(Image via Jigsaw)
I don't know whether it is becoming older, or just becoming more grumpy, but the thing I hold above any other when it comes to shopping is not price or quality or trends, it is service.
And while I don't earn the salary that I did when I was in London, and should really go back to shopping at slightly more affordable shops I have to admit that I would rather buy less (and certainly of higher quality) for the main reason that the service is infinitely better.
Even when I was in my early twenties and couldn't even think about shopping anywhere more expensive than Topshop, I hated shopping there because I always felt my presence was such a burden on the poor sales assistants who would really rather you buggered off so they could continue discussing their social lives and planning what hideously on trend and intimidating outfit they would assemble for their next working day.
The first time I ever stumbled on really good service was in a little boutique in Santa Cruz. I wanted a pair of jeans and was filing through the rails in a half hearted manner until the lady working there offered her help. She dispatched me to a fitting room (a huge room with plenty of space, a thick velvet curtain that wouldn't have revealed any of my naked person to prying eyes, even if I had wanted it to, and great lighting) and brought pair upon pair of jeans for me to try. I bought a pair that barely left my person for the coming years, and I might even have shed a tear for them when they finally gave up the ghost. I spent more money than I ever have before or since on jeans and I did so mostly because of the service. Yes, the jeans were great, but the experience was even better.
I have been on the look out for a similar experience ever since and have never quite found it until recently, in Jigsaw where I have been helped by a lovely girl with the most amazing style and delightful manner. I can't even express the pleasure of shopping with someone who loves fashion as much as I do. Who gets properly excited about it and who really wants to find the right things for you. And for it not to be all about selling but to help you get the best possible things you can.
So when I go to the wedding in a few weeks wearing some of the bits that she helped me pick out I will know that I couldn't be happier with what I am wearing and that I couldn't be happier with where I am shopping. Yay!