A Stylist’s Dilemma

by Michaela Courand–

Many women and men go to their friends or people they trust asking for input on what they should wear to a particular outing or event. Giving advice is a small portion of what a stylist does. Stylists are supposed to shape their client’s image by picking clothing for them to wear that is trendy, wearable and suitable for long term use.

I am frequently called upon to give my advice: which top goes with what bottom? Which dress is better suited for this event? It is no easy task to deliver exactly what the client wants, especially because they don’t always know what they want. Even so, the stylist has to be objective; it is what the client likes and wants that matters, not what the stylist may like. I call this the “stylist’s dilemma.”

At times I ask my clients whether they would rather have me pull something for them that is trend-setter worthy, or if they want to be in the realm of fashionable but just not quite so fashion forward. Most of the time the client does not have a clear answer. They give me a puzzled look and say, “Put me in whatever will make me look the best.” Yet, when I create a few outfits, they might not agree with my choice of trendy versus wearable.

I find it surprising that many are not as captivated by fashion and trying new trends as I am. For many, being comfortable is more important than being show-stopping. I asked a few Menlo women whether they would rather wear the latest and greatest thing on the market, or be fashionable but comfortable. The overwhelming answer I got was cute and fashionable but it NEEDS to be comfortable or it is not something that they would wear.

The pictures show a balance of comfort and fashion – wearable and cute!

Hearing from others has given me insight into how to be a better stylist. I now know that not everyone is going to ask me to make them look like the next it style icon. Moreover, I have learned the value of engaging the client in conversation before focusing on the event and the clothes. Still, even though the women I questioned at Menlo have helped me, my dilemma has not completely been dissolved. But a challenge never hurt anyone, right?

We all have our fashion dilemmas, large and small. I’d like to hear from you: what are your fashion dilemmas? I will answer your questions; just write back to this column or send me an email at Michaela.courand at .

Categories: Fashion

Tagged as: , ,