Personal Shopper

A day in the life of a dream job. Personal shopping in Selfridges with Adele O’Brien.How many people feel able to describe their job as a dream? Not many I know, that’s for sure!


By Katie Bowman


Starting her day at 8am in a Peter Pilotto print dress, Adele checks her emails to respond to any clients and arrange her meetings, whilst checking the diary for upcoming appointments that day. Office time is only a small part of the job though, 75% of the time the work is hands on, choosing clothes and networking. She limits to 2 clients a day at 10 and 3 to ensure there are no restrictions on their shopping time. The appointments range from 2 to 3 hours each unless the customer is in a hurry.


Having worked for a year in the personal shopping department at Net-A-Porter, the leading online luxury fashion retailer Adele is aspiring to that level of service in Selfridges. Their personal shopping experience is exclusive and above and beyond what other stores are offering so Selfridges Manchester customers would benefit from a completely VIP treatment.


The service is complimentary and therefore available to everyone. Customers can enjoy their own private room in comfort with free refreshments - champagne and nibbles, i.e. the perfect accompaniment to shopping! Adele can order in specific, rare pieces from the London store if you’re searching for something particular and if you don’t fancy venturing into the store, there is a courier service so there’s no excuse to be unfashionable.


The benefit of popping in to visit Adele is that you get an expert opinion from someone who knows how to dress people well without being judgemental or biased - like friends sometimes can be. She knows what suits various body shapes, what colours will suit your skin tone and which designers you should be seen in this season.


Most customers who go in are looking for either a complete wardrobe overhaul or for a certain occasion piece, then they simply revisit to top up their collection. Adele says there are certain items every woman should own – a good, well fitting pair of jeans that are wearable for day and night; a gorgeous dress that can be worn in the day with boots or flip flops then glammed up for evening; a decent coat and jacket; boots; a beautiful handbag and some basic white t-shirts and vests suitable for layering.


It’s difficult to name specific items for everyone though because as a personal shopper Adele has to tailor to the needs of the individual – for example, a customer may need more trousers than dresses or certain items that can be worn for various events.



Now recommendations for the men. She advises to purchase two pairs of jeans, one for the day and one for evening. Some men prefer hooded tops in the day and others a more tailored cardigan and tee. However the absolute MUST for men is a fantastic pair of shoes. For Adele (and a lot of other women out there boys) this is the first thing she looks at. Particularly on a night out or when a guy is wearing a suit. Essential.


In terms of this season, Adele’s favourite designers are Peter Pilotto whose prints are fantastic and absolute spot on due to the print craze for Spring/ Summer. Also, Balmain are reigning supreme with their military/ utility look highlighting the absolute brilliance of the two designers. However, she is quick to point out that high street labels like Topshop and Warehouse cover the same looks for a fraction of the price. Fashion is accessible to everyone and missing key designer pieces with the high street is always a winner.


Despite having lived in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Nottingham and London, Adele says if you’re interested in fashion and a job like hers, Manchester is the place to be. This is because the boys and girls here love their clothes and are very individual. She enjoys being out, seeing men and women enjoying fashion and not being scared to experiment.


There certainly is a buzz about Manchester which in the three months she has been here, Adele has experienced through forays into the Northern Quarter, Panacea and the Circle club. Loving the relaxed and chilled out nature bars such as Trof and the more sophisticated joy of enjoying an after work cocktail in the Radisson Edwardian bar.


And if you’ve got a night out in mind, wondering what on earth to wear - get over to Selfridges to consult with Adele.


Entirely for the purpose of this article I asked her to choose an outfit for me to wear out that night – I was particularly looking for a caj little black dress. I spent a blissful half hour walking around Selfridges listening to advice and reasons for choices. The outfit we decided upon was simply divine – the cookie dress (£245) by Twenty8Twelve with gorgeous ruffles along the shoulder, teamed with a pair of Kitty KG heels (£190) and a suede Mulberry clutch. Fashion heaven - if only for a moment!


The most important advice gained from the day is to be comfortable in your clothes. We’ve all seen someone wearing an outfit that is up-to-the-minute trend led but they don’t look comfortable and therefore just can’t pull it off. Far better to be stylish, confident and wearing an item that suits you down to the ground.

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