It goes without saying that I would love you to come and see me for a consultation but, if isn’t feasible for you to make the trip to Hampshire (or perhaps I’m just not your cup of tea) here are a few tips to help you find a good personal stylist.
Having an image consultation can be truly transformational and confidence-boosting but to get the best results you need to choose your stylist carefully. It’s a highly personal experience and you may feel quite nervous and vulnerable so you need someone who will take the time to really listen to what you want to get out of the consultation and put you at your ease.
Your choice of stylist can be the difference between leaving your consultation feeling on top of the world and being left feeling deflated and insecure.
Here are my top tips to help you choose the best stylist for you.
If you know someone who has used the services of a personal stylist and looks good, ask them who they went to and what they thought of the experience. Most people will be only too delighted to recommend someone whose work they rate.
Check out their website/social media
Have a good look round stylists’ websites and social media. Is the content clear and up to date? Does what they have to say resonate with you? How active do they seem?
Look at the “About” section to find out more about their credentials; their background, who they trained with, awards and certifications etc.
Sign up for their Newsletter/mailing list. Not only can you pick up some valuable styling tips this way but you will also get more of a feel for whether you’d be comfortable working with them.
Testimonials & reviews
Nothing beats a personal recommendation but, failing that, testimonials and reviews can be good indicators as to how skilled a stylist is and whether you’re likely to get on well together.
Do their testimonials look credible and provide full names? (I must admit I’m always quite sceptical about the authenticity of testimonials that don’t). Are they from the type of people you can relate to?
What range of services do they offer?
Even if you’re currently only looking for one particular service, it’s a good idea to pick a stylist who has more to offer because, once you’ve seen the benefits of an initial consultation, it’s likely that you’ll want to go back for more services over time to complete your style journey.
Do they offer value for money?
The cheapest option is rarely the best but, equally, you don’t always get what you pay for! Someone who appears to be offering services below the market rate is probably struggling for business or may be just starting out on their styling career. If you value experience, be prepared to pay a bit more. Equally though, don’t just assume because someone is charging an astronomical amount that they’re at the top of their game. They may deliberately pitch their prices high because they are only interested in working with wealthy clientele and prefer to just work occasionally.
How experienced are they?
As with most things, the more you do it, the better you get. I have styled literally thousands of people over the years and I am still learning! Stylists who operate on a hobby basis are unlikely to have a great depth of skill and experience. It’s always best to work with a professional rather than an amateur.
A good stylist is likely to be in demand so it’s best to plan ahead. You will probably need to book at least a month or two in advance.
Are they a good advertisement for their services?
A personal stylist should have the know-how to dress people of different of ages, personalities, shapes and sizes, so you don’t necessarily need to pick one who looks similar to yourself. However, do look for someone who “walks the walk” and is a good advertisement for their profession. The bottom line is: Do they look good? Do you trust them to make you look good?
What “props” do they use?
Many stylists provide colour swatches and personalised workbooks for you to take away (I would certainly not recommend working with one who doesn’t) but try to find one who also has clothing samples for you to try on during the consultation. My clients tell me that this really brings the consultation to life and helps their understanding of which colours and styles work best for them, and why.
It’s good to talk!
Have a chat with your prospective stylist about exactly what you’re looking for and how they can help you. Don’t be embarrassed to ask them about their experience and credentials, especially if their website does not make this clear. It’s also worth just checking that they will personally be conducting your consultation rather than passing you over to an assistant. Most importantly, ask yourself whether you trust them ( I always say that a consultation is like a confessional – nothing leaves the room!) and will be comfortable spending a couple of hours or more with them one-on-one.
Dip a toe in the water first
If you’re not comfortable diving straight in with an individual consultation, ask if they’re running any group events or workshops you could attend first. This gives you the chance to see your stylist in action and decide if they’re right for you.
Do they offer any sort of guarantee?
Whilst life doesn’t come with guarantees, any stylist worth their salt should be prepared to stand behind the quality of their work. My own satisfaction guarantee is ” I am so confident that I can make you look fabulous that I will give you your money back if you don’t receive compliments on your new look after a consultation with me”. I am pleased to say that no one has ever asked for a refund – yet!