband is booking me a two-hour session with a personal stylist to mark a milestone birthday. There is no turning back now.

I meet Guergues in a cafe for a little chat before we go shopping. I have already completed an email questionnaire: obvious questions include my age, height, dress size and body type.

Personal stylist Sally Mackinnon says demand for her stylists is at an all time high.

Personal stylist Sally Mackinnon says demand for her stylists is at an all time high.Credit:Darrian Traynor

But she also wants to know if there are any parts of my body I’d like to hide or minimize (tum/bum), where I usually shop (lately, online), and if I’ve had a celebrity crush (ah, no!) . We discuss my wish list (smart casual pieces that can be mixed and matched for work, play and the park) and my budget (my credit card limit!).

Soon I’m dragging Guergues as she browses through racks of coats and blazers, corporate skirts and shirts, and playground-appropriate jeans and T-shirts, looking at me now and then. to check a size, before going to the locker room.


Guergues says she’ll know right away if I don’t like something, and that’s true. I’m not straight-faced, and while I’m willing to try anything, I quickly take off most clothes with puffy sleeves, high collars, or anything that means I’ll have to tuck my stomach in. all day.

But I say yes to many. A blush colored wool coat, paired with my first pair of non-skinny jeans in a long time and a basic white t-shirt is my new favorite outfit. I’m surprised to find a mustard blazer that matches my color, and I swirl in delight in a hot pink maxi skirt.

A tight knit skirt is too tight for comfort in my usual size 10 but Guergues advises me to try a larger size and it’s perfect. I learn that it doesn’t matter that it is designed to fit differently on the dummy.

And we spend about 10 minutes rolling up the sleeves and playing around with ways to tie or tuck a soft cotton striped shirt into pants and a skirt for different looks.

How to get the most out of a personal shopping experience

  • Wear your best flesh-colored bra and underwear, comfortable shoes, good deodorant and a touch of makeup
  • Have a list of what you want to buy, in order of priority
  • Ask about discounts at select stores
  • Set a budget and make sure your stylist knows it

I part with $1,500 in the first boutique after receiving the stylist’s 25% discount (which, by the way, more than covers her fees) and we move on.

We visit two other stores, discuss my new purchases and particular pieces that might need another top or pair of shoes to create a different look. I buy a pair of black leather loafers that fit perfectly in the store, but are actually way too tight. I swap them the following week for a larger size.

I spend another $500 before quitting long before our two hours are up. I have about six new outfits that I can mix and match and a new excitement about getting dressed in the morning.

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