I met Jackie on the first leg of the Princess Round the World Cruise. Actually we were bobbing in the warm waters of the Arabian Sea when we first said “Hi” . We were on a Desert Safari and Wadi Tour in Oman.
Jackie hails form Kent, in England. She’s married to Richard (they’ve just celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary) and she’s just turned 59 years old. As you’ll see from her photos, she’s drop dead gorgeous and once upon a lifetime, not so many years ago she was a personal shopper.
I got together one day with Jackie in The Nook Bar on Sea Princess for a coffee and chat, and she let me into some of her personal shopper confessions as well as giving me some great style tips to share with Lifestyle Fifty readers.
Jackie’s chatty, friendly, funny and disarming and believes that everyday is special. “There’s always a point in the day to celebrate something,” she said, “and of course every day is special when you’re cruising!”
What do you need to be a Personal Shopper?
“I was a personal shopper for 8 years at a department store in England. I guess I was just lucky to have a good eye for what looks good on someone. I completed some style courses and the Colour, Style and Fit training too, but when it comes down to being a personal shopper what you really need is a good sense of what suits people.”
What was the most common question people asked you?
“People would come up to me and say, ‘Help Me! I need your help. I hate shopping!’. So I’d say, come and have a coffee and sit down and we’d have an informal chat. The personal shopping service was free for customers and there was no obligation to buy anything. I think I had an uncanny knack of drawing them into my world very quickly and they trusted me, then I could help them find something to suit them for the occasion they were attending.”
“One day I booked someone a 10 minute slot for a chat to find out what they were looking for. Anyway, it wasn’t a woman, but rather a guy who booked in. He was very tall and dressed in a suit. As I was talking to him he said I have to tell you it’s women’s clothes I’m looking for. Anyhow, it was a bit of a challenge, one way and another, to find this very tall man an outfit to fit and suit him in the women’s clothing department – I found him – a long skirt, and a jacket and a nice soft blouse, a bit of jewellery a small handbag. My job was never boring.”
Top Style Tips
Jackie told me that she believes style means different things to different people, but there are a few tricks of the trade which can take an outfit from just “Blah” to “Beautiful.”
Bling it up
If you’ve got a few basic bits of jewellery you can change the look of an outfit. Don’t be afraid of a bit of bling and don’t think about an outfit just as just the clothes you’re wearing. It doesn’t matter how down you’re feeling, or how little you want to dress up – even if you’re tired grab a few pieces of costume jewellery – like a big ring, a colourful bracelet or sparkly earrings and pop them on. Jewellery can lift your spirits because people will compliment you and say, ‘I love your jewellery’, and they look at your jewellery rather than at how tired you think you might look. There’s nothing like a compliment to lift your spirits. I say that everybody needs a bit of cheap costume jewellery in their wardrobe.
To hide a tummy
There are several ways of doing this.
First of all, my number one suggestion – avoid ‘hold-in’ pants. You know the ones I mean – the tight spandex kind. They can be so uncomfortable and there are other ways to hide your tummy.
You don’t want to sausage-up in tight control underwear. I don’t believe in it. Women used to give me hugs and kisses about this point when I was a personal shopper! Rather look for an outfit that camouflages your tummy.
A-Line dresses that are cut on a bias that move with you are great. Joseph Ribkoff (available on Sea Princess) is very good example of great styles created for women our age who might not want to show-off their tummies!
Find an outfit thats comfortable. It’s the way you dress your tummy that matters.
Rouching is good, stripes are actually good too.
Belts should be worn low – position them in a V that crosses over your lower belly because then people are looking at the belt line, not the tummy.
I love high heels for special occasions but I love my ‘Snap Shoes’ which are flip-flop ‘Jellies’ sandals with co ordinating snap on tops – they’re great for daytime holiday wear.
Pack the basic pair (they glitter on their own) and buy different snap-on tops to co-ordinate with your clothes – silver, gold and bronze.
I hate scarves but I learnt this trick from someone else – and the trick is – always carry a scarf with you.
There are so many scarves on the market, from neck scarves to pashminas, and a scarf, any scarf can really pick up an outfit.
You can wear the same outfit both day and night, just scrunch up a scarf in your handbag and use it to help transform the outfit for for the night time event.
A vibrant scarf with colour is a key piece to have in your wardrobe. Introducing colour into your day time look will change it instantly.
There are lots of ways to wear a scarf and so many ways to wear a pashmina. You can turn it into a bolero (tie it around your back) for instance – don’t just drape it around your shoulders in a droopy way. A pashmina can kill an outfit or make it look amazing.
My tip is to never wear a solid black scarf unless you have a very good reason to. Don’t try and conquer an outfit with black. Rather pick up a soft black scarf with a pattern, or a lacy one that you can see through if you need to – but solid black is not a good idea.
For a cruise
You need a good capsule wardrobe – pack a couple of key camisoles or plain T shirts.
Pack a couple of button down shirts, because if you’re going out on a ship you can wear a shirt as a light jacket unbuttoned over a camisole, or in the evening wear it with the buttons done up and with the sleeves rolled up to make it a bit more sexy. Then add some jewellery or a scarf and it will look quite different.
You can transform trousers too – take some long trousers which you can roll up into capri style pants to make them look more relaxed.
Avoid plain colours for show pony pieces. Don’t be afraid to introduce colour and pattern into your wardrobe and jewellery.
Scarves – pack different scarves to jolly up various outfits.
Take a good, warm but fashionable, fleece jacket – not one like an anorak though.
A little black dress that finishes below the knee doesn’t always work well. My tip is to have it finish just above the knee of go for a full-on maxi – both of these can often be more flattering.
Take a pair of sunglasses. Even if you only ever wear them on top of your head they can be worn to bump-up your hair, and they square things up to be more flattering. Sunglasses are like another piece of jewellery for me. And if they have a bit of bling or logo on the side it helps lift your look. Sunglasses worn like this can camouflage things – such as if your hair needs highlights, if the roots are showing perhaps.
I always suggest packing a couple of pairs of wide linen trousers – linen creases but that’s a characteristic of the fabric – so that’s okay because you don’t want lots of ironing to do on holiday!
Alway draw attention to your good bits. Everyone has problem areas, just don’t focus on them. If your legs are a problem area then wear a long dress and wear pretty shoes. People will look at your pretty shoes instead. Oh, and you don’t need five inch heels – sparkly shoes work just as well.
Why Princess Cruises ?
Because I met Jackie cruising from Australia to Dover, and being a cruise newbie myself I asked her, “Why a Cruise?”
“Cruising was never on my agenda as a way of holidaying or travelling because my hubby and I were thinking of touring Europe on a motorbike. But four years ago we cruised to Alaska and it completely changed our perspective about travel and we realised just how many places we could get to on a ship.
Waking up in a different place each morning really broadened our outlook on travel and we visited places we never thought were possible. It’s allowed us to visit some amazing destinations in a chic style.
I think you put your own slant on a cruise – you can go to bed with your hot chocolate if you want or go to a show, or go dancing.
Cruising has broadened our horizons and knowledge, in so many ways. We’ve done 8 cruises and travelled the world and met so many different people. It’s the most fantastic way of meeting new people if you’re single, divorced or bereaved. I say just do it in this case. You wouldn’t go into a nice Italian restaurant at 8pm by yourself at home, but here you can go into the restaurant and be put on a table with different people and two days later you’re in, and you’ve got a new group of friends.”
Words of wisdom from Jackie
- Believe in yourself.
- Don’t try and be something you’re not.
- Don’t compete or try to be something you think you should be Do what comes naturally.
- Be confident in your own skin – there are no rules and regulations about being skinny or using botox as you get older – rather grow old gracefully.
- Look after your health. Eat sensibly, don’t be a saint, but don’t abuse your health – and try and do as much exercise as you’re physically able to do – even 15 mins on a walking machine will make you feel good – the endorphins will lift you and you’ll begin to feel more confident.
Thanks so much Jackie! It was lovely chatting with you – and I hope to see you soon – on your next cruise (which I know you have booked already!).
I’m a Guest of Princess Cruises, but all opinions are my own.