Monday, 14 May 2012

Black White Denim

When I look through my clients’ wardrobes the one thing I am looking for is character: pieces that really shout about the personality of the client in question, pieces that really reflect who they are. Sometimes I find one thing, sometimes 5 or 6 things. When I show them to the client they will say “I love that wearing that” or “I always get compliments when I wear that.” I start from these key pieces and clear out the wardrobe in question accordingly. Many are confused by fashion; by the pace at which is moves, the speed at which it changes, the amount on offer, what is appropriate for them and what is not. Fashion is a maze and I take my clients on their journey through fashion and style one wardrobe at a time.

Black White Denim has a similar theory – decoding fashion for women. The shop in Wilmslow is a concept boutique which is a mecca for key pieces: the pieces which hang in your wardrobe season after season but pay their rent on your rail by offering you wear after wear after wear. These items are Black White Denim’s fashion code, their success story. And the best thing? Everything goes together.  One of the most frequent things I see is a wardrobe full to bursting with lots of standout pieces but nothing which ties everything together, hence the cry “I have nothing to wear!” Jo’s vision of a boutique – accessible and friendly – provides the building blocks to start making items in your wardrobe come together, whatever your age and style. 

Friday, 4 May 2012

I love Bravissimo (but not as much as H&M. Those guys are still no.1)

When I was a teenager I went from a 32B to a 32D virtually overnight. It was a Lara Croft-esque nightmare when, just weeks later, I went to 32DD. Working at WHSmiths, I had to have a size 14 top to cover my chest area without the fabric straining. This was back in 1994: I was the first girl in my year to grow such noticeably gargantuan breasts, I realised roll necks were not my friend and my mum had to take me to a specialist lingerie retailer which basically stocked bras for Grannies in order to get a bra which “fitted”. That was the choice - a pretty bra which didn’t fit from M&S or a granny bra which did. My sister, who had previously been “Titless Tina”, took great pleasure in calling me “Big Breasted Brenda”.

When Bravissimo came on the scene in 1995 it was as if my prayers had been answered: I could finally get bras that were pretty, they fitted and the staff were sympathetic. (I had an incident in M&S where a bra fitter, marvelling at my teenage buds, called in her colleague to get a look at the enormous additions to my petite 5’3” frame.) They even did swimwear. Which fitted! Prayers. Answered. The testimonials on their website and in their catalogue are genuine, from real women, which just shows they are getting something right and meeting a very real need.

Since then I have always appreciated their amazingly friendly staff and great stock package. Any Wardrobe Angel clients who are blessed in the chest area and are experiencing ill-fitting bras, a general malaise with other high street bra sellers but have a lack of time to shop, I send them to Bravissimo online. And the success is evident,

" Today, Bravissimo customers are able to ask themselves 'which bra do I like' rather than 'what comes in my size'. Over half a million women have contacted us since we began, turning the sitting-room business into a multi-million pound award-winning company, retailing by mail order, our website and through our 21 high street stores.