A weird thing happened the other day; I was parked outside of Target at the beginning of a hefty return day, pulling out a couple of Ikea bags and a woman stopped me and asked, “Are you a designer?” I did a shady, “Um, uh… no,” without making any eye contact. I then proceeded to do my routine return and the woman followed me in while accompanying me during my awkward moment at the customer service desk and said, “Have you ever thought about personal shopping? I’m a really busy mom who’s also a massage therapist who would love to have someone shop for me.” To be honest, there were a number of asshole responses that ran through my head. First, and probably the least offensive, “I’m a busy wardrobe stylist that would also love to have someone do my ‘shopping.'”
I feel like I should first preface my explanation as to how my job is different, and why I would never be a personal shopper by saying, I have absolutely nothing against being a personal shopper nor do I think I’m better than someone who is a personal shopper/closet organizer type. It’s a great career that I’m sure is challenging, and allows you to make people feel good about themselves and their surroundings. Here’s how my job is different and why I wouldn’t take on personal shopping/closet organizer onto my roster. I do what I do, not because I like to shop, not because I like to see the people surrounding me in clothes that they’ve worn within the last six months from their perfectly edited and sensible closet, and not because I feel like I need to fix the sometimes sensitive to the eye outfits I see on a daily basis. I actually enjoy a hoarder, a wrinkle, an outdated capelet from Ann Taylor, and a pair of cargo pants that with a tug of a zipper becomes a breathable pair of shorts. It’s telling of your personality, and it tells a little story, which brings me to the reason of why I spend a crazy amount of time filling my car with things from shopping establishments… I like to tell a story.
The reason why some stylists do both on set work and personal shopping is that styling is a mix of traits that lend itself to personal shopping; knowledge of everything current in every single stores, resourcefulness, ability to listen to your client to make a strong guess as to what they might like, knowing what is in style and works for someone’s body, and working within a budget. Why being a set and wardrobe stylist is different is that you’re one single part of big team. You’re shopping for the agency, the client, and the photographer, as well as all the variables you might run into on set, which will likely change your original intentions. What works in person, or what we thought worked during the pre-production conference call may not hold true once you’re on set, which in the end is the bottom line. It all has to make sense and tell the intended agency and client’s story. It’s a much different mind set when shopping; one that I personally think is tough to mix with a personal shopping client, or even my own shopping list. Therefore, please e-mail me if you want to pick up my dog’s food.