The Personal Shopper…..

“Will you give a speech at the National Osteoporosis Society Christmas Concert?” said the lovely Josh on the phone…..

Between barely hidden screeches of amazement and glee, I put on my best ‘phone voice’ and said “of course, I’d love to”! After a couple of minutes discussing arrangements and requirements, I sat down and told P all about it. All about the hotel they’re putting us up in, the fact that the compère is the Green Goddess (us oldies will know who she is, and apparently she and I could be bone density twins!) and how he hasn’t got to drive there as they’re getting us a taxi! Sounds great eh? Until…….
Here we go again, another clothing crisis ahead! Now, I’m hardly what you’d call a clothes horse, fashion and me have never been good mates but I do like to look nice. So I’m doing the usual “what am I going to wear!!” I know, I’ll book a personal shopper, it worked last time I did it for my big interview so let’s see if it’ll work again? So I booked a slot with the lovely Bea on Friday afternoon, organised the fashion savvy daughter to come with me and into Cardiff we went.

Now there’s one really good thing about the big St Davids shopping centre and that is it’s accessibility; it really is so easy to get around in a wheelchair and all the shops are spacious and well thought out. We had a good look around before the appointment, eyed up some ideas for the all important outfit and of course, popped into somewhere nice for lunch. After a gorgeous meal of fiery spaghetti with king prawns in a restaurant with very nice disabled toilet (thank you Prezzo!) we arrived at the Personal Shopper area.

We were met by the lovely Bea and set about describing to her what the occasion was and what I was looking for. It wasn’t the easiest challenge she’d ever had I’m sure but I tried my very best to explain what I needed. The major problem is that in a wheelchair, clothes are a real issue; they just don’t sit or look the same as they do when you’re standing up. Things gather around the waist, things rise up, trousers are difficult because the waistband digs in, shirts don’t sit right, jackets look stupid unless they ‘drape’ and it’s really difficult to explain to someone who doesn’t understand what I’m looking for. We sort of got to the conclusion that I was looking for a smartish calf length, not fitted, stretchy dress with a v neck. Oh and also a poncho/ cape thing to go on top.

Fair play she went looking for ages and brought back a ton of dresses and left us in this huge dressing room to try them all on. I have to say that whilst it was a big room, some rails to hang onto would’ve been really useful as it was bit of a struggle trying on all the different things but with the help of my glamorous assistant, we managed. Unfortunately none of the dresses were suitable but she brought over this delicious sage green woollen ‘coatigan’ that was truly beautiful. It draped, it flowed, it was (as Goldilocks would’ve said) ‘just right,’ That was my total no-brainier, no matter what else was there, that was going to be mine!

It was a lovely experience and whilst a bit of disability awareness and some handrails in the changing room would’ve been useful, it was a fairly successful venture. Now all I need is to do it all over again in a different store, find THE dress, get my hair done, do my nails, write the speech, take a huge deep breath and deliver it! Not much eh? At least, I’ll have my lovely new coatigan to do it in……….