In recent years, personal styling has gone from an extravagant luxury to an accessible service. I believe that one day having someone help you with your wardrobe will be as common as having someone do your hair or nails. I have worked with women at various income levels in a wide array of professions--from surgeons and lawyers to students and entrepreneurs. The one common thread is that these women knew it was time to invest in themselves. They were tired of staring at a closet full of clothes and having nothing to wear. They were spending too much time stressing out about what to wear each morning, often with multiple outfit changes. They had missed out on events and professional opportunities because they didn't feel confident in their clothing. While hiring a personal stylist is not cheap, it is probably less expensive than you think.
Shopping Your Closet
Even if you don’t have the budget for new clothing, you can still hire a stylist to help you sort out your closet and create “new outfits” from what you already own. In fact, I have a few environmentally conscious, minimalist-type clients who book me specifically for closet edits and/or consignment shopping. Even when a client books a full package, we always shop her closet first.
For closet edit appointments, I help clients create "new" ensembles and gently suggest what items may need to be altered, donated, or tossed. I specify that I’m gentle during this process. Some people assume that I will come in and judge their fashion faux pas with a snark and a sneer--perhaps a side effect of too many celebrity "stylists" on TV. My intention is to make my clients feel beautiful and empowered, not defeated.
At the end of the day, it’s always the client’s decision to keep, donate, or toss her clothing. Some people keep things I don’t love. Some people toss things that are fabulous. I work more like a teacher than a drill sergeant. It’s a collaborative, fun, and friendly partnership between a stylist and client. There are no battles and no tears--unless they’re tears of joy.
I like to start with the closet edit, because it gives me a peek into what styles my client is naturally drawn to, what brands she loves, and what details she doesn’t. I have found (more than once) that the information a client gives me on her "style homework" doesn't always match the information in her closet.
Once I know what a client owns, I make a list of suggested items to complete her wardrobe. Usually clients need a lot less than they imagine. Some women think they need to throw everything out and start over. In reality, they can get more mileage out of their wardrobe by adding 5-10 new pieces. This is how a stylist saves you money. We stop you from buying things you don’t need. We also help you shop for the items you'll actually wear and love.
Personal Shopping with a Stylist
During the shopping process, I sometimes browse the racks with a client or pre-shop and have things pulled in the fitting rooms ready to try on. For my clients who don’t enjoy shopping, the pre-pull system works wonderfully. What would take a woman days on her own, we can accomplish together in the span of 2 or 3 hours.
While personal stylists aren’t cheap, our services are probably more affordable than you think. Clients typically get about 20 “new” outfits during a closet edit session for about the price of one nice dress. After a shopping session, clients don’t feel the urge to shop for quite a while, since they have a digital lookbook full of options for all their wardrobe needs. It helps you avoid the “call of the mall” if you're confident about your style.
The final part of my styling packages is an outfit creation session. Similar to the closet edit, I go through a client's wardrobe and mix her pre-owned items with the new purchases to create cohesive outfits for her. A new lookbook is created with styling notes on what can be mixed and matched for different purposes. Clients often remark that this part of the process is the most fun.
If you’re looking for a way to save time, stop spending money on clothes that you don’t wear, and own an outfit for every occasion, a personal stylist may be just what you need. Hiring a good stylist will be worth it--for the money and time you save, as well as the confidence you’ll gain.
Ready to cultivate the most stylish version of yourself? I am available for closet edits, personal shopping, and outfit creation throughout San Diego county. Send me an email if you’d like to work together.
I'm Jaquelyn Wahidi. I'm a personal fashion stylist, writer, and entrepreneur in San Diego. My style blog features practical fashion advice for women everywhere. Addicted to blazers since 2004.