Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Denim Dedication Month at The Dressing Room and Exclusive Interview With Denim Expert Charlotte Phillip

Charlotte Phillip

It's Denim Dedication Month at The Dressing Room and I'm super honored to be taking part in this celebration of one of my all-time favorite clothing items... Jeans! As part of Denim Dedication Month, The Dressing Room's very own denim expert Charlotte (pictured above) has generously offered to answer my questions about shopping for denim. 

Charlotte Phillip is a London College of Fashion alum who has been working with The Dressing Room for almost 7 years. She has been been a denim specialist for even longer than that and works in every aspect of fashion from personal styling and merchandising to creating website graphics and window displays.

Q. How important is proper fit when shopping for jeans?

A. It is essential to get the fit right when buying denim; otherwise you will always hate buying jeans, because you're buying the wrong ones! If you get it right, you will live in them and love them. Then the experience of going to buy a new pair will be exciting rather than daunting.

Q. What's the first thing you take into account when fitting a woman in a pair of jeans?

A. Lifestyle. It is really important for me to find out what the customer 'needs' from their jeans. For example, a busy mum who wants a pair for everyday is going to need different advice and styling to someone that is looking for a smarter pair for a night out or work. So finding out some background information on your client is key.

Q. Is there one style of jeans that generally tends to fit every woman's shape?

A. It is tricky to pinpoint one style for everyone, as women's body shapes vary so much, but I do have a few fail safe favourites such as the J Brand Maria Skinny and the Hudson Baby Bootcut.
Q. Is stretch in denim important and to whom?

A. Yes, stretch is really important both for comfort and appearance. Many women that come in to us wanting help with jeans feel they need that 'old school' stiff feeling denim that makes you feel 'held in' in order for the jeans to flatter them. People seem to think that stretchy, softer denims will not give them enough shape, but this is definitely not the case. Denim has advanced so much and these more pliable, stretchier feeling fabrics are better than ever as they can give you an amazing silhouette but also allow you to breath!

Q. Do all brands of denim work for all people or would you suggest that when someone is shopping for denim, she should try on different styles and also different brands?

A. I would always suggest that people try a variety of brands and styles. Our body shapes vary so much that one person's 'perfect' style will not necessarily be right for the next. This can also vary within the same brand, so don't be put off by one bad experience.

Q. Let's talk about wash - how important is the wash for flattering a woman's figure? Are there any washes that certain shapes should steer clear of? Are there any washes that work for pretty much everyone?

A. Black and dark Indigo denims are flattering on every body shape, so stick to these for a safer option. Starless from J Brand is a great dark blue wash that you can dress up or down. 

Washed jeans are great too, especially for spring as they look fantastic with brighter colours. These Hudson Nico Skinny Jeans are a bestseller at The Dressing Room right now.
I would just be careful not to go too light in colour with skinny jeans if you are more pear shaped and conscious of your thighs as this can emphasise that area.

Q. What style of jeans would you recommend for the following shapes?

A. I don't like pinpointing certain styles to specific body shapes, as it makes people feel like they have to stick to that style only. There are so many different possibilities for each and every person - it's just about getting the fit exactly right. But here are a few suggestions to help get people started on their denim journeys...

1. Pear shaped (bottom heavy) - Paige Denim Skyline Straight Jean

2. Apple shaped (round in the middle) - J Brand Maria High Rise Skinny Jeans

3. Boy shaped (tall & lean with very few curves) - J Brand Mid-rise Rail Jeans

4. Hourglass (feminine curves) - Hudson Beth Baby Bootcut Jeans

5. Vertically challenged (short) - Current/Elliott Stiletto Skinny Jean

Q. The coloured jeans trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. Are there any colours that you think are universally more flattering on most shapes than others?

A. Coloured jeans are a great way to transform your look. I think that berry tones are generally the most flattering like this Loganberry style.  Also, khaki is perfect if you are a little scared to go too bold, but still want something different.

Q. Some people keep their jeans forever - I am one of these people. Are there any modern denim innovations that should encourage shoppers to get out there and buy a new pair of jeans?

A. As I mentioned earlier, denim has improved vastly in the last few years, so if you haven't bought a pair of premium denim jeans for a while, then make sure you invest in some now - you will be surprised how comfortable they are! Don't just look at the fabric content because the feel can vary from pair to pair (even if the components are the same), it's all to do with how the denim is washed and treated that makes the difference. My favorite pair is the J Brand Maria High Rise Skinny Jean - Hewson. I live in them.
Q. How often should a woman expect to buy new jeans and how many pairs/styles do you recommend each woman own? 

A. That's down to the individual and their lifestyle. I wear jeans almost every day, it's essential to what I do and I love wearing them both at work and when I go out. I would say I buy a few pairs a season, but I have jeans from about four years ago that are still in great condition and are fantastic to wear - the favourites definitely need replacing quicker though!

I would say ideally, every woman should have a black pair, a dark blue denim pair and a washed or coloured pair to give you a good range of options for day and evening.

Q. Do you have any advice about finding the perfect fitting jeans online without the luxury of shopping in-store with a fitting room?

A. There's no miracle answer to that I'm afraid. You do need to try a few styles on to get it exactly right, so shopping for denim online can be a little more testing than buying in-store, but asking for advice will help you get there a lot quicker! Contact one of our stylists at The Dressing Room and we can help you find the perfect pair without leaving your sofa!

Q. Do you have any further advice about shopping for jeans?

A. Don't be scared! The list of possibilities to consider when denim shopping could go on forever. The main point to remember is not to be daunted by the amount of options available. My advice is to seek help from someone that knows what they are talking about so they can do the thinking for you.

Denim Dedication Month is an initiative taking place this month at The Dressing Room in an effort to help you find the perfect pair of jeans. For more information, check out The Dressing Room blog. Many thanks to The Dressing Room and Charlotte Phillip for taking time to give us the scoop on shopping for denim!

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