Store Spotlight: The Dressing Room

This week, Hayley caught up with Deryane, owner of The Dressing Room in St Albans, in our Duke of York Square store to reminisce over seasons gone by, new collection favourites and discuss the future of fashion retail. 
What inspired you to open your store? 
I had built my career in retail on the shopfloor and progressed to area management, buying and operations.  I absolutely loved Fashion Retail and there came a point in my career where it felt like the right time to take the plunge and start my own business as a multi brand store missing affordable to aspirational product in a laid back, luxurious environment.  That was back in 2004 and by May 2005 I had found a property to rent in St Albans and The Dressing Room was born in a small store off the beaten track employing 2 people.  Fast forward and we are now about to celebrate our 19th year in business with a team of 20 women in a large store with a strong online business. 
Who is your customer and how do you buy for them? 
My customer is someone who loves fashion, she doesn’t shop for specific brands, she just loves whatever feels right at the time and is a keen follower of what we do at The Dressing Room.  She is inspired by what looks good and makes her feel fantastic.  She wants fashion to be empowering. 
I know my customer inside out and I know what pieces to push the boundaries with and when to hold back on trends.  I know that ultimately, she wants to feel feminine, so there is always a chic and feminine element to my edit.  If she is going to push the boat out and spend a little bit more then I know it needs to be something she can keep in her wardrobe for years to come. 
If you could describe your stores style in 3 words, how would you? 
Feminine, Luxurious and Friendly. 
What are the key things you look for when buying garments for your store? 
My buying is mostly instinctive, I know what works for my customer.  I look for pieces that have longevity and a point of difference.  Of course, we also have classic wardrobe staples and more fun elements to the edit, but ultimately everything in the store needs to have a purpose in your wardrobe or home. 
How did you first discover Hayley Menzies and what drew you to the brand? 
I discovered Hayley Menzies quite a few years ago now when I fell in love with the Silk Maxi shirt dress.  I still have my very first piece and will continue to love it for years to come.  I love the fact that Hayley is true to her style, she is absolutely in her own lane and does what she does beautifully with her pieces working for women of any age.  The quality and craftmanship in her pieces are second to none and I respect the fact that she doesn’t cut corners with her production.  Ultimately, when you see someone wearing a piece of Hayley Menzies you can see it makes them walk a little taller and that’s what great fashion is all about. 
Which pieces of Hayley Menzies Under the Sun are you coveting? 
I absolutely love the Nomad Intarsia Cardigan.  I fell in love with this at my SS24 buying appointment back In August and love unique knitting process they have used to create this piece.  I’ll be wearing mine now with light denim and later with a silk dress. 
Which piece (or pieces) do you think your customer is going to love? 
They are already going wild for the Sahara Merino Jacquard short gilet.  They love the colour combo and versatility of the piece.  It has a slight 70’s feel to it and our ladies are styling it back with a pair of flares and a block heel. 
What about Hayley Menzies do you think appeals most to your customer? 
The collections are timeless, unique and ageless. 
The Dressing Room