May 02, 2018

HENRY WILFRID
The Art of PERSONAL SHOPPING

HENRY WILFRID<br>The Art of PERSONAL SHOPPING

Henry Wilfrid is a London based personal shopper, a fashion expert who loves to help people discover their personal style. With a background in fashion design he knows a great deal about clothing, from pattern cutting through to construction, the right fabrics, the way it should fit, how it should hang on the body, and most importantly, the ability to see when something just doesn't work. His eye for detail is enviable and his passion for his work is infectious.  

 

The Interview:

1. What attracted you to a career in personal shopping?

My career started in retail driven with a love of clothes and an enjoyment of building relationships with people, starting as a sales assistant I worked my way up the ranks to store director. I briefly toyed with the idea of area management but I realised that I was happiest handling the product on the shop floor compared to being office based.

 

I’d never considered personal shopping before this point but knew that I needed to change the course of my career so quit my job, took 12 months off and left London to set up my business, that was 5 years ago.

 
2. How do you feel about fashion?

It’s fun, inspiring and confidence boosting, it is a reflection of who we are. I see first hand on a daily basis how it has changed the lives of my clients either through them getting a promotion at work, reigniting sparks in a relationship, giving someone the confidence to tackle a mile stone birthday or returning to work after baby…


3. How would you describe your own personal style?

It’s such a difficult question to answer verbally. When I work with a new client on their preparation assignment I ask them this question but prompt their answer with multiple visual clues to help them articulate what they are trying to say. Clients often use descriptive words like ‘chic’, ‘quirky’ & ‘stylish’, but these mean completely different things to different people.


I was in Paul Smith last week shopping for myself and I admired a beautiful pair of dark turquoise jacquard tailored trousers. The staff know me so well in the shop and all expressed a surprise at my choice as they said I was a ‘minimal’ dresser. I wouldn’t have described my style as ‘minimal’ but hearing their explanation it made more sense, I’d have used the word ‘subtle’ instead.

 

My daily outfits are always built around black tailored jeans which I wear pretty much every day for work coupled with a smart pair of trainers, immediately I always have a casual slant to my outfits. These pieces serve as the foundations of my outfits, I wear them with good quality but subtly designed pieces of knitwear or shirting (usually from Arket, Joseph or new favourite Ami), finished with a cool coat. Coats are definitely my ‘thing’, I have a lot! My current favourite is an gaint, full length gorgeous grape coloured double breasted over coat from Joseph.

 

4. With each of your clients, how do you define and evolve their personal styles – is it driven by their career? lifestyle? Life stage?

A lot of my clients work in very similar fields, and are similar ages, yet every wardrobe I build with a client is completely unique due to their spirit and lifestyle - no two are the same.


In anticipation of the first shopping session with a new client I try and spend as much time in their company as possible: at their home, in their wardrobe, chatting over coffee, generally getting to know them as best I can, it’s these moments when I really begin to define them and in turn their style.


The pace in which I can evolve someones style is dictated by the reaction they get from friends, family & co-workers. This is how a client’s confidence grows and in turn their trust in me to make the right choices in their wardrobe. It’s at the second, third and fourth shop that I can challenge them with new styles and introduce new brands that better reflect not only their personality but also personal and professional achievements.
 

5. What do you feel are the key benefits of your service for your clients?

So many of my clients admit to previously wasting time and money attempting to build a new wardrobe themselves. It usually takes between 1 and 2 sessions a season for me to build a client’s wardrobe with pieces that will serve for all occasions and events. Everything they purchase with me I guarantee they will wear multiple times in multiple outfit combinations. The initial investment in money and time is greater at the beginning but once we’ve built a wardrobe with well-considered, good quality foundations the shopping gets easier and more experimental from then on.

 

6. Your work relies on having a great deal of knowledge about what is out there in the market place – how do you stay up to date and current?

The majority of my week is spent on the pavement preparing for, and shopping with clients. Subconsciously I am consuming everything I see and storing it up for clients already in my calendar as well as clients who’ve not even come into contact with me yet. I couldn’t tell you what I had for breakfast this morning but I could tell you all every single formal trouser shape in J.Crew for the last 4 seasons, no problem!

 

7. With the growth of online shopping, what do you feel the future holds for physical stores - boutiques and department stores in particular?

This is such an interesting question! The immediate future is very much about how brands engage with the millennial consumer and further than that Gen Z - the future of retail is in their hands! My predictions are that the majority of ‘online’ sales will very quickly be happening on phones, specifically on the go. We are already starting to see how stores are becoming a place for brands to forge relationships and nurture trust with their client base, sales will eventually become a secondary focus.

 

The opportunity for a brand to inspire clients and build loyalty once they are in the four walls of their shop is invaluable in building their client base. To do this they must make it worth their while to come and visit, by offering more than just a convenient shopping experience. The reality of this will be that the high street, shopping centres and department stores will become a much more interesting, stimulating and educating, space which will be open longer than the traditional Monday - Friday, 9-5. There is currently no typical formula for how this looks and how it’ll work which means we have an exciting few years ahead while we watch brands experiment.

 

8. How do you keep your customers relevant with fashion and trends while staying true to their personal style?

To keep up to date with seasonal trends you need to be either buying a lot of tat on high street, or spending A LOT of money in the designer stores. Neither of these I encourage with my clients, it seems so wasteful which is so out of step with where we are socially and culturally right now.

 

Mid-market brands do a great job of introducing new colours, styles and silhouettes seasonally that are subtly influenced by designer trends while still keeping true to their DNA. It’s rare that I jump around between brands seasonally with a client. It’s important that what they purchased last year compliments pieces we are buying this year and more often than not that means consistency with where we shop.

 

9. What’s the ultimate compliment you receive from your clients?

I often joke that a personal shopping appointment with a new client can feel like a first date. Over the years I’ve mastered the art of small talk, filling awkward silences and making people comfortable in my company (even when we’re both squeezed inside a small fitting room!). A full day of shopping is long, intense and tiring yet so many of my clients comment on how quickly time goes, how enjoyable the experience is and how they’re ready for a stiff drink and a sit down with me at the end of the session.


10. How does your work effect your own wardrobe choices?

I have to use myself as a physical example of how thoughtfully choosing the correct outfit in the morning will set the tone for the day ahead. Like my clients my days are typically very varied and often chaotic. I spend a lot of time traveling, meeting different clients in varying environments and very often will go straight from work to dinner or drinks with friends… so my daily outfits need to be comfortable, smart, durable and versatile.

If I can explain this with what I’m wearing in an accessible and easy to translate way it makes it easier for my clients to realise the ease and benefits of a good working wardrobe.


11. Is there a particular piece of clothing that stands out for both men and women?

It’s hard to say, but if I look back across my spend history I pretty much always by a version of a black pair of  trousers with every client. For different personalities these could vary between black jeans, black tuxedo trousers or black leather leggings. Each of these pieces have the versatility to be worn for many different occasions and as part of many different outfit combinations yet they always seem to add polish.

Henrywilfrid.com 




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Sizing Chart
AVA VERDÚ
XS
S
M
L
UK

6/8

8/10

12

14

USA

2/4

4/6

8

10

EUR/DE

34

36

38

40

FR

36

38

40

42

IT

40

42

44

46

BUST cms

84 (82-86)

88 (86-90)

92 (90-94)

96 (94-98)

WAIST cms

64 (62-66)

68 (66-70)

72 (70-74)

76 (74-78)

HIP cms

90 (88-92)

94 (92-96)

98 (96-100)

102 (100-104)

DETAILED MEASUREMENTS

BUST: Measure around the fullest part of your chest

WAIST: Measure around the narrowest part of your waistline

HIP: Measure at the fullest part of your hips

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