A stylist is not just for the rich and famous, anyone can spend time with one. Most department stores and large shopping centres have a stylist/personal shopper service available to you on a per hourly basis. You can also look on line and find guys and girls who freelance in this field.
Sure it costs money, but imagine looking the best you possibly can everyday, and if you added up the cost of fashion mistakes over the years, you would make your money back over and over!
Maybe you have memories of looking great in a certain shade of lipstick, or with a particular haircut. Fast forward 20 or 30 years, and things are starting to look a little, shall we say, tired.
Are you friends going to be blunt and tell you? Some will (I think we all have an acquaintance who is happy to tell it like it is), but on the whole our friends love us for who we are,not what we wear or look like, so it is probably not a priority to have that conversation!
This is where a tactful stranger i.e your stylist, comes into play. Always thought blue and green should never be seen? Sequins are a no no for day wear? Once you hit 40 a short haircut is obligatory? It is their job to explode these and many more fashion myths, and make sense of them on the way.
Firstly you should find someone you feel comfortable working with. They will be honest with you, but you need to be the same. It is no use taking everything as gospel. Ultimately it is you who will be buying the items chosen for you, and you who will be wearing them.
Stylists LOVE fashion, and want everyone to look the best they possibly can! They are usually trained in colour consulting and know what shapes best suit each figure type, what hair styles suit and so forth.
I think we may have all seen Trinny and Susannah, Gok Wan or Rachel Zoe (pictured) at work on their respective TV shows.
While you may not be able to imagine Rachel Zoe gushing that the Witchery coat you are wearing is “bananas” (her crazy catchphrase), someone more on your wavelength will be able to gently steer you in the right direction of a great capsule wardrobe. Add some fabulous “on trend” accessories to make a classic look “oh so now”, and your on your way.
A good stylist will find you great pieces that you will be able to update every season for years to come. Nothing beats a LBD, a beautifully cut blazer and perfect pumps, year in and year out. These are called classics for a reason! They can always be updated easily with a new scarf or tights for winter, an on trend clutch and a bling ring for party time, or just add an amazing belt and brooch for a completely different feel.
Quite often they will have you try on pieces you never imagined wearing in your wildest dreams! But isn’t this all part of the adventure? As a little girl,I woulds spend ages in Grace Bros (now known as Myer), in the Millinery Department. I was able to do this as we had to walk past to get to the carpark. My mum never stood a chance, but she always indulged me.
It was such a joy! It must have driven her mad (secretly I don’t think she minded) trying to get to the car, me saying “just one more”!
Maybe you have never felt confident enough to walk into a certain boutique or just slip on that beautiful coat for size, personal shoppers and stylists can make this happen.
Just think of having the ultimate dress up box, where everything fits perfectly and looks fantastic. This is what a professional can do for you.
We spend money on delicious dinners,fabulous holidays and cutting and colouring our hair to lift our spirits. Why not think about engaging the skills of a personal shopper/stylist or, a colour consultant before your next shopping spree?
Guys, now I am talking to you too. How many men loathe shopping. Gentlemen this is a pain free option. Twice a year be guided on what to choose, and always look great! You might just find it is one of the most uplifting excursions in retail therapy you ever take!
Stylists are not just for celebrities, find the right one and they will help you find your mode of fashion while professionally guiding your dress and grooming choices
Jo Bayley, The Culture Concept Circle April 2012
PS: Jo Bayley is far too modest to say it, which is why I have hopped on to add this PS before her piece is published. I wanted to say if you live in Sydney and want to employ Jo Bayley and her many considerable talents as a stylist, you should contact her via [email protected]
Carolyn McDowall (Writer in Residence, The Culture Concept Circle)