Learning to Style: Part 2

Clare Edwards Personal Styling

So day 2 of the Stylist Course and I'm already mentally exhausted. I don't think I've ever spent this long deciding what to wear and every time I put something on I'm imagining having to stand in front of everyone and explain myself. I manage to look (vaguely) like a stylist but the trade off has been missing two trains, sending my son to school without his blazer and forfeiting breakfast. Such is the life of a budding fashionista.....

We start the morning with a session on bra fitting. It makes complete sense that if the undergarments aren't working then whatever you put on top won't work either. We go round the room stating our bra size. Isobel is so good at this she can tell a women's bra size at twenty paces so she is well aware that some of us are completely off the mark. Now we have to measure each other. Thankfully we're allowed to keep our tops on. I'm not sure I've bonded sufficiently with the group yet for them to see me in my undies. There are a number of ooohs and aaahs as it becomes apparent some of us have been wearing the wrong size for the last fifteen years. By our original estimations some of us have added about 4 dress sizes to ourselves and are woefully underestimating our cup sizes. I thought certain letters were only reserved for certain ladies featured on certain pages of a certain daily newspaper. I was wrong.

Now we've all got the right bras on it's time to talk bodyshapes. This is the bit I've been looking forward to the most as I think it's the secret to dressing well. Once you know what shape you are, learning what suits you is so much easier. We have to stand up and say what bodyshape we think we are and our best and worst features. Why is it so difficult to say what we like about ourselves? Every one of us is happy to mention all our worst bits and then sort of mumble something about "Oh I think my legs might be ok....sort of...maybe," while staring at the floor.

After learning all the bodyshapes and who should wear what, our lunchtime task is to dress a particular bodyshape. This time we are paired up so off I go with my partner and we hit the streets of Covent Garden to dress an apple shape. Easier said than done. I thought it would be straightforward given we have just been told what to look out for and what to avoid but it's a whole different story when you're actually in the shops. We come up with a plan but get completely swayed by a fabulous dress we find in H&M. It looks like Diane von Furstenberg! It's only £35! Screw whether it suits an apple or not, it's a bargain! When we get back to the training room and present our outfit it is very obvious we have got it completely wrong. The shape was wrong, the pattern placement was wrong, the accessories were wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Oh dear. I think the phrase I'm looking for is 'epic fail'. I'm pretty crestfallen and a bit embarrassed actually. Especially as the other groups do a really good job. 'I wouldn't be here if I knew it all already,' I tell myself over and over again.

Tomorrow is the main event of the week, the reason we're all here, the Shopping Challenge. We are paired up and will take it in turns to assume the roles of Stylist and Client. We discuss our brief this afternoon and then come the morning it's time to hit Oxford Street. Surely I shouldn't be nervous about going shopping....or should I??!