My Personal Styling Session at Victoria Square, Belfast

I was asked a few weeks ago if I'd like to try out the Personal Shopping service at Victoria Square Shopping Centre as a way of finding something to wear to my Christmas party and a couple of other social occasions during December. Well I wasn't going to say no to that - a chance to spend a morning in the gorgeous styling booth in Victoria Square trying on rails and rails of clothing picked especially for me? Shopping heaven.

I'm always being asked about the Personal Styling service at the centre but it's been years since I tried it and in fact, a new stylist is now in-situ so this was an amazing opportunity to road test the service for all my local readers. Here I am with Katherin...standing in front of the TWO full rails of clothing she selected for me! I was itching to get trying on.
The first request I gave Katherin ahead of our meeting was Christmas party outfits, so I'll share all these outfits first starting with a lace sleeved jumpsuit from Warehouse. This one is more formal - it's a heavier suit fabric. It is also lovely and long for taller readers - I'm up on my tippy toes trying it on. 
Next up - a top and culottes combo. This is a really practical way to dress for formal occasions as you're left with two separate pieces that can be worn dressed down or indeed with other dressy pieces. These culottes were absolutely stunning - pleated, flowing, high waisted (perfect for long torsos) and they're on my sales list for January. I'll talk about the top a bit further down.
Next up - Warehouse again - this dress is from their Spotlight range and is a lovely departure from a plain black dress. The seaming is done in diamante. It adds structure to a plain dress and is great for giving the illusion of waist/bust. This is currently in the Warehouse Party offer with 30% off
Shoes - see further down..
I've worn my Phase Eight jumpsuit on here a few times - it's a classic piece they make every year. Drapes beautifully and fits like a dream. Mine is navy (on this link and in the SALE!) but this is the Christmas version with a gold long sleeved top - perfect if you don't like to show your arms. It actually comes up a bit short compare to my navy one - I'm wearing the size 10 here.
This Biba dress would have come home with me if I'd had an occasion to wear it - it's pure elegance and oh so flattering but the shoulder openings give it just a hint of sexiness for a night out. The fit is fabulous - I'm wearing the size 10. It looks like nothing on the website or indeed on the hanger - definitely one to try on.
Back to Warehouse now for this floral jumpsuit. I just can't get my head around this for winter or a night out....for me it's a spring summer one. But all the more reason to watch out for it in the sales!
Phase Eight again and this dress is just a bit different. Look at the link for a better view of it - I was a bit self conscious with bare legs. Although it can work as a night out dress, I actually think this would work really well with black opaques and boots with a long sleeved knit underneath. Great for disguising your middle, it's on sale at the moment - and has pockets!
And one final amazing dress from Monsoon - I'd never have picked this up but Katherine insisted I tried it on as it's just the most perfect non-black sparkly cocktail dress! It's listed as blue on the website but I think it's more of a grey myself. On offer now - I'm wearing the size 10. Excuse the non-matching shoes. I needed a heel with it.
But all of the outfits above got the heave-ho when I tried on this jumpsuit from Warehouse. Oh my's perfection! It's a stretchy crepe material, with pockets and it's super easy to pop on and off - ESSENTIAL with a jumpsuit for obvious reasons. Again, I'd not have tried this on as I'm not a fan of the cold shoulder particularly but the frill detail and the neckline, and the fit all came together to make it utterly perfect in my mind. And it's only £49. A whole outfit for less than £50!
and the shoes and bag deserve a close up. They're from Miss KG at Kurt Geiger and Katherin only brought them down to me to use to try on with all the party outfits but I ended up smitten. I've fancied an asymmetric cut stiletto for a while now and these fitted the bill (and had an ADDITIONAL 20% off on the day). I also love how they're navy on the back and black on the front - making them versatile. I'll admit, they're not particularly comfortable...but I've been wearing them around the house since I got them and they're easing up a bit. Fingers crossed for the first wear! I didn't get the bag in the end as it wasn't in the sale but I'm watching it online....another sales list item :)

So moving onto tops to wear with jeans - an important part of my wardrobe as I'm primarily a 'jeans on a night out' kinda girl! For all of these outfits, I wore coated skinny jeans from Warehouse, which were a surprising good fit - definitely one to bear in mind when I'm next purchasing. They're on this link.
This first top was on the buy rail as soon as I tried it on. It's so flattering with a lovely drape detail on the front and it fitted me so well on the arms - where I often end up with massive gaping. Because of the fit, I was able to wear the size 8 so it definitely comes up big.
Next up - two tops from Phase Eight that both made the final cut but which budget prevented me from buying. They are most definitely on the to-buy list in January.
This first one was nothing on the hanger but when I put it on, I loved it. It's got a greeny/bronze overlay with wide sleeves and an optional neck tie. This overlay is slightly sheer (but not too much so) and the top has a built in vest underneath. It's a top that would see you to lots of occasions and it's very flattering with the sheer overlay skimming over everything. It's not as gold as it looks on the website by the way....and like quite a lot of what I tried on, it's much nicer in real life. More curves needed on these websites!!
and this next top is probably more casual wear in fairness but it can be dressed up or down. I'm not usually a fan of v-necks but this one has just the right amount of dip for me. The colour is one I should wear more of and the longer tighter under layer is great for my long torso. I really dithered over this top...and I'm so tempted even as I write this (but how awful does it look online - and it looks so short too!) I sized up in this one to a 12.
Back to Warehouse (this post is NOT sponsored in any way by Warehouse by the way - it's just that their stock is fantastic this season).
This was not a hit on the hanger but it's lovely on. Comes in black too. I'd have loved it to be just a tiny bit shorter or longer on me but the colour is perfect. It's on offer at time of writing.
Mango now and another smart casual option. How amazing is this cream embellished top? It's made from that scuba material so it's not see-through (I was wearing a dark bra) and has scattered pearls on the front only as well as split sides. Again, this top made my final cut and was only rejected on budget grounds. Possible pay-day treat in the making....
But all other tops were pushed aside when I tried on this bardot style long sleeved jersey top from .... you guessed it....Warehouse! It's a cut that really suits me and it was only £19. Complete no brainer though it does require high waisted bottoms or a spanx style knickers as it's a bit clingy across the mum tum.
Next this top had a bit too much coverage for me from the front but the print is stunning and it's got all it's detail on the back. Check it out on the website as it's black on the back and has an opening from the neck to the bra-strap.
Another one I'd never have picked up myself was this lace pyjama style shirt. It was simply stunning on  and the lace was surprisingly decent - I'd have thought it was going to be too revealing. All told, a great top with lots of coverage but undeniably sexy!
Then some outerwear - I had asked Katherin to source me a couple of jackets potentially and I also had told her how much I love fur. Hence she brought me down this Episode gilet, which was reduced on the day by 40% for Black Friday. It was love at first sight..
Sadly not available online anymore but you might find one in-store. I'm wearing the Medium and it was reduced to £50 in House of Fraser.
I had less love for this Biba one - but again, Katherin is all about trying on and so I did! 
and a third gilet - this time from Mango. A great option if you like a bit of waist definition with your fur. It's from Mango
And this next coat was probably the most surprising brand - Pepe London! I was not expecting it at all. Love that it's leopard but not the traditional brown/camel colours. Love how they've styled it on the website (it looks way better than my photo) though I was surprised at the price! I guess Pepe have revamped the brand and are aiming a little higher than they used to...
I can't find this next coat online but it's from the Mango premium range and it's a cashmere mix. I loved it - it's not unlike my Gerard Darel coat that I wear endlessly. Can't beat a bit of leather trim!
And the mandatory leopard fur coat - they're everywhere this season and this one in particularly is FABULOUS! It's from Miss Selfridge and was down to something like £40 on Black Friday. Again - budget (and the fact that I've got 2 other leopard coats) meant it stayed on the rail. But a coat worth checking out if you've missed the M&S one that so many bloggers have been rocking. It''s a soft fur - not a fluffy one so it doesn't add bulk. I'm wearing the size 10.
and excuse the grimace in the next one - I was talking non-stop while I took the photos! This is the only photo I got of this grey waterfall style faux leather/jersey jacket. Fab fit and it's a great colour for a spring jacket. Another one for the sales list - oh and it's from Warehouse! Looks fab on the website - the photos do it justice better than mine. And I'm wearing the size 10.
This next one was way out of my comfort zone - I've never gotten on with bomber jackets as they lack the waist definition I need but this one works as the fabric is so flowing and silky. It's from Monsoon and the floral pattern is lovely and subtle and is on the back and the front. I'm wearing it with a blush coloured vest top, also from Monsoon.
But all the jackets were put aside for this next beauty. I had mentioned that I'd love to find a proper leather biker jacket but I wanted something below £200. I also wanted butter soft leather and a real leather smell....not asking much surely? Not for Katherin who found this amazing jacket from....sorry to bore you but it's Warehouse too!! Honestly - they are killing it this season on every front. This jacket is fantastic. Apart from the lovely leather, it fits so well and as Katherin pointed out, the zips are in great places and at good angles, making a sometimes masculine/boxy style jacket super flattering. I decided the moment I put it on - there was no convincing needed. AND the bonus is that Katherin gets 20% off Warehouse.
So my budget was challenged from the moment I decided I had to have this leather jacket. I should say that I was given a voucher toward my purchases from the team at Victoria Square however, I spent lots more than the voucher - it was too hard not to! Having someone who knows what they are doing, hand-picking items that are best suited to your colouring and your body shape, means that you will struggle to put things back on the rails.

Would I recommend the service? I always have and I still do. I'm asked frequently to help people with their shopping but I don't feel qualified to shop for others (nor could I focus on buying for someone else as I'd be endlessly distracted by what I wanted to buy myself!!) and I therefore always recommend that they approach a qualified personal stylist who spends her time in the shops and is fully abreast of what's in stock and what might suit different body shapes and styles.

I've been recommending the VSQ stylist for years as a great place to go for some expert advice and now I can truly stand over this recommendation. Katherin has a fashion degree and is qualified as a shoe designer so she knows how the fashion industry/retail works. She also worked for years in as a stylist for a well known international designer so she understands body shape and colouring. You can tell that personal styling comes naturally to her. She's unassuming but confident. Professional but yet you feel like you've a new best friend after the appointment. I felt very much that I was in good hands and at no stage did I feel pressured to try or buy anything. I can honestly say that I'd happily pay for the service again out of my own pocket. From the point of view of a busy mum (and a blogger), it's a godsend being able to try on so much from different shops at one time in one place. 

Katherin's styling service on this link. Her prices start from £20 for a speedy 1 hour session and there's absolutely no pressure to buy anything she finds for you. She can also style men and children and she is always willing to take on specific challenges like weddings, TV appearances or workwear.

If you're still with me, thank you and I hope you enjoyed it! After the tech issues and the numerous attempts I've had to write this, I'm off to lie down in a dark my new biker jacket! 


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