What Everybody Ought To Know About A Fashion Stylist
What everybody ought to know about a day with a Stylist
How a few hours on one day with a Stylist changed my outlook on corporate dressing, public perceptions and style permanently.
After 30+ years of wearing clothes, I thought I was doing okay. Not great, but okay.
Open the wardrobe. Sigh. What can I put on to look passable? I knew that just being passable wouldn’t get me to where I wanted to be or make me feel how I wanted to feel. I wanted a lift and a mini-makeover seemed to make sense.
Because confidence matters
Confidence has a massive impact on how likely you are to attempt new things and put your hand up for new challenges.
Because appearance and impressions matter
There’s lots of research around how the way we look impacts the way people perceive us.
Studies have repeatedly shown that ‘appearance has consequences for success in work via selection processes and perceived achievement within a job.’
There is even evidence that just smelling good can help!
An investigation into scents showed that ‘perfume use increases the wearer’s confidence and perception of them even by others who do not themselves detect the fragrance’.
Apparently, the colour of your clothes also affect your confidence and other people’s perceptions of you ‘even where the perceiver cannot see the color’.
That’s pretty amazing! Your confidence can be affected by the colours you are wearing so much that people on the other side of the world could think you have more positive attributes.
Keep that in mind next time you have a phone interview or an important conference call – chuck that power colour on and reap the benefits!
So, you could trawl through all the scientific studies and then follow them all (such as increasing your chance of success by wearing a more masculine fragrance to an interview for a manager role), but unless you can organise a double blind study every weekday, what’s a little harder to find out is what people actually think of you and the way you present now.
How do you know if you are presenting your authentic self?
If you are a fan of personality tests, you could try Doctor Phil’s ten question quiz on how others see you (but beware of the Forer / Barnum effect)…
…family and friends might be able to assist but they might be too biased to be truthful…
… you could ask random people in the street what they think of you…
The easiest option seemed to be asking a professional. A stylist has seen it all can advise on how certain types of clothes, colours, styles and ways of presenting work in real life.
I needed some firm but fair guidance for a corporate makeover and an off-duty style refresh.
For a long time, I'd fooled myself into thinking those final touches I admired in other women – manicured nails, statement jewelry, blow dried hair, put together outfits, etc - were too much effort, a waste of time, too frivolous to worry about or somehow beyond my reach.
I thought I should spend my time on loftier goals…. but mostly just ended up watching Veronica Mars….
Fashion and style just comes easy to some people.... not to me. I am cursed to be semi-daggy for life, only venturing into stylishness fleetingly for the first two hours after I have a cut & blow wave.
But that was a cop out.
Hang on, haven’t I always said anyone can learn anything if they try hard enough?
These guys say it too… you can acquire any new skill in 20 hours or less and that having lots of skills widens your horizons.
With that in mind, I became determined to be slightly more stylish than passable (passablish? ….baby steps) and a stylist seemed like the best place to start.
There are a few in Melbourne and after a short search process and some enquiries, I settled on www.styleright.com.au for the simple reasons that the website had clear information and pricing, and the stylist was quick to respond and follow up with me.
How would you feel opening your wardrobe to a stranger? I have to admit, I was a little nervous! But the stylist put me right at ease and encouraged me to really think about the clothes I was wearing.
Bright pattern shirts… OUT!
I thought they were fun and modern... but in reality they were ageing me beyond my years - yuck! Out they go!
The stylist was gentle in pointing out that for strong colours (brights, reds, greens, etc), it’s better to go for all one colour instead of patterns.
New fashion rule (for me) created – no more loud patterned shirts!
How do you feel when you wear this?
A question I would never ask myself! My checklist for clothing went more like....
Not see through?
Good to go!
Now I won't be keeping or wearing things that are just passable. I ask myself how I feel when I wear it and if I don’t feel great, I’m not going to keep it or buy it. Easy!
Life after university
I quite liked wearing a black or charcoal suit with a top underneath. I thought it was no nonsense and simple.
Now I realise what I actually looked like was a TV show cop or detective (but with shorter legs and worse hair…
As the stylist quite rightly pointed out, that TV Cop look might have been okay as a graduate lawyer, but what's okay for a grad is not okay for a pro.
So, out with the stretchy cop tops! I’m keeping the badge & the gun though…
Guardian hair angel
Something about the cape / gown at the hairdresser seems to shut down my ability to think and speak normally because despite going in with an idea of what I want, I inevitably end up saying something vague about the hairdresser doing whatever they think.
Having the stylist there who knew all over what I was going for and was able to describe it to the hair dresser was an unexpected relief!
The stylist also expressed to the hair dresser that I'd like a bit of a lesson on how to blow dry my own hair and some different ideas for styling my hair for work and going out.
The end result means I have a cut and style I can recreate at home (I'm getting better with the hair dryer!) and because I have more confidence to style my hair, I'm less likely to go back to just tying it up or clipping it away.
My normal shopping mode goes something like this...
…vaguely look at a few things online...
stumble around from store to store...
try a few things on (none of which go with any other item or what I currently have)...
um and aaaah over them...
have a coffee....
buy a top or too (yes... brightly patterned *blush*)...
go home slightly annoyed.
Not on stylist day!
This is superstar shopping as it should be! Whilst I was getting my hair did at Toni & Guy, my intrepid stylist was morphing the chats we'd had about my current wardrobe and future aims into a series of selected items at various shops around Melbourne Central.
With my new head of stylish hair, we waltzed into various shops where there were already a tasty selection of clothes tucked away, in my sizes, which matched the overall look we were trying to achieve. Huzzah!
As a productivity lover, the efficiency of the process was great but it also meant I didn't get fatigued or discouraged by digging around in the racks trying to find sizes... I'll definitely be asking shop assistants to help me out more next time I go shopping when I try to be my own stylist :)
Advice and confidence
The stylist was helpful in suggesting sizes - sometimes up, sometimes down - which meant I came away with great clothes that fit me properly.
For example, for one pair of pants, I needed to go down a size (yay!) because the fit was too baggy. For a dress, I needed to go up one (against my initial doubts) because whilst the 10 might be fine in a change room standing still, walking around an office, going to meetings or sitting at a desk calls for a bit of leeway.
Despite going up to a size 12 (darn), the dress actually makes me look more slender because of the way it sits, my confidence in wearing it and the fact I won't be trying to pull it down after each step! Win.
Did you know stylists get discounts at some stores?! I didn't but that sure was a welcome surprise!
Depending on the stylist services you order, how much you spend on clothes and at what shop, your stylist might even end up paying for themselves in discounts... that is a definite hidden advantage I hadn't even known about but will keep in mind for next time!
What is your style?
Parisian? Chic? Moi?! I never thought that that could be my style.
Surely that is for the ultra gorgeous, ultra rich and ultra leggy. The impossibly slender and fresh faced females who have never eaten a croissant or had a pimple in their lives.
But, as the Stylist explained, Parisian chic isn't about legs or money….
Since I spotted this great article on decision fatigue which details President Obama's blue & grey suit rule, I knew it was a great concept but wasn't sure how to implement it into my life.
Just okay is not okay
I had heaps of clothes that were okay. They were doing the job. My bits were covered. I was professional at work and relaxed when casual. I even had runners to wear at netball.
But when the Stylist asked, 'How do you feel when you wear this?' I kept saying 'Yeah, okay I guess'.
Did I want people to think I was just okay? No of course not, I wanted them to think I was pretty bloody awesome at my job and lots of fun. I wanted to feel strong and confident, my overall image polished and clean.
And that’s why Parisian chic works as a rule. It's about simplicity & comfort. Bingo! Just what I needed! Some easy and basic rules to follow.
The asymmetrical tuck
I never knew a little tuck tweak could be so powerful. This was a great little gem! For a casual look, instead of no tuck or an all around tuck, the stylist suggested an asymmetrical tuck, as seen below which is much more flattering than an all around tuck or leaving untucked.
For more tucking advice and tutorials… head here, here and here
Your hair is your main (& most important) accessory
Woah! I had never thought about it like that! I put minimal effort into doing my hair (and of course got minimal results).
In line with my pledge to upskill…. I will learn how to blow dry my own hair *hand on heart*. Most of the videos on YouTube are for long hair but linked below is one I found to a super perky mid length tutorial which was very helpful for me.
DIY blow dry for mid length hair (& some cute blow dryer holding techniques!)
A blow dry DIY in words and pictures
Toni & Guy tutorials (advanced-ish…. well, advanced for me)
Statement necklaces for high cut tops
I didn’t realise how a necklace can change the way a top looks entirely.
The stylist – obviously being very stylish – found this amazing black necklace which I fell in love with. It goes with everything from t-shirts to blouses. I am sold! I am now on the look out for some other new accessories for a mini-splurge that can change a plain tee into
Do you struggle with necklaces too? Here is some great visual ideas with options in the style of good, better, best. This chick has a cute preppy style (apparently polos are making a comeback btw) and it’s great to get some age appropriate insight on necklaces and a variety of different necklines including collared shirts.
Hints for your stylist day
Spend some time to think about your personal brand… Sounds a bit lame I know but Michelle Lederman does some great work in this area and her interview on The Art of Charm podcast explains an easy process for developing a personal brand.
In a nutshell, you just think about how you would like people to describe you in 3 words... What would they say now and what do you want them to say? Get clear about the impression you want to make and those three words are your personal brand.
Ask the stylist if they have any special deals coming up or if you can get a discount for bundling services together.
What to wear
Wear knickers and a bra that will go with everything (i.e. skin colour strapless bra and comfy knickers with minimal VPL).
You'll be trying things on.... keep your outfit easy to take on & off again (i.e. a dress), wear minimal jewelry and comfy flats
Write it down
Take notes! From the hairdresser to the make up lesson and everything in between with he stylist, I wish I had taken more notes so I could be clear about the advice I was given and accurately refer to it later on.
Start writing down your questions now... on the flurry of fun on the day, you might forget you really wanted to know whether you have to match your bag to your shoes or some other burning fashion question... write them down so you can ask during the day...
The confidence and actionable advice I gained from the day with StyleRight was far more than I would have been able to achieve than with a mere solo shopping trip or armed with ideas from magazines (even if I had the right perfume on).
Highlight: I now have a bit of style! I have an actual style plan I can easily work with!
Lowlight: Paying for parking at Melbourne Central... ouch... won't do that again!
By taking the time to get to know me and where I was at in my life, the Stylist was able to assist me to not only recraft my corporate image, but also to help give me an easy to follow framework for everyday.
So much easier to go shopping and get dressed when you aren't looking at everything. Instead you have a plan of attack because you know what works and what doesn’t.
I will always approach clothes and shopping differently now and with much more confidence.
What's holding you back from getting a bit of help with your confidence?
Could you benefit from using a stylist? Feel free to hit me up with any questions you might have on my stylist experience with StyleRight Co. or any other queries – Verity@VerityRider.com.
P.s. links below for all the gurus that helped me out J
The gurus that helped me:
Siobhan from StyleRight was wonderful and put me at ease throughout the whole day. I am looking forward to booking another session in future.
I was fortunate enough to have the services of salon director Marie, who was lovely, helpful and patient in explaining things to me and gave me a cut I can handle at home.
Make up lesson:
Not enough time to go into here (ask me if you have questions) but my make up artist was amazing and took me through how to make a day look and a night look, some non-Kardashian contouring, and easy peasey eyeliner (that doesn’t rub off on my eyelids). Highly recommend the Melbourne Central store – all the ladies were lovely!
What I Bought - I had a budget of approx $500
A small selection of some of the items bought on the day or the day after…
Suit: http://www.portmans.com.au/shop/en/portmans/workwear/the-downtown-charcoal-suit-jacket & Dress http://www.portmans.com.au/shop/en/portmans/downtown-suit-dress
White jacket: http://www.target.com.au/p/waterfall-jacket-white/57618227
Black blazer: http://www.target.com.au/p/lily-loves-drape-blazer-black/56929904
In black and white... boom! http://www.portmans.com.au/shop/en/portmans/tops-portmans/tops-basics/carrie-core-tee
About 5 “French chick” t-shirts and singlets from Kmart in various striped, plain and stretchy awesome-ness: http://www.kmart.com.au/clothing
 Little AC & Roberts SC. (2012). Evolution, appearance, and success at work. Evolutionary Psychology 10, 782-801.
 Higuchi et al., 2005; Roberts et al., 2009
 Roberts, S.C., Little, A.C., Lyndon, A., Roberts, J., and Wright, R.L. (2009). Increase in self-rated and other-rated confidence and attractiveness of young men associated with manipulation of body odour. International Journal of Cosmetic Science, 37, 41-54.