Proof that you don’t have to move away from the bright lights of Manchester for that ‘dream job’
Jodie Subachus is the personal shopper for Selfridges Manchester. She reveals her style secrets to our friends over at Company magazine.
Is there a fast-track course to shopping genius? I don’t think so. For me, it just started with a love of clothes, putting outfits together and trying new things. I suppose the skill is in knowing what you like, and then applying it to other people; it’s about gaining their trust and building relationships. I’ve become good friends with many of my clients, most of them are regulars who have shopped at Selfridges for up to seven years. Also I did contemporary art and design at uni and I’m a big admirer of fashion illustration, which helps inform my work.
My favourite people to shop with are my regulars – it’s just like having your friends pop in for a coffee, or a glass of bubbly, and a mooch over the latest collections. Shopping every day means I rarely have an off moment. Obviously there are the usual problems – every girl has body hang-ups and they’re the first thing they focus on. But, most of the time, no one else would notice, so it’s about overcoming people’s self-conscious vision of themselves as well as finding a style that suits them. Shopping should be fun, not stressful, and that’s what I’m here for.
As for celebs, my lips are sealed! Our customer confidentiality is really important and that’s the case with all clients, whether they’re in the public eye or not. Actually, all my high-profile clients are just like everyone else, no divas or entourages.
I’ll never forget the time a woman cried tears of joy. She hated shopping so much that her husband usually did it for her and he’d booked her in with me as a surprise. She was so nervous and unsure about the whole thing but, fast-forward two hours, she was jumping around crying with happiness. It was so lovely seeing her progress from beginning to end. She didn’t want to leave the store when it was over. But she left delighted with a whole new wardrobe.The Manchester store is smaller than the London giant. We have more or less the same brands – including Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermès – just in smaller departments. But if our clients want something specific, we call it up from London.
Shopping tips from a professional? I would say read fashion magazines, such as Company. They are great for showing what’s going on in the style world. I wouldn’t recommend jumping on every trend because one look doesn’t suit all. But it helps to know what’s available and where to get it. Online is always a good place to start, so you can see what you like before you set foot in a shop.
Kate Bosworth is a total style icon, she carries herself and her clothes really well, also Vanessa Paradis is stunning in everything she wears, and I love Sienna Miller’s daytime look. It’s just so relaxed and she hasn’t tried too hard. Other than that, my style is influenced by my family. We’re a creative bunch and my siblings are quite stylish. When I look back at photos of my parents in the 1970s, they definitely had their own style going on.
My entire wardrobe isn’t from Selfridges, sadly. I tend to buy key pieces that will last, rather than impulse-buy new trends. I would rather invest in a couple of conventional pieces, along with a few high street bits to edge things up, and then I always have good staples in my wardrobe to adapt for any look.
I have my own style down, but I do like to mix things up a little. I follow trends to an extent, but not to the extreme. Instead, I’ll pick up on a trend I like but try to think of a new way to make it my own. My go-to safe style rut is definitely an oversized jumper dress – we all have our own comfort zones and I’m no exception.
The full interview with Jodie appears in the June issue of Company, on sale now