Recently in ads I’ve been seeing companies like MM.LaFleur and Stitch Fix, Trunk Club, and department stores refer to their ‘personal stylists’ which can help you select clothing.
With a 0$ styling fee.
As an independent personal stylist working here in NYC since 2001 this trend really gets under my skin.
For a couple of reasons. Stylists that are employed by a big company bug me because:
They work on commission
I can assure you that these ‘personal stylists’ are merely sales women for each company. They won’t recommend other brands or that you buy less than you have picked out.
They have no idea what’s actually in your current closet. Beware of the statement, “you can never have enough pairs of black pants.” (This is NOT true as some women do NOT look good in black.. I am one of those women)
Good for you if you know your style and you just need a few pieces.
They are lacking in training in color and shape analysis.
They will not help you edit your closet or help you make outfits with existing items in your closet.
Can only show you outfits with their limited merchandise.
Merchandise may be subpar quality or a result of slave labor.
Are limited by the amount of time they spend with you.
Are not looking at the full picture of your style – hair, makeup, skin care, optics, ect.
So what is the difference between ‘personal stylists’ working for a company and someone like me who has been helping women transform their lives and style.
What’s different about me?
18 years experience as an independent stylist and style expert, meaning my opinion is unbiased and not based on a commission.
Spend a lot of time getting to know each client so I can help her best and translate her ideas into a cohesive professional style.
Show my clients tips and tricks in the closet to stay organized.
Trained and certified in color and shape analysis which means I understand the science of what looks good on you and why.
I teach you about what is flattering for your body and coloring.
I keep track of and document what you already have in your closet so we only build upon clothing that you already own.
It’s in my best interest to save you money.
I will tell you when something isn’t for you.
We can shop together anywhere online or off and then created outfits with new and existing items.
Create a master plan of what’s missing and what you need.
Help in sticking to your new style plan.
Define a unique style which makes you an original.
Control over what companies you deicide to support.
Great for women who need total style transformations and who are only wearing less than 20% of their closet.
Helpful for women who are struggling to find clothing that looks good on them or have trouble verbalizing their style.
I can recommend and bring in other services and vendors to complete your style makeover.
So after seeing the differences have you figured out which route is right for you?
I specialize in top to bottom inside and out style makeovers that are permanent.
I have a 95% success rate because I’m selective about who I work with.
Some points that were touched upon that stood out to me:
Brand loyalty in mid market is declining
In the future there will be way less brick and mortar retail.
Brands will have everything online and then just the best sellers in their shops/showrooms to try on or see in person
Luxury will be safe
Marketing will by hyper segmented and almost 1:1 service so ads that you will see will only be of items in your style and size
There will be tools to help you find your size online
Brand direct to consumer will continue as a trend
Consumers will favor ‘experiences’
Potential for an airbnb of merchandise warehousing
Customization and personalization will grow in demand
As a personal stylist here’s my wish list for the future:
Size inclusiveness become the norm and all sizes are represented by all brands (no more segmentation of plus, petite, and petite plus)
Global size standardization so that you can find your garments that fit well easily
Custom made clothing for women where you scan your body, order your outfit, choose fabric, color, fit, details ect and it arrives perfectly at your doorstep
All companies adopt a ‘try before you buy’ so that you can properly try on as many pieces as you like. Bringing the dressing room to you at no upfront cost. Amazon now let’s you try for free for 7 days which is huge!
Free shipping both ways is standard for all companies
Elimination of slave labor, poor labor conditions, and companies operate from a place of integrity
Consumers become more conscious of their spending and stop contributing to the global waste issue
Resurrection of artisans and one of kind brands
More women lead fashion companies especially in shoe design
Ability to find any style dress in any color. Trends fad into background the industry becomes more focused on consumer driven co designed product
More styles that are done in toxic free fabric for those who are allergic to fabric
Finding what you are looking for in 3 seconds or less. So a massive fashion aggregator
It’s 1995 and I am at the Copely plaza in Boston. I’m in college and I decide it’s time for some more professional attire for my wardrobe. (I was always feeling older than my age.)
Alexandra during her university days in a better fitting blazer.
I’m in a store looking at a pink plaid suit with 3/4 length sleeves.
The sales girl is telling me that these 3/4 length sleeves are ALL the rage on the Paris runways and that everyone will be sporting them soon.
I think why not and purchase the skirt suit even though I have a niggly little feeling in the back of my gut saying…..”I don’t know about these sleeves”.
I was excited never the less.
And then I got the pink skirt suit home and tried to wear it out for an interview.
But every top I tried with it looked weird because of the sleeves and it just never looked right.
I think I wore the skirt a few times but then forgot about it.
When I gave it away a few years later during a big clean out, I thought to myself, ‘well that was a lesson learned about trends’.
I should have listened to my gut. Lesson learned: I should have avoided that trend.
It was around that time that dressing myself was very important and I was beginning to realize that what was good on one person may not be universally good on everyone. Just two years later I would get certified in color and shape analysis and was able to crack my own code to wearing clothing and accessories that suit me, specifically me.
Unlocking this world was huge and allowed me to stop feeling like such a dork or geek in the world.
NOTE: There are women who I have dressed in my styling work where a 3/4 sleeve is flattering, it’s just not every woman.
So my stance on fashion trends is you don’t have to wear them if they don’t flatter you.
The business of fashion where new styles come out at alarming speeds is hurting our environment and women and children working in terrible conditions.
But as a consumer you can do something.
What you can do:
Look at trends from a ‘is this for me’ perspective
Before you buy something you can ask yourself, ”is this my color and shape? Do I need it? Will I wear it? Will it work with other items in my closet?”
Buy from companies who provide fair wages and safe working environments
Buy less and higher quality clothing
Buy second hand or vintage clothing
Become a more conscious consumer and only buy only things that you will love and wear. (This applies to all purchases)
Learn about your body and what styles and colors best suit it
A personal stylist such as myself can help you with this last one so that you wear 80%+ of your closet and not the average of 10%.
After returning from my yearly jaunt to Europe I needed to visit my dear grandfather whose health is declining.
I had very little time to unpack and repack for this trip. However I’ve packed for warm locales over and over so it’s pretty easy now.
The morning of my flight I got ready super early and quickly. Without noticing I put one dark silver sandal and one gold sandal on.
I left the house without noticing this fact before getting on the air train.
Wow I can’t believe I did this.
Well I can believe it because I’m not someone who fusses over my appearance.
I’m very direct and no nonsense about what I’m wearing. I’m confident in my style. So I had a moment of embarrassment because I thought about what my grandfather who is always put together would say.
He would probably laugh and my deceased grandmother would have mad a big stink about it and then would loan me a pair of her shoes (we wear roughly the same size).
I was curious to see the reaction.
Upon arrival our dear family friend Scott picked me up from the airport and made no note of it. And my grandfather also made no note of my two different shoes. I even went on a date in mis matched shoes and in 8 days NOT ONE person remarked on my shoes. I laughed to myself and it reminded me of something my book coach Angela Lauria used to say to me. “ No one is looking at your mustard”.
I told friends about the experience after and they thought that being a stylist I was just starting a new trend.
So next time you worry or fret about your outfit. Take a deep breath and think that no one is really looking as closely as you are. It’s important to look good and feel good but at the end of the day don’t stress about it.
Looking for a sane personal stylist who will tell it to you straight?
Real Runway Presentation at One World Trade Center - YouTube
Growing up I had 3 examples of style inspirations in my life.
My mother, godmother and grandmother.
All three were channels of beauty in their own unique way.
I learned you could be beautiful at any size, coloring, and style.
Fast forward to 15 years into personal styling for women.
10:30am I am scouring Barney’s for outfits for my sophisticated client named Kim who works at a top museum. Her style is classic but edgy and cool. She’s stunning in her late 40’s and is about a size 8-10.
And I’m coming up with next to nothing for her in the department store.
A department store.
Not a boutique.
Edgy lives here but not much in size 8-10. Which is not a difficult size for me to dress.
And it’s not even size 14. Why is this so hard?
Well this store doesn’t stock a lot for women out of the range 0-4.
And that’s just crazy.
This is why I created the real runway.
Out of anger and frustration.
I want to show retailers that beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes and deserve to be able to buy beautiful and unique clothing.
There are more than one beauty ideal.
So let us YOU, real women.
The Real Runway means is about size and style inclusiveness.
Above is the second Real Runway event hosted by Convene in the One World Commons, 64th floor of One World Trade Center.
Style Makeovers for Lauran, Ellen, Nisha, Alanna, Estela and Krista.
Sponsored by Reiss, LK. Bennett, and Kate Spade.
Special thanks to Carlie DeMello who makes all the magic happen.
Join the #realrunway movement and host a style presentation for your women’s initiative network at the office. Contact us here>>
This week I checked out the new Beauty 2.0 at Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store. Last year they had a wellness pop up and this expanded beauty floor is making waves.
First of all it’s a big change to move cosmetics from the first floor to the second floor. Traditionally in Department stores the cosmetics has always been front and center of the first floor and it’s refreshing to see Saks change with the times.
As a consumer it’s a lot more relaxing to visit Beauty 2.0.
Each vendor has more space to showcase their line but also demonstrate products. The outer edges have mini stores from companies like Christian Leboutin which is built out in the style of the brand.
What I was most excited by:
~100+ beauty services you can book online like makeup lesson, facial, or makeup application with your favorite brand
~850 space event space for master classes and wellness talks
~Blink Brow Bar for brows and lashes
~Sundays Nail salon
~Custom foundation by Lancome -8,000 shades, 3 coverage levels and 3 hydration levels.
What struck me as most luxurious about the new space is frankly more space which changes the dynamic. Each vendor has way more space so that means as a customer you have more space to sit, relax, and discover the brands in a more inclusive way.
Gone is the concept of the makeup counter where the vendor is behind the counter guarding the product and you must stand, buy your product, and leave. Customer and vendor are on the same side discovering the product together. It’s less confrontation and more loving. A total sign of the times business wise.
My business philosophy is to love on my clients hard and to partner with them so seeing a big company embrace this notion inspires me.
Doing style makeovers for women the past 18 years in NYC has shown me that beauty is a big part of style. You can have a great outfit on but if it’s not accessorized correctly or your hair is a mess or your face isn’t properly made up you won’t feel 100% awesome. We all have different comfort levels in terms of how much or little makeup is right and I take all of that into account when working 1:1.
I know I will be incorporating these great services with my signature offerings so that my clients feel completely made over.