How to find the right personal stylist for you

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What to ask, and what to look for when you're thinking of working with a Personal Stylist

I know it feels like everyone else around you has a knack for putting outfits together, and just seems to know what to wear, effortlessly. But the truth is that very few women have a natural ability to dress well, most spend years learning the skills…as you would if you wanted to be a good cook, or seamstress. And the others? Well they’ve had some help.  Probably from a Personal Stylist.

If you’re not sure what a Personal Stylist is or what they do; they are someone you hire to remove the stress and worry from deciding what to wear, by showing you how to put together outfits that look good on you, so you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes and build a closet that makes you smile!

They make your life a little easier, give you one less thing to worry about, and leave you feeling excited to shop and explore your style confidently, alone!

Working with a Personal Stylist can be quite transformational but I know it can also be a daunting prospect…because I’ve been told.  Many, many times.  One of my recent clients admitted to me that she was so nervous about working with me it took her a year to book the session she’d been gifted.  Even I’m intimidated by some Personal Stylists…and I’ve been a Personal Stylist for 17 years!  So I get it!  You’re probably asking yourself:

  • How do I find a good Personal Stylist?  Someone who is talented without being intimidating? "
  • I have a really difficult shape, what if they can't help me?!
  •  I don't want to look like everyone else, I want to look like me...but I'm not sure what that is!  How will they?!

Those are all great questions to ask, because in doing so you’ll be able to find the right Personal Stylist for you, but PLEASE don’t let those fears put you off from moving forward! 

I know from first hand experience just how much of a positive impact working with a Personal Stylist can have on your life.  In the words of some of my clients:

This wasn't just wardrobe transforming, it was life transforming

kate brooks

Niki did so much more than just take me shopping; she made a major difference to my self-esteem and has made me walk much taller!

Anna vigars

I feel confident and comfortable. I feel like myself!

Ana jimenez santillana

So, to stop you from falling at the first hurdle, I’ve gathered together the most common worries I’ve had from past clients, and am sharing my tips and advice to help you overcome them, so you can start your journey to building a closet of clothes that makes you smile!

If you know you need some help, but aren’t sure what to do, or how to find the right stylist for you. Scroll on down!



I'm worried I might not be able to afford the items they choose for me, and that I'd feel obligated to buy stuff.

It’s the job of the stylist to spend your money wisely and most stylists will be mindful of this while working with you but it doesn’t do any harm to ask them what measures they have in place to prevent you spending an amount you’re uncomfortable with.  

Before you start working together, inform the stylist of your budget and, once you’ve discussed what you’re shopping for, ask them to give you a rough estimate of what it might cost to purchase everything on the list.  This will give you the opportunity to check the stylist is creating a collection to suit your budget before any clothes are sourced.

Remember, it’s the job of the personal stylist to source what you need within your budget, and a good stylist won’t try to push you over this and should be able to guide you towards a collection that provides you with what you need, within budget.  At the end of the day you should get the last word, and if at any time you feel like you’re being bullied into buying something you need to communicate this to your stylist!


I always have difficulty putting outfits together, how will this be any different?

The role of a personal stylist is to pull together a collection of clothes that not only fit you and your brief perfectly, but that's super versatile and easy to put together, so getting dressed is a breeze and enjoyable!  

A good stylist will educate you throughout the entire process but if you feel yourself getting confused or lost at all, encourage her to explain to you:

  • Why these particular items were chosen for you - what is it about them that makes them work for you?
  • How the items can be worn together - ask to be shown how to put the collection into outfits
  • How to dress them up and down 
  • And how you might integrate them into your current collection

You should walk away from the session feeling empowered to effortlessly and confidently mix and match each piece to create all the outfits you need.


If you really struggle to put complete outfits together, discuss this with the Personal Stylist before you hire them so you can make sure that there will be a strong emphasis on showing you how to put the collection into outfits.


How do I know the personal stylist isn't trying to sell me the clothes they make the most commission on?

These days it's fairly normal for a personal stylist to earn a little commission on the the clothes they sell you - I do as the extra I earn enables me to charge a little less for my services.  But, and this is a BIG 'but', I always source a collection first and add the affiliate links later.  If a retailer is not affiliated with the program I use, unlucky for me.  The client is the priority.


If you have concerns about finding a personal stylist who is independent, make it a priority to ask them how they source your collection, which retailers they use, and which affiliate program they a member of.


What happens if I don't like the clothes the personal stylist picks for me?

If the stylist has done their homework and asked you the right questions there will be far less of a chance that this will be an issue, but make sure you pose this question to the stylist. 

I can almost guarantee that they will have been asked this question many times before, and that they will have a process in place to mitigate this happening.

For example, as well as the in depth questionnaire that I ask all clients to fill in, I make a point keeping my client in the loop throughout the process – sharing a style mood board to illustrate the look and feel of the collection I'm proposing, informing the client of my proposed shopping list and regularly updating them on the progress.  All my services are conducted online, but I am there, guiding my client through the process, every step of the way.

You can also help the process run smoothly, by being as open and honest as you can throughout. An experienced personal stylist will not take it personally, and will appreciate your honesty as it will help them to source a collection you love!


Give yourself the time and space to consider each item as you try them on - particularly the pieces you aren’t sure about. Ask yourself whether the issue is that you don’t like it, or that it’s different from what you’re used to. Sometimes it takes a few minutes to get used to something new, and I often find that it’s the pieces a client likes the least on the hanger that become her favorite items in the collection!


I'm worried that the personal stylist will want me to fit in with their idea of works for me, rather than what I want to look like.

This is probably one of the biggest concerns people have when they’re thinking about hiring a stylist, and is another subject I think is important to talk about with the stylist before you hire them. 

A good stylist won’t impost their style on you, they will be able to leave their style preferences at the door and focus on dressing you in the pieces that not only suit you and your shape, but that suit your lifestyle and style preferences.

To help put your mind at ease ask the stylist what measures they have in place to help you effectively communicate what you want to achieve.

For example, there are 3 steps I go through with a client before I even begin sourcing a collection:

  1. She fills in my comprehensive questionnaire, pins to a private Pinterest board, and shares photos with me
  2. Next we meet in person to chat through all the 'homework'
  3. After that I create a Style Direction board for her on Pinterest to illustrate the look I'm thinking of putting her in.   It's not until my client agrees that we are on the same page,that I start to choose the items for her collection.
Another tip is to read testimonials from past clients, this is a great way to get a feel for whether the stylist has a ‘look’ that they stick to, or whether they take the time effort to gather pieces that suit their individual clients.


Check out the personal stylists social media profiles and see if you like their personal style or whether you share the same philosophy.  If not, you might want to keep searching.


I'm nervous about doing this!

Of course you are! You’re worried that your body-shape is difficult and like no other she's come across, that she won’t understand what you want to look like, or that she’ll be bossy or bully you into buying clothes you don’t really want.  

You are putting your style and budget in the hands of someone else, and are opening yourself up to change.  It’s a vulnerable position to be in and your brain is hardwired to resist things that make you feel uncomfortable, or that scare you, it’s your brains way of protecting you!

I recommend speaking to the stylist and discussing your worries with them. Most stylists are nothing like the stereotypical ‘fashion person’ painted in the media, we're friendly and very non-judgemental…and we totally understand that most new clients experience some nervousness initially.  A quick chat over the phone or Skype (or via email if you’re feeling particularly nervous) will help to put your mind at ease.


Try to stay strong! Remind yourself why you started this journey.  Picture feeling free and relieved, and excited to shop and explore your style confidently! Your life will feel a bit easier, with one less thing to worry about!


I worry the personal stylist will dress me in what's in fashion.  I don't want to look mummsy or old fashioned, but not fashion led either...

Wearing outdated pieces will age you so there is merit in incorporating some essence of the trends into your personal style, however, it should not be the stylists priority to dress you head to toe in the latest trends as their objective is to create an individual look for you…and slavishly following the trends is not unique!

Do your research and look for stylists who talk about creating a style that is individual and authentic, as opposed to one who priorities trends and strives to be in fashion.  

And once you’ve found someone who shares your ethos, make sure she knows how ‘fashiony’ you want to be and, if building a timeless collection of clothes is your priority, make sure you communicate that.  

An experienced stylist will keep abreast of the latest trends and will have the knowledge to adapt them to suit you and your lifestyle so you build a genuine and classic yet contemporary collection of clothes.


I worry that hiring a personal stylist is un-creative and that I'll end up  looking like everyone else.

This is one of the biggest myths surrounding personal stylists.  It’s the stylists job to turn your vision into a reality and most thrive on turning their clients individuality into a personal style that reflects that!  

If a cookie cutter look isn’t for you, (and I don't' blame you!) find out who the personal stylist typically works with, and request testimonials to back this up.  Check out their Pinterest boards and Instagram profile to see what sort of styles they're drawn to, and if you can personally relate to their style.  If not, keep looking.

And as I mentioned previously, ask the stylist what processes they have in place to help you communicate the look you want. 

I also suggest taking some time to figure out what you want your style to be so you can effectively communicate it to the stylist.   Think about things like: 

  • What’s important to you?  
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What do you wish your style communicated to others?


I nervous I'll end up with a closet full of really cool clothes that I'm too nervous to wear!

Most personal stylists strive to empower their clients to effortlessly and confidently build a closet of clothes that they can’t wait to wear, and they know that if they guide you through your transformation at a pace that is right for you, the life changing effects will be lasting.

We’ve all seen the makeovers on the TV where the stylist takes their subject through a dramatic change in a matter of days, only for them to return to their old style habits a month or so later.  Everyone is different, and as such their pace of change need to be tailored to suit, and an experienced personal stylist will know this.


Have a think about how radical a change you would be comfortable with.  Be honest with yourself and mark it on a scale of 1 – 5 (1 being no risk, 5 being very risky) and then make sure you communicate that to your stylist so they know how far they can take you out of your comfort zone.


I’m nervous about paying too much attention on my body and finding out there’s nothing that can be done for me!

I can honestly say that in my 17 years of dressing women, I have never found a shape that I cannot dress to look great!  Spending time focusing on your shape can be a scary prospect, but with the right guidance you'll start to become familiar with the great things you've spent years overlooking. Every body has assets and it's the job of a Personal Stylist to find them and showcase them so you look and feel confident, and beautiful when you get dressed.

If you have reservations about the Personal Stylists ability to dress you, ask them what shapes they've worked with in the past, and if they've come across a similar shape to yours...I'm pretty confident that they'll say yes ?

Those are the most common worries I hear from clients when they’re deciding whether to hire me, but I know you probably have more, so feel free to leave a comment below, or contact me HERE if you need any help or support!

Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 17 years I’ve freed thousands of women from the frustration of disappointing outfits, by showing them how to dress to make the most of their shape, and helping them build a closet that's easy to use and fun to wear.  My blog shares the tried and true tips and knowledge I've developed, to help you stop wasting money on disappointing clothes, and build a closet you enjoy wearing.

You can find out more about Niki here

And you can get in touch with Niki here