I am a big fan of shopping in boutiques because I love the personal service you get there. Department Stores are great but they do lack the personal touch.
Nothing beats a boutique, where the owner has personally chosen her stock.
I am not averse to looking further afield, because you can find different labels and more variety.
However, the pandemic has forced even reluctant online shoppers like me to shop from home. But I miss the personal touch. I miss the entire experience of visiting the shop. And I am not good at it. It is so difficult to judge sizes. Plus, I need to touch the material to see if it is heavy or flimsy.
The successful boutiques have their websites, but also offer advice and help on the phone.
Charisma Fashions in Charleville, Co. Cork since 1994 went online four years ago, but the pandemic forced them to upgrade even further their online presence. If you browse the website, you can see that the owner Maria chooses brands that cater for women of different ages. She tells me she has a loyal following from the area and further afield.
Maria started off as a beauty therapist with Clarins and also holds a style and image certificate. This is, of course, an added advantage and helps to connect with clients on a personal level, knowing what shape, colour and style will complement individuals.
Not everyone can judge from a website what might suit them and so Maria is available at the end of a phone to help. She got in touch with me recently and asked if I would review some of her collection.
I was very impressed with the website, which I found easy to navigate. And there were labels which were new to me such as Cecil, Street One and Brakeburn. And then also more familiar ones such as Freddy Jeans and B Young.
The range of accessories is pretty spectacular with a wide variety of hats, scarves, handbags (lots of backpacks and cross-bodies), footwear and Quay sunglasses listed.
Prices are very reasonable and there are some sale items going for a song.
What I Wore
My first choice was this Cecil Sand raincoat priced at €129 99. I was attracted to the colour and the wonderful details. And let’s face it. We all need a raincoat or two in our wardrobe and this one has it all. I was told that these were German and generously sized, so I could have sized down. I opted for medium; small would have been better.
Similarly with the Street One faded green dress €69.99 (below), I went for a medium, but a small would have been perfect. I love the paisley print and it is extremely comfortable to wear. I just added the belt to give it some shape. If I had size 10. I would have left it loose.
The boots are two years old from M&S and the belt is about 40 years old from the first suit I ever bought. Wish I had the suit now.
I was immediately drawn to the colour of this Brakeburn cardigan at €59.99 (below). Soft and comfortable to wear (organic cotton), it would be a perfect addition to any wardrobe. This time, the 12 is a perfect fit. Here, I paired it with a Coast top and Next flares, both several years old. Animal print belt and shoes finish the look.
And finally I had to show you these white Docs. I ordered 7 and am usually 6 1/2 and 6 would have been plenty big enough. But they are seriously comfortable and make a bit of a statement. Priced at €50, buy these for your daughter and you can borrow them. I was very impressed at the incredible bargains in footwear on the site.
The jeans are from Paula’s Malahide and the shirt is an old Top Shop purchase.
So pop on over to www.charismafashion.ie and have a look at their website. As I said earlier, it is very easy to navigate and if you want advice then you can phone and talk to Maria 00353 (0) 63 21855, who can help you with sizes and styling.
Love Hilda x