Tag Archives: style

Selfridges Wardrobe Makeover Review

If you’re not sure what an image consultant is, or what they do, you’re not the only one. I visited Selfridges Oxford Street for a wardrobe makeover. You have the option of booking an appointment with a personal shopper (minimum spend of £2000), or the wardrobe makeover, which is free. Naturally, I didn’t want to feel under pressure to spend that kind of money.

I opted for the free option. Although I was certainly expecting to have to spend some kind of money along the way. The wardrobe makeover is for 2 hours, so you have enough time to look at the clothes, try them on, and discuss with the stylist about which clothes suit you and make you look your best.

Selfridges has one floor given over to menswear, as opposed to two for women. This implies that men are slightly left out when it comes to shoppingand indeed, fashion in general (which I’ve long believed is the case). My personal shopper Han asked me some questions about my budget and the kind of amount I’d be comfortable spending. I felt that £1000 would be a good amount to walk away with at least one really good outfit that would give me some impressive style for the money. In reality, this was very optimistic. As a trendy department store, Selfridges skews to top-end names for men’s fashion, most of which is very fashion forward.

Han was my wardrobe consultant.

Feeling sympathetic to my budget, Han steered me towards a couple of ‘reasonably’ priced brands. The first was a British fashion label called ‘prevu’ – affordable by most people’s standards. Han picked out a nice cream-coloured jacket. It fitted me well, but I wasn’t loving it. A few years’ back, I was told that whenever you buy new clothes, they need to be ‘must have.’ This jacket definitely didn’t make me feel like that. So it was back on the shelf with that choice.

The prevu jacket that I debated buying, I know nothing about this brand.

Even for ready to wear, Selfridges offers little for budget shoppers. Gone are familiar brands such as Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger. We mainly avoided Paul Smith. I’ve liked some of his clothes before, but most of the new styles seemed overly out there – too busy, according to Han. I was starting to think we’d find nothing that would be suitable – both in terms of price and style.

We moved on to All Saints. I’ve never really cared for it this brand – too British, too boring, what someone would wear if they wanted to look cool without standing out. After trying on a particularly boring grey coat that did nothing for me, we managed to choose a burgundy tee (45) and a pair of slim-fit black jeans (£99).

I was quite taken with the styles at Eleventy, but not so much the price. A sheepskin lined puffer for £1000 was just one example of crazy pricing – you could probably find the same item for half the price online.

We passed one more luxury brand, French fashion house Sandro. Han persuaded me to buy a zip-up cardigan even though it was expensive. that said, I recognized it as a key-piece, something you would always need in your wardrobe and could wear all year round. I was really taking a risk on it – spending three times the amount I would have considered it worth.

Sandro half zip cardigan (£269).

Back in the fitting rooms of the personal shopping area, Han took photos so I could see exactly how I looked in the different clothes. Sometimes, store lighting can be misleading – making clothes appear nicer than they really are. Girls know this, which is why they always go shopping with friends.

Trying on some of the selections including the jeans that don’t fit properly.

I bought the cardigan, the jeans, and the burgundy t shirt. One month on, I’ve not felt too many changes from my re-invigorated wardrobe. I’ve worn the black cardigan a few times and I’m sad to see that the wool has already started to run. The jeans are not a close fit, which is so disappointing. After trying them on in the fitting rooms, they felt fine, but now I can’t wear them without a belt. It seems that most designers think men’s waists fit neatly in increments of two inches, and provide nothing for men in between. Also, its common for jeans to be too long – with sagging, loose hems at the ankles.

That’s something I should have really paid attention to at the fitting. I’m now left with some jeans which don’t fit me, that I can’t return. They’ve been worn too much to meet the store’s stringent return policies. If I sold them through ebay, I’d be lucky to make a tenner on them.  I’ve had more luck with the Sandro cardigan. It’s a close fit, though a little short at the waist. It’s really unforgiving on the stomach and makes me aware constantly that I need to lose weight. The second time I wore it to the club, I managed to dance with the most beautiful Brazilian in the place, a result I owe to the gorgeousness of the piece. But after a few weeks, I’ve noticed that it’s started to pill slightly, even without being washed. So, would I recommend a wardrobe makeover? Possibly, but please keep the receipts, and remember, stores won’t accept worn or marked items.

To book the wardrobe makeover at Selfridges, please go to:


How to wear a Kimono

How to wear a traditional kimono (men)

First of all, choose the style of kimono as there are many different types available. The most formal are usually black with a gold obi that is tied around the waist. The exciting part of the kimono is the jacket that is laid over the top of the main part of the kimono.

So here are the steps to follow. The First layer is a white cotton sleeveless garment that is a bit like a tunic. There is usually some colourful silk embroidery that is on one side. The idea is that it is visible when you wear the  jacket over the top. The sleeveless vest is fastened to the body with a lightweight band that is fixed tightly above the waist.

The next step is to wrap the kimono itself around the body. The kimono I wore was long enough to reach my ankles and needed to be wrapped around twice until it was tight. The difficult part is fitting your arms into the sleeves. They are very loose and baggy – half-sewn up so that your arms can fit through them easily.

A thick braided sash called an obi is then tied tightly over the kimono so that it acts as a belt to keep the kimono in place. I felt very warm by the time this had been done. The obi is always tied at the back – this was done for me but I’m sure that you could do this yourself with practice. The ladies obi is really impressive – almost like a handbag that is attached to the lower back.

You’re almost there. The final part is to where the jacket over the kimono. This is the most delicate and elaborate part. There is a great choice of kimono styles and motifs. Various birds, flowers and Japanese symbols are sewn on to the jacket rather than being printed, this gives them a wonderful decorative flourish. I saw several different colours with many in deep greens and golds and reds. Most would be worn on formal occasions such as weddings and graduation ceremonies. It is also common for children to wear kimonos on their fifth birthdays.

Wearing a kimono for the first time is a special occasion, if a little daunting because of the choices available. Even in Japan, its fairly unusual for people to wear them very often. This being said, I did enjoy wearing it. I had to be extra careful not to damage or stain the sleeves when eating, but it felt great to open the jacket loose and let the sleeves puff out. It certainly is an impressive garment, and the wide sleeves give the wearer plenty of impact.

There are resources on the history of kimono available on line, and the V&A is holding an exhibition of kimonos from 7 August. Titled Kimono – Kiyoto to Catwalk*, it will look at how the style of the kimono has evolved over the years.

Various kimonos are available to hire from kimonodego** in London.

*For details of the exhibition: https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/kimono-kyoto-to-catwalk

**For kimono hire, contact Mamiko Sato, director of Kimono dego: 07813 710582.