There is only one thing that compares to standing in a changing room in a bikini. Standing there in jeans. But shopping for a new skinny in the relaunched denim section at Start London is like ripping off a plaster - quick and relatively painless.
So how does presenter and fashion expert Brix Smith Start make jean shoping, dare I say it, enjoyable? First the jean queen asks me what I'm searching for and looks at my figure. After a quick glance she knows what size I am in everything in the stockroom. There is a reason why Brix has been dubbed the denim doctor for a decade. She knows her stuff.
Brix then picks out three, at a push four, styles for me to try on. These are then ranked in order and lined up along the dressing room wall. You try on the gold jean first, followed by the silver and then the bronze. Well why wouldn't you start with the best? Brix will then throw in a wild card for fun; in my case a Citizens of Humanity rolled up boyfriend.
Brix and her team of qualified denim doctors won't lie to you. 'See there, where the denim makes your leg look like sausage meat?' she draws attention to my badly fitting Nudies. But you don't spend long looking in the mirror at your muffin top, as you are instructed to whip the baddies off immediately and the 'denim waste' is quickly removed from the changing room. The motto is don't dwell. Plus as Brix says, being shown what doesn't work helps you understand what does.
So what are Brix's top tips for a successful denim hunt? You must see jeans at their best (paired with killer Sophia Webster heels), and at their worst (sans stiletto). As for colours, Start stocks classic dark denim as these are 'flattering and sophisticated'. They don't do pattern. As Brix says 'a good dark jean can make you feel good on a fat day.' The word investment is also used a lot, as Brix says a good quality pair of jeans should last for a decade.
When you leave Start you know your purchase actually fits as the denim doctors do a thorough check up - tugging at the fabric under the bum, checking the length and examining the waistband. Plus her predictions are incredibly precise - my gold jean (the Goldsign skinny) was the best of the three.
The best thing about the visit is the speed. After less than twenty minutes Brix turns to me and says 'that's it, you're cooked.' Oh and in case you were wondering, to my surprise, I went for the wild card.
Between the 4th-10th November Start boutiques will be running a personalised denim fitting service lead by Brix Smith Start, with the chance for shoppers to win a free pair of jeans and receive a surprise gift. Call 0207 7293334 to make your appointment with the denim doctor.