Have you considered working with a personal stylist for your wedding?
Thankfully personal shoppers and stylists are not just for celebs and the richest of the rich anymore. They are accessible to people of all budgets and can help with everything from wardrobe overhauls to finding that perfect outfit for a special occasion. And is there any occasion more special than your wedding? I think not.
Westfield London (my favourite UK mall) has recently opened a luxurious new styling suite called The Fashion Lounge where shoppers can connect with a stylist on a one to one basis, as a couple or in groups – which makes it the perfect destination for bridal party styling.
Got 8 bridesmaids? Enough groomsmen for a football team? No problem, bring them all along!
The Fashion Lounge is the ultimate, stress-free shopping experience for the bride, groom, mothers (or fathers) of the bride/groom, bridesmaids, groomsmen and wedding guests ahead of the big day. Expert stylists are on hand to help find the perfect little white dress, best bridesmaids dresses or chicest wedding guest outfit from over 700 retailers.
When you're considering outfits for one of the biggest days of your life, it makes sense to have an expert eye, unbiased opinion and someone who knows all the shops in Westfield inside out, on hand to narrow down your choices and help you find the perfect fit.
Westfield London kindly offered me the chance to test drive The Fashion Lounge with one of the UK's top stylists, Elin Mai of Style Doctors. So, in need of some chic outfits for Barcelona Bridal Week, I jumped at the chance!
My Personal Styling Experience At The Fashion Lounge
I filled out a Q&A before meeting Elin and we also had a chat over the phone about my personal style, my budget, what I was looking for, the types of clothes and colours that I like to wear as well as the shapes, colours and styles I avoid (body-con dresses anyone?). So before my shopping trip had even begun, I was feeling relaxed and excited about what outfits Elin would select for me.
On arriving at The Fashion Lounge I was greeted with a welcoming smile from Elin and the offer of a drink, then we sat down on one of the plush couches for a brief recap about what I hoped to get out of the session. Elin then showed me some of the outfits she'd selected for me, which were presented on a rail with jewelry choices draped over each outfit along with a selection of shoes and bags that could work with all of the outfits.
There was a spacious changing area sectioned off with a curtain, and a huge mirror where I tried on each outfit on in privacy and comfort, then would step out from behind the curtain to show Elin. We also went to a few shops in Westfield where Elin had already put aside some items and outfits for me to try on.
(Elin and I in The Fashion Lounge)
I felt immediately at ease and comfortable with Elin, who was just as warm and friendly in person as she was over the phone. In some ways it was like I was shopping with a friend, but the best part was that I got expert, honest advice on styles and cuts to flatter my figure and achieved what would have taken days (or perhaps even weeks) of shopping in just a couple of hours.
I left our two hour session with some truly lovely pieces and, amazingly, I managed to stick to my budget. Which is pretty much unheard of for me!
I was so impressed with Elin's passion and enthusiasm for styling – she seemed to genuinely care about finding me the perfect outfits. And went above and beyond to ensure I got everything I wanted from our session. As I was trying on shoes, I'd mentioned to Elin that I was actually looking for some new wedge trainers. Later that day, hours after our session, she texted me a photo of the perfect pair she'd spotted in Aldo. I went and bought them immediately and absolutely love them!
Thankfully, with styling sessions in The Fashion Lounge, there's no minimum spend which means there's absolutely no pressure to buy anything. All the items you consider buying, are placed on hold till the end of the day in the various shops, where you can then choose to buy them or not.
With prices ranging from £130-£240, for a two hour session (depending on the stylist you work with) I realise, it can seem hard to part with money that could be spent on more clothes and accessories. But, as someone who finds shopping for special occasions rather stressful, I personally think it's well worth the investment.
I learnt so much from Elin so I thought I'd pick her brain on all things wedding style for you lovely lot too! Read on for her super helpful tips.
Wedding Styling Q&A With Elin Of Style Doctors
What's your approach to personal styling?
My approach is knowing that every single person you meet is different and that that you have to tailor each personal styling session to suit your client. I like all my clients to have fun and feel like they’re shopping with a friend but that they’re also learning as they go along. The personal styling experience we offer at StyleDoctors and Westfield’s, The Fashion Lounge is just that, ‘an experience' rather than just a simple shopping trip.
What are your do's and don'ts for wedding guest outfits?
Don't leave it until the last minute. This is something we always see and people end up spending way more than they had hoped and buy things that are the wrong colour and shape as they haven't spent time getting it right.
Photo by Jose Villa
It's not simply all about ‘the wedding dress' anymore as brides feel under pressure to buy lots of formal outfits for bridal showers, hen dos, rehearsal dinners and even reception dresses. Do you have any tips for mixing and matching items to keep costs down?
Always think of at least three ways of being able to wear something when you buy it.
If a groom, or father of the bride/groom/best man is looking for an off the peg suit or tuxedo, how can you help to bring his look together?
Off the peg is fine, it's all about the fit. As long as you have a well-fitting suit, you can style it up. It's about the accessories such as a pocket square, socks, the right shoes and shirt. Fit is everything though, we see too many grooms wearing ill-fitting suits. It's well worth investing in a stylist for even an hour to make sure you get the perfect suit.
I love the thought of treating the mother of the bride and/or groom to a personal styling session at Westfield's Fashion Lounge so that she can feel pampered too! I remember my mum was constantly worrying and talking about her outfit before my wedding – it's a big deal for parents too. I bet she would've loved some expert help from you!Do you have any tips for finding the perfect mother of the bride/groom outfit?
It's important to know your colour palette first and think about how you will look next to the bridesmaids. Never wear yellow in your everyday wardrobe? Don’t wear it for your son or daughter's wedding! Think about your outfit as a very special extension of what you'd wear to a really nice party. Too many people try to go so far removed from what suits them because of the enormity of the day that they simply get it wrong. Try on everything together; dress, shoes and all the accessories. This makes such a difference to see the whole outfit together – which is obviously what we facilitate in The Fashion Lounge (you'd be surprised how many people don’t do this).
During our session, you talked a lot about the importance of accessories and how they can really pull an outfit together. What are your top tips for choosing occasion wear accessories? What items do you recommend splurging and saving on?
You can save or spend depending on your budget. Think about the style of dresses you're buying and then think about whether you need a big statement piece or a smaller, more dainty necklace. For budget necklaces Westfield retailers, Forever 21 and H&M are great. Coast is also great for more dramatic jewelled pieces.
Photo via Donna Morgan
Mismatched bridesmaids dresses have been growing in popularity these past few years but shopping for more than one dress (2, 4 or sometimes even upwards of 10 dresses!) can be quite a daunting task. How would you go about helping a bride and her maids of all different shapes, sizes and skin tones find the perfect combination of dresses/looks?
It's all about the colour palette. Once you have a theme, it's easy (well, for a stylist) to put together a selection of dresses that all work within a range of colours. Some can be plain, some can be printed. There just needs to be one thing that ties them all together such as a certain tone. Having different dresses will allow your bridesmaids to all have shapes that suit their figures and ultimately make them feel good and that will come across in pictures (we've seen plenty of unhappy bridesmaids that weren't happy in their dresses). Don’t leave accessories until the last minute either. Make sure your bridesmaids are all perfectly accessorised. Having a mixture of prints and plain dresses will also ensure that your pictures have much more depth and won't look flat.
Westfield London is full of amazing occasion wear shops, from designer stores like Ghost to wedding guest favourites Coast and budget friendly options like H&M and New Look. Sometimes it's hard to know where to begin. How can working with a personal stylist help make finding your dream outfit that much easier?
Working with a stylist like StyleDoctors at The Fashion Lounge takes the stress away completely and your bridal party will look perfectly put together and expertly styled. It's well worth the investment whatever your budget to ensure that everyone looks and feels their very best. The most stylish weddings are always those where the whole party looks great together and that the attention to detail is impeccable and those are the things the stylist will make sure are just right. Sure, everyone wants great food and great wine and even good music but pictures of the outfits will be there forever and that's why it's worth investing in getting it right.
And finally, what should you wear/bring with you for a personal stylist consultation?
Always come in a good bra. Everything else can be done in The Fashion Lounge. Please make sure your hair is neat and make-up done too. Why? Because you're going to be looking at yourself all day and you want to feel your best.
I'd also like to add, wear clothes and shoes that are easy to get on and off – think dresses/leggings and slip on shoes as you'll be getting changed a lot!
Thanks so much to Elin for sharing her tips, I hope you've found them helpful.
Want to work with Elin but not based near Westfield London? Check out Style Doctors for more info (Elin and her team also offer personal styling online) and, even if you can't quite stretch your wedding budget to include a personal shopping session, Elin's fabulous blog features a wealth of helpful advice on fashion and personal styling.
Disclaimer – I was gifted an appointment at the Fashion Lounge but, as always, all opinions are my own and Claire and I will only ever share products and services on Bridal Musings that we love and that we think our readers will find helpful and/or inspiring too.