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How do I Become a Wardrobe Stylist?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 27, 2024
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There are a number of paths to take for someone who wants to become a wardrobe stylist. This job involves building up wardrobes for clients, usually celebrities, although wardrobe stylists can also work with other people who have jobs in the public eye, such as politicians, real estate agents, and so forth. In addition to helping people create wardrobes, a wardrobe stylist also styles clients for specific appearances such as photo shoots and interviews, selecting the garments suitable for the occasion and creating a look which fits in with the image the client wants to present.

The key requirement for someone who wants to become a wardrobe stylist is a good eye for fashion, and generally good taste. Someone who has a good sense of style has already laid the groundwork. It can help to have a somewhat unique or quirky look which stands out, accompanied by the ability to create a wide array of looks, from very conservative and simple styles to more outrageous ones.

Some people become a wardrobe stylist by apprenticing with an existing stylist. Not all wardrobe stylists offer apprenticeship opportunities, but a number are willing to take on an assistant and provide some advice and training. Working in a wardrobe or costume department in film and television production can also be beneficial, to get someone familiar with clothing and styles, although this is certainly not required.

It is also possible to take fashion and design classes at a college, using these classes to get the training to become a wardrobe stylist. In this case, it helps to study at home, keeping up with fashion magazines, staying on top of the latest styles, watching fashion-related content on television, and so forth. Since a wardrobe stylist also acts as a personal shopper and image consultant, some people find it helpful to practice with friends, helping them prepare for events like job interviews and big dates.

Wardrobe stylists can advertise their services to get clients, or attempt to make connections at events where potential clients may be fathered. Many wardrobe stylists work as freelancers, which means that the work can be highly irregular. Some are hired at an hourly rate, while others demand a day rate for their services, and in other cases, a wardrobe stylist may be kept on retainer, paid a flat fee to be available for a set period of time. While negotiating jobs, someone who wants to become a wardrobe stylist should be sure to negotiate transportation, meals, and accommodation as needed.

It is also possible to join an agency. The disadvantage to joining an agency is that a wardrobe stylist will not make as much, and may not be able to develop long term relationships with clients. The advantage is a built-in client base, which provides steady employment. Staffers at the agency also take care of business-related negotiations, allowing the wardrobe stylist to focus on shopping for clients, meeting with clients, and working to create a desired look.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon138208 — On Dec 30, 2010

School Of Style in LA and NYC teaches you how to be a stylist. It's a lot cheaper than going to a fashion college. I took the class over the summer and I am already out there working.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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