Getting you red carpet ready


I think I had my most reluctant client to date, this week. I say that because what I heard was:

” I hate shopping” ” I don’t care about this stuff” ” I sort of know I can’t wear the same dress I have worn for the last few years but do I really need to go shopping?” “I have an odd figure” “It will be hideous for both of us but gotta be done”

Always one for a challenge, I dragged her kicking and screaming to Bluewater this week.

Remit: Dress, shoes and accessories for £100ish budget suitable for Kent Women in Business Ceremony but which can be worn again elsewhere. ……”If I have to do this shopping thing I want to be able to wear it again”.

Great strategy for reluctant shoppers is to throw them in at the deep end.

However, most importantly the experience must be fun too and actually my objective was less about the dress ( knew I would find that no bother) and so much more about making sure Karen had a fabulous afternoon and a positive experience of dress shopping.

So whilst Karen had a business meeting with a colleague, at which I have to admit I did encourage her to have a small glass of wine, I filled the changing room at House of Frazer with a selection of options ready for her to just walk straight in and get dressed up!

Knowing Karen’s style personality body shape (not in anyway odd despite her claims!) and her natural colour characteristics made selecting a dress for her really exciting. I know what she likes but equally I knew what would look incredible on her even though it may take her out of her comfort zone.

IMG_4946So without wanting to make her feel uneasy, I grabbed; a couple of full length dresses (I know Karen prefers shorter and rightly so she has great pins to show off); some bright colour dresses, (Karen has dark eyes and hair with fair complexion, a bright bold combination so wears bold colours incredibly); a couple of floral ones, a couple with some embellishment and a couple of classic cocktail style.

Of course she looked fabulous in pretty much all of them and to her credit, Karen did not resist trying any of them on. She completely embraced the opportunity to see how different styles and colours she hadn’t tried before would look and we were wowed by the results. Although we were there to get a dress for the awards, seeing how great the options looked, it gave her ideas for business dresses, date dresses and holiday wardrobe for her upcoming Philippines business trip.

Having identified a few possibles we shopped together in the next few places. The great thing about knowing which colours best flatter you is that you can walk into a shop and instantly know whether it is worth you continuing to browse or not. I think this is why some people dislike shopping because they are overwhelmed by the choice but once you know what suits you and what doesn’t, it removes that element of dress deluge.

For us, we knew instantly stepping into Wallis that there were beautiful dresses, perfect for the occasion and budget that we were looking for and that matched Karen’s unique colour & style personality.

Minutes later, not just one, but two dresses purchased by the reluctant shopper!!

On a role, I suggested we embrace shoes and went straight for the wow factor! I didn’t even get an objection!! She was straight in them strutting her stuff and looking just awesome.

Since dancing is on the agenda for the awards dinner despite these looking amazing we opted for a slightly lower heel, still wow, factor still vertiginous. Yes Ms Hardie does do heels, well she does now!

Needed some bling to make it red carpet ready, so added some sparkly drop earrings in contoured shape to reflect soft contoured features of Karen’s face and a statement bracelet that Karen spotted, liked and bought … Seem, she really got into it by the end!

Dress CHECK (plus extra one, whoop!)
Budget CHECK
Accessories CHECK
Karen looking even more gorgeous than ever CHECK CHECK CHECK!!

You will have to wait for the awards to see the complete ensemble but I promise it really did happen!

Karen Hardie

Bio: Last year Karen Hardie won Small  Business Woman of the year award at Kent Women in Business Awards 2014. She describes herself as a brandaholic.


Twitter: @KaHardie