The Difference Between Personal Stylists and Personal Shoppers

A common misconception about personal shoppers and stylists is that they serve the same purpose, but in reality, they have very different skill sets. Below are the most significant differences between what to expect with a personal stylist, versus what to expect with a personal shopper.

1) An Unbiased Opinion

Personal shoppers, when found in a department store, will often offer you their services for free. However, they make a commission off of sale, so there is an incentive to steer you – the client – to the priciest option, which might not be the best option for you. This isn’t always the case, especially for personal shoppers that are available for hire outside of a department store, but it certainly is the most common. Personal stylists are hired for their time, which is one of the key differences between what they do and what a personal shopper does. When booking a personal stylist, you enlist the help of a trusted expert solely focused on making you feel great about your look, and about yourself. This means there is no hidden agenda; only an end goal of you- the client – having total satisfaction with your experience.

2) Collaborative vs. Transactional

Personal shopping, by design, is a transactional experience. At the end of the day, you only buy what you want to buy, and it’s the personal shopper’s job to provide you with as many relevant options as possible. The downside of this is that a personal shopper is looking for many options, not looking for the right option. A client can feel pressured to buy something to compensate for their shopper’s time. Conversely, personal styling is a collaborative experience. In order for a personal stylist to do their job, they need to understand you inside and out. Understanding you doesn’t just mean things like price range, color preference, and clothing measurements. Any good stylist will ensure that you look your best by taking into account your entire persona, from your lifestyle down to your ring size. So when your personal stylist finds you a great pair of jeans, you’re not just getting jeans, you’re getting something that will make you look great and feel even better. 

3) Your Relationship

Perhaps the most notable difference between personal stylists and personal shoppers is the nature of your relationship. The key difference is between the process of styling and the process of shopping. Think about the last time you went to a department store. Personal shoppers are usually roaming the floor, available for assistance should you need help finding something. One can also hire a personal shopper outside of a department store, but people who do this typically have a loose budget and can afford it. Shopping is a simple process: first grab what you think you like, decide what you love, and then purchase it. Process over. Styling is a much more personal process and as a result, great stylists aren’t always easy to find. Personal styling, when done best, has an evolving timeline. A personal stylist’s job is to put you in the clothes that best suit who you are, and what you like. They help you craft your image, express your personality, and most of all, have fun. The more you and your stylist get to know each other, the better it gets. Like a fine wine!

Feeling inspired? Same here.

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