Family: Janet Christie's Mum's the Word

My personal shopper advises a fashion rethink



Iknow what I want to do for a career,” says Youngest Child.

“Oh good, what?”

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“Personal shopper.”

“Yes, I could see that,” I say.

“Yes, I like choosing outfits for my friends…”


“... and family.”

Here we go. I’m about to pack a case and my choice of clothing has obviously attracted scrutiny. Everyone’s an expert.

“That dress, it’s like when the telly goes all fuzzy,” says the BoyF, giving away his vintage. You may remember how the signal would go and the screen filled with racing monochrome lines and zigzags and your dad would march over to the “set” and give it a firm slap on the top to restore World in Action.

“I like it,” I say. “And the cocoon shape is very in.”

“Tent-y,” he says. “Just trying to help.”

“Well you’re not,” says Youngest. “It’s not like you have any idea of fashion AT ALL. Just look at yourself. That dress is NICE,” she says to him, firmly. His face is shut.

Then she turns back to me. “But, that top, no. That jacket, no… Right, if we leave now…”

“Aw. I’m meant to be meeting my friends, at a thing. They’ve got a booth next to the bar…” I see her face.


Twenty minutes later we’re in the shopping centre, she’s cutting a swathe through a store as I trot behind her, and she’s piling me up with items, another ten minutes and I’m in a changing room with four tops, two dresses, a skirt, a jacket, some socks, shoes, and she’s clutching a hair bobble with a fluffy pom pom. “That’s for me,” she says and leaves to browse the scratchy undercrackers while I try things on.

She’s right. I’d never have chosen any of these, but I like them. Sold, well some of it, most goes back for economic or lifestyle reasons (gorgeous red ra-ra skirt, but where, when?)

“Thank you, you have great taste,” I say as we leave. “You get that from your granny.”

“You’re welcome,” she says. “You do too, but you just have to be a bit careful, because sometimes you can look a bit too ‘mum’.”