Personal Stylist Jobs: Salary and Career Facts
Explore what it takes to become a personal stylist. Read on to learn more about job duties, training and education, average salary and job outlook to find out if this is the career for you.
What Is a Personal Stylist?
Personal stylists, also called fashion stylists, use their taste and fashion expertise to advise clients on their appearance and help them discover their own style. They need to have a friendly and approachable professional manner and will generally work one-on-one with customers in need of their services. Personal stylists also need to keep on top of changing fashion trends and cater their recommendations to their client's personal tastes. They may help people create looks for day-to-day wear, or help pick out outfits for special events. While much of the success in this field is based on natural ability, formal training and education can provide a solid career foundation. The following chart gives an overview of career expectations entering the field:
|Degree Required||Associate's or bachelor's preferred|
|Education Field of Study||Fashion styling, or similar fashion-related field|
|Key Skills||Personal style, taste, communication, persuasion, knowledge of industry trends|
|Median Salary (2018)||$39,578 (for all fashion stylists)*|
What Does a Personal Stylist Do?
Your job as a personal stylist is to make your clients or your assigned project area look good. You may be part of a team that consists of assistants who handle make-up and hair, while you focus on putting together outfits, props and accessories. It may be your job to help a client discover their own personal style or help clients build a seasonal wardrobe.
Your duties may also include teaching clients about what looks best on their body type, how to choose accessories and how color can enhance their appearance. Taking measurements, using color charts and shopping may all be parts of your job.
You may not work directly styling a client. Instead, you may style a room or area. You may set up locations for photo shoots or other events by choosing the right props, lighting and other background items to create a desired look.
What Education or Training Do I Need?
A degree in a fashion-related field can give you a solid foundation to begin your career. Most employers prefer an associate or bachelor's degree, but may show more interest in your skills than you education. They want to see your style, taste and abilities to ensure you are right for the job they need done. Employers may also like you to have connections within the industry and a developed portfolio of professional work.
Some colleges may offer individual courses or programs in fashion styling. These courses and programs teach you about professional standards, methods and techniques. Topics you may learn include how to bring a character to life through styling, the correct use of merchandise, how to work with team members to coordinate a project and the basics of choosing models.
How Do I Gain Experience in the Industry?
Employers value experience, so you need to work your way into a career as a personal stylist. For most stylists a career begins with an internship. You may find opportunities with magazines, television producers, advertising agencies or music production companies. There may also be opportunities with individual stylists and agents.
How Much Can I Earn?
According to PayScale in January 2017, fashion stylists earned between $28,000 - $61,000. The average annual salary was $39,578. According to PayScale.com, your experience and skill has a moderate effect on your pay rate as a stylist. PayScale.com also notes that there is considerable potential for a long-term profitable career for those who are motivated, with some stylists working in the field for 20 years before moving on to other jobs.
What Are Some Alternative Related Careers?
If you are interested in fashion and appearance and want to have personal clients, another option is to become a cosmetologist. Cosmetologists also advise people on their personal aesthetic, providing services such as hair styling and professional makeup application. While it is not required, some cosmetologists may choose to earn an associate's degree in their chosen field. Another option for those interested in fashion is to become a fashion sales representative. These workers find employment in clothing stores advising customers on what to buy. As with personal stylists, experience in the field can be a substitute for formal education, although earning a degree in fashion or fashion merchandising may be beneficial for some positions.