Do you find yourself in a battle with your closet on weekday mornings? Or maybe you need to enhance your wardrobe for a new promotion or role or you simply don't have time to shop.
You might try hiring a personal stylist who can help you rethink your wardrobe, define your style and convey a new level of professionalism.
“A professional can help you interpret a style you may find hard to put together on your own," said Stacy London, who hosted TLC's “What Not To Wear" wardrobe makeover show for 10 years. “A great stylist will never impose their style on you but rather will help you uncover yours."
A stylist comes in particularly handy at major milestones, such as getting a new job or promotion, post-maternity or retirement. “These are great moments to reassess" your fashion choices, London said.
Looking good in your clothes inspires self-confidence. And when you consistently make a professional impression, it helps you gain the trust of clients and colleagues.
“It's important to walk out of the house and feel good about yourself," said Andrea Wolf-Sobel, a professional stylist in Los Angeles who has worked for celebrities as well as high-powered executives and stay-at-home-moms.
If you are ready to enhance your professional wardrobe, you have a big event coming up or you just don't have time to shop, these pointers may help you hire a personal stylist.
A budget should include the stylist's fee, up front. Stylists may ask to be paid by the day or by the hour – or you can negotiate a project rate if you need help selecting a look for an event, such as an awards show or public speaking opportunity.
“Expectations must be set at the start," London said. “If a client wants two suits, how many suits do they want to see before choosing? How many hours of work are they willing to pay for in order to find final picks?"
Wolf-Sobel charges clients $500 per day. Personal stylist/shopper Deanna Zaccari, of Deanna Zaccari Lifestyle Design in Los Angeles, charges $200-$375 per hour depending on the scope of the job, which range from closet-edits to wardrobe makeovers. She discounts her hourly rate if she's hired by the day.
Whether you ask your network for recommendations or search for a stylist online, reach out to a few whose photos align with your taste and wardrobe requirements. Make sure the stylist's fees and policies are stated clearly on their website and then set up a meeting, or at least a phone conversation, before you hire anyone.
“My business is very intimate, so we get to know each other in the initial face-to-face meeting," said Zaccari. “I learn the client's expectations and ask about their lifestyle in terms of work, casual everyday life and social aspects, so I understand their wardrobe needs."
If managing your daily wardrobe is important, a professional can also help you get the most out of each piece you own and purchase so you feel confident styling yourself each morning.
“The services I provide go beyond buying flattering clothes — I also teach how to make multiple outfits with their existing wardrobe," she said.
Your stylist should be making recommendations that are in your best interests, not based on the commissions they get from retailers. Wolf-Sobel said she does not receive commissions from retailers or fashion designers and never favors one store over others because they give her special perks. She promises not to purchase anything she doesn't truly believe will flatter her clients and enhance their wardrobes.
The way you look and dress is very personal — and sometimes hearing critiques on your wardrobe can be difficult. You need to trust your stylist's point of view and respect her advice. “People get set in a look, but they're not always right. It takes a discerning eye to help force a change," Wolf-Sobel said.
“A stylist knows what looks best on your body and can steer you away from wasteful purchases," she said. And unlike a friend or spouse, who may lead you astray to spare your feelings, a pro can deliver objective and honest feedback on your clothing choices, but in a tactful manner designed not to offend.
Typically, it takes Wolf-Sobel two days to assess a client's current closet, discuss wardrobe needs and desires, shop, bring various items to clients to consider and then return the items that didn't work. If all you need is one outfit for an event that might be accomplished in a few hours. Be specific.
Getting dressed shouldn't be a daily stressor. A carefully curated wardrobe can bring you peace and even improve your self-esteem.
“The reason that style is such a great antidote when someone is not feeling themselves is because it's visual. When you see a fast, visceral change in yourself… you start to wonder what else is possible," London said.
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