Wednesday, August 17, 2016


By now, you've read about my experiences (here and here) with two online styling services, Stitch Fix and Trunk Club.  You may have even had your own experiences with one of these companies (or another similar one).  If you've ever thought you might benefit from hiring a personal stylist, you might wonder why--or if--you should hire a local stylist over one of these online services.  After all, a local stylist will generally charge you per hour, and an online service will cost you nothing but the clothes you buy.  I'm admittedly biased, but in my opinion, these two types of services are totally different animals, meant to serve totally different purposes, both having to do with clothing.  I'm going to attempt to outline my thoughts.

Photo by Sandy Swagger Photography

Who should use an online styling service?

  • Are you a person who loves getting new clothes every now and then, who is comfortable describing her personal style likes and dislikes, and who loves surprises?  This service is for you!
  • Do you love trying on new items and mixing and matching them with things you have in your closet to get the most bang for your buck?  This service is for you!
  • When you try on clothes, do you know what cuts and fabrics flatter your figure most?  Are you generally comfortable making a decision about whether or not to keep something without consulting a friend or expert?  This service is for you!
  • Do you need just a few things to spice up your wardrobe, but otherwise feel pretty good about what's in your closet?  This service is for you!

Photo by Sandy Swagger Photography

Who should hire a local personal stylist?

  • Do you look in your closet most mornings feeling like you have very little from which to choose, even though you may have lots in there?  Is creating head-to-toe looks a challenge for you?  Hire a local stylist!
  • Are you in a bit of a slump because you've gained or lost weight or because your body has changed with age?  Could you benefit from working with someone who can help you learn how to dress this new body to its full potential?  Hire a local stylist!
  • Have you recently had a "life shift" (new baby, kids back to school, new job, retirement) and need some helping learning how to dress the part?  Hire a local stylist!
  • Do you need someone to give you some suggestions on whether to keep or toss items in your closet that you've been hanging on to?  Would you like someone to take it to a consignment store or donation bin for you when it's all over?  Hire a local stylist!
  • Do you hate shopping and/or have no time for it and want to establish a relationship with a person who knows your measurements, sizes, preferences, budget, personality, job, and who can go multiple places to find great additions to your wardrobe?  Hire a local stylist!  (OK, this one sounds like a horn tooter, and it is.  But it's also true.)

I'm sure you're catching my drift.  Even with a detailed questionnaire and a phone call ahead of time, it's hard for someone to understand your needs and preferences from afar.  A local stylist will take time to get to know what you're looking for.  Her proximity will usually allow her to come to your house and spend time with you looking at the things you have.  Any new pieces she suggests or purchases for you will work in the wardrobe you already have.  And perhaps the biggest difference is that a local stylist may determine you don't need to add much of anything to your current wardrobe.  My clients are always shocked by all of the combinations and "new" outfits we create during a Wardrobe Revival.

Having said that, I have recommended, and will continue to recommend online styling services to clients after the Wardrobe Revival.  Once they've gotten a grasp on their personal style, sometimes they are excited to branch out and get a few new pieces, with or without my help.

Finally, I imagine that lots of folks who read fashion blogs are into fashion and feel confident enough in their personal style to enjoy an online service.  It's always fun to find a package at your door, isn't it?!

So, are these two types of services similar?  In my opinion, they are not.  Are they mutually exclusive?  Absolutely not!  Have FUN with fashion!!

Do you agree with my thoughts?  Disagree?  Let me know in the comments.

As a personal stylist in Richmond, VA, I strive to make wardrobe choices clear and easy for women who are short on time, overwhelmed by their closets, or transitioning from one period of life to another.  Let's connect!  

1 comment:

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