Personal Stylist: Job Description and Education Requirements

For some, putting together an outfit or making fashion choices is difficult. These individuals may choose to work with a personal stylist, who brings empathy and fashion knowledge to each client and helps them to navigate the wide world of style. Personal stylists are sometimes called image consultants.

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Personal Stylist Job Description

Personal stylists help clients achieve their desired looks by aiding them in the selection of personal style items, such as clothes and shoes. Personal stylists must identify a client's tastes, activities, body type and desired image in order to tailor a look to each client's needs. Although personal stylists are often associated with celebrities, people from all walks of life and careers, as well as both men and women, can use their services. Sometimes these services extend further than clothing choice; personal stylists may also work with home decor or hair and makeup.

Many personal stylists are self-employed consultants, usually working from home. These consultants, in addition to understanding fashion, should be versed in the basics of running a business, such as advertising and record keeping. Whether or not a personal stylist is self-employed, flexibility is an important part of the job. Some clients prefer to shop with the stylist, while some want the stylist to shop for them. Most stylists work to educate their clients on how to make the best choices for their image, thereby giving the clients freedom from image-induced stress.

Education Requirements for Personal Stylists

A personal stylist's education tends to be more self-directed than formal. Many study the ever-changing fashion world by watching fashion television and reading magazines. Once aspiring stylists feel confident in their styling abilities, they may give sample makeovers to friends, being sure to take before and after photos with which to build a portfolio. Colleges and fashion schools offer styling classes for personal stylists who seek a formal education. Would-be stylists who seek a traditional college degree can study fashion design or business for those interested in running their own consulting company.

The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) offers three certification levels for image consultants (www.aici.org). The three levels of certification offered are AICI First Level Certification (AICI FLC), AICI Certified Image Professional (AICI CIP) and AICI Certified Image Master (AICI CIM). These certifications are designed to prove a stylist's competency in image branding, consulting and industry trends.

Career Outlook for Personal Stylists

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not offer salary and job outlook information for personal stylists. However, related fashion designer jobs were predicted to decrease 3% from 2012-2022. This was much less than the 11% average growth predicted for all occupations. Strong competition was expected for workers in the fashion world. Fashion designers took in an average salary of $73,570 per year in May 2013, reported the BLS. The majority of these professionals made between $33,580 and $127,190.

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