Although you generally do not need any formal credentials to become a fashion stylist, having a background in the fashion or appearance industry can significantly increase your chances of success. Many people become a fashion stylist after spending time as a retail salesperson, studying fashion design, or after establishing a career in the beauty industry. There are some formal training programs that can help train you to become a stylist, though in many cases much of the information and experience that you need can be accessed by assuming positions of increasing responsibility in the beauty or fashion industries.
If you are interested in fashion, one way to become a fashion stylist is to take a job as a retail clerk in a clothing store. Focus on learning more about the clothing and accessory lines that your store sells and work carefully with all of your customers so that you can develop an understanding of what types of clothing suit different people and different body types. Make sure that your supervisors are aware that you are interested in a career in fashion, as this can help you in your quest to get promoted within your store. With enough experience, you may be able to work more closely with customers as a personal shopper or assist in selecting and putting together outfits for fashion shows. After a while, you will gain the confidence and the knowledge that you need to set up an independent practice as a fashion stylist.
Another pathway to becoming a fashion stylist is to study fashion design and sewing. Although fashion designers are not the same as stylists, you may be able to glean significant knowledge of clothing and the fashion industry through your studies. As a stylist, you will probably need to have some knowledge of basic tailoring and alterations, so taking sewing classes, even advanced sewing classes, is a good idea. If you are already working in the beauty industry, say as a hairstylist, aesthetician, or makeup artist, you may be able to branch out into fashion styling by taking classes in fashion merchandising or working in a retail clothing shop. In fact, your current clients may be good prospects for your fashion consulting business.
Another important aspect in your quest to become a fashion stylist is to develop good relationships with designers and clothing shops. If you are a new fashion stylist, you may find that smaller shops and new designers are more eager to work with you than those with established businesses. As you build your reputation, you may find that better-known designers and more exclusive shops are willing to work with you and your clients.