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From Sam Saboura, Gina’s Personal Stylist
and our Editor-in-Chief

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This month’s issue is all about being a star in your life and your business, and as a successful woman entrepreneur, you may have considered hiring a stylist to freshen up your look or help you elevate your sense of style. On the flip, you may be so confident in your ability to shop and put looks together that the idea of paying someone to do it for you might seem like a waste of money. No matter which category you fall into, finding the right stylist can do more for you and your brand than you might imagine. So to help you get one step closer to that gorgeous top you saw in this month’s Vogue, I give you everything you need to know about finding and hiring the perfect stylist.

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How do I know it’s time to bring in an expert?
You might not. Gina thought she had this whole style thing on lock until I showed up, and she very well might have—aside from a few questionable shoes and some bras that were ruining my life—but that’s a story for another time. When your life and career become too busy and successful for you to have time to stop and think about what you should wear next, you might want to bring in some help and remove fashion and style off your already full plate.

When should I hire a stylist?
Well, that’s up to your immediate or long-term needs. You can use a stylist’s services a number of different ways. For example, you might want to do a one-off hire, where you bring the stylist in on a day rate for special events, photo shoots or appearances. Other women are confident enough in their style that they only feel the need for a seasonal booking. The stylist does an overhaul on your closet twice a year with the changing of the seasons to keep you organized and your looks fresh. Last but not least, your wow factor might be so wow that it’s important to have someone on retainer. In this instance a monthly fee is agreed upon for a certain number of hours or days each month—lucky you.

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Why should I hire a stylist?
Think of a stylist as a fresh pair of eyes on your body and your style. When we look at ourselves in the mirror, we tend to zero in on our flaws and what we don’t love about our bodies. A stylist comes without preconceived notions, has an objective eye and views you in an unbiased way. They see the best parts about your body and work to flatter them and make them shine. Flaws are hidden and proportions are balanced with the right clothing, shoes, and accessories. Colors and prints are used strategically and your style undergoes a total transformation. A good stylist will also have a new perspective on your wardrobe. Where you see items you haven’t worn in six months and don’t know what to do with, they see a closet full of opportunity. Think of them as artists with a grand pallet who are ready to paint you in a new light.

What can a stylist do for me?
The answer is, a lot. From personal shopping and packing to making outfits out of what you already own, an experienced stylist can bring a lot to the table and really up your fashion game. You have to be open to change and accept that some of the things you’ve been doing or wearing might not be working for you anymore. A stylist can help you get out of your comfort zone and inspire you to take some risks. Change is uncomfortable but totally essential if you want to grow your personal style and make a new impact. It’s true, you are not your clothes—but people will look at you and make a judgment call based on how you look—especially in business, so make sure you look amazing ladies!

What are some of the perks of having a stylist on speed dial?
A stylist who has been in the business for a long time has a covetable little black book that you’ll want to tap into—trust. They have personal relationships with the best stores, salespeople and PR houses in town and can usually call in a favor at a moment’s notice. It sounds silly but having carte blanche at Saks, Barney’s, and Neiman’s has its benefits. Then there are the discounts. Stylists and shoppers who work closely with certain boutiques will often be able to extend their discount to clients. There’s also a wonderful little thing called a “memo.” This is when your stylist is able to pull tens of thousands of dollars in clothing out on loan for fittings without fees or charges to your card. You only pay for what you keep in the end. Last but not least, the best tailors, cobblers and seamstresses are at your services—all because of who you know.

Things to know when
hiring a stylist

Rates
Always ask for fees and prices up front and be clear about what you’re getting. Most stylists work on a “day rate,” which is a fixed fee for an 8-10 hour day. You can also ask to bundle multiple days for less money and agree on a flat fee for the job. I would be leery of stylists that take a percentage of your spend the same way an interior designer might do. That kind of arrangement never feels right to me and the client should never feel obliged or pressed to make a purchase.

Assistants are Extra
Unless folded into the key stylist’s day rate and confirmed up front, having an assistant on hand may up the fees, so always ask.

Personal Shopping vs. Shopping Together
When a stylist shops for you, you might be charged for multiple days like prep/shopping, fitting, and return days. You are paying for the luxury of the clothing being pulled for you, brought to you for a fitting, and then returned on your behalf. This route is more costly, but also more convenient.

When the stylist shops with you, you are only charged for the days you spend working together, so prep and return days are out of the equation and you get more bang for your buck. Plus, you can accomplish things like tailoring all in one shot.

The Style Factor
Ask to take a look at the stylist’s work online or see their “book,” and make sure the looks you see are in line with the style you aspire to have. Like all creatives and artists, different stylists excel in different areas and always have their own bag of tricks. They also have their own vision of style they adhere to, so choose wisely.

Get in the Mood
It’s a great idea to pin a bunch of looks you love to a mood board on Pinterest and share them with your stylist. In this way you are speaking each other’s language and communicating visually.

Reality Check
If you don’t look like Beyoncé, or share her body type, don’t expect to come out of your styling session in a fitted fringed Balmain dress and fur chubby. Style inspiration is just that and your stylist is not a magician. Be realistic with your ask and trust that the end result should please your vision and your body. Neither of which should fight with the clothes.

 
So there you have it Ladies. No more talk about how you have nothing to wear or don’t look good in any of your clothes. Your next must-have hire can help you up-level your style in ways you’ve only dreamed of, and now you have the info and the tools to make it happen. Now get shopping!

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