I was delighted and somewhat surprised to be invited to the Next Bloggers’ Event last week. I never really think of myself as ‘fashionable’ – I love clothes and putting outfits together, but I usually just choose things I like and hope for the best. When I heard the event involved a ‘styling challenge’ I was excited and a little apprehensive, but determined to give it my best shot.
I arrived in Leicester at 9.30am and was thrilled to finally meet Take Ten founder Sarah, who’d flown down from Glasgow the night before. As we waited, it was easy to spot the bloggers as people poured from the station. There were brogues, sheer shirts and satchels aplenty as we boarded the huge bus which took us to Next HQ, and I had fun chatting to Winnie and Kristabel as we made our way.
After nibbles and coffees, we settled down to listen to the Next womenswear designs as they took us through the Spirng/Summer 2011 collections. Next has never been part of my shopping routine, but after seeing some of the wonderful pieces they have coming up, I know I’ll be a regular visitor!
After the breakfast briefing, an ominous rail was wheeled out – the styling challenge was upon us! We were each assigned a piece to style and as I eyed the white blazer with trepidation, I was relieved to hear my name called for the white lace top. Until I remembered I was wearing a black bra…
Now, being given free reign to run around a shop with armfuls of clothing and shoes hanging by their straps from every finger has long since been a dream of mine. But in reality the styling challenge was quite stressful! The lace top was lovely, but I needed flesh coloured underwear (why didn’t I listen to Tyra? ALWAYS flesh coloured underwear on a go-see!) and a cami underneath it… and in the absence of both those things, I needed something to cover most of it.
… and after!
After much grabbing and discarding, buttoning and unbuttoning, I finally settled on my look. Everyone said the trousers were ‘very me’, which I’m sure was a compliment! Having a professional photo taken was rather unsettling – I’m not the best of models when it’s just me and my tripod, so it was all a bit uncomfortable! It turned out okay in the end though, and I am pleased with my look. I’ll definitely be purchasing a pair of these trousers.
We finished the day with champagne and chatter. It was lovely to meet Iris
After wolfing down some food (mini versions meant I had a fish pie, beef stroganoff and mushroom risotto, followed by sticky toffee pudding. Everything should come in miniature), the winners of the styling challenge were announced. My favourite look was Shini’s – she worked her magic with the high waisted jeans.
In true fashion style, I had to jump in a cab and hot foot it to the train station to catch my transportation home. Clattering across the platform in 4 in heels, cape billowing behind me, I wondered if I’d finally made it as a working fashionista… until I realised I needed to run for it, and exploded through the doors of the train cursing ‘bloody ‘ell!!’ and removing my shoes in a most unstylish manner. Maybe not then.
Huge thanks to the folks at Next for having us, and to Jenny at Spreading Jam for keeping us all happy and organised.