If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either a student thinking about a future career in the fashion industry, you’re looking for a career change or you’re just plain curious. Whatever your reason, this comprehensive post will inform you on things you need to be aware of before you commit yourself to becoming a personal stylist.
What Is A Personal Stylist?
Once you’ve gained knowledge in styling, you can work in different areas (i.e. fashion retailers, motivational speakers, public relation specialist and human resource professional). You may choose to also get clued up on hair, beauty and lifestyle if you like but it depends on your personal and professional goals. Personal stylists assist individuals from all walks of life with their fashion choices. They help their clients build self-esteem, confidence, body image and develop their personal style. You’ll need a good understanding on how to dress individuals with different body shapes, color theory, fashion trends and fabric types to help your clients discover their personal style.
Who Will Invest In A Personal Stylist?
- Those looking for career advancement or improve their confidence in the workplace.
- Those who want a fun makeover session.
- Those who are time poor.
- Those who feel overwhelmed or intimidated when they’re out shopping.
- Those looking to find a partner.
- Those who lost their sense of self or style.
- Organizations who provide professional development for their employees.
Decisions You Need To Make
The first question that you may encounter is whether or not you should take a short course or enroll in a university degree. I’m the type of person who needs to gain exposure before I decide if the job is for me. For that reason, I wouldn’t spend money on a university diploma. Weigh the pros and cons (as we’re all in different stages of our lives) and choose the one that would bring you the most value.
What Will I Learn In A Typical Styling Course?
Please keep in mind that each university and private institution will offer something different (this goes for teaching methods as well). That said, the general curriculum would look something like this:
- An outline of services you may offer.
- How to conduct a professional style consultation.
- How to build client/retail/alliance relationships and create a memorable client experience.
- How to set up your own styling business (how to price your service).
- How to conduct wardrobe audit.
- How to create a seamless shopping experience for the client.
I’m not sure about universities but private institutions tend to offer online support after the course. Graduates can access online conferences and the institution’s private social media forum, where you’ll have unlimited access to advises and a supportive community of past graduates. Australian Style Institute offers a good range of styling courses depending on your career goals. Check them out!
The Realities Of The Job [Top 5]
In my opinion, we won’t know what a particular job is like until we personally experienced it. This is when reading about what stylists deal with on a daily basis becomes helpful.
- You need to be business savvy. As a personal stylist, you are your own brand. You need to find ways to reach those who need your help and that means you’ll need to spend a considerable amount of time developing your website, engage with others on social media, network and more.
- You need to be prepared to work with clients from all walks of life and body shapes. And I mean people with all sorts of personalities and values. If you know that you can’t work with certain types of people, try scheduling a get-to-know-you session (in person or through video call) before you decide to take them on. Keep in mind that learning how to deal with others is a good skill to have and being too picky won’t get you far. You may also need to work with clients who suffer from body deformation or disability, which can make styling a huge challenge. Do it anyway and treat it as another learning experience. The more people you can help, the better.
- You need to learn how to make your clients open up and be at ease around you. Everyone has insecurities and baggage. Be considerate, take your time getting to know them and respect that they won’t share everything with you during the first few sessions.
- Shopping for others isn’t always fun and easy. If you imagined all shopping sessions with your clients to be fun and filled with laughter, this job may not be for you. Unexpected scenarios can happen whereby clients can be very indecisive, they could end up hating every piece of clothing you pulled for them or they could turn up 30 minutes late and expect that you finish your job in less time. If you can deal with frustrating and tricky situations like these in a calm and professional way, you’ll do great. If you find that you can’t, you’ll learn!
- You need to build good relationships with retail brands and salespeople. Once you have that it’s going to make your job a lot easier. They’ll accommodate you when you’re styling your clients. The best part? They’ll give your clients discounts.
Will There Be A Demand for Personal Stylists?
Algorithms can now choose clothes for you and make you look as stylish as the Duchess of Cambridge. On top of that, customers can interact with human stylists online when they want to. It’s convenient, efficient and high tech. That’s the future of fashion right?
It’s undeniable that new innovative services are popping up, but remember, not everyone prefers to use online services when it comes to buying clothes. They’d rather get out of the house and spend time in the mall when they can. They prefer to head in store to touch and feel the fabrics. After spending so much time with technology on a daily basis, human interaction is seen as essential for some. Think about this: can algorithms help you declutter and organize your wardrobe (perhaps a robot can but that’s way beyond our time)? Do you think online human stylists could boost your confidence and inspire you to dress well the same way as when you’re having a face to face interaction with a stylist of your choice?
Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language and hearing someone say “you look good in that” are things the internet can’t replace. In fact, in an attempt to attract customers to shop in-store, brick-and-mortar retailers are starting to hire stylists to give their customers a better shopping experience. So yes, there’ll be demand for stylists in the future!
I hope this is useful for those of you who are looking to pursue a career in personal styling. If you need more insight or advice, network with personal stylists on meetup groups or LinkedIn. Remember, you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
After I’ve graduated from university, I decided I want to start a career in the fashion industry (I have a degree in psychology). I thought about combining my knowledge in psychology/marketing with fashion and with that in mind, I did internships with a PR company and a footwear wholesaler and retailer in Melbourne. I did find out what I like and dislike as well as the roles that I’m interested in exploring in the future (VM assistant, buying assistant or PR account executive in the Fashion, Retail and Consumer team). But I realized I was craving for a job that would allow me to work directly with clothes and jewelry. That was when I started thinking about a career in styling. I spent the next few weeks reading up on articles and blog posts about the different aspects of styling and I have to say, I think I’d actually enjoy this.
I enrolled into the personal stylist certification course at the Professional Styling Academy in mid-2017 and I enjoyed it. Although my plan was to gain basic knowledge in styling so that I can work with fashion magazines, I’m actually planning to make personal styling my side job. As I’m leaving Melbourne for my home country in December, I have a few ideas lined up. I’ll write more about my journey soon!
Featured image by Vydia Rishie
Have a nice day (and smile).