We regularly get praised for our website, that it is clear and easy to navigate etc. However, it also brings problems from time to time so we wanted to point out a few things to help make it easier by creating this little guide to our website. People sometimes ask, why is it on your website if you don’t have it in stock? We understand how annoying this is but please be assured that nothing ever goes up that we won’t have or didn’t have in stock at some time in the current season. But here’s the explanation.

We do not sell online, and our website is only to give you an idea of the designers we stock. Our full range is not available to see online. We have a lot more available in store. Each designer only photographs a small selection of their collection, we will often have bought outfits that we do not have photos of, to be able to show online. Please note that we update the seasons images when the first delivery arrives from that designer. Sometimes not everything will have been delivered if it is still early in the season, so if you’re travelling to see one particular dress please check with us first that it is in stock. Likewise, as the season progresses, we can often be sold out of a particular outfit that still features online, so again, check before you travel. Also bear in mind that we generally only carry only one of each size, so the size 14 or whatever size might be sold by the time you come to shop.

Another thing that can happen is that a certain outfit comes in three different colours, we choose to buy the blue for example, but the designer chooses to photograph the coral. This means we have to put up the picture of the coral even though it’s the blue we have in stock! We do try to buy the colour that the sample comes in, but sometimes we just don’t like it and prefer a different colour and believe you our customer will too. Also we kind of like to have something different available!

We would also like to stress: often customers get very set on an idea after seeing an image online. Without ever having tried anything on, they decide that this is the dress they want. Trust me, this is rarely the way it works out. I’ve lost count of the amount of times customers come in with a picture on their phone of what they want to buy. When they see it and try it on, they can often be disappointed for lots of different reasons. Sometimes, they don’t even bother trying it on. You must remain open minded. Use the website only as a guide to the labels and looks we carry, don’t decide on anything from just looking at pictures of outfits on a 25 year old, size 8, 5 foot 10″ model, unless you are one! Come to the shop, dedicate some time, let us show you different styles and try on as much as you want. It’s the only true way to know what suits you.

Another little piece of advice…. don’t dismiss something straight off from the way it looks on the hanger. Sometimes dresses can look very stiff or the opposite, very limp, until they get a body into them. Try it on. If you’ve spent some time with one of our staff, they have gotten a feel for you and will be able to suggest styles you might overlook yourself. Again, I’ve lost count of the amount of times customers tell me when they’re purchasing “I would never have tried it on only for that lady”. They do this every day and have been doing it for years, they know what they’re doing, trust them!

Anyway, I’m wandering off the website topic, but not really! Another thing we often get asked is why don’t we sell online? We hope to never have to, to be honest! Without getting too political (!) I believe that online shops lead to closures of physical shops. And what will our towns and villages look like then? If we were an online shop, it would take maybe two or three of us to work out of a room somewhere that we would pay minimal rent on. Our staff costs and overheads of rent and rates etc would be slashed and we’d possibly be much better off financially. We have a team of 12 staff in total in Vanity Fair, three quarters of them would loose their job if we were an online shop. And if every shop did the same there’d be no jobs anywhere else for them. Online shops lead to less jobs, and without getting too feminist, it’s mainly females jobs it affects.

Yes I know, it’s much more convenient it’s great to be able to see something on your phone, click a button and have it delivered to your door the next day. But that’s not what shopping is to me! I want to feel the fabrics, I want to be surrounded by all the beautiful things, I want to try it on, I want someone to help me with the zip and bring me a pair of heels and a necklace! I want the actual physical experience and contact with another human being!! I’m only 41 but maybe I’m old fashioned!

It also brings me back to the point earlier about how you can’t judge how something will look on you by looking at a professional photograph of something on a model. Maybe it’s ok for a tshirt or a jumper or a pair of leggings but not for the kind of stock we mostly sell. If we were to sell online, I know that we would be just as busy with returns as we would be with sales. And how could we manage the stock? We like to mostly only buy one of each size to maintain some level of exclusivity of our stock, how could we do that if things were being sold and returned every day? No, I’d much prefer you to come and try it on and make sure you’re happy, which brings me to my final point.

If we were selling online, would I be fulfilling my passion? Absolutely not! Without a doubt the best part of my job is seeing a customer leave the shop feeling on top of the world. There is nothing more satisfying then spending your day talking to different people, hearing their stories and being part of their day even for a little while. In a world where we are forced to spend more and more time behind screens, or talking to recordings telling us to press numbers, or scanning our own shopping through fast lanes, I consider myself very lucky to spend my day interacting with actual people!! And I hope that never changes, I’ve no interest in spending my days behind a computer screen processing online orders and sending them on to anonymous people. I want to meet my customer and see how she smiles at herself in the mirror when she finds the perfect dress.

So ladies, get out to your local boutiques around the country and pop in and experience the wonderful personal service we all offer! One day in the not too distant future, it might be too late!.