5 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Stylist

personal stylist lauren messiah

It is my dream that someday soon everyone will work with a personal stylist at least once in there lifetime. Perhaps I am biased because I am a personal stylist but if you think about it, the idea isn’t completely far-fetched. A large part of the population has (at least once) worked with a personal trainer, has a hair stylist, gets their nails done by a manicurist, and the list of little self-care luxuries goes on. Why not add a personal stylist into the mix? After all we do save you a ton of money.

More and more people are hiring personal stylists – and no I am not talking about the rich and famous. Normal people just like you are investing in themselves by hiring a stylist.

If you are thinking about hiring a stylist, I suggest you do your research first because no two stylists are exactly the alike. I believe the client and the stylist have to click in order to make the relationship work. I’ve had situations in my career where I didn’t “click” with the client and that made for a less than enjoyable experience.

So before you fork over that hard-earned cash, ask your potential stylist these 5 questions …

1- What are your credentials?

You don’t have to have some fancy degree to work as a personal stylist but there are a ton of workshops, organizations, and work experiences available to personal stylists – and you’ll probably want a stylist that has partaken in some of that action. Hiring someone who “dresses cute” isn’t going to give the bang for buck like a stylist with credentials.

I have worked my butt off (4 years of fashion school, 1.5 years of interning for Hollywood stylists, studying under Stacy London from What Not to Wear, teaching others how to become stylists, and the list goes on) to get where I am today. And if I am being completely honest, it pisses me off when some street style blogger chick decides that she is suddenly a stylist too because everyone “likes” her pictures of her wearing the clothes. Knowing how to dress yourself doesn’t mean you know how to dress other people. Do your research and put your money into someone who cares about making you look like a million bucks.

2- Who do you typically work with?

Find out the type of clientele that the stylist typically works with. A great personal stylist can honestly style anyone but they will also have a specific niche where they really excel. Me for example, I work mainly with creative professional women in their 30s who are smart, funny, and talented. Some stylists work with teenagers, some with older wealthy women. Find out if you fit your stylists mold and if you don’t, ask yourself if you are still comfortable working with that stylist (a lot of times the answer is yes).

3- What services you provide?

Different stylists offer different services. Some like to shop with their clients, some without. There are stylists who are all about getting rid of your old clothes and replacing them with new and others will re-style looks using the existing pieces in your closet. Get a menu of services they provide and if you don’t see what you like ask them if they do custom packages. Again, it has to be a fit. Don’t settle because it will effect your experience.

4- How much do you charge?

Stylists typically charge in two ways, through custom packages or by the hour (sometimes both ways). Get a clear picture on what they charge before proceeding. You can expect an experienced stylist to charge anywhere from $100-$500 per hour. It may seem like a lot but the work that goes into crafting your look is no easy task. If your stylist does charge by the hour, get an estimate on how much the entire project will cost.

Styling packages are the way that I roll  because I don’t want my clients watching the clock (and their checkbook). Ask your potential stylist what is included in the package and how much they charge if you go beyond what is outlined in your contract.

5- What is your styling philosophy?

This might be the most important question to ask: what is your styling philosophy? Sounds corny but, to me, its the most important part. Why does your stylist do what she goes? If it’s because “she loves to shop” it might be time to move on to the next prospect. Don’t get me wrong, I love to shop but the reason I style is because I genuinely believe that clothing gives people power. Women (and men) should be able to kick ass in life and their clothing is one of many tools in their tool kit to get them there. I love working with smart and powerful women (and the occasional dude too) because they motivate and inspire me through what they do and I hope to do the same for them through what I do.

Have you ever hired a personal stylist? How has it changed your life for the better?



2 thoughts on “5 Important Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Stylist”

  1. I am thankful to be a working stylist with a strong and loyal clientelle, and so many points you made here really meant something to me. The reason I do what I do is for that moment where my client looks in the mirror and I see her whole demeanor change. She stands up a bit taller and you can see it in her eyes, she is saying “Damn, I look good…” I also adore the fact that on any given day, I can get a text from a client with a selfie in her new pieces I put her in, telling me how happy she is!!!!
    I don’t fault people that find their spot in fashion by dressing themselves and sharing their style with us on line. But I am offended that they clutter up our corner of the industry by posing as someone that can make other people look their best when they don’t have one ounce of understanding on how this is done. So, my words to them would be, “stick to posting pictures of your new shoes in a photo shopped image or walking through a field in your new outfit from H&M” but don’t call yourself a stylist until you understand how to truly help others discover their own personal style not yours!!!
    Ok, now I’ll step down from my soapbox…. and I will say this, I couldn’t do what they do I hate taking pictures 😉

  2. I never considered that you could ask what the stylist’s philosophy is, and knowing why they do this as a profession. That being said, I can see how this could be useful information. It can help you understand what their priorities are, as well as if you would get along with them. Not only that, but it’s a great way to learn more about them and their passions.

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