Friday, 12 April 2013

The John Lewis Shopping Experience & Other Retail Adventures

Way back in February when I got some John Lewis vouchers as a birthday present I decided to book a Personal Adviser appointment for the Easter holidays.
I was hoping that by April I would be feeling full of the joys of Spring and desperate to break out of my black and red winter rut.
The appointment is free and ahead of the appointment I had informed my adviser that I would be looking for a pair of trousers and a skirt that I could dress up or down along with some tops.
I was asked for my size and after arriving on time I was disappointed not to be greeted by a member of staff in the styling suite.
Instead I had to hunt around the store for an assistant and wait until she had located the member of staff.
I was shown into the pleasant room (pictured above) which had a selection of spring shades on display and a couple of magazines.
After a short wait my adviser arrived and then spent around 15 minutes chatting about my lifestyle and what I was looking for.
After the consultation she asked me to wait while she went round the store and offered me a bottle of water.
I had gone through the magazines while I had waited and was left twiddling my thumbs for a further 15 minutes until she eventually arrived with a rail of clothes.

I was slightly taken aback as I thought the selection was a little more casual than I had expected but nevertheless I started on the trousers. 
I have to admit I would never have chosen the dark green cigarette pants that I tried on and which were a perfect fit.
They were John Lewis' own brand and at £49 felt excellent quality.

I loved the high waist and although they were meant to be ankle grazers they were a perfect full length on me.
I was amazed at how much longer my legs looked and even more impressed when I tried them on with both flats and heels.

My adviser had brought a selection of tops and while I thought I had enough striped tops in my wardrobe have to admit the quality and cut of the tops she had chosen were much  better than the ones I had.

Having chosen the trousers I wanted a skirt that would also multi-task.
It had to be capable of providing a casual/smart-casual and dressed-up look.

Again I have to admit I would have walked past this Ralph Lauren pencil skirt but it was perfect and reduced from £89 to £61.

Throughout the session I was mentally walking through my wardrobe and planning future outfits.
The gaps would be plugged with the three tops I bought.
This striped one from Warehouse had a lovely curve at the hem and was a soft cotton.

I fell in love with this cream sweater from Warehouse which offered lots of layering opportunities.

And finally, this lovely pink striped top from Fat Face which I thought was a real bargain at £20.
It is such a soft cotton and the button detailing at the cuffs adds something extra to the top.

Before I left I booked in for a free Bobbi Brown make-up lesson and while I wasn't impressed with the foundation I did love the blusher, lipgloss and mascara.

A final verdict on the Personal Adviser session

Firstly, the best bits. It was refreshing to have a new view on my shape and style and to benefit from some suggestions. I would never have chosen dark green as a neutral and I was amazed at the versatility of the colour with the rest of my wardrobe. Neither would I have chosen cigarette pants but I love what they do for my legs.
The adviser brought some new brands and ideas to try out and it has certainly made me realise the benefits of trying before buying.
Now to some suggestions for John Lewis.
1. Don't leave a customer who has booked an appointment waiting. I had to plan this day for weeks and make sure there was someone at home for my younger kids. I had gone to a lot of trouble but I didn't feel that you had.
2. Send a questionnaire to complete in advance of the appointment. I felt there was a lot of wasted time chatting about things I had already mentioned over the phone.
3. When it is clear that I am 5 ft 1 in tall please don't bring me £99 trousers and then say I could get them shortened and that it is just one of those things.
4. A warm drink would have been more welcome than a freezing bottle of water on a cold day.
5. A larger selection of magazines would have been welcome.
6. When I ask if you have the trousers in another colour please take the trouble to find out you do, in navy and order them for me so that I don't have to do it when I get home.

Future News

The adviser tells me that the service will soon be upgraded to include choosing colours and their titles will be changed to "Personal Stylists" but there will be an additional charge.

Final Words

I also had a voucher for Clarks and used it to buy these court shoes which I will wear to work and going out.
I already have them in black and they are so comfortable.

Now that is it, I promise.
No more buying until the next school holidays.


  1. You did come away with some lovely items, but what a shame the service was a little below par. It seemed a little rude really. Hope it didn't spoil your enjoyment.

  2. I agree with you - if i had a consultation with a stylist - even if it was free, i would expect to be treated like royalty.
    It makes no sense to make an appointment and then have you wait, what was the appointment for ?
    Nevertheless it's an interesting experience, i'd love to have one day -

  3. Great choices! I'm like you, I think I know what I want. But it sounds like it was good for you to let someone else pick things out so you could try new things. i guess a little experimentation is a good thing.

  4. Although the service can be optimised the stylist finally gave you new ideas for your wardrobe and you found some very pretty and versatile clothes. Now spring can come, I see. I look forward to seeing you combining the pieces with the ones you already have.

  5. Bad service, great bits! It seriously makes me wonder how people get these jobs. Think I should give up beauty and go back out into the workplace, I am damn sure I would do a better job! I would honestly write a letter to someone with your concerns over the service, as without feedback they will never get it right.

  6. I love the trousers, I might investigate those further! I've never had a Personal Stylist experience - I'd like to but would want my money's worth..

  7. I'm glad you got some new ideas, but I agree that they should have made it more of a special appointment. After all, they want you to buy the clothes so they should put more effort in.

  8. Glad that you got a new perspective, but it made me sad to hear that they did not treat you like a queen!

  9. I hope you forward these comments or a link to your blog to JL, they should be told that their service was disappointing.

  10. I'm glad that you were able to make some good purchases and get some clothes you normally might have passed up. Love the cream sweater!
    Chic on the Cheap

  11. Great choice; I'm looking forward to seeing your future outfits :)
    I love the green trousers, they look fab on you.

  12. The pants look great on you, the other things you chose are very nice as well. Too bad the shopping experience wasn't better organized. I agree, write to the company and tell them.


  13. Interesting - sounds like fair comment. I've used the service at John Lewis in Oxford Street and have always had a very good experience in terms of how I was treated, timings, helpfulness etc but usually I've had to tussle a little bit over what I and the stylist consider a good fit. Like you though, I've found that they usually drew my attention to a brand that I'd never looked at before, and they were always price aware and not trying to shame you into buying expensive pieces. having used the Debenhams & House of Fraser's personal stylist services as well I would say that John Lewis was far better. At HofF the stylist just wanted to put me in the clothes she liked.