s h o p t h i s p o s t
What is styling? What does that mean? What do I actually do and how did I get this job? These are some of the questions I get asked almost every day. The first answer or thought that always comes to mind when answering is :: pinch me :: I honestly still can’t believe that I am able to call this my job. It has taken me a long time to get to this point - years - and it wasn’t until this year that I was truly comfortable referring to myself as a “stylist”. I do think that so many people use the term loosely so I understand why it can often feel vague or elusive. Its a title that I am very proud to have earned.
In my early 20’s I decided I needed a change. I was working at a job I didn’t love (wearing clothes I didn’t love) and my creative side was longing for more. I had studied Political Science and International Affairs in college and had always dreamed of working for the United Nations (my mother worked there as a translator when I was very young). When I didn’t get the job I wanted I settled for something less glamorous in technology and called it a day. After a few unhappy years I quit my job and took a chance on Ralph Lauren. I say “took a chance” because it wasn’t one of those chic sounding public relations jobs that launched the careers of some of my fashion idols. Instead, it was an opportunity to make a name for myself working from the ground up in a newly opened flagship store. In retrospect, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I compare the experience to owning a restaurant - you wouldn’t be smart to get into the restaurant business unless you’ve worked waiting tables, hostessing, back of house, in the kitchen, etc. I consider fashion styling to be the same. To really excel at understanding clients needs, timelines, and customer service, you need to have spent your time in the trenches. Over the 8 years that I worked for the brand I styled thousands of clients - every scenario and occasion, every age, almost every body type, men, women, and children. I folded, and folded, and folded, haha oh yeah and probably put away a million pairs of shoes! I worked almost every weekend for 4 years, made house calls and deliveries, and began creating a group of clients. All the while I was dreaming of the day when I could work for myself, on my own schedule, on my own terms, and with my name on the “door”. I truly loved my job. I loved meeting new people, hearing their stories, and most of all helping them look and feel their best. I helped a woman who couldn’t fit into any of her clothes because she had just finished her last round of chemotherapy. I helped new mothers shopping for their first outfit since having a baby, and men coming in after achieving their target weight. It was long hours, long weeks, and long years, but it was so rewarding in so many ways. I could talk about this forever but the moral of the story is after gaining experience in styling, merchandising, buying, event planning, and running a business, I decided to venture off on my own with a group of clients and this blog in tow. In addition to what you see on thegirlguide.com and on my Instagram, I also continue to work with existing and new personal styling clients and brands in a number of ways. I tried answering most of your questions below but please feel free to leave a comment if you have any additional ones!
your questions, answered.
Do you offer virtual assistance?
Yes! I would say that currently my clients are split 50/50. Half I see in person and the other half live across the country and I assist them via what I call “e-styling”. For this service I charge an hourly flat rate. I actually find that after refreshing or doing an initial closet clean out for a client, they opt for e-styling for follow-up shopping.
How does it work, what is included?
it depends on the service, but for the e-styling I typically start out by creating a mood board similar to the Lust Lists on Cindy Hattersley. If a client is looking for a dress for an upcoming wedding, I shop for them online and lay them all out via photoshop. In home styling is very different. The first step is going through every piece of clothing and accessory in your closet and determining what you should keep, sell, or donate. After that is completed I organize the closet and put everything back in a styled way. Following the initial clean out I will send a recap with preliminary recommendations and we take it from there depending on the clients needs.
My top workhorse piece I have in my closet?
100% a white tee. I wear them all year round. Right now I’m loving this one (size up).
Do you do plus size styling?
Yes! One of my best clients is plus size. I work with every size and shape.
Tips for new moms returning to work but not 100% their same body?
Your clothes are going to fit differently after having a baby. I would say in the short term, don’t go crazy buying too much. That being said, its not fun staring at closet full of clothes that used to fit you. Buy a few pieces that you really love and fit you well now. The good news is, tailored pants and structured blazers can always be made smaller as you get closer to your ideal weight. If your office is a little more causal, I love unstructured dresses postpartum.
What does styling mean? What do you do for clients?
I help clients with everything from wardrobe building to special events styling. Some clients I help twice a year, some twice a month. It really depends on their needs. When I style a client for their Fall work wardrobe for example, I either shop online or in person and then present options. I like to help my clients build overtime as opposed to one and done:)