What the press say about DressMe

The Daily Telegraph
January 29th 2007
Judith Woods – ‘No Longer a desperate Housewife’


This is the one I have been dreading. Not only does it seem horribly personal, but I’m also keenly aware that I have far too many clothes. Anne Hamlyn pitches up with a full length mirror, a metal clothes-rail a tool-box full of labels, pins and plastic sacks for the charity shop. She makes me try on every garment in my wardrobe and with a pleasant ruthlessness tells me the sort of thing my best friend would never dare to (because I’d slap her).

“Makes you look like a hooker – and not in a good way” is her verdict on my suede mini. She doesn’t grab my breasts a la Trinny and Susannah, she does inform me that I am a sophisticated, grown woman, not a grungy student, and should be ashamed of my crushed, crumpled clothes. I must also stop wearing so much pink or I will start to look like Zandra Rhodes – or worse, Barbara Cartland.

I am curvy and feminine, apparently, and have a “highly individual” sense of style; sort of Helena Bonham carter with clean fingernails. She tells me I have gorgeous knees and must display them at every opportunity forcefully demonstrating her point by taking a pair of scissors to a skirt while I am wearing it, transforming it from frumpwear to yummy mummy must-have.

I finally rid myself of my 1990’s worksuits, the shockingly expensive blue dress that never suited me (label still attached0 and sundry other vaguely depressing items. At the end my wardrobe is a third of its size, but I unearth a lovely Clements Ribeiro number I haven’t seen for years and finally discover what to wear with my cashmere pink top. As I have tremendous trouble putting together outfits, Hamlyn does it for me, whisking out a hanger and putting on shirt, cardie, skirt and beads.

I am in awe; I didn’t even know I had beads.
For some clients, she photographs them in each ensemble and sends them the photos to pin inside their wardrobe. No need in my case, though, as I have barely any clothes left. But in the days that follow I look – and feel – fantastic, because I have no choice but to wear the clothes that suit me.

VERDICT: Utterly fabulous; every day is now best.

The Observer Sunday November 5, 2006

What sane and sensible woman would pay £1,000 for a makeover? Er, me...


Grayson Perry has an interesting theory that many activities we used to do casually, alone, in our spare time, are now becoming formalised or even professionalised. Thus, we no longer just read books, we join a book club; we no longer go for walks, we walk a treadmill in the gym (of course I am using 'we' rhetorically - I have never set foot in a gym). The same thing seems to be happening with shopping. Almost every woman I meet now claims to have a personal shopper, whose name and number she insists on giving me - I always take it badly because it seems tantamount to saying I need someone else to buy my clothes.

Of course, maybe I do need someone else to buy my clothes? I floated this idea past my good friend India Knight, whose opinion I trust on most subjects, and she said tactfully that, well, she had certainly found having a personal shopper very helpful. Gosh! I always thought she chose her own clothes - she dresses brilliantly but so idiosyncratically I wouldn't have thought there was a shop in London that could 'do' her look. But she explained that most people who say they have personal shoppers actually mean they have shop shoppers, ie they go to Selfridges or Liberty and sit in a changing-room while the in-house shopper whizzes round the store finding them clothes to try on. Which is fine up to a point, but what these in-house shoppers won't tell you is that, actually, there's a little boutique in Notting Hill that has just what you want. Whereas India has a real personal shopper, who goes round all the shops on her behalf and is truly independent. [...] Ooh, give me her name, I cried.

We make an appointment for Anne to come to my house for the preliminary consultation when she will look at the clothes I already own and suggest what else I need, before going shopping for me.

[At the consultation] She asks what I consider my best asset and I manage to stop myself saying my brain and suggest my forearms or possibly my cleavage. And my worst? Everything else. What sort of social events do I go to? And on what particular occasions do I find it difficult to dress confidently?

Actually I am confident about my clothes for quite a lot of the time - I have baggy old things for working at home, and slightly more respectable baggy things for gastropub lunches with friends. I have a comprehensive range of funeral outfits - summer/winter, country/town - and plenty of 'ethnic' kaftans and kimonos for evening parties. But the one thing I absolutely can't do is smart daywear: give me an invitation to lunch at Harry's Bar, and I'll give you a full-scale sartorial meltdown. As for my daughter's wedding, I still yelp to think of the demented green sea-monster outfit I devised. Why ever did I think that bladder wrack was a good look?

After the questionnaire, we proceed upstairs to my wardrobe and Anne starts pulling clothes out. If she likes them she puts them on her rail but more often she asks the killer question, 'When did you last wear this?' and, while I am still riffling through the mists of time, stuffs it cruelly into a black bin bag. She tells me I need lots more tops, sweaters and trousers and in different colours - I can't always wear black and aubergine. She thinks lime green would suit me. I think she is mad.

Anne's second visit is much more fun than the first because she comes laden with at least 20 huge shopping bags, a suit carrier, and her trusty clothes rail.

She left me with all these piles of new clothes. She said I could return any I didn't like after a week. For the first few days I eyed them balefully, The ‘Yes’ pile is all from M&S. It's odd. I have never seen sweaters this exciting in M&S, thinking I would return the lot. But then I had to go to a smart lunch so I thought I'd try one of the new tops with the [new] Dusan trousers and felt quite pleased with the result. . Since then, I have been gradually exploring my new wardrobe and wearing different outfits every day - even the lime-green sweater. Moreover, I have been receiving compliments everywhere I go, though often the sort of compliments - 'Lynn! You look really smart! What happened?' - that make you want to bite the person giving them. Several people asked if I'd lost weight (which I haven't) but evidently I look slimmer

But the really wonderful result is that she has rekindled in me an interest in clothes that has been in abeyance probably since my husband died. I now approach my wardrobe with interest and enthusiasm, thinking maybe today I could risk the lime-green sweater with a purple scarf. So thank you, Anne Hamlyn. I found it a very sticky experience and I imagine you found me a very sticky customer, but I am finally, gratefully, happy with the result.

Financial Times How to Spend It Magazine,
6th December 2006: Karen Wheeler ‘The Urban Outfitters’ p 94.

London-based stylist Anne Hamlyn, who set up the DressMe agency in May this year, prefers to put psychology before fashion. Her approach, she claims, is deeper than that of the average stylist, “My skill is figuring out how people feel about themselves. I like to really understand how they see themselves before putting together a set of clothes for them,” says Hamlyn 39, who trained as a sculptor and has a PhD in visual culture but has also worked as a sales consultant at Joseph and a fashion buyer. Some of her clients, she concedes, just want a new set of clothes and hire her because they do not have time to do it themselves. “But many come for a wardrobe consultation at a transition point in their lives – they might have switched career, had children or divorced. More often than not, they are chucking out their old personality.” Unusually Hamlyn does not usually go shopping with a client. Instead after assessing your wardrobe, she shops alone and returns with a selection of clothing...

Daily Telegraph, Wednesday November 22nd 2006-

Maria Fitzpatrick ‘Kelly Bag Sold to The Lady in Black’ (buying vintage is no longer just a fashion trend , it’s also a good investment...


"Don't trash things you love because they don't have investment value, or style value. Make a time-capsule box, with photos of when you wore them. You will always have those happy associations when you open it up, but they won't take up space in your wardrobe."
But, says Anne Hamlyn, who runs Dress Me, a personal shopping service, wearability is not the only factor. "People have a real emotional entanglement with their clothes, which shouldn't be neglected," she says.