Shopping Smarts

Personal shoppers can be a godsend. Liz Finkelstein of Mile High Style tells us how to choose one.

liz-finkelstein

Photo by Chowen Photography

Americans typically spend $15 billion (or more!) on fashion a month, but that doesn’t mean we all enjoy hunting for what’s chic. If you hate planning what to wear to work every day, feel overwhelmed every time you walk into a women’s store, and have zero time to hunt for a holiday party outfit, consider hiring a personal shopper. Liz Finkelstein of Mile High Style gave us tips for how to find just the right one.

ANALYZE THE SHOPPER’S WEBSITE
“Since stylists and personal shoppers don’t have a product to sell or a storefront, the website is really your first introduction to our aesthetic and level of professionalism. If the website were a store, would you want to spend time in it?”
PAY ATTENTION TO PHOTOS
“This is not a regulated industry, and some stylists steal photos and represent them as their own work. Do the photos look like they are from a magazine, Pinterest, or Instagram? If so, make sure they are clearly marked as inspiration. If it’s unclear, ask.”
READ TESTIMONIALS
“Testimonials add another layer of confidence for the client. The more detailed, the better.”
LOOK AT THE OVERALL AESTHETIC
“What matters is that you like a stylist’s aesthetic— the way her work looks and how it’s put together. If you say, ‘That outfit is not appropriate for my lifestyle, but I think it looks good,’ it’s a sign the stylist could be a good fit.”
ANTICIPATE QUESTIONS
“The very first thing a stylist will ask is what you are looking for. Stylists should also be able to briefly explain what their service entails: how many hours are included in the price, how many times you’ll meet, where you’ll shop, and, once they see what’s in your wardrobe, how much your new items will probably cost.”
PARE DOWN FIRST
“If you’re an overshopper, start to pare things down on your own. I tell people to try to get rid of, say, 50 pieces before we meet.”
KEEP AN OPEN MIND
“I might be alone in this opinion, but I think looking for inspiration on Pinterest or Instagram only gets people into trouble. You know how a bride will go into a bridal store with a picture of exactly what she wants and then end up getting something she never would have considered? That’s what it’s like working with a stylist. An open mind is the absolute best thing you can bring.”
GO INDEPENDENT
“In my opinion, it is preferable to hire someone who is independent and not tied to the merchandise he or she is selling. A stylist typically brings in things from multiple stores. The idea that you can get everything in just one or two stores is misguided, I think.”
VISIT STORES
“With a first-time client, I prefer to go to stores together; otherwise, I might have to grab a limited number of items from a store, without the ability to switch sizes. But I will go shopping on my own for repeat clients whose sizes and fit preferences I know.”
MAKE A LIST
“When you are done working with a stylist, ask for a list of items you still need and where to search for them. You’ll be able to cross things off that list on your own.”

MILE HIGH STYLE
Boulder
202.491.87593

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