Today at Biba – Adventures in Birmingham

House of Fraser
September 20th 2010

I am not in the market for clothes, in fact I rarely am. I have so many and I love them all so I never utter the line ‘I have nothing to wear.’ The fact that most of my clothes are being held hostage 3300 miles away does not mean that I won’t have them back, hopefully sooner rather than later.
I think it was writing about shopping for a couple of days that made me walk into House of Fraser for a little light relief.

Upon entering the new Biba section, I’m instantly transformed to the little girl I was in the 1970’s looking at fashion magazines over my older sisters’ shoulders.
I don’t recall the skinny jeans (so not 1970s, surely) but the trademark flowing chiffon, embroidery, puffed shoulders and bat wing sleeves all ring a bell. I’d imagine more browns than greys but of course this is Biba 2010, not 1975.

I browsed for a while and was about to leave when pounced upon by the enthusiastic sales lady who immediately ran around finding me dresses to try on despite me answering ‘no’ to her question ‘Are you looking for anything special’.
I protested that because there are at least six of each item, my concern would be running into someone else wearing the exact same thing, which is my worst* nightmare.

Biba lady said that won’t happen as each item is available in different colours too. Oh, so there are 12 of each, so that makes worst nightmare even more likely.
She then showed me a lovely dress that was their ‘best seller’, again highlighting the chance of me running into an identically dressed woman.

I said anyway, the dress despite having other colours, is still black and I don’t really like to wear black also propounding the fact that other people are more likely to be wearing that too.
Finally, after showing me yet another black dress, she heard me say I like wearing colours such as purple…..

Before I could say I’ve already got a purple dress, I’m shown two purple dresses. I’m even persuaded to try on a said purple dress, annoyingly in my size and the one above, which I do providing I can try on a long, perfect with skinny jeans, grey, wool top. (Or sweater if you must). Turns out the smaller dress fits me fine, if a little loose and this top is perfect.

I then leave all the items in the changing room and make my escape via the Mango section.

This is about listening to what your customer wants not about my dislike of wearing too much black.
If Biba lady had listened, I’d have happily spent £55 which on a quiet Monday morning I imagine her employer welcomes.
I’m not in the market for a gorgeous, grey top and it is rare indeed I pay full price for anything but this I will have got a lot of wear out of over the coming months.

I may still do, let’s see how I feel tomorrow.

*not worst nightmare generally, but in the ‘wearing same clothes a someone else in the room’ category.

One thought on “Today at Biba – Adventures in Birmingham

  1. I’ve been in House of Fraser once maybe even not that – and that was only because one of the newspapers had a deal with them about a free scarf or something like that. (Yep it was that memorable lol)

    I buy mainly from supermarkets because they are convenient – I don’t have to pay for parking, I’ve not got to fight through town in my lunch break or on a Saturday – yeah sometimes it’s nice to spend a little more but other than pajamas the last 4 items of clothing I bought were from the US. 3 were from Threadless and the 4th was from an Etsy based company called Gothic Cupcake.

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