You need a John Stockton in your fashion life. A former NBA point guard with the Utah Jazz, Stockton etched a hall-of-fame career out of passing the ball to others . . . and watching them score. He made his teammates, mostly Karl Malone, look good. You want to look good, right? Then get smart and recruit Stockton’s fashion equivalent—a personal stylist or shopper.
I corralled a few personal shoppers/stylists and asked them for a primer. Here are the whys, whats, dos and don’ts.
Jean Fleming — personal shopper and image consultant for Hudson’s Bay
Daria Tcherkachina — in-house stylist at GotStyle, where their motto is “Dress Better, Do Better”
Patricia Trépanier — personal fashion stylist at Les Effrontés, a style and image agency
Jean: A personal shopper will save you time and money. A personal shopper will enhance your wardrobe with looks, outfits and pieces that work cohesively. The goal of a personal shopper is to make you feel confident and comfortable, and to provide you with a complete look.
Daria: A personal shopper will help you keep your wardrobe consistent, streamlined, and holistic. [We can help you] dress for your profession and dress for your body type by focusing on your strengths.
Patricia: First impression is everything. That’s why it’s a good idea to get a different perspective on your style and have someone who understands fashion help you improve your look and move forward.
What can expect from a session?
Jean: At Hudson’s Bay, it starts with a 15-minute phone consultation, which gives me an idea of the client’s objective. During this conversation, I like to get client’s sizes and measurements and budget to help select items for their appointment.
Daria: Most freelance professional shoppers set up an initial consultation to discuss the desired outcome and conduct a closet clean up. Personal shoppers that work for a company could also conduct closet cleaning, depending on the rules and regulations of the establishment. Those usually entail a payment directly to the establishment that may be later redeemed towards future purchases.
How long? Am I expected to buy something?
Jean: The appointment generally takes an hour and a half. At the Hudson’s Bay, our personal shopping is complimentary, with no obligation to buy.
Daria: Clients using personal stylist services at GotStyle are not required to buy anything and do not have to pay for the time spent with the stylists.
Patricia: All our services at Les Effrontés are $350. This includes the first meeting to discuss your needs, taste, budget and take your measurements (30 min), as well as the fitting session (up to 2 hours). There are no purchase obligations, although we do recommend a minimum clothing budget of $1,500 for this service.
What about tipping?
Jean: At Hudson’s Bay, we do not accept tips, [but] a referral or a commendation letter is a great way to show gratitude.
Daria: Tipping a personal shopper at an establishment is more appropriate since their pay structure is substantially different from that of a freelancer.
Patricia: Some clients do and some others don’t. I don’t expect it.
How do you measure success?
Jean: When the client calls me after the appointment to tell me how great they feel after receiving positive feedback and compliments from their peers and family. We work with the client as a team, bouncing ideas off each other until we reach a conclusion that results in a new outlook on their style.
Daria: I think that being a part of someone else’s great day or promotion is just as gratifying as getting compliments yourself, if not more. At the end of the day, a personal shopper is there to add to the quality of the clients’ lives.
Patricia: I find my job very rewarding because it’s more than dressing someone nicely. Some have style or confidence issues or have a really hard time finding clothes that fit them. [But] as long as I fulfill my clients’ expectations, I am happy.
For more information
Hudson’s Bay Personal Shopping Service is by appointment only at The Bay Queen Street. Call 416-861-6413.
GotStyle’s Personal Styling Service is available by walk in, email or phone. Call 416-260-9696 or email email@example.com.
Les Effrontés offers personalized styling services in Montreal, Quebec, and Toronto. Call 514-521 4734 | 1-877-644-4734 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pierre Hamilton is a freelance writer from Toronto, where some of his best friends describe him as an acquired taste. He enjoys bourbon and scotch, but craves craft beer, overproof Jamaican rum and great non-fiction. He has a very limited style knowledge but knows what he likes. He also produces a monthly music podcast called Sound Considerations. Follow him, but not too closely, on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of pellethepoet.