Shopping is fun but, let’s be honest, it can also be time-consuming and very overwhelming. It’s not always easy to choose a single dress or a suit among a sea of options that span not just brick-and-mortar stores but online, too. That’s why luxury retailers and brands specializing in both womens- and menswear like Brunello Cucinelli, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and the Net-a-Porter/Mr. Porter brand, just to name a few, offer their customers personal styling and shopping services. It is truly the easiest way to make a complete wardrobe overhaul, buy a unique gift for a special occasion, or find the perfect outfit for a last-minute event. And the best part is that, in almost all cases, the personal styling service is complimentary, including online personal stylists, and there is no expectation for you to buy anything.
If you've wondered what it would be like to work with a stylist, keep reading for a list of all the benefits of personal shopping and how to take advantage of them—in physical stores and online retailers.
It saves you time and energy
Time is the most precious commodity nowadays. Between personal and professional commitments, it’s not always easy to schedule time in your day to shop and personal shoppers know this. The way the service works at brick-and-mortar stores is you usually make an appointment online or over the phone for a day and time that’s most convenient for you.
At Neiman Marcus, for example, your stylist will first ask you a few questions on the phone ahead of your appointment about your personal style, measurements, price range, and the occasion for which you are shopping so that she or he can determine items you might be interested in. Then, when you arrive to your appointment, your stylist will meet you at the fitting room or specially designated salon with a curated selection of items in your size—no need to go through all the racks yourself and waste time.
And while the length of each appointment will depend on your needs, expect to be with your personal stylist anywhere from half an hour to a few hours—all of which will be communicated to you beforehand.
Can’t make it to a store? Your personal shopper can come to your home.
While retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus offer personal shopping services at almost all of their locations nationwide, there’s nothing better than trying on clothes in the comfort of your home.
Net-a-Porter.com and MrPorter.com, for example, offer their top customers a service called Style Trial which allows you to order up to 30 pieces and have them delivered to your home for a seven-day trial period. You can either choose the items yourself or have a personal shopper do that for you. And you only pay for the items you’d like to keep. In cities where the companies’ Premier delivery option is available (London, New York, Hong Kong, select zip codes in New Jersey and Connecticut, and a seasonal summer service to the Hamptons) you can also have your stylist come to your home with a pre-selected range of clothing, accessories, and jewelry. Net-a-Porter.com will even gift you a monogrammed silk robe to wear during the fitting.
Another retailer that will conveniently send a stylist to your door is ModaOperandi.com. And brands like Brunello Cucinelli not only offer at-home appointments but they can also close down a store for more privacy when shopping or offer you an appointment in one of their boutiques outside of normal business hours. So if you ever wanted to feel like a celebrity, this is your chance.
You get access to exclusive events, trunk shows, and new collections
This is probably our favorite perk. There really is no easier way to be at the forefront of fashion and get editor-level access to brands and events than having a personal stylist.
“When special pieces come in, consultants always have a client in mind and make sure to alert them immediately,” advises Lisa Bruni Vene, Managing Director of Fifth Avenue Club at Saks Fifth Avenue New York.
And in Neiman Marcus, your personal stylist will get you access to trunk shows and showrooms so you can view a collection and pre-shop it before it hits the stores. And even if a store does not normally carry a certain brand or item, he or she can make sure it’s there for you to try on during your appointment.
Brunello Cucinelli also offers customers access to its full collections beyond what is normally purchased for the U.S. and that includes special and unique sizing.
Shop anywhere, anytime
Social media has changed how we communicate with each other and retailers are using it to enhance the personal shopping experience.
“The digital age allows personal shoppers and stylists to stay connected with customers in new ways including being able to share product ideas, stylist tips, and of-the-moment items directly with clients,” says Nicole Vellucci, Bloomingdale’s Vice President of Shopping Services. “Clients also have the option to subscribe to their favorite stylists’ newsletter which features the stylist’s top product picks and new, in-store arrivals.”
Online retailers like the LVMH-owned 24s.com, for example, have personal shoppers available via WhatsApp, chat, and phone regardless of where you are in the world (or the language you speak), so you really are not that far from getting expert advice on how to look chic.
Creating a lifelong relationship
One of the best perks of personal shopping is that the more you work with your stylist, the more he or she will get to know your taste and personal style, and even that of your family, should you decide to ask for his help with your Christmas shopping, for example.
The benefits of that are really priceless. First of all, your stylist will immediately give you a call if a piece comes in that she or he knows you’ll like—no appointment needed.
And as you develop a relationship with her, or him, the easier (and faster) it will get to advise you on how to incorporate the latest trends into your wardrobe and lifestyle.
All your tailoring needs are taken care of
Clothes don’t always fit perfectly and searching for a tailor to do alterations on a designer piece is not only time-consuming but also risky—you never know if the piece will keep its impeccable look.
Fortunately, services such as minor alterations are almost always free at all major retailers when you’re shopping with a personal stylist. In some instances, there may be a fee depending on the type of alterations. But if you only need a hemline shortened on a pair of pants, for example, that will probably be complimentary.
Some brands go the extra mile, though. Brunello Cucinelli offers its male customers a made-to-measure service called Sartoria Salomeo. It essentially allows you to choose between a selection of new and vintage fabrics and styles to create a custom suit with the help of your personal stylist.