Luckily, my career has started to grow and I’m learning more and more each day, so I’ll be using this space to share things that I’ve learned, and in the near future, also offer documents and lists that will REALLY help you on your way. I’m also going to share insider tips from those that I’ve met who are finding success in what they love to do.
To kick things off, I reached out to my friend, Andrea Fenise, a freelance stylist and owner of Style Junkie, an online handbag, shoes, and accessories boutique. Andrea and I have had many conversations about fashion (one book that we agree that EVERY aspiring stylist should own is Secrets of Stylists: An Insider’s Guide to Styling the Stars by Sasha Charnin Morrison, the Fashion Editor of Us Weekly), so she shared her top 5 secrets of styling to help you get started.
MORE IS MORE
I can’t begin to describe how tragic it is to be on a job and not have enough OPTIONS. There have been instances of a client being a totally different size than from the initial fitting, pieces didn’t come in as expected, looks or creative direction may have changed a bit, carriers not delivering on time… the list goes on. You never know what may occur, so always have as many options as possible, especially during the first fitting.
IF YOU STAY READY YOU’LL NEVER HAVE TO GET READY
The most essential item to a stylist is a styling kit. A stylist without a kit is like a doctor without a stethoscope. A stylist kit should have everything from double sided tape to tampons, scissors and hemming tape, to nail polish remover. You never know what could happen so it’s important to stay ready. I remember being on an assignment in which I didn’t get paid anything and I was working with a well-known and professional stylist. I have to admit I was intimidated. However, I’ll have you to know, I was the only stylist with a kit and everyone- I mean EVERYONE- including those major stylists and designers were constantly asking me for things from my kit. As I was working I heard a designer say “She’s an amazing stylist. She has everything”.
Stay ready! It helps makes a great impression.
Watch old classic films. Go to art galleries. Museums. Concerts. Plays. Cultural Events. You grab so much inspiration from just venturing out to cultural events and places. I love old films because there have been so many instances in which I referenced a vintage look for a project and it worked.
Open your mind and allow yourself to be creative and inspired.
Movie Recommendations: A Love Story, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Mahogany, Bonnie & Clyde, How to Marry A Millionaire, Imitation of Life, Annie Hall, Funny Face, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Flashdance
HONE YOUR SKILLS
Growth is important in the styling industry. You are only as great as your latest gig. Learn new skills like basic sewing techniques. (Remember to stay ready, right?) What if your client has an amazing Marchesa gown and the zipper breaks as she gets out of the car? You as the stylist should be able to whip out your styling kit and sew her back in that gown. Stay abreast of new collections, techniques and what’s going on in the industry, and be able to forecast trends.
CULTIVATE RELATIONSHIPS & DON’T MIX BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE
It saddens me to hear people call themselves stylists and have no relationships to pull. Honey, if you can’t pull, you can’t style. You will go broke or jeopardize your personal money buying garments. It’s important to develop and nurture personal relationships with designers and owners of boutiques or retail stores and PR for your professional career.
It’s also just as important to continue great relationships as it is to start. So if you can pull, please return garments on time in the condition you pulled them. If something happens, tell them; don’t hide it, and offer to compensate them for the damaged pieces.
Please don’t pull pieces for yourself or friends; it ruins your reputation and makes it harder for others. I mean I could go on and on, but I’ve heard so many designers and brands say that they’re not allowing pulls anymore. because of unprofessional stylists.
What questions do you have about working as a stylist?