The thought of having someone else pick out clothes for you can seem either brilliant or utterly terrifying. But, if you hate the weekend trudge around central London shops, it’s worth trying personal shopping.

First, some basic principles. Most high street personal shopping appointments are free and you specify what you want when you book. Then when you go in and let a style adviser tell you what works for you and, frankly, what doesn’t as you pick out an item, outfit or new wardrobe.

Topshop, Oxford Circus

This is definitely one for the fad-conscious, as customers get dressed in any of four of the season’s trends. This autumn/winter, they’re focusing on New Mod (androgynous and tailored), Prim and Polished (vintage-inspired), Glam Underground (1970s brash) and Bavaria (folky, furry and warm). My personal shopper brings me a selection from New Mod and Prim and Polished – some more flattering than others – then I choose the ones I like best. I finish with clothes that I wouldn’t have picked myself (pointy silver heels and some hot pink trousers) but some of them, I’d have bought (floral top with a Peter Pan collar).

Appointments range from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on what you want.

Free; 216 Oxford Street, W1D 1LA;

John Lewis, Oxford Street

The personal shopper has free reign of all the department’s brands, so you have plenty to choose from. I ask for a British countryside look and was put in a dark-green padded jacket, a knitted jumper, leather riding-style boots and some skinny jeans in a similar colour to the Topshop ones (maybe they’re trying to tell me something). It took several tries to find the right ensemble, but when we did, it was something I could carry off easily and not feel trussed up like a doll. The style adviser was attentive and made sure the clothes suited my shape.

Appointments last two hours.

Free. 300 Oxford Street, W1A 1EX;

Dorothy Perkins, Oxford Street

An expert will help you pick that perfect pair of jeans or special outfit with emphasis on getting the best for your budget. They find you the latest – wearable – trends.

Appointments as long as the customer needs.

Free; 379 Oxford Street, W1C 2JS;

Lovely’s Vintage Emporium, Various

Former fashion magazine editor Lynette Peck Bateman runs a home personal shopping service. She’ll bring suitcases of vintage clothes to your door for one-to-one or group-shopping appointments.

All over London. Free;