In my head, fashion styling (and personal styling, for that matter) is the same as creativity. In order to do it right, you need imagination, and you need a special eye for it. Not everyone can be creative, so yes, not anyone can be a stylist.
That’s why recently I had three sessions with a personal stylist. I realized early on that I do not have a creative eye when it comes to fashion. I dress myself ok, but there is nothing special about my outfits. Actually, that’s one of my biggest struggles: I think my style is pretty bland.
Moreover, in the last few months (maybe a year?) I’ve felt like I have nothing to wear. A feeling most women probably have once a month, am I right? I’d open my wardrobe, wanting to dress for work, and I’d look for something nice, only to be disappointed, and choose an okay outfit 10 minutes later.
After I’ve had at least 10 similar moments like that, I decided I needed to do something about it. So I called my friend, S., whose passion is fashion styling, and asked for her help.
Before I begin, I am well aware this is not a service not anyone can afford. But if you can and you have the possibility to do it, definitely go for it. It helped me dress better, feel better in my clothes and it made me love shopping.
Below you’ll find the process she recommends, and what I ended up doing (spoiler alert, I skipped a step because of Covid).
RECOMMENDED PROCESS OF PERSONAL STYLING
My Friend, S., has a clear four-step process to improving your personal style and reinventing your wardrobe.
Session 1: Meet and asses current style status of client (you)
In the first meeting / online session, the personal stylist and the client meet and get to know each other. Actually, the stylist finds out more about the client, so in this case, you:
- What is your body shape? (you don’t have to know it, she will deduct by seeing you in person, online or from photos)
- What is your current style? What do you like to wear day to day?
- Where do you shop for clothes? What are your favorite stores?
- What do you LOVE to wear everyday? (jeans? leggings? etc.)
- What do you HATE / DON’T LIKE to wear? (heels? dresses? etc.)
- Do you wear accessories? If yes, what kind of accessories do you like / don’t like?
- What about shoes? What types of shoes do you normally wear?
- Most importantly, what do you want to get from this process? (do you want to find your style? Or you need help choosing new clothes? Do you want to get rid of clothes that don’t fit you?
And the list continues. She/He has to figure out YOU, what is your current style and what needs to be improved.
Session 2: Theory and Tips & Tricks
This is one of the most useful steps of the process.
In this session, the personal stylist tells you what suits your body type and what you should and shouldn’t wear.
- DON’T wear skinny jeans, but DO wear straight or flare ones.
- YES to tops with color and details
- NO to horizontal stripes on bottom.
The objective is for you to understand your body type and adapt your current wardrobe and next purchases to these rules.
Ideally, the personal stylist has experience and theory knowledge of what is recommended for each type. This shouldn’t be a subjective process, it should be an objective one.
Session 3: Wardrobe declutter
This is a cool and very useful step. The stylist comes by your house and basically raids your closet. She/ He
- Tells you what doesn’t suit you and should get rid off;
- Finds the best pieces that you already have and that suit your body type;
- Finds gaps in your wardrobe: what you need, but don’t currently have (or have, but do not suit your body);
- Creates outfits that you could wear from what you already have.
Session 4: Personal Shopping
The last step is to go shopping together and find the items you still need to complete your wardrobe. Maybe in session 3 you both realized you don’t have a good work dress or a winter coat. She/He will go with you shopping, in order to find the items you need and that suit your body frame.
Now let me tell you how the process went for me.
MY EXPERIENCE WITH A PERSONAL STYLIST
Session One: Figuring out the client aka ME
Like I mentioned before, me and S. already knew each other. So in our first call, she already knew my body type and what I usually wear day to day, because she has seen me multiple times before.
Our initial call was more for her to understand what I like in terms of clothes, what I do and don’t wear, and how she can adapt her theory and outfit ideas to my taste.
We had an hour Zoom meeting where she asked a bunch of questions. I answered and I also showed her some key pieces I had in my wardrobe that fit what she was talking or asking about. Case in point, what blazers and what skirts I had in my closet.
She ended the call by asking me to send her some outfits pics I liked: “Get on Pinterest, or search on Google Images, and send me some pics of things you like and would like to wear”, S. said to me. And I did!
Session Two: Theory and Tips & Tricks for Pear Shape
In my second session, she prepared a presentation for me. It was all about my body shape (Pear), and what I am recommended to wear and not wear.
She also talked about the colors that suit my hair color and skin shade- what types of blue, or green or red.
In the end, we went over some of the pictures I’d sent here and she pointed out which would fit me and how could I implement them with what I already have in my closet.
The last step was to schedule a visit to the mall and to write down a list of things we needed to buy. In my case, shirts suited for work, a leather jacket and straight jeans.
Session Three: Shopping with a Personal Stylist
I skipped session 3, the wardrobe declutter, because of Covid, but also because I wasn’t comfortable with certain things being thrown away. So on to number 4.
This was my favorite part: shopping. And that says something because I usually hate shopping. I’m the type who can only shop for 1-2 hours, then I lose my patience and give up. I used to get frustrated because I couldn’t find things I liked or I was sure of. So I quit shopping altogether.
This time around, I spent around 3,5-4 hours with S. at the mall.
We went into my favorite stores, but also in some she recommended, and she made me try out things she thought would look good on me. Actually, most of the time she would let me browse, and she would intervene only if I was choosing something wrong.
Having a partner in crime while shopping definitely helped. Not only did I try out a lot of cool things that I realised actually look good on me, but she also confirmed some of my usual choices, so that was nice. Reassurance is great when you’re shopping….I guess that’s why most women shop with their friends. I got a lot of cool stuff and I left the mall very happy with my purchases, which rarely happens.
What I learned from a Personal Stylist & How it helped me
The whole experience was eye-opening for me.
First of all, and most importantly, I learned from a specialist what kind of clothes suit me, fit me, look better on me, and so on. That is crucial, from my point of view, because if clothes look good on me, I feel good on them. So, win-win!
For example, I learned that I should wear less skinny jeans, and go more for straight cut, boot cut, or even flare ones. I used to be the girl who had only black skinny jeans, so this is out of my usual territory, but I am willing to try it because I know the options the personal stylist recommended actually look good on me. And in the end, that is the most important thing to me. That I like what I wear, and that I feel good in it.
Second of all, I learned what to avoid. That’s also important, because avoiding less-flattering clothing options helps your overall appearance. One thing S. told me was to not go for horizontal lines on the bottom part because that would accentuate my big hips. Same with cargo pants or very light colored pants. They make the hips even bigger, so it’s a no go. Great advice!
Third of all, she gave me confidence to try more things! To wear more colors! To wear more interesting pieces and actually try to incorporate accessories into the mix, which I rarely did before! I believe that the opinion of a specialist, actually the reassurance of one, tremendously helps with self-confidence and discovery, especially when it comes to the fashion style of someone.
So that’s it! That’s my experience with a personal stylist.
Oh wait, I forgot about costs. Now, this obviously depends on your area. If you want to not spend a fortune on these types of services, I suggest finding someone new in the field, or a local stylist, the costs will be lower! (unless you live in LA or NY, then….I really don’t know what to tell you, I would probably try to find one online)
All in all, I learned a lot from S., my personal stylist, and I especially loved going shopping with her, she helped venture out more! Overall, it was a great experience and I highly recommend it!
P.s. If you want to declutter your wardrobe, but don’t have the resources for a personal stylist, check out my article about Wardrobe Declutter!