3 Tips for Starting Out as a Stylist

Put your fashion sense to work as a freelance wardrobe stylist and help others make the right first impression...

Are you looking to launch a freelance career as a wardrobe stylist? Consider putting your skills to work as a freelancer, helping others make the right impression with their attire. Here are some tips for starting out as a stylist:

1. Get Trained

There are two options for you to get training when starting out as a wardrobe stylist: take courses or learn from someone. There are some schools that teach classes on the fashion industry, and you can even major in it. Arguably, the best classroom will be training under someone who is working as a wardrobe stylist. They can teach you first-hand the fashion trends, and how best to dress clients for any occasion. More importantly, they can teach you the business of being a stylist in the real world, which you may not get from school. Look for opportunities to be an intern for someone by checking major job sites like Monster or Career Builder. You can also do a search in Yahoo!, Google and Bing using search terms like "stylist and internship."

2. Become a Consultant

You may not be able to start out as a wardrobe stylist per se during economic downturns or due to other external factors. You may instead find work as an image consultant. Unlike a wardrobe stylist, which will physically help clients with their attire, an image consultant gives advice over the phone or in person on what to wear and what not to wear. A client may ask you for tips on how to dress for a job interview or how to dress for a certain occasion. You might even consult over email communications.

Beyond the wardrobe, an image consultant will help clients present a solid and likable image to employers or clients, and therefore deals with everything from how to say hello with a smile to how to eat during a business meeting. Helping others this way is similar to being a wardrobe stylist, and it can lead to more work in that area when the economy is not in a recession.

3. Watch and Go Beyond Trends

One of the key assets a wardrobe stylist has (besides her experience) is creativity. The trick is to know the trends well enough so that you can keep up with them and then pass them by. Even if you don't yet have your first client, you still need to be an expert on designers across the world that are making a big impact on the fashion world. Your clients may not be able to afford to wear Versace, but you can use similar concepts to put together a great wardrobe that will fit within their budget.

Schedule time to read and watch various trends for all age groups, but particularly those that fit the clientele you want to work with. Be creative and go beyond those trends with your own ideas. Becoming a trendsetter will make you that much more marketable to clients, and an established stylist might take you on as an apprentice or intern because of it.

Getting your foot in the door as a wardrobe stylist is difficult when starting out, but you must treat it like a business. Your competition is other stylists who are freelancers, marketing themselves to clients. Therefore, it's important to learn the business aspects, as well as the creativity involved with dressing others.

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