Personal Stylist: Job Description and Education Requirements

Sep 28, 2019

Personal stylists are image consultants who help their clients make decisions about their image. While there are no requirements to enter this field, many stylists study fashion-related subjects, and voluntary certification is available.

Essential Information

Personal stylists help their clients put together outfits and make fashion choices. These stylists may also be known as image consultants. No formal education is required for this career, and stylists often gain experience by starting small and advising friends and family until they build up a portfolio of clients. Although formal training options are limited, some fashion schools offer classes specifically geared toward stylists. Professional certification is available in this field, though optional.

Required Education None; personal stylist classes are available
Other Requirements Work experience
Certification Voluntary
Median Salary (2019)* $51,117 for fashion stylists
Job Outlook (2018 - 2028)** 1% for fashion stylists

Source: *, **U.S. .Bureau of Labor Statistics

Personal Stylist Job Description

Personal stylists help clients achieve their desired looks by aiding them in the selection of personal style items, such as clothes and shoes. Personal stylists must identify a client's tastes, activities, body type and desired image in order to tailor a look to each client's needs. Although personal stylists are often associated with celebrities, people from all walks of life and careers, as well as both men and women, can use their services. Sometimes these services extend further than clothing choice; personal stylists may also work with home decor or hair and makeup.

Many personal stylists are self-employed consultants, usually working from home. These consultants, in addition to understanding fashion, should be versed in the basics of running a business, such as advertising and record keeping. Whether or not a personal stylist is self-employed, flexibility is an important part of the job. Some clients prefer to shop with the stylist, while some want the stylist to shop for them. Most stylists work to educate their clients on how to make the best choices for their image, thereby giving the clients freedom from image-induced stress.

Education Requirements for Personal Stylists

A personal stylist's education tends to be more self-directed than formal. Many study the ever-changing fashion world by watching fashion television and reading magazines. Once aspiring stylists feel confident in their styling abilities, they may give sample makeovers to friends, being sure to take before and after photos with which to build a portfolio. Colleges and fashion schools offer styling classes for personal stylists who seek a formal education. Would-be stylists who seek a traditional college degree can study fashion design or business for those interested in running their own consulting company.

The Association of Image Consultants International (AICI) offers three certification levels for image consultants. The three levels of certification offered are AICI First Level Certification (AICI FLC), AICI Certified Image Professional (AICI CIP) and AICI Certified Image Master (AICI CIM). These certifications are designed to prove a stylist's competency in image branding, consulting and industry trends.

Salary Info for Personal Stylists reported in 2019 that fashion stylists, who are similar to personal stylists, earned a median of $51,117 annually. Most of these workers earned between $28,000 and $110,000, including bonuses, at that time.

Personal stylists are often self-employed, and need to possess knowledge of business basics, like record keeping and advertising. No specific education is required for this job, but classes and voluntary certification are available.

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