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Debunking 5 Myths About Stylists

What myths have you heard about working with a personal stylist or image consultant? They're too expensive, they push certain styles or brands on you, they make you look like them, etc. In my time working as one, I've heard plenty! I think it's high time I debunk some of these myths!

Myth #1: Stylists style clients like themselves.

This is a long-held belief that I can't seem to wrap my head around. I suppose there are a few stylists out there who have ruined it for the rest of us. But the way I see it, I get to flex my creative muscle even more when a client has a style outside my own. I find it kind of exhilarating, actually! It's like playing dress up but with a different muse. Some of my clients are traditional and classic, while others are minimalistic. Still others are bold and vibrant - and others are young and trendy. No matter the vibe they're going for, I'm here to help them bring it to life.

One of the reasons I don't define myself as a style blogger is because I don't really want people to emulate my style. If my style happens to be something you want for yourself, then have at it! I don't mind at all! But what I really love to do (and excel at!) is help women define their personal style - something that speaks to them - and then help them start showing up as that woman on the daily. I actually think following style bloggers can be more confusing for you as you start to define your own personal style. It can be easy to follow someone else and snap up everything they buy, but then your voice gets lost in the process. What do *I* actually love? Finding what is unique to you - and your body type - is important. And a stylist can help you do just that.

Myth#2: Stylists are expensive, only for the rich and famous.

It is estimated that the average woman (with a life expectancy of 80 years of age) will spend approximately $125,000 in her lifetime on clothing and accessories. This will equate to just over 3,100 different items and include 145 handbags, 185 dresses and yes you’ve guessed it, over 270 pairs of shoes. (1)

On a monthly basis, women on average will spend somewhere between $150 - $400 on clothing, equaling approximately $1,800 to $4,800 per year.

And even after all this spending and hundreds of items of clothing, three in five women complain on a daily basis that they can’t find anything suitable to wear in their wardrobe. Furthermore, it's known that most women wear 20% of the items in their closet 80% of the time. Talk about waste!

I'm confident that many of you reading this right now are nodding your heads, knowing all too well this feeling of spending, spending, spending only to have a continual nagging feeling of nothing to wear.

This is exactly where a stylist can help. More often than not, the women I work with have too much in their closets. They are swimming in clothes that are cluttering up their closets, are overwhelmed with clothes they don't love really, don't know how to style, spent too much on but don't love, don't fit or just sit there for sentimental reasons.

While the cost of working with a stylist can seem expensive at first, when you stop to consider the work a stylist is doing to help you get the right things into your closet - that you'll actually love and wear - the investment is worth it. So instead of having a closet where you only wear 20%, how about having a closet where you wear all of it?

A stylist is going to help you get clear about your unique style, your best colors and your best shapes, so that when you do shop, you're buying things that truly work for you and your lifestyle. Most women don't shop in this way, as we are all swayed by marketing and sales and promotions, and don't often stop to think about our closets in a holistic way. (What do I actually need or want, and what will I wear for my lifestyle?) When you work with a stylist, you're not only removing what you no longer love or will wear (decluttering your closet is a real game-changer!), but you're also filling up your closet with things that work for you now. And then you'll learn how to wear and style them in many different ways so nothing goes to waste and you get plenty of wears out of each thing you own.

Myth#3: Stylists only recommend expensive/designer brands.

It's a common misconception that you have to have a lot of money to have great style. This, my friends, is where you are horribly wrong. I have coached many women who feel like they have to "keep up with the jones's" (their circle of friends or co-workers, that is) and own designer bags or labels just to fit in and feel stylish. This just makes me incredibly sad, because I know labels or how much you spend aren't the pathway to great style.

I am proof that great style doesn't have to come with a big price tag. I have spent my entire life creating my personal style on a budget. As a young woman, building my career and then building my family, I didn't have enormous amounts of money to spend on clothes. Easily less than $200 a month. So I had to be frugal, I had to set a budget, and I had to find the best quality clothes at the best prices.

Now that I'm older and have more money to spend, I don't necessarily go all out on designer brands. And I still shop at lower-cost retailers and hunt down sales. And I don't think this will ever change no matter how much I make moving forward. Why? Because I believe style isn't tied to a brand or a dollar amount. I find equally amazing and stylish things at retailers like Target or Zara or H&M, as I do at high-end brands.

Spending more isn't always better

What I want you to take away is that spending more money isn't always better. When I do spend more money on an item of clothing, shoe or accessory, it's because I know I love it enough to wear for years to come, or the cost per wear is justifiable. For example, I recently splurged on a pair of Agolde jeans. Spending $198 on a pair of jeans, even today, felt like an investment, and was the most I had ever spent to date on denim. So why did I decide to do it?

A few reasons...

In my younger years, I would only buy $30-$40 pairs of jeans, because I didn't believe I could afford more in my budget at the time. The reality was that I hated these cheap jeans. They were poor quality, would stretch and bag out within hours, and I would wash them constantly to shrink them back to size. It was a ridiculous and frustrating process. Plus, I never felt good wearing them. (I mean, no one looks good with saggy bottoms and knees!) I easily owned 20 pairs of these cheap, low-quality jeans. I just kept buying them thinking that it would be different or better with the next pair. Nope. I was definitely wrong about that.

About ten years ago, out of desperation and frustration with these cheap jeans, I splurged on a designer pair of jeans. At the time, dropping $150 on a pair of jeans felt insane! What I didn't know is that this one pair of jeans was about to change my world - and my entire perspective on investing in good jeans. I suddenly realized that even though spending more felt out of my comfort zone, it was well worth the investment. No more tugging or sagging or washing after every wear. I just felt good in this pair of jeans every single time I wore them. Had I changed my mindset about these "expensive" jeans years ago, I could have saved myself so much more money!

Let's do the math to compare...

Cheap jeans:

Average of $30 per pair x 20 pairs = $600 (I hated every time I wore them, and most just sat untouched in my closet)

"Expensive" jeans:

Average of $150 per pair x 4 pair = $600 (I loved every time I wore them, and they lasted me for years)

I could have easily owned 4 expensive pairs that I loved wearing or even two pairs for half the cost, instead of wasting money on 20 pairs I hated. You do the math. Fast forward to today, spending $198 on a pair of jeans that I know I will love and wear on repeat is a no brainer.

Myth#4: Stylists only work in person.

Yes, historically speaking, this is perhaps how you've known stylists to work. They come to your house, take a look through your closet, perhaps help with a clean-out, then go off to do shopping on your behalf at the local stores and bring back a carefully curated set of clothes for you to try on. Sort of like a white glove service, bringing items to you and then returning what you don't love. Some even photographed your outfits and put them into a physical lookbook for reference later.

The reality is that some stylists still work this way - and power to them! However, the traditional in-person personal stylist working model is changing, accelerated by the pandemic. Stylists who had always worked in person are now scrambling to find a way to work virtually, and quite honestly, are struggling with how to do it.

Since I started my business right at the beginning of the pandemic, and also because I live in a relatively small city (Omaha, NE!) with very few shopping options, I knew I wanted to build a business that worked exclusively virtually. I worked to find the best tools that allowed me to work virtually in an efficient way, while also meeting my clients needs. One benefit of working exclusively virtual is that it allows me to connect with women from all across the country - and world! And secondly, it gives my clients more options to find the things they needed - and in the sizes they need. You will be hard-pressed to find what you need for clients who are tall, petite or plus size in a traditional store-front. With the retail landscape changing rapidly, and physical storefronts closing or downsizing left and right, it's nearly impossible to find everything for your clients' needs within your own city. My clients have a variety of size and style needs (plus, tall, petite, etc.) - and I can serve them so much better by shopping the unlimited options online.

Myth#5: Stylists are pushy and don't listen to what you want.

I'm right there with you on hating that pushy salesperson vibe. I mean, when was the last time you went into a retail clothing store with a pushy salesperson who insisted you needed to buy a certain pair of jeans? Or, you got sold on a certain brand because you know they got a commission or kickback for promoting it? Ick. I've been there before and avoid those stores like the plague! These stores think they're doing their customers a service, but for many women, I think it is actually off-putting. Do you agree?

The last ting I want is for my clients to feel like they got pushed into a certain style, brand or item of clothing. My goal is to marry my clients' feedback, wants and desires with my styling expertise. I'm here to elevate their style, not make them feel less like themselves. I'm not going to ask you to wear something outside of your comfort zone, but I will ask you to try. Because you never know when magic may happen! At the end of the day, I always ask my clients, "How do you feel in it?" If it's not a "100% hell yes!" then it's got to go, and we keep looking.

It completely makes my day when I get feedback that it was fun working with me, and that I did it with a ton of kindness and compassion. It's feedback like this that lets me know I'm on the right track in my business:

"I love working with Ellie! She provides a great service. She takes the time to get to know me and my personal preferences. She listens to what I like and don't like. I look forward to our meetings because I know that her recommendations will work well for me. She gives me many choices and wants to know my thoughts on the choices. She uses that feedback to give me even better recommendations the next time. Since I have been working with Ellie, I have received many compliments on my style - that is a new experience for me!" - Cheryl

These are the most common myths I've heard about stylists. Perhaps you've heard others! After reading this, though, my hope is you have a new outlook on stylists and how they can help you - not make your life harder. I'd love to hear from you! Drop a comment with your thoughts on this blog or just say hello.

About Me

Hi, I'm so glad you're here! I'm a Personal Virtual Stylist and owner of Style Decoded. I'm a Midwest born fashion lover on a mission to help women show up with more authenticity and alignment at work and in their businesses through their style, and feel 100% confident in their own skin every day. Styling is my passion but it hasn't always been my job. I spent 20 years of my career in client service, advertising, developing brands, blogging, podcasting, and creating marketing and social social strategies for my clients, ranging from Fortune 500 giants to individuals building their personal brand online. To say I know a thing or two about marketing and client service is an understatement! Now, I love teaching women how to define and own their unique personal brand through style.

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