Personal shopping is such an exciting experience, and something I believe everyone should try at least once. Lula Boutique have started to offer personal shopping appointments on Sundays and Mondays – so I took my mum along to get dolled up.
Lula is a women’s clothing boutique in the little market town of Leek, in Staffordshire. The shop opened up in September 2019, and has been offering a gorgeous selection of handpicked, carefully sourced fashion and accessories ever since.
Founded by fashionista Emma Howle, the shop caters for diverse ages, sizes and budget. After having to shut up shop for lockdown, Lula Boutique has recently reopened on Fountain Street, now offering appointment-only personal shopping sessions.
Lula stocks styles that aim to suit the majority, not the minority. Emma appreciates that each person has their own individual style and fit, which is why I find personal shopping so valuable.
Personal shopping allows someone to look objectively at you, arms with only your dress size, and pluck outfits from the rails that they believe suit your style and body. If you ever feel like you’re stuck in a style rut, personal shopping will totally fix that and you’ll see your style through fresh eyes.
I’ve always said a personal shopping session would do my mum the world of good. She’s a mum-of-three in her 40s, and likes to dress on-trend, but lacks confidence in her appearance – when she definitely shouldn’t. I wanted to take her out for personal shopping at Lula to give her a boost and prove to her that she looks amazing in outfits she’d never think to try.
When we arrived at the Fountain Street boutique, Emma welcomed us in and showed us around the shop. Downstairs in the spacious fitting room, she’d set up a rail of clothes for mum and I try try on.
My Lula Boutique Personal Shopping Outfits
The colour palette on the rail was absolutely gorgeous, and as I mentally planned outfits in my head, Emma made suggestions and gave styling tips on how she thought we could wear them. There was a great range of dresses, tops, blouses, trousers and shorts, providing a real mix of things to try. If you’re a ‘jeans and a nice top’ kind of girl, trying on dresses you’d typically avoid is a great way to find what suits you.
The textures were stunning, from chiffon to faux leather – there was really something for everyone in the selection. Emma also picked out three pairs of size 5 shoes, including western boots, chunky boots and tan heeled sandals to mix and match with each outfit.
I tried on 10 outfits in just over an hour and a half and it was such a therapeutic experience. Usually, the thought of fitting rooms stresses me out – screaming kids, faulty zips, the absolute dread of getting stuck in a dress in a cubicle on your own. All of the horror of regular fitting room experiences is entirely removed. The Lula fitting room is a big square room with a huge mirror with positive quotes written on it.
There’s a smaller annex where you can dress behind a curtain if you wish. There are pop-culture posters from the likes of Grease and Mean Girls on the wall, with faux houseplants and a gorgeous little crushed velvet seat to relax on.
Here is what I tried on:
Sugar and Spice dress
Five years ago, you wouldn’t have seen me dead in a short, pink, chiffon dress – but here we are. This Sugar and Spice puff sleeve sheer baby was the first dress I tried on, and it went straight into my basket – well, behind the till. The high neck has a victorian, vintage vibe that I adore, modernised by the colour and style – especially as puff sleeves are so SS20. The ruffled detail with the tiered hem is super feminine, and the texture in the embroidery adds even more girly flair.
As a girl who loves her alternative fashion, I paired the dress with these chunky, slightly heeled mock croc boots. I love a Dr Marten, but don’t own any plain black, so these are an amazing, cost-saving alternative that are so versatile. Plus, the heel is super comfortable and subtly elongates the legs – a match made in heaven for the Sugar and Spice dress.
Spot On suit
I am a huge fan of a powersuit, and shades of green have been finding their way into my wardrobe as of late. This minty polka dot suit is to die for, and is such a versatile co-ord. The great thing with powersuits is that you can make a bold statement – but equally dress them down for an equally head-turning look. You can style the trousers with a band tee and cross body bag, or wear the blazer with your favourite jeans – the combinations are endless. I rolled the cigarette style trousers up slightly to wear with the chunky boots, wearing the long sleeved roll neck bodysuit for a cool and casual look. Work or play, I’d be more than happy to wear this outfit to work or to a gig!
New Depths playsuit
This time opting for a deeper, forest-y green, I styled the same bodysuit with a short, flirty playsuit, cinching in the waist with the rivet belt and throwing on the western boots. These boots are a total steal in the sale at £17, and will never be out of style. The playsuit has a corset waist with some boning at the front which creates a stunning structure and feels more luxe. The playsuit is on the shorter side, making it ideal for summer cocktail nights or beach holidays, or can by worn with tights and a bodysuit for autumn.
New Beginnings midi dress
I’ve seen a number of variations of this dress for SS20, but this is the nicest I’ve found in terms of fit and quality. It features broderie puff sleeves and a a slim fitting cotton midi dress. It’s the perfect dress for warm summer months, and looks fab with the Tie the Knot heeled sandals. I can absolutely see me in this with a straw hat and bag strolling across the beach. This is currently in the sale, so snap it up whilst you can – this simple, but elegant dress will certainly be a wardrobe staple piece in years to come.
Free Spirit midi dress
Animal print is the biggest theme in my wardrobe – from leopard to tiger and zebra! Mum and I both tried on this gorgeous midi and both felt amazing in it. The two front slits are super sassy and we both wore it in different ways. Mum went more girly with the Tie the Knot heeled sandals, which barely left her feet, and I wore the chunky boots. It’s amazing how much changing accessories can change the feel of an outfit, and how it suits different generations of women. The fit is absolutely gorgeous, and feels so figure hugging, whilst still being lightweight and floaty. The plunging neckline is so flattering without being too much, and the paneling gives it such a great shape.
Basic padded shoulder tee and Hot as Hell shorts
I feel like I should be in Flashdance or Fame in this outfit – who loves a cute 80s inspired look? The padded sleeves on this vest style tee give it added structure and a cap-sleeve look. It comes in this raspberry shade as well as blue, and are the perfect basic addition to your wardrobe. These can be styled with jeans, skirts – dungarees would be awesome. Here I’ve styled them with the Hot as Hell leather shorts, which are so comfortable. The waist is elasticated, which made me so excited as it means they’re the perfect short for dining out in, because there’s no need to sneakily undo your buttons! They have a paperbag waist, zip and press stud fastener, and are a really nice length to offer a sophisticated look.
A Class Above cropped cardi and Split Personality jeans
I’d always admired the teeny tiny cardi as a top trend, but a little too scared to try it myself. This A Class Above cardi has a pearl button effect and lace trim, making it super cute, again, with a bit of a vintage feel too it whilst being got on trend. This top would be a great base to build a number of outfits around, but I went for these light denim bell-bottom Split Personality jeans which are new in this season at Lula. The jeans are such a flattering fit, hugging the contours of my hips whilst still fitting comfortably at the waist. The detail on the leg is gorgeous, with a small slit up the side of each outer leg to show off your shoes. I wore this outfit with the Tie the Knot sandals for a summery get-up.
Sahara Leather dress
Vinyl and full faux leather looks can be daunting to try, but after picking up a few skirts and a vinyl trench coat last year, I’m fully embracing the trend. I’ve uhmmed and ahhed over so many high street leather dresses, but many are unfitted, straight up and down, and feel very masculine. There’s nothing wrong with that – but it’s not the style I was looking for. This tan faux leather dress is cut into a subtle skater style dress, coming in at the waist before floating out. This, for me, is a far more flattering cut, and doesn’t scrunch the dress up if you want to belt it. The sleeve also have a slight puff to them, with volume at the shoulder that looks gorgeous.
I wore this with the snake print effect western boots and a simple black ring buckle belt. It would look absolutely killer with heels and a minibag for a date night!
Senorita wrap dress
Loved the new depths playsuit, but fancied something longer? This gorgeous polka dot wrap dress will see you through the seasons. Worn alone on warm days, or perfect for layering. Wrap dresses are one of my favourite styles – they never get boring and are so easy to wear. The Senorita is part of the brand new season, and the wrap style shows off a little bit of leg. Dress up with heels and a clutch, of down with trainers or boots.
Dusk Til Dawn dress
Oh hello pink corduroy smock dress! The Dusk Til Dawn dress is another newbie and I was a bit obsessed. Smock dresses are so comfortable and easy to wear, and this plunge neckline adds extra sass. This looked super cute on its own, but I decided to belt it for an edgier look. Emma showed me how to tie the belt in a neat knot, and paired with the chunky boots, it looked fab!
So, what did I come away with?
After falling in love with the Sugar and Spice dress, it was the first item to be snapped up. Mum had worn the Tie The Knot sandals almost the entire time, and I’d done the same with the black boots, so I treated myself to those too. They’re very Dr Martin-esque, but the slight heel gives them more height, and the mock croc print is gorgeous. The rivet belt paired so well with everything, so I knew I had to have that for £10. And lastly, I brought the Free Spirit zebra print dress, because it was to die for.
What mum wore
Emma picked out some stunning outfits for my mum to try on. Dressing rooms conjure the same anxious feeling for mum as they do for me, but she was put at ease the moment she tried on her first dress and fell in love. The experience certainly left her feeling more confident, with a spring in her step and an idea in her head of the kind of styles she can shop for in the future too.
She’s written all about her outfits in this blog post – but I’m going to share my favourite looks below. You can see the rest in her post! Mum ended up buying one of the dresses, as well as the Tie The Knot heeled sandals – which I’m sure she’ll let me borrow if I ask nicely. We’ve both got our eyes on a few new-in pieces for post-payday purchases, too!
Here are some of the outfits my mum absolutely rocked – read her blog post here: