Why this experience?
Since moving to Dubai from London a year and a half ago, any fashion envelopes I might have once pushed evaporated with the new hot climate and conservative culture. I went on a panic shopping spree before flying out, filling my suitcase with safe corporate wear and a calf-length skirt in the vague expectation that my dress sense would magically transform on touch down in the emirate.
Unsurprisingly, once I got here, all my new purchases only made me feel drab and uncomfortable. Combined with a looming milestone birthday and the fact I started working in an office of elegant women, and I definitely felt ready for a style retune.
What's it all about?
If you've ever felt like you have loads of clothes but nothing to wear, or you tend to dither over which outfit to pull on for a night out, then you could benefit from a wardrobe evaluation. A stylist appointed by gift experience company Dream Days visits your home, assesses your wardrobe and suggests new outfit combinations, helping you decide on what shapes and colours work best for your shape, complexion and personality, and rearranging it to maximise space.
First I was asked to fill in a questionnaire explaining my reasons for choosing the evaluation, what I hoped to get out of it, as well as details on my size, shape and colouring. I had worried that having someone going through my clothes might feel intrusive, but the moment the stylist, Jaspreet, arrived, she put me at ease.
She breezed into my bedroom, where I showed her what I usually wear, the things I love and those I am less sure about. Where I had secretly feared derisive snorts at my questionable fashion taste, Jaspreet was totally supportive, eager to tell me when certain cuts or shapes were great and just saying a friendly "it's up to you" when I asked whether certain items should be thrown out.
Then we did a colour analysis, holding up items in different hues against my face to determine which ones set off my complexion the best. While I tried on the different combinations, Jaspreet folded my clothes into a neat, workable system. By the end, my closet-jungle had been tamed into submission and I had two bin bags of clothes to give away.
Did it really work?
What I had worried might be a What Not To Wear style assassination proved an inspiring style-streamline.
We all vaguely know which clothes suit us best and which ones we only drag out when we're having a fat day, but having an expert third party confirm what you have always sensed makes all the difference. It also gave me a huge confidence boost; there were items I felt were too figure-hugging, or colours I thought were too bold for my pale complexion, but Jaspreet gave me one excellent piece of advice; "if it makes you feel good, wear it."
I came away with renewed enthusiasm for my own style, appointments with a tailor to have items adjusted to suit my shape better, and a new-found clarity about what my wardrobe should hold. And, all down to Jaspreet's advice, that calf-length skirt I bought pre-Dubai has gone from a frumpy faux pas to my new-found fashion-best-friend.
Price: Dh790 for 2½ hours. See www.dreamdays.ae or contact John Rogers on 04-4329390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.