A few days ago I had the pleasure of being invited to spend a couple of hours at River Island's Style Studio in the Oxford Street store.
The concept of the style studio is basically a personal styling session. Appointments are available by booking, and sessions range from half an hour, (a quick fix appointment to find the perfect outfit for a certain occasion,) or up to two hours, say if you are revamping your autumn/winter wardrobe.
So. Think of all the worst things about shopping. Shopping is one of my favourite pastimes, but there are a few things that almost spoil it. I almost always end up with a bad back carrying round my handbag, and then armfuls of clothes to try on, especially heavier Autumnal pieces. Then having to stand and wait in a long fitting room queue, only to be told I have too many items and have to leave some out to swap afterwards. I always seem to be stood in this queue FAR too long, thanks to that selfish girl in there trying on twenty items. Oh wait, that's about to be me... Never mind. Then getting all hot and bothered in a too small changing room with not enough room to even think, and by the time I've got the dress on I'm so red and sweaty I can't decide whether I like it or not because I look so hideous I'd look awful in anything!
So by the time I've decided what I want to buy, and tried and failed at a few changing room selfies due to lack of room and decent lighting (SUPER!) it's time to gather up all my stuff, awkwardly sort out what to give back to the shop assistant, then experience the sheer thrill and DELIGHT of standing in a further queue of ten customers waiting on ONE cashier to serve them. Is it just me, or is there NEVER an acceptable cashier to customer ratio!? I am waiting in a line, hot and bored with a painful achy back, to give you money. Really, hurry the *&%$ up!
I've often thought to myself, if I were a celebrity I wouldn't have to suffer this TORTURE. And if I could, wouldn't I pay for the privilege not to have to endure it?
Anyyyyyyyway. I arrive at River Island on Oxford Street, and make my way upstair to the style studio. I walk through the glass doors and am greeted by a lovely girl who takes my bag and jacket from me, and offers me a refreshment. I mean, you stick a diet coke in my hand and I am automatically feeling happy. She then briefly shows me round the store, highlighting the new arrivals etc, and I'm free to wander off and choose what I like. Ten minutes later, she finds me again, only to take everything I have chosen so far up to my fitting room. She continues to do this in ten minute intervals until I'm finished looking. No sweat, no bad back, it's all good, and my choices are waiting for me on a rail in a huge, air conditioned, beautifully lit private dressing room. PERFECT selfie lighting, and mirrors in every corner so you can inspect yourself at every angle. Then, once I'm in my favourite outfit, I step outside to pose for my own personal instagram photographer (thank you to Giles at the style studio for my pics!) so I know I won't be walking way without some good snaps for my social media! (Because that's what it's slightly about, isn't it hehe!). Then, all that's left to do is waltz up to the private till in the studio, no horrid queue in sight, and pay for your purchases.
So, you will be wondering how much it costs to have all your shopping experience wishes granted. I was genuinely shocked to learn that this service is completely FREE. And there is absolutely no obligation to purchase anything after, not like having your makeup done at the Benefit counter ;). It's honestly almost too good to be true, especially as the service includes a personal professional stylist to help you put outfits together and pick the pieces that will suit you and your body type the best. It's the perfect activity if you are planning a shopping trip to London with friends, especially if you have a look at the website beforehand and make sure that there's some items you know you like. It honestly made the whole shopping experience SO much nicer and I would one hundred percent visit again.
I took home two beautiful outfits, and I'm so happy with them! The first is this gorgeous pastel pink (surprise surprise) ensemble. The neutral pinky nude high neck top goes perfectly with the white Molly jeggings to create a really soft, simplistic, yet very on trend look, transitioning perfectly from the light, bright hues of summer wear, to the slightly more subdued style of Autumn. Paired with the beautiful pink tassel loafers, which are real suede and look incredible, and the pale blue satchel, it really is a beautifully chic, feminine, sophisticated look without having looked like you've "tried" too hard.
The second outfit also uses the white Molly leggings. I honestly usually hate white jeans on myself, I always think they look like I'm wearing maternity jeans! But these fit really nicely, and are really flattering and comfortable. The mid rise fit make them comfier and safer from "muffin top" than low rise jeans, but not as bold and statement as high waisted.
The star piece of this outfit is obviously the gilet. This could be styled in so many ways, from a really relaxed "hippie" look, to a smarter more sophisticated "Chelsea" look which is what I've gone for here. The faux fur collar and lining is so soft and luxury looking, and it is the perfect jacket to transition between the seasons, and sparkle up a dull outfit (like a top and jeans.)
Underneath the gilet I am wearing a gorgeous cream bardot jumper. It's soooo soft and the bardot style looks so relaxed yet super stylish. And the shoes... Now I really love these! They are a really pretty shade of grey, real leather pair of peep toe, sling back sandals with a wooden block heel. At a modest three inches, they are the perfect heel height for someone like me who is on the taller side of life and doesn't like wearing HUGE heels and feeling giant, but doesn't exactly want to be walking round like a frump in kitten heels either. They are a perfect day to night shoe, and will look as good in Autumn as they do now in Summer. Really comfortable, they make a great every day shoe, but are also versatile enough to pull off in a dressier outfit, and the neutral grey colour will go with everything, not to mention they are incredibly stylish, smart and very current. These are a must have!
And finally I wanted to show you this beautiful nude sparkly body con dress I also picked up, whilst showing you the lovely inside of the style studios fitting room. Simple yet stunning, figure hugging and glittery. What's not to love?
I hope you enjoyed reading this post- you can shop all the items from my outfits, and some other of my favourite bits from their AW15 collection I've picked out, down below!
Happy shopping and don't forget to tweet/instatag me and show me your outfits!