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personal styling

a mindful shopping evolution

a mindful shopping evolution

I don't really have to shop anymore. Don't get me wrong, I still buy clothes whenever I need them, but I don't have to go out on expeditions any more or just browse for that thing I didn't know I needed until I saw it. Over the last few years, I've learned a lot about my style, my preferences, and what works for my lifestyle and I know from past experience will actually get worn.

saint louis personal shopper

I keep a running list of what I'm looking for at any point in time. When I see something that fits the bill, is high quality, and a good price, I just get it. Unlike most other things in my life, I don't feel guilt about it. 

Example: before I was pregnant, I had a pair of black Paige jeans, which were a pretty useful wardrobe staple. These jeans were great and super comfy, but they had ankle zips (lesson learned: don't buy pants with ankle zips, it limits the type of shoes you can wear with them). I sold those (lesson learned: if you buy good quality, you can usually get some money back when you get rid of them), and kept my eye out for another pair. While I was looking, and while my body adjusted to having created a human, I wore a cheap pair of black jeans from Old Navy that served a transitional purpose. I decided that this summer, at the Nordstrom anniversary sale, I'd see if I could finally replace that pair of black denim. I tried on a few pairs, the AGs were amazing, on sale for a good price, and the decision had already been made. Easy. 

The other day, I had a few minutes in between appointments and stopped in at The Vault. I tried on a bunch of things and found a few that had been on my list to be replaced. Since they were resale, it was great quality stuff for Gap prices. The things that worked, I bought. Took 30 minutes, tops. 

I'm certainly not saying that I have it all figured out. I still buy things that I don't need or things that don't hold up as well as I hoped they would (looking at you, Banana Republic cardigan). However, I honestly feel a lot less anxiety around whether I'm making the right decisions when shopping. If only I could find a way to get that feeling about the non-clothes-related decisions in my life! 

So, to keep myself accountable, these are the other things currently on my list: a cool bag that fits my laptop, grey cardigan, lightweight casual fall jacket, and Birkenstocks to replace current ones (hoping to find them on end-of-summer sale). Anything else will have to be super-special to even be considered.

Apparently, this works for my clients too. I sent out an email to all my clients this month, reminding them to book time for the fall. I got several responses to the effect of this one from Diana: "You taught me so well (how to know my style, weed out my closet, go shopping for one item at a time and with a list made ahead of time) that you might have taught your way out of job with me! I learned so much from having you as my personal shopper. Thanks to you, I feel confident in my clothes and am able to go shopping when I need to." and Persis: "I've learned something about which of my habits are abiding preferences, so the trip we did together was a very important step in the right direction." and Joanne: "The time that we spent with you last spring still influences how we shop, dress, etc.  As we clean out our closets and shop for new items, we think about how you helped us and the advice that you gave us.  I think that your sense of style, wardrobe planning skills, and the encouragement to get rid of what we're not regularly wearing have influenced us the most. I still don't like shopping, but working with you has helped me to put together outfits for myself with less stress." 

The whole process is more than a one-time reboot, it's a constant learning process

how my scheduling will save you money

how my scheduling will save you money

Working for yourself is awesome, no doubt. It’s awesome to be able to take a sick day when you need one, work on the projects you love, and have the ability to set your own schedule. One of the harder things about working for yourself is the unpredictability. I really (really) like planning and stability and knowing what my schedule's going to look like, but that’s not always possible.

Now that my son is in preschool, I finally have the ability to consciously set a schedule instead of running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ve discovered that I can do a max of four or five clients a week and know that they’ll get my full attention and energy. With that type of schedule, I’ll have time to respond to emails in a timely manner, write a blog post here and there, and take care of my accounting.

mindful closet st louis personal stylist

However, personal styling is a seasonal business and not one that runs on a regular schedule. There are times when no one wants to think about clothes: July, when it’s too hot to move, and January, when you’ve spent all your money at the holidays. There are also times when everyone is thinking about clothes: the first brisk fall morning and the first no-coat-required day of the year.

What ends up happening is that at those times of year, I’ll have the max number of clients set and then the weather will change and three new people will want to book appointments the same week. Since I have a hard time saying no to anyone, I’ll say, “sure!” and then I’ll end up stressed and crazy. I'm committing to being better about that and just telling people when I’m truly available.

I’ve come up with a way to make this better for all of us. If you book during those times when no one is thinking about clothes (i.e. now), I’ll give you a discount. You’ll save money, I’ll have my schedule set further in advance, we’ll all be happy. Also, booking in advance gives both of us time to be mindful about what your needs are.

I’m also switching from a per hour rate to a package rate. I haven’t liked the feeling of being on the clock and having to charge people for things I’d like to do for them anyway (sending recommendations, suggesting outfits, notifying them that a sale is happening at their favorite store), so now it’s all wrapped up in one package: the Stylist on Call. Basically, it is what it sounds like: three separate styling sessions, any recommendations and feedback you could need, and an online lookbook with outfits created by me from your closet. I’m available to you for any last minute outfit questions: before work, before a date, before an event. If you just need a closet cleanse or a shopping trip, there are smaller packages for those things too. The digital lookbook is included in the Stylist on Call package, but you can add it to any of the other options as well.

This is not an impulse buy. This is for someone who’s thought about getting help for wardrobe frustration for a long time and is ready to do it. If you know anyone who’s thought about it, share this with them. If they (or you) book before September 1 (instead of waiting until October when the weather changes!), they’ll save on one of my new packages. All the details are here.

If we haven’t met (or if we have!) and you want to hang out a bit before booking a session, come to The Limited at the Galleria on August 25 at 6pm for my “Shop with a Stylist” party. Have a glass of wine, try on some clothes, and get started on your fall wardrobe. Put it in the calendar!