The Difference Between a Wardrobe Stylist and Personal Stylist

Hair stylist, prop stylist, food stylist, literary stylist, personal stylist, wardrobe stylist, the list goes on.  With so many types of stylists it can be hard to decipher which ones which and what does what.  Well, I guess a hair stylist is more of a given.  However, some might not be as obvious like the career path I chose as a wardrobe and personal stylist.

After the standard introduction where you openly share your name, state a few fun facts about yourself and occupation, it rarely fails that I am stopped by a confused face requesting a better explanation as to the difference between my two job titles.  “Don’t they mean the same thing?  You shop all day for clothes to dress people in, right?  That sounds like fun! “  One of my new bright eyed acquaintances would say.   Well, yes.  This is partly true.  I do shop, dress people, and it is a ton of fun.  However, a wardrobe stylist and personal stylist are two completely different jobs.  Although, most in my profession choose to be either one or the other, I loved the tasks of both so much that I decided to take on the two.

Wardrobe Stylist

I began my fashion career in NYC freelancing as a wardrobe stylist for major magazines and advertising campaigns.  As a wardrobe stylist (also known as a fashion stylist) my main responsibility is to select the appropriate clothing and accessories to be worn by models at a photoshoot for an editorial or ad campaign. The theme is chosen first.  So, my task is to pull a wardrobe from PR showrooms or stores that I believe will best convey the message.  My most favorite part of being a wardrobe stylist, hands down, is being on the set.  It’s where the fantasy comes alive and creative energy flows.  On set, I meticulously dress the models in handpicked pieces while making sure everything fits well, looks spotless, and creates the desired image consistent with the photographer’s, hairstylist’s, makeup artist’s, and sometimes the creative director’s vision.

Personal Stylist

Although my eyes light up when ever I talk about styling on set, there is nothing more rewarding than helping someone feel like a million bucks. This is when my personal styling comes into play.  A personal stylist’s (also sometimes referred to as a image consultant) main priority is to dress and style individuals. This role can often get confused with a personal shopper, who primarily shops for what ever their clients asks them to purchase.   Personal stylists address a person’s image through clothing and accessories, and at times give suggestions for hair, makeup, etc.  Clients seek my expertise for different reasons: special events, building self-confidence, improving their look for dating, climbing the corporate ladder, or just to look amazing for their significant other.   Personal stylist services include closet audits (editing the client’s wardrobe), shop for clothing and accessories, style a client in new pieces or the latest trends, and putting together outfits.   It’s very gratifying to see the improvements in my clients’ perception in themselves after they step into their new outfits.

Wardrobe and Personal Styling Advantage

Although a personal stylist and a wardrobe stylist differ in many aspects, I have discovered they compliment each other quite well in my career.  It’s been a nice benefit for my personal styling clients that I am also a wardrobe stylist because I can deliver unique new looks (that I contrived on set), yet toned down a bit if needed.  Dressing a variety of body shapes and sizes as a personal stylist have also proved to be an advantage on set in my wardrobe styling world.  Although the models I dress primarily have super slim figures, at times I will come across a model on the shorter side, with curves or some major muscles.

I am very passionate about my career and can’t think of anything else I would rather be doing.  As my grandma would say “it’s the bees knees.”  (Which I have never really completely understood exactly what it means.  Do bees even have knees?)  Anyway, now that you know the difference between a personal and wardrobe stylist, let’s move on to explaining the job of a literary stylist.  Any takers?

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