Discovering My “Inner Shopper” in New York

Three hours with a personal shopping consultant!

That was a prize in a contest I won at New York’s Time Warner Center.

Columbus Circle in Winter IMG_3817Back in January 2012, on a Winter weekend visit to New York City, I had stopped by the Time Warner retail center to pick up a gift for my wife back home.

It has long been one of my favorite spots to relax with a cup of tea, looking out of its huge wall of windows to view Columbus Circle and the beginning of Central Park.

While gift shopping, I was invited to fill out an entry form for a contest. Though I always assume I’ll never win, it was a harmless enough entry. What were the odds?

Apparently, better than I expected.

At the end of March I received a notification letter: I was a winner.

The “ultimate shopping experience” would take place on our chosen date during an early autumn trip to New York City.

I knew that some friends would chuckle at that prize. With most clothes encounters, I’ve been known to focus quickly on the practical and the familiar, zipping through a typical shopping trip as a task, not an exploration.

Yet there was a part of me that was secretly thrilled at the prospect.

I’ve never hesitated to ask opinions while shopping, but understandably the response has been limited. Store clerks have other customers. Friends have their own shopping. My wife has been great but she, too, has her limits.

Here was somebody whose job was to answer my questions. My only trepidation was that our personalities would clash. Instead fashion consultant pro Sarah Shirley instantly made me feel comfortable.

NYC Shop 0920 IMG_4189Sarah started out inviting me to share memorable clothes and fashion moments I remembered. Amazingly, I came up with three almost immediately.

After coffee at Starbucks we set to work for a morning of store hopping at the Time Warner Center.

There were no life-changing makeovers, but Sarah suggested expanding styles and colors, looking at different dress shirts and ties, mixing in more brown, cranberry, burgundy, and olive colors. Also adding more casual attire including polo shirts, sports jackets, and stylish jeans.

At Pink IMG_4193We spent time at Cole Haan, Hugo Boss, Pink, and J. Crew. With me in tow, Sarah took command at each stop. I’ve never before had such personal attention from store clerks.

The time flew by. We couldn’t begin to finish it all in a “mere” three hours, and Sarah knew that. She summarized her recommendations at the end, and followed up with a detailed email.

Now I’m applying the lessons back in Chicago. Equally important, I’m carrying a newfound appreciation for the art of smart, fashionable sartorial shopping, as I work down the checklist of items, from head to toe.

Never thought I’d say it but, after that New York experience with Sarah, clothes shopping can be fun!

Follow this link to see Sarah Shirley in action on TV. Website www.sarahshirley.com

© Copyright 2012 Walter J. Podrazik; Photos © Copyright 2012 Walter J. Podrazik

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