Do you live and breathe fashion? Are you looking for a way to shake up your career, perhaps even becoming self-employed? You may want to take a leap into the exciting world of fashion consulting. Fashion stylist, image consultant, personal shopper… these are all a few names for a job that essentially boils down to helping others feel good about themselves with a style that fits their personal brand. The only question is – where to start?

1. Understand what being a personal stylist entails.
A professional fashion stylist usually works in a commercial setting, such as for a magazine. They prepare the clothing and accessories for photo shoots, advertisements, or runway shows. By contrast, a personal stylist works one-on-one with clients to carefully curate their wardrobe according to their image and current fashion trends. If you’re thinking about being a fashion consultant, you’ll not only need to have an eye for the hottest trends. You’ll also need to be a people person, and care about making people feel great about themselves. Fashion consultants may work odd hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, and may travel quite a bit for work.

2. Go back to school.
You don’t necessarily need to go back to uni to start up a new career as a fashion consultant, but any training helps. Courses in image consulting, fashion styling, merchandising, and brand management can help you build your confidence, making you feel like an expert. This newfound confidence and expertise translates into how you interact with future clients. A few business courses don’t hurt as well – you can look at these small business courses at to get started.

3. Create a personal brand.
You won’t be taken seriously as a stylist if your own image is less than picture perfect. To start building buzz and landing clients, you’ll need to have a great sense of personal style and a strong brand. Start working on your personal image, ensuring that this carries over into your online presence. Create a personal website and accompanying social media profiles to show off your styling skills and share your experience. Are you lacking in this department? Never fear… the next step is padding your portfolio!

4. Get some experience.
Don’t let a lack of experience stop you from getting started. Give friends and colleagues makeovers and document it on your blog, with before and after photos. Start building your portfolio by volunteering for local fashion events and styling yourself as an authority. You could also seek out a position working in retail or in a commercial fashion environment to stay on top of the latest trends, all of which will build your expertise and fashion experience.

5. Build your network.
Finally, you need to spread the word. You probably won’t be able to quit your day job at first, but as buzz starts to grow and you land your first few clients, word of mouth will help build your network. Keep up with industry trends by attending fashion seminars and conferences, and connect with other fashion bloggers on social media to stay on the radar of potential new clients.

Becoming a successfully stylist involves more than a passion for fashion. Marketing and communication skills are vital to launch your new business and create a brand that clients will be happy to work with!