The Ultimate Guide To Online Personal Stylist Services in 2024

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Updated:

February 15, 2024

I know it feels like everyone around you has a knack for putting perfect outfit combinations together, and seems to know what to wear, effortlessly.  But the truth is, very few women have a natural ability to dress well.  

Most stylish women spend years learning the skills…as you would if you wanted to be a good cook or a talented seamstress.  And those who haven't mastered the skill, but still look great have probably had some help from a Personal Stylist (or an Online Personal Stylist).

Working with a Personal Stylist can be quite transformational, but I also know that hiring an online personal stylist can be a daunting prospect…because I’ve been told—many, many times.

One of my clients who was gifted a consultation and shopping trip admitted to me: "I’m so nervous and hate shopping so much that it has taken me a year to pluck up the courage to use it!”

But, here’s the thing- I know from first-hand experience over the past 18 years, just how much of a positive impact working with a Personal Stylist can have on your life:

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

An online personal stylist will not only make your life so much easier, you'll also have more time to do what you want to, you'll get a huge confidence boost, and a closet of clothes you can't wait to wear.

So if you're thinking about getting some help, I want to encourage and help you to go for it. So I’m sharing everything you need to know about online personal styling and how to  choose the right online personal stylist for you, so you can start your journey to building a closet of clothes that makes you smile!

If you're wondering what questions you should ask a personal stylist before you decide to hire them, head on over to this post. It shares the top 8 things to ask a personal stylist, as well as 3 questions for you to answer to ensure that you have all the information you need when you first engage with a personal stylist.

A happy woman clutching the clothes in her wardrobe  that were sourced by an online personal stylist

what is an online personal stylist?

If you’re not sure what an online personal stylist is, or what a personal stylist does; they are a professional you hire to help you shop for clothes that work for you, put outfits together that look good on you, and develop a hard-working capsule wardrobe that easy to use and fun to wear.

They'll use their wealth of knowledge to introduce you to a range of clothes in different styles, will help you to develop your own unique sense of style, will educate you on the best places to shop for your shape and lifestyle, and will help you to build and develop an easy to use, fun to wear capsule collection of clothes that you can't wait to wear.

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, and alone!

Personal stylists don't typically focus on fashion trends (although, if you want to wear the latest trends, they will help you with that!), most personal stylists will use their extensive knowledge of clothing styles and body shapes to adapt the current trends to suit your own personal style and body-shape.

They will also educate you about what works best for your shape and why, so you can make considered purchases, and confidently develop your personal style and closet, alone. It's a highly personalized experience that will be tailored to you!

Many online personal stylists have been trained, or will have a degree in fashion or textiles, but not all personal stylists have had training, and whilst it may not be a requirement, it is hugely beneficial.

I built up a wealth of experience and knowledge working for 2 years as a personal stylist for John Lewis in the UK, before leaving to train with one of the UK's top image consulting academies and subsequently setting up my personal styling business.  That was 18 years ago!

A simple hanging rail with a capsule collection of clothes hanging on it, sourced by a an online personal stylist

what does an online personal stylist do?

An online personal stylist works with you remotely, using various online tools and platforms, and will offer a wide range of online personal styling services such as:

  • Body shape analysis to help you identify what your unique body type is and understand your unique characteristics and proportions
  • Color analysis that helps you identify which colors are the most flattering for your skin tone
  • Personal shopping or online personal shopping services that source you a whole new wardrobe or a handful of individual items that work for you. This could be for anything from outfits for a special occasion, to a collection of clothes for everyday wear, or work (or all of the above!).
  • Wardrobe edits and virtual wardrobe edits that help you edit your closet, identify the gaps and create new outfits with your current items. These are the best way to streamline your closet, unlock its potential, and develop a hard-working capsule collection that works for you.
  • Body-shape guides that share expert advice about which clothes work best for your body shape, and why, so you can confidently shop for clothes that look good on you
  • Some online personal stylists offer online courses and online tutorials to teach you how to dress your shape and build your perfect capsule wardrobe. Online personal style courses and tutorials are a great way to get access to an expert personal stylist on a budget.
  • And there may be memberships you can sign up to join, where you receive monthly or quarterly tips and content related to your body shape.

One of the biggest benefits of working with an online personal stylist, as opposed to an in-person personal stylist, is that they have access to (and knowledge of) a huge range of brands (national and international), and they can source from a wide range of sizes and fits.

This wide (almost limitless) access to brands and sizes, is highly beneficial to most people wanting to work with a personal stylist, but it’s even more beneficial if you are tall, petite, plus size, or you live in a remote area and have little access to clothing brands locally.

If you want to know more about what a personal stylist does, and what online personal styling services are on offer, you might want to check out my website here.

What does online personal styling include, and how does online personal styling work?

Online personal styling services include a wide range of offerings from online shopping to virtual wardrobe edits to tailor-made guides that show you how to dress to flatter your shape.

Each online personal stylist will have developed their own way of working with clients, and each online stylist service will include slightly different things but, to give you an idea of how virtual personal styling works, here is a typical breakdown:

Step One

The first step involves the personal stylist getting to know you, understanding what frustrations you are experiencing, and identifying how best they might help you, and at what pace.

  • There will be an online style questionnaire for you to fill in so the stylist can understand your frustrations, personal style preferences, and style goals.  If you want to see what that might look like, here is a  condensed version of the questionnaire I'm currently using.
  • You will need to take a couple of photos of yourself so the online personal stylist can determine your body shape and coloring - this will help the stylist choose clothes that work best for your shape, and flatter your skin tone
  • You might need to photograph some of your clothes and accessories (especially if the personal stylist is working through your wardrobe)
  • You will probably be required to share some looks and outfits that you like with the stylist, to help them understand your unique style and determine which direction to take your look. There are several ways they might ask you to do this, from uploading images to an online portal to using an app on your phone, or Pinterest.
  • And you will likely meet your online personal stylist via a video call to chat through everything, ahead of them sourcing your collection.

This first step is a valuable process for you to work through, as it not only gives the online personal stylist a strong starting point, it also helps you to get a better understanding of where you are currently, where you want to be, and what you need help with. It will bring clarity to both you and your online personal stylist.

a black woman filling in an online personal styling questionnaire on her mobile phone


Step Two

The next step depends on which online personal styling service you are using:

VIRTUAL WARDROBE EDIT:

If you are doing a virtual wardrobe edit, your session will likely be conducted via a Zoom call or Teams.

A virtual closet consultation can last anywhere between 2-4 hours, but be wary of stylists who say they'll do longer as I've learned that any longer than 4 hours is too much for both stylist and client. It's better to split it into 2 sessions than to have one long session.

At the end of the session, your personal stylist will probably pull together a summary of the session, along with a list of items they recommend purchasing, and some tips for making the most of your newly edited wardrobe, so you have something to refer back to in the future.

ONLINE SHOPPING PACKAGE:

If you purchased an online shopping package the next step will involve your online personal stylist sourcing your items online. 

Once your collection is sourced, your capsule wardrobe will likely be presented to you as an easy-to-use, beautiful, online catalog that includes size recommendations, styling tips, a bunch of different outfit suggestions, and direct links for purchase.

a tablet with the image of an online catalogue showcasing a capsule collection of clothes, sourced by an online personal sthopper

All you will need to do is purchase the items recommended and have them delivered directly to your door.

It's probably important to note here that the fee you pay your online personal stylist, is unlikely to include the cost of the clothes - it will only include their styling fee. So that is something worth checking if you're researching hiring your own personal stylist.

who needs an online personal stylist?

Over the past 18 years I’ve helped thousands of women in the USA and UK to build a collection of clothes they actually look forward to wearing. And despite the wide range of ages, sizes, personal style preferences, and locations - most of my clients share similar frustrations:

  • They have a wardrobe of clothes they aren’t wearing
  • They find shopping a miserable experience
  • They don't know what works for their shape
  • They repeatedly waste money on clothes that don’t look as good on them as they hoped
  • Their shape (and lifestyle) has changed after they became a Mom
  • And deciding what to wear is a stressful, disappointing experience


When you have a closet full of clothes that make you unhappy, and you struggle to create outfits you enjoy wearing, getting dressed is frustrating and disappointing.

But it doesn't have to be that way, and it shouldn't be! It doesn't matter what shape you have, or what size you are; and it doesn't matter if you don't have the skills and knowledge to put outfits together - you don't need to, because personal stylists DO, and they make it their mission to help you build a wardrobe that makes you smile.

If you're still not sure if you need a personal stylist, here are some of the reasons my clients hired me:

25 reasons you might need an online personal stylist

  1. You’re sick of wasting money buying clothes you don't end up liking or don’t feel good in
  2. You buy the same things over and over again
  3. Your lifestyle has changed...but your wardrobe hasn't, so nothing works 
  4. You get really frustrated because you don’t know how to clothes shop, so you just never do
  5. You wear the same clothes constantly and don’t know what you’re style is
  6. Shopping is stressful for you, you don't like the shops, the mess, the noise, the bright lights, or the dressing rooms
  7. You’re petite and you struggle to find clothes that fit because your local shops don’t have your size, and you have no idea where to look online.
  8. There just aren’t any stores left to shop for clothes locally, and you find shopping online frustrating.
  9. You don’t have enough time to traipse around shops trying things on endlessly.
  10. You don't think you look good, and it’s impacting your confidence
  11. You have loads of clothes but nothing to wear
  12. You don’t really have any pieces that you love
  13. You do have clothes you love- you have a closet full of them, but you're not sure how to put them together so you're not wearing them.
  14. Every time you look in your wardrobe you see a mountain of clothes but nothing you feel happy wearing
  15. You have some lovely clothes, you don't have the confidence to wear them.
  16. Your wardrobe is a mish-mash of clothes that don't seem to go with each other - it's miles away from the easy-to-wear capsule wardrobe you want.
  17. You’re sick of looking in your closet and feeling frustrated and frumpy
  18. You love the idea of having clothing that better represents you but are exhausted in trying to figure out how to make that happen
  19. You can never decide what to wear in the morning and it's becoming stressful
  20. You turn down all social invitations because you have no idea what to wear
  21. You always think you have a clear idea of what you like and what suits you, but it doesn't always manifest on your body in the same way
  22. You know what you want to look like, but the outfits don’t always suit you
  23. You feel a bit lost with your style, it’s become boring and you never wear anything different
  24. Need to figure out how to dress after surgery, and want to feel confident post-treatment
  25. You feel like you’ve lost your identity after having children

If you recognize any of those frustrations, you could benefit from working with your own personal stylist because they will know exactly what works for you, know exactly where to shop for it, and will be able to arm you with all the knowledge you need to build a collection of clothes that you know fit well, suit you, and can be combined into fail-safe outfits that you don't need to think about.

what are the benefits of having an online personal stylist?  is it worth it?

There are countless benefits to having an online personal stylist, and I’ve been fortunate to witness those benefits first-hand over the past 18 years! I cannot tell you how rewarding it is (and what a privilege it is) to be part of a client's journey as she transforms her style and closet, and she becomes more confident and feels more beautiful than she has in a long time.

If you want to hear what some of the benefits are of having an online personal stylist, I have a ton of lovely thoughts from past clients here, but to give you an idea of how beneficial the experience can be, here are my 5 favorite's:

  • You will feel more confident in yourself, your shape, and the outfits that you put together. There’ll be no more questioning if something looks right, or wondering why an item of clothing you love, doesn’t love you back. 
  • You’ll have a collection of clothes that you know fit well, suit you, and can be combined into fail-safe outfits that you don't need to think about. 
  • You’ll have a much better understanding of your shape and why some clothes work better than others. You’ll know what to look for, and where to shop for it, and will be shopping with more focus and confidence.
  • You’ll save money by purchasing only the clothes that work for you, and that you know how to put into complete outfits. And because you’ll be more intentional about what you add to your closet, you will add less and wear more.
  • You’ll feel less stressed and will have more time to do other things as getting dressed each day will be as easy (and fun!). You’ll be able to walk into your closet and pull on an outfit that makes you feel confident, comfortable, and attractive, in just a few minutes.

But, of course, all these benefits will only come to fruition if you find the right personal stylist for you, so do your research, and ask the right questions.

how to find the best online personal stylist for you.

Hiring a Personal Stylist is a fantastic investment in yourself, but you must hire the right personal stylist for you and your requirements, and they must be knowledgeable and reliable.

On top of that, you’ll want your personal stylist to be someone you feel comfortable with, who listens to you, understands what you're experiencing, and is talented without being intimidating.

So, how do you make sure the Personal Stylist you choose to work with is the right fit for you? You do your research:

4 things to research when searching for an online personal stylist 

1

First, you’ll want to make sure that working with an online personal stylist is going to be the best fit for you, as you may find that your situation or frustration lends itself better to working with a personal stylist who is local to you, and who can work with you in person.

2

When you find a few personal stylists who you think might be a good fit, delve a little deeper:

  • Check out their blog, Pinterest, and social media profiles to see if you like their personal style or if you share similar values.
  • If the stylist has a newsletter, sign up for it to see if you find their tips and information useful.
  • If they have any free workbooks or tips to download - do it, and see if you find them helpful.  If you get value from a personal stylist's free content and tips, imagine how valuable their paid services are.

3

Check their prices or fees.  Most online personal stylists want to help as many women as possible, so will offer services  in a variety of prices to suit most budgets, but some personal stylist have a limited range of offerings, so you might want to check this before you go any further. 

If their prices aren't displayed on their website, get in touch and ask them to tell you what they charge.  

It's also important to confirm what is included in the price so you don't miss out, or end up paying extra for something you assumed was included.

 If you're not sure you have the budget, take advantage of their free advice and see how you get on.  They will be there if and when you're ready, so take your time.

4

Get in touch with a few online personal stylists to get a feel for their professionalism/friendliness/knowledge *insert the characteristics that are important to you* they are.

I also recommend you head over here to see the 8 most important questions to ask an online personal stylist before you hire them. There are 3 bonus questions that I think you should ask yourself before you work with a personal stylist, so it's worth checking those out.

10 worries you might have about hiring a personal stylist - and why they shouldn’t stop you from getting a personal stylist.

1

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!

2

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.

Tip

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.

3

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.

Tip

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.

4

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!

Tip

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!

5

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.

Tip

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.

6

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-judgmental…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.

Tip

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!

7

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.

8

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?

9

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.

Tip

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.

10

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!

conclusion

If you spend too long figuring out what to wear each day, and never really feel that great when you finally settle on an outfit.

Or, you keep buying clothes in an attempt to give you more options, or better outfits, but don’t wear them because they don’t look as hoped they would, or you don't know what to wear with them, there is another, better way!

Working with an online personal stylist will give you an easy-to-use, fun-to-wear, capsule collection of clothes that you look forward to wearing. They can help you source the best clothes for you, put your clothes into outfits you enjoy weaning, and show you how to dress your body shape. But, more importantly, they will make your life easier and less stressful, and you’re confidence will get a boost too.

Personal styling isn’t only for the rich and famous these days - most personal stylists offer a variety of services to suit a range of budgets and, if you don’t have the funds to pay for help right now, many share free advice and tips, so please don't think that getting help from a personal stylist is beyond your reach.

If you want to know more about the online personal styling services I offer, you can visit my website here. You can also get in touch with me here, and I’ll share how I can help you get the closet you dream of!

iF YOU FOUND THIS POST USEFUL, YOU  MIGHT LIKE THESE:

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Hi, I'm Niki

author and personal stylist

Over the past 18 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