As a personal stylist, I receive a lot of questions about how I got started, what makes me qualified, and how I find my clients. So today I wanted to answer these common questions.
Q. What does a fashion stylist do?
A. My goal as a stylist is to accurately assess the needs of my clients and enable them to be their most confident selves, and more often than not, it goes beyond providing styling tips) A lot of times that goes beyond providing styling tips. I work closely with my clients to create a plan individualized to the specific client, always working to address their wants and concerns. Some clients may feel some sense of insecurity and want help dressing for their individual body type. I also have clients who have recently changed jobs/careers and need a new, updated, professional wardrobe. And, I even work with those clients who just feel like they are stuck in a fashion rut! Once the client and I have identified their individual wants and needs, we work together to find styles that meet their desires as well as accentuate their personality, body shape, and improve overall confidence in their appearance leaving them with one less thing to worry about!
I always try to find out why somebody has reached out to me and how best to help. Often, there is some insecurity that has led them to call me. Many people have lost weight, changed careers, or feel like they are stuck in a fashion rut. Once these needs are identified, we work together to find styles that accentuate their personality, body shape and improve their overall confidence leaving them with one less thing to worry about.
Q. Is a fashion stylist a good career?
A. For me, I am new to the professional personal styling world (that doesn’t mean I don’t look damn good when I walk out of my house), and because of that, I am working on building my client base to a point that I can make this my full-time career. I am, however, aware of stylist that works with big Hollywood celebrities or on movies, TV shows, and commercials that make a very good living. A lot of times landing those jobs comes down to being in the right place at the right time. Never let the prospect of it “not working out” deter you from trying it out! I have found that styling amazing people is not only fun but very rewarding.
Q. What skills do you need to be a fashion stylist?
A. I strongly believe that to be successful at styling you need to be empathetic and a great listener! A majority of my consults require me to ask probing questions and, at times, more personal questions to really understand my client. Every client is different but many don’t know what they like or what they are looking for. Having empathy for their situations and needs can really elevate the client experience.
But don’t forget, you need to understand fashion! I truly believe that this can be learned, but, a lot of times great stylists just have a natural knack for it! They are great at assembling outfits, understanding how different patterns, textures, and colors work together, and have an idea of what will look best on the variety of body types.
Q. What do you call a fashion stylist?
A. There are many names and titles for “stylists” and I don’t find one any better than the next. Alternative titles could be found under fashion consultant, image consultant, wardrobe stylist, etc. Note: A “costume designer” is the person who designs and clothes characters for movies, TV, or the stage—however, the job is a bit similar but not exact.
Q. Do stylists buy clothes for me?
A. It depends. I have had clients that choose me as their exclusive personal shopper. I have their size, likes, and wants on file and go shopping on their behalf – this is generally client funded. In most cases, I create a visual Lookbook for my remote clients that contain the direct URL to specific items that they can go and shop themselves. If I am working with local clients, we compile images of outfits that they like and I scour local stores that can fit the mold and we go shopping in person.
Q. How do stylists get paid?
A. I cannot speak for the celebrity or Hollywood stylists but I generally take electronic payment via PayPal, Venmo, etc., and do require payment for my services upfront. I am confident in the services I provide and always offer a 100% money-back guarantee if my clients are unhappy—but, I have never had to initiate a refund. I found as a small business owner that a requirement of an up-front payment helps me and my clients connect on true intentions.
Q. Do stylists only offer wardrobe services?
A. No. As a stylist, I talk through all aspects of your image including your hairstyle, face, and body shape. Beyond that, I also help clients clean out their closets and identify items that can be saved, donated, or trashed. We then work on organizing their closet into a system that makes the most sense to them. I also offer personal shopping trips, personal shopping on a client’s behalf, virtual consulting, virtual shopping trips with a shoppable Lookbook, and I teach a Savvy Shopping training course!
On many occasions, I have had my wardrobe styling clients turn into home décor consults. Often, fashion and home styling have similar characteristics and – because it’s also another hobby of mine – I like to assist them with home styling as well.
Q. How do you become a personal stylist?
A. Everybody’s journey is different but my journey started when I was young. Friends and family would often ask for styling tips and tricks and I would happily oblige. When Queer Eye came out, friends immediately started asking me to be their own “Tan France” and began asking me for fashion advice. I also worked at J.Crew and quickly became one of the top sales associates within the store, and oftentimes within the company! Between J.Crew and the questions I continuously received I decided to start my own Fashion Consulting company, White Shoe Consulting.
Q. Is a personal stylist worth it?
A. Yes! Obviously, I may be a bit biased, but I am able to emphatically say “yes!” It is very rewarding to help somebody that lacks confidence in picking out anything stylish to seeing them walk around with their heads high and feeling so good with their new look. I love to see their confidence shine through! I have had many repeat customers and referrals from current and previous clients, working to build my client base. I bet my previous clients would all agree that a personal stylist is absolutely worth it – My reviews (and here) speak for themselves.