By: Auretha

I had a new client tell me a horror story last night.

I just met this gal and, on the quick, we were shopping for a hot night out on the town. I was having the worst time (ever!) finding the right clothes for her body type and what she wanted in the store we were in, under the time constraint we had, due to the current style being “trapeze tops.” The good news was I got very clear on what she wanted. (I usually have people fill out an interview, I see their body type, map out the best stores, etc. because it creates much better results for our time investment.)

As we headed to the car, she voiced her sadness at not having anything she loved to wear and apologized to me for “being a difficult client.” I let her know that I felt terrible about not being able to find her what she needed on the spur of the moment, but assured her that I would find her what she wanted in the future and I would probably be shopping online.

She then told me how she worked with a stylist last year and that stylist told her she could only wear a few specific colors, which from my perspective as an artist, makeup artist and color specialist, WERE ALL WRONG. She said that this person had worked with models. Then she showed me the makeup this person had told her to get, which made her look invisible. She said, “Yeah, I see your point.  This color doesn’t make my lips ‘pop’.” I tried to say everything as kindly as I could. She then went on to say that this stylist insisted on her buying all these new clothes and throwing out most of her closet. She admitted, “I didn’t like any of the clothes she was picking out. I don’t wear any of them and every morning I hate standing in front of my closet trying to figure out what to wear.”

I was sad and angry and I hear these stories all the time!

I want to share 6 ways to make sure who find a stylist who FITS YOU.

1) Every stylist is an artist. They have “a style.” I’m a little different because I want you to look like YOU, not me, but I choose more feminine pieces than most. (unless you’re a dude or a woman who wants to look more masculine.) YOU NEED TO ASK TO SEE PHOTOS OF THEIR WORK. Ask yourself, Do I like the look that this stylist creates? Do the examples of this person’s work have the same body type as I do? Any skinny girl is easy to style. If you’re a curvy woman, try a curvy stylist. Makes sense, right?

2) It’s ok that you don’t know squat about styling. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed. I don’t know how to do my taxes, so I hire it out. Who cares?! Don’t EVER EVER EVER WORK WITH ANYONE who makes you feel bad, stupid, or shamed !! It’s your stylists job to make you feel awesome! *ps. Don’t hire anyone who’s a bitch/*sshole. Don’t pay anyone to abuse you!

3) You know what you like. You may not know how to ask for it, find it, or order it on a menu, but you can describe it, or show pictures, or know it when you try it on. That’s why you hire a stylist! This client wanted to have a waist and look skinny. Great. Now I know what to do for her. Being trendy was not as important. It’s MY Job to create what you want, even if it takes me a bit to find it. A great hairstylist like Nick James (see my blogposts about him) may take 4 times to get your cut perfect, but when he does, your life changes. It doesn’t have to be instant, but you need to not blindly hand over the keys of your life until you start experiencing things that feel better. Your stylist needs to quickly earn your trust.

4) Yes, you will probably get rid of 80% of the crap you have in your closet,but that needs to be YOUR decision, when you are ready. Years ago I learned that I am the consultant, and I never touch my clients closet. They are still in charge. They make the choice to release it based on how they feel, I advise. I urge them to get rid of the items they don’t love within 24 hours, to open space for what they do want, but I do not override my clients ability to choose when they release an item. If it’s still serving them, that’s their choice. My job is to tell them if it looks like crap. When they are ready to feel better, and I’ve created better options for them, they will release it on their own.

5) A great stylist will empower you. They will help you feel beautiful. They will lead you to see your best qualities and release the shaming beliefs you have about yourself. I want to empower my clients, not make them completely dependent on me. (And if they choose to delegate all of their shopping and styling to me, awesome, but I have to have earned their respect and trust first.)

6) A “system” of 4 types of colors, or a LIMITING Right/Wrong System of what you can do color or style wise is NOT A STYLIST. Many of these consultants don’t know anything about modern style. Look at their websites. Many of them developed from some kind of wardrobe consultant from the 1980′s trying to make women look professional for corporations.  Do any of the photos look like anything you see in the most recent “InStyle” magazine?? Beware of choosing into a limiting Style or Color System!!! These consultants often are more interested in being right and fitting you into one of their boxes than making you look fabulous.  I’m not saying you won’t learn anything about yourself, but style is ART, experimentation and trying new things, not getting stuck in a box. You are UNIQUE!! One of a kind!! Find a stylist who helps you find and express YOU!!

Love and Beauty,

Soul Stylist