My personal styling career started at an established and reputable department store. I would be assigned clients to interview and become familiar with. Then I would pull outfit(s), from head to toe, for them to try on. One of the things I loved about that job was that I never really knew how the first appointment with a new client would go. A lot of prep work was done in hopes of it going well. But until you meet a person face to face, you can’t be 100% certain you pulled the right clothes for them to try on.
The #1 reason a styling appointment can go wrong: how one perceives herself and how she shares it with others is usually different than her actual body. It breaks my heart how poorly women see themselves. Most women are in way better shape than they make themselves out to be.
Many times I had to react quickly and revamp a dressing room within minutes to fit another body type that took me 45 min to prepare. I had to know the products and where to find them. It was important that I remained calm and found a way to entertain the client while I scrambled for more time. Being a personal stylist meant that each room I prepared was personalized.
There was one stylist appointment that put my quick response and damage control skills to the test. The contact information for a gal in her upper 30’s from Indiana was passed on to me. We exchanged a few emails before I arranged a call. She was in SF for work and made arrangements to stay a few extra days. This was her time to shop and have a good time. She wanted a complete wardrobe update to take home with her. After all our corresponding, I felt I had a solid idea to what I should pull and have ready for her.
However, when she showed up for our appointment I was completely taken back. I am certain I did a double take. Instead of a 30-something gal from the mid-West, a mid-40 cross dresser walked through the door.
Living in San Francisco has exposed me to diverse approaches to life, and it’s so fun. It’s what makes this city so alive and spicy. There’s a large cross dressing community that I’m very found of. I love how they pull off such great looks so beautifully.
The city prepared me for this appointment. I was able to run through the store and grab garments right and left that I knew would look good on her body type. I knew what pieces to stay clear from. I knew where to find boots that fit larger calves. I spontaneously made arrangements for a makeup artist who is transgender to visit our room and give a private makeup consultation. I didn’t miss a beat; after some adjusting, it was a full on personal stylist appointment from head to toe.
The most rewarding aspect of being a personal stylist is seeing the reaction when an outfit changes the way a person sees herself, in a very good way. Her face lights up and she stands taller. She may even do a little dance. There is an element of joy that moves through her body. It was great to see my cross dressing friend from Indiana have a new spring in her step and a smile in her eye when she looked in the mirror at herself. A personal stylist’s moment, that’s for sure.
Below are snapshots of random dressing rooms I prepared as a personal stylist at the beginning of my career. Each room is personalized to each shopper.