How To Find A Virtual Personal Stylist
Having been a professional stylist for over 20 years, I have come across the good and the bad. A professional virtual stylist is not cheap, and nor should it be. You are paying for the experience of someone to guide you to the perfect wardrobe, not read from a book or use an algorithm. There are several things you should look out for when looking for a virtual personal stylist.
- Experience: It might appear obvious, but it is surprising how many so-called ‘stylists’ exist with little or no experience. Look for a virtual stylist with at least 5-10 years of in-person experience. You can not become a stylist by doing an online course. The experience comes with working with different people in person and learning as you build up your client base. Virtual styling is slightly more complex than in-person styling. You need to know colour, style, body shapes, preferences and all the nuances that go with that, like the back of your hand, so that you can offer clients results equal to an in-person experience. Always look for considerable in-person experience. If you are unsure, ask for evidence or references.
- Price: The cheapest is not always the best. I know you may be on a budget, but if you invest in a virtual stylist, you want one that can quickly answer all of your questions and give you guidance that will enable you to shop easily long term. As I mentioned above, look for experience and ensure that the stylist you are looking at offers the service you need. It is worth asking if you can pay in instalments too. A decent stylist will be happy to work a payment plan out with you.
- Services: Know what you are paying for! Again this might sound obvious, but make sure you know you are booking a service that will give you all you need. Please see below for examples of services and a description of what they are.
- The Right Virtual Stylist: There are several different stylists out there that offer packages for a range of clients. Think about what you want from your stylist. Are you looking for a simple, easy, mix-and-match capsule wardrobe? Do you want a high-end, fashionable, luxurious wardrobe? Have you recently lost or put on weight, so need help to build a new wardrobe? Have you moved to another climate or a new job? Think about your needs and what service you would like to meet them. If you are unsure, ask for advice from a few stylists and compare the packages to find the best one for you.
When A Virtual Stylist Does Not Work
Quite frequently, I come across stylists who offer services with little or no experience. As I mentioned above, real-world experience is essential. Putting a few nice outfits together on Instagram does not make you a stylist. Giving styling advice in a department store does give you some real-life experience, but your client base is severely limited to that store. Recently there has been massive growth in the ‘personal styling’ subscription boxes. In my experience, these are misleading to the public. You can not buy a professional personal stylist for £10 a month. Save your money and find a knowledgeable virtual stylist who will teach you what works best for you from now on.
Beware Of Personal Stylist Subscription Boxes
‘Personal styling’ subscriptions boxes are not curated by personal stylists. A professional stylist can offer you much more on an individual level. These companies work by employing people interested in fashion and teaching them how to use an algorithm that does most of the work in choosing your clothes. Essentially a robot picks your clothes, and then a person selects from them. You will not get a personal stylist choosing your clothes. There is nothing wrong with these services per sei, but know what you are buying.
Know What To Look Out For With Your Virtual Stylist
I have mentioned above what to look out for in your virtual stylist, but there is one more essential factor. Speak to the stylist and make sure they understand your needs. I have many clients coming to me who have already sort help elsewhere. One of their biggest complaints is that the stylist did not consider their personal needs and preferences. Many felt that the previous stylist tried to gear them towards looks that may have looked good on paper, but they felt uncomfortable in the clothes chosen. What you feel good in is of the utmost importance. A stylist should consider colour, body shapes, style, environment, lifestyle and your personal preferences. All of these elements go together to build a perfect wardrobe.
Other Virtual Personal Stylist Services
Alongside virtual styling services, there is a range of packages you can consider. I have listed them all below and explained what they should include.
Wardrobe Edits: A wardrobe edit is where you and the stylist go through your wardrobe and pick out what works for you and what does not. This service can be achieved in person or online as part of a video call such as Skype. Most virtual wardrobe edits last anywhere between one to three hours, depending on the clients’ needs. A wardrobe edit is a two-way session where the client talks about the history of clothes and why they think they work or not, and the stylist advises on what will suit the clients colouring and shape. At the end, the client has often removed items that do not work, and the stylist gives them a list of additional pieces they consider to complete their wardrobe.
Colour Analysis: A colour analysis identifies a collection of shades that complement the clients’ skin, hair and eyes. The stylist will ask for details from the client to advise which category they fall into. A colour analysis is not a hard and fast rule but a guide that clients can use to aserc]tain if a shade suits them or not. It is also helpful when creating a new wardrobe to have a small selection of shades to choose from.
Style Guides: A style guide will usually ascertain the client’s body shape and what styles suit that body shape. The guide should have visual references so that the client can see when shopping what styles to avoid and what to choose. A decent guide should explain a little bit about the body shape and why certain clothes suit and others don’t.
Personal Shopping: A virtual personal shopper goes shopping for you. If you are the sort of person who hates shopping for clothes or gets overwhelmed with all the choices, then this service is for you. A personal shopper will go shopping with you in person or shop alone to help you choose clothes and create outfits. A virtual personal shopper provides a similar service; only they select clothes online and send you a document with the links. The document is often called a Lookbook.
Virtual Lookbook: A lookbook is an E-book of clothes images. Designers often use them to present their new collections, but virtual stylists also use them. In the case of a personal client, a lookbook would be a collection of clothes I have curated that mix and match and suit the clients’ needs. Each item has a link to where the client can buy it. Most lookbooks should also have an explanation in each section as to why the stylist selected the garments.
Wardrobe Integration: Once a client has worked through a wardrobe edit with the stylist and has received advice on what clothes will suit them best, either during the edit or in the form of a lookbook, the client can start to build their wardrobe. Once the client has bought a few items, they can have a final session with the stylist to help integrate those items into their existing wardrobe. A session like this is usually shorter than a wardrobe edit and can happen in person or online in a video call.
Capsule Wardrobe /Closet: A capsule wardrobe or closet is a small workable collection of clothes that mix and match easily. They are often limited to under eight colours, and quality is of preference over quantity. You can achieve a capsule closet with the help of a virtual stylist who specialises in this area. Capsule wardrobes are perfect for those who do not have time to consider what to wear, live a minimalist lifestyle, want to save money and consider themselves ecologically conscious.