We are so spoiled with modern day conveniences. From online shopping to Amazon Prime to clothing handpicked just for us and delivered to our front door, we have endless options! Yet these options can become overwhelming.
I’ve been getting a lot of questions about subscription services like Stitch Fix and what I recommend as a Denver personal stylist. Because every person’s situation is different, not every type of service will be the right fit for everyone. Below is a comprehensive list of advantages and disadvantages to every type of personal styling service, from working in-person with a Nordstrom stylist to hiring a virtual wardrobe consultant.
Personal Stylist at Nordstrom:
-If you’re a regular Nordstrom shopper and need help finding a specific style or handful of pieces, setting an appointment with a Nordstrom stylist is a good way to go. You’ll have someone grab sizes for you, recommend brands based on your budget, and lend their knowledgeable eye. No one knows a Nordstrom store quite like a Nordstrom stylist, and from my experience, most Nordstrom stylists have a great eye for fashion and what flatters a client. Plus, after you work with the same stylist once or twice, they’ll know your style, budget, and what you feel your best in, making the shopping process so much easier!
-Though I have yet to run into a Nordstrom stylist that is particularly pushy, Nordstrom stylists are commission-based and need to sell merchandise in order to make money. Even if you don’t fall in love with anything in the store, you might end up feeling obligated to buy after working with a Nordstrom stylist.
-Don’t work with a Nordstrom stylist if you aren’t used to the quality and pricing of Nordstrom merchandise. Though the styling fee is wrapped into the pricing of the merchandise, you’ll end up feeling uncomfortable if you normally buy at a lower price point.
-Because your stylist doesn’t know you until you walk into the store, he or she may pull pieces for you that don’t reflect your personality. When working with a Nordstrom stylist, put together a Pinterest board ahead of time and show your stylist what styles you like and what exactly you're looking for.
Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and Other Subscription Services:
-Stitch Fix is a wonderful option for busy men and women on the go. If you hate shopping, feel stuck wearing the same brands, or need a fresh pair of eyes, Stitch Fix is a great option. I have several clients who use Stitch Fix and commonly tell me how they’ve enjoyed the introduction to new brands and styles. I’ve also discovered that Stitch Fix consistently provides flattering styles for different body types and fun, one-of-a-kind pieces.
-You have the option to tell your stylist what you need in your closet at any time. Did you receive a pair of pants you love and want more in the same style? Simply leave a note with your stylist to send you more pant options in the next shipment and they’ll do so.
-In order to receive pieces you truly love, you’ll need to put in time and effort to train your stylist when you begin using the service. Make sure to provide specific, detailed feedback about each item and comment on the pieces you kept AND returned. The key to success with a subscription service is to provide detailed feedback for your stylist so they understand your style, what brands work best on you, and what styles flatter your body type.
-Though Stitch Fix sends you how-to outfit cards for each clothing item they ship you, if you only keep an item here and there you may end up with a closet of pieces that don't coordinate together. Make sure you look in your closet for options to wear alongside any Stitch Fix item you keep.
-In summary, a subscription service is #1 for convenience. The biggest downside is the time-consuming process of providing detailed feedback, shipping items back when they don’t work out, and having enough outfit options for your new Stitch Fix items.
-If you feel stuck in your style, aren’t sure what clothing makes sense for your current lifestyle, have lost or gained weight and need a wardrobe revamp, or simply want to feel GOOD in your skin and need help understanding what makes you feel your very best, hiring an independent stylist is the most thorough route you can take. You’ll be expected to dig deep and talk about your biggest wardrobe frustrations, challenges, and goals, and only through partnering with a personal stylist will you experience the transformative process a style makeover can bring.
-A good personal stylist will make you do your homework. You’ll be asked to put together a Pinterest board with 30-50 images of styles you love and complete a questionnaire. It is your stylist’s job to get to the heart of who you are and what you want to accomplish with your style. She’ll analyze what styles send the message that best communicates your personality while assembling a wardrobe that is practical for your day-to-day life. When done right, working with an independent stylist will provide you with the tools you’ll need to dress your body type for the long haul. Working with an independent stylist is an investment, but a worthwhile one if you find your wardrobe a source of constant frustration and disappointment.
-An independent stylist is the only personal styling service that has access to your closet. Beginning with what you already own prevents your stylist from shopping for duplicate items or styles that serve the same purpose as pieces you already own. Beginning in your closet will give your stylist the opportunity to discover the gaps and recommend specific pieces in a detailed shopping list.
-Working on-on-one with a personal stylist is a bigger investment up front. I always recommend clients shop seasonally for clothes and buy for the fall/winter or spring/summer seasons all in one setting. This gives the stylist the ability to mix and match items in the store and create more mileage in your wardrobe with pieces that coordinate together. It can also be smarter to buy 15-20 pieces at the same time when using a coupon or shopping during a sale.
-Working with an independent stylist forces you to get involved. It is the most thorough way to create a wardrobe you love, but without vulnerability and cooperation, you won’t get the results you want. Make sure you’re ready to dive into the process before hiring an independent image consultant.
(The Style Shop by Sandi Mele fits in this category).
Virtual Wardrobe Consulting:
-For the person who hates malls and loves shopping online, working with a virtual wardrobe consultant is the way to go. You will create a well-designed wardrobe from the comfort of your own home and avoid the crowds, noise, and stress of shopping in a mall. If you’re comfortable with Skype, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime and have a well-lit bedroom, a virtual Closet Cleaning will prove most effective and an online shopping session most comfortable.
-Working virtually with a stylist requires you to do more physical work in your closet as you show your stylist what you own. You’ll be trying things on, working to get the camera angle right, and doing the physical work of taking things in and out of your closet.
-Even if you’re used to online shopping, be prepared to ship items back and forth as you discover new brands and styles you love. You’ll most likely spend more money upfront when buying multiple sizes before shipping the incorrect sizes back. You’ll also want to read the return policy and understand the sizing chart before placing an order.
(The Style Shop by Sandi Mele offers this service).