I’m a long time Gok Wan fan – over the years I’ve watched How to Look Good Naked, Gok’s Fashion Fix, Fearne and Gok: off the Rails and as many This Morning fashion segments as I can catch when I’m not working.
Thanks to my awesome friend Lynsey’s (you’ll see more of her in a bit) suggestion, we recently headed to Sheffield to catch the man himsf live and in person as part of his ‘One Size Fits All’ brunch club when it made its way to Yorkshire last week.
This is the promo graphic used on the website, which I’m going to use as an honest review of the day. My overview was that it was a lovely supportive thing to attend, but a few opportunities were missed that could’ve really made it more on point.
But first, let’s talk outfits. You can’t head to a girly brunch without planning a cute look, right?
In my head I wanted to go for something that was quite easy and comfortable but that I still felt cool in. Leopard print and Faux leather seemed like it fit the bill (you’ll see the end OOTD a little further down with links).
Lynsey and I were so keen to start the day that we arrived in Sheffield City centre about an hour before we needed to, so had chance for a little wander around the sites and to snap a couple of pics.
It’s such a lovely place!
Sheffield was recently named the second best night out in the UK (the first was Manchester, us Northerners know how it’s done I guess) which from the hazy memories I have of time spent there in my twenties I can heartily attest to.
The event happened at Mercure Sheffield St Paul’s Spa which is a lovely venue right next to the Peace Gardens (the hotel was to the right of the below shot, there were too many people for an external shot to look nice)
Let me introduce Lynsey!
We’ve been friends for about 6yrs after meeting through work. She’s one of the loveliest and realest people I know, a great person to have a girls day with.
Team Gok brought along a lovely floral wall to have photos against, great start to any girly modern day girl event. I’ve posted the pics so you can see our outfits and the opening of the event, but I will say that I cannot stand how I look in them. I’m feeling crap about myself right now and, even though I felt good about how I looked when I left home that morning, I was so upset when I saw the harsh realities away from my home mirror.
I suppose though, if you’re gonna stand a chance of getting confidence from anywhere, it’s like to be from aunt Gok! I did get lots of lovely comments from other guests who liked my look, which was very kind of them.
After a glass of fizz to welcome us we headed to our table. I was VERY impressed by the styling, it reminded me of my wedding breakfast back in 2010 which may seem a bit OTT but it was perfect
Our table was was just 1 row back from the front so we had a great view when the man himself popped up to say hello and introduce himself.
although I didn’t get to personally speak to him he was everything I hoped he would be ; he also has a similar sense of humour to me which totally made me think we could be friends IRL. I will patiently await his call inviting me for a day of shopping and cocktails.
After a brief overview of the afternoon’s events it was time for food. Yay.
The website promised we would be served a 2 course, 5 star brunch. It was indeed 2 course (though I couldn’t eat the first course as I forgot to tell the venue I had an allergy to shellfish) but I’d liken it more to good quality hotel mass-catering event food (the kind we’ve all had at Christmas party nights etc) than 5 star.
Also, the food served couldn’t be classified as brunch in any way really – no breakfast food items, no brunch-related drinks (mimosa, bloody Mary, juices). This was what was served.
As I said the food was perfectly nice and tasty, but to offer it up as a top class brunch was misleading.
After food came the first catwalk show. Sadly there are no photos of these sections as everything was a bit too fast and came out blurry, which I didn’t want to I use as it doesnt show off the clothes very well.
I did however include a snap of this lil’ gal (Dolly, Gok’s Frenchie) who was happily wandering between tables being nosey and enjoying lots of attention.
The Gok team worked with a bunch of local boutiques and brands to help deliver this event. I really liked this idea as it shows what can be achieved using items in the area, however I couldn’t help but feel a teeny bit let down by the delivery of the concept.
I had presumed that all of the local brands would be featured in ‘Gok’ s Dream Space’ as a kind of shopping hub. The reality was that this was a pretty small space at the back of the main room and just 4 companies had a “stall” selling items (one of them wasn’t even a fashion brand, they sold candles, which I must say did smell lovely) the other brands were featured within the catwalk shows.
The brands submitted and styled all of the outfits themselves, which was kind of disappointing. Let me explain this a little more before anyone comes for me.
Most people in the room had paid £££ to listen to styling advice and tip delivered by Gok Wan, a Stylist. If they wanted the opinion of the boutiques/brands directly they could’ve easily gone along to their stores and gotten this free of charge. If they were being put on the catwalk I would’ve liked Gok or his team to be more involved in the styling side and it kind of be positioned “there are these amazing brands in your area, this is how I would recommend you wear them” as I’ve seen him do on TV.
Also, and again I’m not slating the quality of any brands that took part, but I really wish that the organisers would have been more selective with the local brands they used. I do understand that these companies will paid money to participate which will have covered some of the costs overall, but there just didn’t seem to have been a lot of thought going into who was chosen. As well as the candle brand there was also a bridal store and head wear company; both had beautiful items but were too specific for this kind of event. There was 1 lady in attendance that made herself known as wanting help with finding a wedding dress, but if you wanted this kind of inspiration you’d usually go to an event such as a wedding fair that was more tailored to suit.
Anyway, that’s my piece said on some of the bits I liked less.
I liked the trend analysis section that pulled out some of the more classic trends and gave a brief commentary and tips on how they can work well for you. He also spoke about the plus points of investing heavily in “classic trend” pieces to not only provide longetivity over years/seasons but also as a way of ensuring that fashion is sustainable, which as we all know is a hot button issue right now.
One of my fave parts of the event was the Q&A session (though they didn’t answer mine and Lynsey’s as there were too many. Sob.) as this showed off the Gok Wan we were all there for – very specific advice, a bit of cheeky banter) and a whole lot of complements/confidence out to his audience.
Pretty much every topic was covered – dressing for age, shape, size, in spite of access requirements (such as a wheelchair) and I managed to take a few notes like a diligent student for future use.
My other favourite part of the day were the makeovers.
At the start of the day people could nominate those they were with to receive a full transformation by the team, and the lovely Anne-Marie who was sat next to me was picked! She’s about the turn 50, her body is going through lots of changes (though she still looked bloody amazing) and she was just feeling a bit lost.
It was so lovely to see her transformed and he so happy with her new hair, makeup and outfit.
There were also some mini hair makeovers, which was to demonstrate Gok’s statement “you don’t have just one pair of shoes for everything, so why the hell would you only have one hairstyle?”. We must have been really good luck for our table, as this time the lady sat next to Lynsey was picked for one of these!
Dianne was ‘closer to 70 than 60’ in her words and has long hair she often wears in a chignon as her cousin has to her older ladies shouldn’t really have long hair.
The hair team took it all down and put a lovely wave through it and it looked lovely, older or not. (side note: one of Diane’s friends made her rum truffles as an early Christmas gift and she gave us one to try, they were amazing.)
I appreciate I’ve sounded a bit moany about a few parts of the day, but overall it was a nice way to spend an afternoon, be reminded of some things about style/confidence and generally have a good ol’ people watch to get inspiration from what other attendees were wearing.
Thanks for reading,