The Experience: intu Lakeside Personal Stylist

Whilst I am hopefully back at Uni as this post goes live, it's definitely worth sticking to my Essex roots for this post! It's safe to say I made the most of my time at home and pushing the idea of exams as far out of my mind as possible - from Work Experience at Ted Baker, to a week in Anglesey, I also managed to squeeze in a trip to intu Lakeside shopping centre to try out their personal styling service.
This post has been a long time coming and there was a lot of anticipation about it; I've tried out a couple of personal styling services (including this online one here) and I love them - each person I find has something slightly different to suggest and I always think it helps you out of a style rut and lets you push your boundaries - which is exactly what I wanted!

Carlene Noel, the personal stylist who has been part of the personal styling at intu Lakeside for 3 years now, was extremely friendly and personable - I could see easily how she could relate to anyone that walked through her door, no matter what their age, gender or need - she doesn't just deal with women who are looking for the perfect wedding outfit, although if that's what you're after I'd highly recommend her.

The service is free to everyone and anyone, which I think is pretty amazing, although you can now also book a colouring session with Carlene for just over £100 which gives you the opportunity to learn which colour palette you are and what colours look amazing on you. Whilst of course Carlene offers her advice (some of which I hadn't heard before and found extremely useful), she doesn't pressurise you into anything and she emphasised that wearing things that you like to wear - for example I wear skater dresses a fair bit, whilst she said I should be wearing more tighter fitted ones - is one of the best ways to look good! Her information leaflets are also extremely helpful, and the one that reminds you which things look great on you is a great size to just pop in your purse!

The best thing about this service? The impartiality of it. Carlene is no way obliged to promote any brand and she not only consulted me on where I liked to shop and what my budget was, she was also able to suggest shops to me that would be good for my age as well as body shape. During the consultation I mentioned I found it difficult to shop for jeans and so off we went to Levis - whilst part of me wishes we'd never stepped into the shop as now I can't stop thinking about how good they looked and felt, yet I couldn't afford them, it was a great way to get jean shopping advice and finding jeans that seemed made for me!

My best piece of advice from Carlene? When buying jeans, you need to remember that denim stretches after an hour, so you need to buy the pair that are just slightly uncomfortable when you first put them on and their should be minimal wrinkling around the thighs. Also, a decent set of underwear is the key foundation to dressing your body shape well and being fitted in somewhere like John Lewis or Debenhams was the best way to get the perfect bra, whilst M&S do some great Spanx equivalents! 

Notice the prominence of the wrinkles in the fabric in the top picture compared to this one!
It was a wonderful day out with my friend Natalie, as we were treated to lunch at Thai Express* as well. It is located in the food court and has recently opened - I was amazed by how extremely fast and efficient it was! Whilst it probably wasn't the most healthy of optioned, the food was delicious - I got a General Thai with Chicken whilst Natalie had Chicken Fried Rice - the system makes your meal completely customisable, including how spicy you want it to be! We also shared spring rolls and prawn crackers, although I think the main meal was the winner in my eyes. It was the perfect amount of spicy, wasn't too greasy and filled me up, unlike when I get some Thai or Chinese meals! 

I was even persuaded to buy a skirt from River Island that is beautiful - not that I needed much enabling! No doubt, there will be a blog post on that to follow. Carlene is extremely welcoming and I'd certainly go back again, especially if I needed an outfit for a specific occasion or if I felt I was in a style rut!

For more information on the service, click through to here (it explains more about all of the different free packages on offer!). I had a lovely day spent with my friend Natalie, and whilst I'm now lusting over several pairs of jeans I can't afford, I would definitely suggest that you check out the Personal Stylist service in the customer lounge if you're in need or just happen to be shopping! Have a great weekend...
Becky xx
*Thank you to intu Lakeside for paying for our lunch, as always all opinions are 100% my own*


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