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I love selling preowned designer and gorgeous vintage clothing, shoes and accessories. Especially when someone finds something that they really love. It really is a buzz thinking that I selected the item and someone loves it. But what do you do when someone asks for your opinion on the fit or look of a garment, especially if you don’t really like it?

In general I think that honesty is generally the best policy. Not in the way of some people who say they just have to tell the truth and then volunteer a negative comment, but when an opinion is needed. This then begs the question “what is the truth?”.

It barely needs to be said, but people come in all shapes and sizes. They also have different taste and like things to fit in different ways. And these differences should be celebrated (take note Nicky Hambleton-Jones (who always wanted people in coloured tights) and Trinny and Susannah (who advocated stretchy boots to all and sundry for a time)). What you need to bear in mind when asked for an opimion is that the person asking is an individual. So if they like to wear clashing colours then advising that the colours clash in a negative way is missing the point. And I think the worst thing ever to say is that you wouldn’t wear it. They aren’t asking. They are trying to fathom out if they look acceptable according to their own fashion and style rules.

It’s easy enough to get the theory but putting it into practice is always difficult. A customer once bought a trapeze dress which was incredibly tight across her back and bust. She wavered for ages and I agreed with her that it was tight but she wanted it and she bought it. A couple of weeks later she popped in again. She was wearing a wrap dress which I would have said was two sizes too small. But clearly that is how she likes to dress. So I was happy to sell her a top on the second occasion which was equally “fitted”! Who am I to tell her how to dress?

But that sounds glib. It often is very difficult to know what to say. If they are asking for your opinion then they clearly like the garment but are torn. There are times when I have agreed a negative aspect and the customer hasn’t made a purchase. But it is really tricky knowing what to say and at times I really struggle. So if anyone has any tips I would be very grateful for them. Or if you have any stories of such dilemmas then please share them here. Xxx

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