It might seem like you can buy just about anything here, but an afternoon of entertaining people-watching at the mall of your choice is all it takes to realise that style, still, sadly, is priceless.

Still, while you can’t buy it, you can certainly learn about it from one of the UAE’s many personal shoppers, including, from December 5, Dubai-based Briton Dawn Williamson, who will be leading makeover sessions at the Life & Style show at Adnec in the capital.

A former stylist to Britain’s wag set and now a fashion adviser on Dubai One’s Studio One, she shared her experience of poking through Dubai’s worst closets and her top tips. 

Can anyone be stylish?

Yes it’s possible for everyone to be stylish, it’s just that some people need more direction while to others it comes naturally. 

How important is it to be stylish?

I think it’s important that your clothes give you confidence and you feel the best “you” that you can be; plus it’s always nice to be complimented on your look, so I think style is important in this sense. 

How do you define style?

I think it’s important that your clothes make a statement about you, that your clothes fit well and flatter your figure and that you understand what suits you best and what’s appropriate for when, plus an understanding of trends but not a desire to always follow them, I guess these things together give a person “style”. 

What are the main issues that are preventing people from having great style and how can they be solved?

My biggest issue is with fit. So many people choose clothes that simply do not fit or flatter their shape — trousers too short, tops too baggy.

Clothes should be tailored to fit your specific shape, fabric should be structured and skim the body rather than cling. 

What are the worst things you’ve seen in someone else’s closet?

Wow, I’ve seen a lot. But what happens in Dawn’s wardrobe sessions stays in Dawn’s wardrobe sessions. 

Are people ever resistant to your advice?

Usually since people have taken the step to book a session, they are open to my advice. However, there are occasions when people have been completely resistant to change, I just have to be firm and insist they try different items on. I usually find once I get someone into an item they change their mind. 

Is it true that there are some pieces everyone should have in their wardrobe?

Absolutely everyone should build a capsule wardrobe of classic pieces that form the basis of every outfit. For example a tailored pair of black trousers, a structured blazer, a classic little black dress, one pair of black evening shoes, a fitted white shirt, the perfect pair of jeans. 

We’re heading into the UAE winter. What are the top pieces for us to wear this season here?

I love winter here as it gives us a chance to layer up. I love being able to wear a jacket — it’s so refreshing. I would suggest light knits and structured jackets (mannish tailoring was all over the catwalks) in pastel shades — a longline blazer worn with tailored shorts is a great smart casual option. And always carry a wrap in your bag. I personally favour the large cashmere Louis Vuitton wraps for chilly evenings. 

How much do you shop each week, for clients and for yourself?

For myself I hardly shop now, usually online if anything, but I spend on average around 24 hours a week shopping for clients. 

What’s your favourite thing in your closet?

That’s a difficult one to answer as I have quite a few closets. But probably a Prada silk skirt with lipstick print is my absolute favourite. 

What was your worst fashion moment?

There’s probably been quite a few, but I love looking back through photos and how clothes are so indicative of a period in time. 

Do you have a shopping strategy — for the season, or when the moment takes you?

Yes, over the years I’d hope I’ve become a fairly smart shopper. I mostly fill my wardrobe with classics and buy just a few seasonal pieces. I never spend a lot of money on trends as they come and go out of fashion so quickly; I prefer classic pieces that are in fashion forever. 

You’ve styled a lot of WAGs (wives and girlfriends, usually of British footballers). Do you think the criticism they get for their look is harsh?

For me, WAGs fall into two categories — the wannabe wags who favour the Juicy tracksuit and Ugg boot look and then the super wags who love designer and want to be seen in the latest trends.

For me it’s only the former who probably deserve the criticism. There should be no “uniform” look for anybody, style is individual. As for anecdotes lets just say I could have broken a few celeb scandals over the years.