How a personal stylist finally taught me how to dress my age

Which was necessary considering I still get told I look 18 (at 28)

Which was necessary considering I still get told I look 18 (at 28)

Let me start by telling you that I'm not your average shopper.

Thanks to my general indecisive nature and slight anxiety in crowded spaces, real-life shopping has never really been my bag - which probably explains why I'm an online shopping addict.

You see, I love clothes but, ultimately, it's the newness of recent purchases that gives me that high I constantly crave. I blame this hedonistic impulsiveness for a wardrobe chock full of fast fashion that means my look has never matured. (And my wardrobe and wallet have never recovered.)

What I lack in timeless pieces, I have in droves of the same formula: jeans, slogan T-shirts, bomber jackets and functional shoes (usually in the shape of 'orthopaedic grandma shoes' as my friends like to call them.)

Delphine's original outfit

I'm all about functional fashion. Last week, I left TK Maxx beaming with pride after finding a Trespass backpack that has not one, not two but three separate compartments as well as mesh pockets on the side to hold water bottles, suncream, sunglasses, whatever. But, I'm also a shameless #ootd-er and some days, dream of that fashion blogger life.

So, when I heard of Regent Street Stylists, a free personal styling session that starts with a one-to-one consultation before a bespoke hour and a half of shopping, I was curious to see what someone else would put me in.

Upon meeting my stylist, Shelly Vella, a style director with over 15 years experience in the industry, she asked me more than your average 'what are you hoping to achieve today?' or 'what's your personal style?' questions. We talked about my initial goal for this shopping trip, and about where I usually shop (to get an aim on price point) but more than that, we just talked - and after a while, I could tell Shelly knew what I was after because everything she picked was on point.

It wasn't necessarily what I'd choose myself but I felt confident, and most importantly, like an adult woman, in everything she put me in.

What I learnt from having a personal stylist session

It's all about the accessories

Dress, earrings and sandals all from Cos

As someone who's just recently gotten into wearing earrings (my statement tassel earrings were the gateway to my new obsession), I liked seeing the ones Shelly chose. They were often gold, drop-down and structured enough to smarten up any look.

Accentuate your figure

T-shirt and paperbag trousers from Cos

I'm a high-waisted jeans girl and as Shelly saw this from the get go, she encouraged me to try on high-waisted, wide-leg paperbag trousers which would even work with my flat shoes (which I insist on always wearing despite only being 5"3.)

Even petite girls can go for midi and maxi styles

All from Cos

As part of the petite girl brigade, I've always sported the shortest skirts I could socially get away with to elongate my legs because I'm loathe to wear a heel so I've stayed away from longer styles. But, Shelly put me in a skirt that was in-between midi and maxi, paired with flat sandals, and I loved it.

Adding some feminine flair to my tops gave me an instant update

Blouse, cigarette pants from Cos. Teva sandals, Delphine's own

I always go for crew neck T-shirts (I'm a Gap/Uniqlo veteran) so when Shelly suggested I try frilly shirts or oversized ruffled T-shirts, I winced slightly, until I tried them on and they gave a simple pair of cigarette pants that je ne sais quoi I've been missing.

Top, skirt and sandals from Cos

I can wear yellow!

Dress and shoes from Cos

I genuinely never thought I'd be able to wear that shade. Considering my skin tone has olive and yellow hues, I always avoided colours that I thought would just wash me out but I was loving these yellows and greens I was trying. It was a revelation.

Your go-to blazer doesn't have to be boring

Blazer, across body bag and mules from J Crew

If I really do want to be treated for the age I am, I may have to [sometimes] ditch my beloved backpack and bomber jacket but hey, I did feel pretty boss with this blazer and across-body bag so I could be a convert.

Ultimately, those two hours taught me to no longer fear certain shades or overtly feminine shapes. And that I can achieve my aspired aesthetic (Scandi shapes with a pop of colour) by introducing pieces to my wardrobe rather than completely changing it - which my wardrobe and my wallet are happy about.

Delphine Chui