This may sound counter-intuitive but seriously, I think you can actually save money on clothes by paying for a stylist to go through your wardrobe with you and help you shop for the right things.
You see, one of the reasons why it’s easier for rich people to dress well is not just that they can afford well-designed pieces, but they can also afford to make mistakes.
That’s one of the hardest aspects of buying clothes for ourselves – there are so many ways that we can make mistakes and, even if you’re buying in Primark and Top Shop, the cost of those mistakes mounts up.
You know what it’s like: you see something on the rails that you immediately fall in love with…you try it on and convince yourself it looks good because you’ve already decided you love it…you think it makes you look like Taylor Swift, even though you’re actually
bulging out of it around the tummy and it’s really not your colour. You buy it, wear it once and then it stays in your cupboard for a year or more, never worn again.
…and that’s just one of the ways we make mistakes when we buy.
If you shop with a stylist, though, – a good stylist – you are much less likely to make mistakes and you’re also more likely to try on clothes you wouldn’t even have noticed on your own. These are often clothes you suddenly realise you look great in. They can make you look younger, slimmer and more with-it. They can give you a whole new lease of life
I’ve certainly been grateful for the help and advice of good stylists every now and then which is why I asked Gloria Nelson, a feisty, funny, very unfussy, stylist who runs Glorious5o styling services to help me with my wardrobe recently.
- Shopping in my wardrobe
- Putting things together
- Getting a shopping list down
- How much have I saved with a personal stylist?
- How much does a personal stylist cost?
The first thing Gloria does is to, in her words, ‘go shopping in your wardrobe’. In other words, she goes through the clothes you already have and puts them together in ways that you hadn’t thought of. Suddenly, without spending anything at all, you have more outfits. You find that the skirt you thought didn’t go with anything actually goes with a few things…plus a bag you’d forgotten about which magically seems to make a few items look so much better.
I thought Gloria would get rid of a quarter of my clothes, but in fact she only gave the thumbs down to two items. “Don’t throw things out unless they’re falling apart or they don’t fit or they really are the wrong colour,” is one of her mottos.
I’m still unsure about one or two items she said to keep, but I’ll try them this season and if I still don’t trust them I’ll take them to the charity shop.
What she also did, though, was to find quite a few gems that, put together with one or two other pieces, suddenly made a cool outfit. That’s the best part – to find that you already have some pretty good stuff in the cupboard that you can wear a lot more than you realised before.
Gloria has a few mantras for making more use of the clothes you have by mixing and matching
“Mix the rough with the smooth,” she says. “Try a denim jacket over a feminine dress or a biker jacket over the floral dress, just to give it an edge.” Couple that with some cool shoe-boots or strappy sandals and you have a new ‘look’.
She also says, “It doesn’t matter what age you are. There are no rules. If you have good legs, show them. If you have a good cleavage, use it!”
But she adds, that for balance (and, frankly, taste!) you should follow this rule:
“If you show the legs, cover the boobs, if you show the cleavage, cover the legs.”
I was pleased to hear that Gloria loves all levels of clothes. My wardrobe has one or two ‘good’ pieces (Vivienne Westwood, Kate Spade, Dior) but the majority is high street and charity shop. Gloria says you should “mix designer with high street”…good news for me, because I do!
Once she has gone through your wardrobe, made the most of what you have and given you tips on how to wear things better, she makes notes for items that you need to buy
“My aim is that my clients will buy things they love for years to come so that they don’t want to part with them” she says. Gloria can do a single session with you in a big department store where she brings you the clothes she has scouted for beforehand, or she will shop in a few different places and show them to you once she has picked them out.
If you’re a busy person, or you have a big event, or an important job, that needs good clothes, this is a service worth paying for in my opinion. When I think of the time it takes to trawl around shops, often without finding anything I like, I feel it’s worth paying someone else to do the hard work for me.
Gloria doesn’t just go to the usual high street or designer shops either. She hunts out special bits in all kinds of places. “Check out dress agencies” she advises, ‘ don’t go in looking for anything particular then you’ll find things you never knew you wanted!”
Hard to say exactly how much I’ve saved so far. Gloria charges £250 to do a wardrobe refresh. For me that meant being told I didn’t need to buy anything for the summer season (joy) which has saved me both money and time. It also left me with some outfits I didn’t know I already had which was a bonus.
Gloria said she would only encourage me to buy something if I needed it…and I didn’t.
She will charge £395 to go shopping for me but she takes off £75 if you have already had the wardrobe session. If you dislike shopping (as I do) and find it a waste of time then this is money worth paying, particularly as it is likely to bring up outfits that you wouldn’t have seen yourself.
Gloria has different styling packages with different costs, but they include a consultation and then her time and expertise going round shops for you. As she says, “I want my clients to feel glorious!”
Her packages are:
- Consultation, where Gloria finds out about your lifestyle and requirements (a couple of hours usually) £150
- Doing a shopping session, including finding a full wardrobe for the season costs £395 for Gloria’s time.
- A ‘Wardrobe Refresh’ will cost from £250 depending on how
big your collection is and how much more you need her to source.
- ‘Red Carpet Ready’ – this would be a shop for a specific glamorous occasion and she charges from £295.
- Wedding service – including clothes for the engagement party, a going away outfit for the honeymoon and other items (apart from the wedding dress) that are needed. This costs from £500.
Gloria is starting a special fashion blog for MoneyMagpie soon so you will be able to find out her tips and latest fashion finds here.
We will also be featuring a lot of her styling tips on our Pinterest page so follow her and us there.
Have you used a stylist? Was it useful? Or are you a stylist yourself? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below!