How To Shop Like A Stylist [guest post]

August 19, 2016

Guest contributor Bridie shares her valuable lessons learnt after her experience with shopping with a stylist.

Lady thinking | Almost Posh

There I was - flabby, fractious and frustrated.  Ready to burn down my entire wardrobe and start again. A thought popped into my head . . . why don't I hire a stylist?

I've long dreamt of the 'guerilla-style makeover' where a van would pull up beside me, bundle me in, work their magic and deposit me back looking fresh as a daisy . . . sadly, my life is not a TV show. If, however, you're a TV exec reading this and you like the sound of The Makeover Van, call me, let's talk. In the absence of my own paramilitary glam squad, I decided to hire a stylist.

While many people think a stylist is out of their price range, it can work out to save you money in the long run.  I had been on a long tear of buying things that weren't quite right for me.  Either because I didn't have time to try on properly, resulting in the "this is lower cut than I'd hoped!" phenomenon or simply falling victim to trends and clothes that neither suited nor fit properly. Since my session with a stylist, I've only purchased items that fit the brief and work together with things I already own, ultimately saving me money and time (and bewilderment - I'm looking at you, SATIN PANTS!)

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Anyway, after meeting my stylist at Adelaide's only meeting place, The Mall's Balls, we were off and my shopping trip was very successful.  Without further ado, here's how I learned how to shop like a stylist:

Have a brief (but don't be wedded to it)

To develop a cohesive wardrobe, you need to know what you're looking for. Aimlessly wandering the shops is great for inspiration, but picking up single items can mean a lot of your clothes don't work well together. If you need a pair of black pants for work, then that's fine, but a stylist might notice your shapely legs and convince you to pick up a black ponte skirt instead. (And we all know that dresses and skirts aren't a death sentence - Ed.)

Consider your life and what you do - carrying small children? Taking boxes around the office? Short dresses and stacked heels might not work for you. Your clothes have a function beyond just looks and you need to consider it as part of your brief.

Set a budget

Stylists work to budgets and you can have in mind what you'd like to spend. Rather than think about how much you'd pay per item (i.e. "I'm only paying $90 for black pants") consider setting a budget for a few pieces that work together.  If you fall in love with a staple pair of pants then you can investigate cheaper tops to work with them.

Prep and do your research

My stylist helpfully pre-arranged pieces for me to try on, saving valuable time.  If you don't have someone pre-scouting for you, the alternative is to do your research online and call ahead, so that you won't be disappointed if stores don't have things in your size or the colour you're after.

Try on everything

Shopping alone can make you skittish and gun-shy or just plain lazy. Try on as many clothes as you have time for.  Go out to the big mirrors and check out how things move. That's how you find the real diamonds in the rough.

Take a few risks

Instead of staying in your tight little comfort zone, a stylist will look at you with objective eyes. Mine took my usual look (disgruntled pensioner) and gave it a cool girl twist to keep me looking within the general realm of my actual age. If you have trouble doing this alone, then enlist a shop assistant and ask them some questions. You never know - they might suggest other things that you wouldn't have considered, surprising you.

I worked with Rachel from Little Bird Style Coaching in Adelaide and can happily recommend her.

Have you ever used a stylist? Would you?

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