Enjoy personal styling at intu Lakeside

Eastlife’s Emma Kemsley steps inside the styling suite at intu Lakeside

I’m a self-confessed shopaholic. I love clothes and I love shopping. I can spend hours scrolling through the apps on my phone looking at the latest trends, subconsciously spending thousands of pounds. In fact, I recently put myself on a spending ban for one whole month, and I’m embarrassed to admit how much I saved. Let’s just say I clearly have a problem, but hey, better clothes than crack, right? So, when I heard intu Lakeside, in Thurrock, Essex, offer a free personal styling service, I jumped at the chance to try it.

It’s a problem of mine, like many other women; a wardrobe full of clothes and nothing to wear! With Christmas just around the corner, I’ve been desperate to find the perfect party outfit and I was hoping the personal styling session would do just that.

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The swanky styling suite is located on Brompton Walk. On arrival I was greeted by the lovely Carlene, intu Lakeside’s personal stylist. We sat down for a chat over Prosecco and chocolate (what’s not to love about that?), and Carlene asked questions about how I perceive my style, sizing, the colours I like to wear and what I wanted to achieve from the  session. Friendly and fashionably fabulous, Carlene was knowledgeable, passionate about her job and her 16 years of experience shone through.

I told her my unachievable life-long goal of being effortlessly…Carlene finished my sentence: “cool”. “It’s not what you wear, it’s how you wear it,” she said. To be effortlessly cool you need to have confidence in what you wear. My first tip from the fashion pro.

I explained my need for something classic and chic that will see me through a month of festivities. After we discussed my budget and Carlene pointed out it was probably unlikely I’d wear the same thing five times in one month. Of course she was right, who was I trying to kid? However, she immediately knew which store to take me to. She already had an outfit in mind. We spent some further time discussing my body shape (I’m a V shape, FYI) and colouring before heading out into the mall to shop!

Carlene led me to Marks & Spencer’s, somewhere I would never think of shopping, but who was I to argue with someone who has styled for Marie Claire, Selfridges, music videos and high end and commercial shoots?

I instantly loved the look she picked for me. A sleek pair of black tailored trousers with gold trim down the side – not too much sparkle, but just enough to say hello Christmas! She picked up a black cami and black courts to finish the look. I also picked up a pair of gold culottes before heading to the changing rooms. While I got changed, Carlene picked up some accessories, another top option and heels. She put together several looks and explained each one, taking note of what worked and what didn’t. She even convinced me to try an off the shoulder top, not my usual style, but somehow it worked.

She busily swapped sizes and styles, and had me falling in love with a pair of black heels I didn’t know I needed and the same style of trouser but in teal! In the end I stuck with Carlene’s original choice of trouser and stopped by River Island to look at another top option, though my size wasn’t available. The whole experience was like shopping with a great friend; easy, relaxed, fun and at no point did I feel uncomfortable or obliged to buy.

The service is available to everyone, men and women. It’s a great option for those looking for an outfit for an event such a big birthday celebration or the mother of the bride. It’s popular with women that have lost their way with their personal style after having a child or those who simply want to add classic staples or trends to their wardrobe. The team at intu Lakeside Personal Styling are available to help no matter what the style scenario.

Each personal styling session lasts approximately two to three hours. The service is completely free and there is no minimum spend fee or pressure to buy. Booking in advance is highly recommended.

I love my trousers, I can’t stop thinking about the teal pair and I now kind of want a personal stylist on a daily basis – I wonder if I can put that on my Christmas list? After sharing the details of my fun fashion-filled afternoon, I have friends and family wanting to book a session…Carlene you’re going to be busy!

For further details or to book your session visit www.intu.co.uk/lakeside/centre-information/shopping-at-the-centre

Christmas Party Style 

With Christmas just around the corner, Carlene has picked her favourite pieces currently in-stores to help you dress for the party season…

Primark, £4
Oasis, £46
Next, £34
Hobbs, £229
Dune, £40
Dorothy Perkins, £16

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