Being a writer for a website can be fun. Writing articles regarding the sartorial knowledge of Train Spotters, John Major’s dinner or reviewing the latest envelope glue sensation can only be rewarding and enjoyable. So imagine my distress at being given the task of reviewing Topman’s new Personal Shopping service at their flagship store on London’s Oxford Street. It’s a tough job but somebody’s got to do it.
Having opened its shiny doors in late May, this new Topman venture places you in the very capable hands of one of five shoppers; years of experience in the industry means they know what will work for you with just one look. Available in a 30 minute ‘Express’, an hour ‘Edit’ and the 2 hour ‘Experience’, it is important to note that no matter how long your service, it’s free of charge with no obligation to buy.
An emphasis on ‘shiny’ is needed when describing the ‘hangout space’ as pictured on their website, and what a great pad it is. Designed by club, restaurant and former designer for Westwood (Vivienne, not Radio 1’s Tim), Lee Broom creates a cool, flowing pad which oozes cool. From the bludgeoning lights to the Xbox 360 in its cubby hole in the wall, underneath the flat screen (with Kinect above of course), the room is relaxed and understated cool – fit for the sartorial gent you will soon become.
Wanting very much to grace its curving blue sofa, I went about booking an appointment, which gave some trouble. Using the websites booking service (which offers appointments from 10am to 8pm and even two years in advance) was simple enough, but my first booking received no conformation and my second only an e-mail to say that my booking time had passed – I’d been e-mailed 3 hours after the proposed time, asking for a new time – so I decided to use the phone service.
The phone was promptly picked up and having given measurements – be more prepared than I was, fishing down one’s trousers looking for a label whilst on the phone is not ideal – shoe size, contact details, budget and what you wanted from the service (clothes for every day, an occasion etc.), a date and time was arranged.
So it was at 9:50 I found myself putting a quick version of the London walk (aka: walking very fast) on down Oxford Street. The shopping suite is on the third floor, slightly hidden in a corner, just past the small coffee shop. Don’t think that it is not impressive however. Its large white and gold automatic double doors swish open occasionally and you can’t help but take a peek; its bright gold fixings and outfits on the wall within catch the eye before the door closes again. There is a definite thrill as you walk toward the doors, as others can only look on through the clothing rails.
You enter to an immediate greeting from your personal shopper. There are three shoppers who are busy sorting outfits and they were all very friendly, finding time to greet me. My shopper was the lovely Claire who guided me to the solitary changing room to show some general clothes she had pre-picked for me.
It was a wide array, from chinos to printed tees; most of which were in my pre-arranged budget, with only one item above. These were nice and already fit me well (you can see some of the examples already interspersed within this article). All the while I was being offered free water, coffee or beer, which I was offered throughout my hour shopping period.
After telling Claire more about my personal style and that I was looking for a few summer items, we browsed both of the clothing floors, looking at a wide range of items. What was great is that Claire was very genuine in her decisions. If she didn’t like an item of clothing or didn’t think it would suit me, she would walk by. She pointed out the new swim shorts Topman have released, saying they are great for this summer but when I said I didn’t need a pair, we whisked off to see shoes instead. I didn’t feel that I was being pressurised in any way, the shopper is not pushy, just advising.
We went back to try clothes on in the ‘hangout space’. Claire was enthusiastic, calling me out from the changing room to see how everything fitted, being very honest once again. If something didn’t fit, she went back to the store to retrieve a more suitable fit.
I’d brought with me a challenging item; a green bow tie with white spots. It wasn’t so much a test for the shopper but a genuine need of help. The bow tie was an impulse buy that needed the correct clothing to go with it. Claire sorted a great looking blazer in complementary sage green. She even got the other shoppers involved and soon an outfit was made around my bowtie, a great collaboration between the shoppers. The curve ball of the bow tie was dealt with very well.
After I’d tried everything and decided to buy the blazer, I sat down and had a brief chat with shopper Tom (a man whose hair made me break the tenth commandment – Thou shall not covet anything that is thy neighbour’s, also he is a Fashionbeans.com fan) about general things but soon I’d left happy with my purchase and with a greater knowledge of clothes that suit me.
Topman personal shopping is certainly a must! With friendly, stylish experts in the field who are very enthusiastic about both you and fashion, they made for a very enjoyable, constructive hour.
If I was to have a complaint it would be the hangout. The beautiful room looks fantastic but is disappointingly small in reality compared to the pictures I had previously seen. Also, due to you being the only other person in it, it seems quite empty. If each shopper had a customer on the go, the room would be less uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like I could stay there and read the magazines on offer, let alone swing into the Xbox Kinect! It was a minor issue and not overly important when you are looking for clothes, but the room has much more potential.
As I left I was told that next time I’m more than welcome to bring a friend and I was given a card for my receipt which said, ‘Thank You, see you again soon’. It is clear Topman would like this service to be something you come back to again and again, not just as a special occasion but as a weekend shop, and with service like I received, I think I might take up the offer. This is truly the future of high street menswear shopping.
All the products in this article were picked out by the personal shopper for me or the summer season in general.
Book an appointment for Topman Personal shopping at Topman Oxford Circus by:
As this article is over a year old, the comments are now closed.
If you have a specific question about one of the points raised in the article, why not join our free fashion & style forum and start a thread? The FashionBeans community will always do their best to help you out, and our writers also frequent the forums regularly.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us on our contact us page.