Perhaps you can identify with that euphoric feeling of discovering a pre-loved treasure, or maybe you’re more familiar with the pangs of guilt at having gorgeous unworn items lurking at the back of your wardrobe? Whichever camp you belong to, breathe a sigh of relief: entrepreneur Virginie Alvarez is here to help with her recently launched online platform, My Wardrobe Mistakes.
Hi Virginie, congrats on your new venture! What is the concept behind My Wardrobe Mistakes?
I am very passionate about fashion, beautiful materials, leather, fabrics, artisanal work and tailoring. I inherited my love for fashion from my grandmother and I have been lucky enough to work in the industry for the whole of my career to date. I worked for Agatha in Paris and then in London, for Liberty and Farfetch.
My lifestyle and body changed after I had my kids – I had to change the way that I dressed! It’s impossible to wear heels when you are running around all the time and I have so many beautiful pieces that I have never worn just hanging in my wardrobe.
I realised after the birth of my second child that the most precious value I have in life is time. I want to help women, to help them feel strong and beautiful with their clothes, so combining the things I know the most, I decided to offer a concierge service to sell all these amazing pieces “hassle free” – from a quick collection to a proper “wardrobe fixer” who stays with you for at least 90 minutes.
For the buyers, we offer excellent customer service, we have the capacity to reply with photos, details and measurements (any queries basically) in less than five hours and to let them “See, Touch and Try” the items they selected on the website at their place too.
Second-hand doesn’t have to be boring, hidden or something to be ashamed of. Lots of the items we have on MY WARDROBE MISTAKES are new with labels, they have been worn less than on the shop floor where lots of people might have been trying them on, bought and also returned…
Tell us about your journey in fashion. When did you realise you wanted a career in the industry?
As soon I was able to, I started to work in shops in Paris – I wanted to get enough money to buy clothes without having to ask my parents. At 16, it was my dream to work for Louis Vuitton, I always liked their fashion but more for the beautiful materials and fabrics.
Can you share with us a few of the highlights visitors will discover on the site?
You can see some absolutely beautiful Chanel jackets and coats, I’m not sure if it’s because I am French but for me it has always been the Holy Grail. We have some superb Louboutin, some Céline leather goods to die for – it’s really amazing to see that everyone has stories with their pieces, clothes, bags, shoes – it’s so personal. They are like memories of your life, milestones.. My sellers have taken so much care of their clothes that they want to pass them on to someone who will do the same.
What is your most treasured pre-owned piece?
A classic black Chanel jacket, amazing from the neckline to the buttons. I can wear it with my daily uniform (sneakers/jeans/pullover) as well as with a beautiful dress.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to personal style?
I do believe that we should only wear what we like to wear and wear it well! I can’t do high heels, I would love to, really but my feet say no. There is no point. I just lower the size of the heels or wear some beautiful flats and that’s it. I love them, I love wearing them and when I walk I feel myself, I feel sexy, strong and confident.
Who is your fashion icon?
I admire beautiful ladies – they don’t have to be perfect – just these women that walk and you can see they breathe confidence, they’re strong they’re powerful, they are beautiful.
I love Julia Roberts and her amazing smile, Giovanna Engelbert (Bat_Gio) for all the beautiful colours she wears – always with a smile too, Kate Moss, Keira Knightley and Vanessa Paradis.
Fashion and flowers have a long-standing relationship. What is your favourite stem?
I am a huge fan of plants and flowers. I have green plants with me that I have had for more than six years, they’re the first things I bought when I moved to London!
When I was a kid, in our garden we had millions of flowers as my mum loves gardening and flowers, but my true passion is hydrangeas. We had a huge hydrangea bush that I loved – we were always cutting them to take to my grandmother – and when my parents moved house, my mum insisted that she take them with her and plant them in the new house, on the right hand of the entrance door, exactly as in the first house. This is our family flower.
I buy flowers every week – cacti, flowers, green plants. When I started to work for Farfetch in Goswell Road, I passed by the old McQueens shop on Old Street every day and I always stopped to look at the windows – I truly admire the people that master floristry. It’s an art, playing with colours, textures, lengths and shape. Flowers make me so happy, it’s pure natural beauty. You understand the power of nature when you look at flowers, the perfection, the harmony of size, the variety of colours, shapes and smells. Flowers make me want to protect the planet and its natural resources even more!
For daily updates, follow My Wardrobe Mistakes on Instagram.