Waxing Philosophical About the Nature of Stylists
One of my clients and I recently attended an event where we met another stylist-client duo. Afterward, my client and I had a long discussion about the differences she saw in my approach versus the other stylists, and it really got me thinking about why I do what I do - and why I don’t feel redundant, even living in a very fashionable city: looking “good” is not enough.
Style is a tool.
Every outfit is your billboard. Your calling card. Your brand for that moment in time. At this event I mentioned earlier, the other stylist’s client wore black and white to speak in front of a black and white backdrop - she all but disappeared. Not only is a white top with black bottoms somewhat generic when it comes to business attire, but it also completely dissolved her body into her surroundings in a situation where her goal was to command the room - in person and on video camera. The “tool” did not fit the “job” even though her outfit did very much flatter her body and her coloring. Look for a stylist who goes beyond the superficial goal of visual flattery and dig into the essential goals of why you want to look good and for whom you’d like to look good.
Your tools are yours alone.
If you walked into a new hair salon and the stylist promptly announced that she gives everyone the exact same haircut that she has herself, you’d run screaming from the building faster than you can say “baby bangs.” And yet Certain Celebrity Stylists Who Shall Remain Nameless seem to dress all their clients the same, as if they all convene at the stylist’s home closet to get ready in the morning. If you can swap clothes with someone else and feel like nothing has changed, then you are not being styled; you are simply being dressed. Always look for a stylist who will take time to get to know you as a person and build your look accordingly.
You are many things to many people.
Modern society requires us to wear many hats: lover, wife, mother, coworker, boss, gardener, chauffeur, accountant, therapist, friend, moderator, wingman and sometimes (if you’re lucky) girls’ night go-go dancer. But you should never feel in costume when you dress specifically for one of these roles, nor should you feel inappropriate being yourself. Oftentimes, even though my clients have worked with stylists previously, we find that their closets do not account for their entire lifestyle. This leads to over-shopping, panic shopping, and a whole lot of needless stress. Choose a stylist who asks you about your activities on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis so that you can always put your very best foot forward.
Again, style does not end at physical flattery. Although the process may have to begin on the surface, we are all unique people with complex internal and social lives, and our closets should all celebrate that fact.