When you’re cross eyed from scrolling through hundreds of dresses, exhausted from returning all the rejects and not convinced that your friends and family are giving you their honest assessment about how that gown really makes you look from behind, you might consider bringing in a professional—someone with a trained eye who is going to help you identify the most flattering styles for your body type, and possibly event find the dress for you. At some better department stores and boutiques, you’ll get this sort of personalized service…but you’re limited to the inventory they have in store. An independent stylist works for you and can go anywhere to find what you need. You’ll pay a fee for service; but it's not all that different than hiring a tailor for an exacting fit. Bottom line: you don’t have to be a celebrity to work with a personal stylist.
Our go-to pro stylist is Sara Rogers, a veteran fashion expert and wardrobe consultant with a million styling hacks up her puffed sleeves and a knack for making absolutely everyone feel beautiful. Whether shopping for a wedding, or an everyday wardrobe, here’s some of her best advice.
Q. Where do you even begin with new clients?
Sara: Know your measurements and match them to the suggested guidelines on the website. It doesn’t matter what size you are, or what’s of the moment. It’s about finding clothing that celebrates you so you feel stylish and pulled together.
Q. Why do you think the mother of the bride or groom dress in particular is such an intimating, stressful purchase for many women?
A lot of women have anxiety about finding clothing to camouflage figure challenges and or worry about looking great in all the photos. I often hear from women that they used to know how to dress but now their body has changed and they don’t feel confident with their decisions.
Q. Do you have go-to stores or brands for special occasion dress shopping?
Anywhere that sells the sizes I’m looking for. I’m a student of shopping so I’m always learning new places to look. I hate final sales and I always look at the return policy, so I like stores like Nordstrom for their generous return policy. I love perusing through Mother Of because there are a plethora of dresses to choose from so a lot of the leg work is at our fingertips, which helps to save time and money. My style is to listen to my clients. It’s not just what I feel you look good in, it really is about what you feel good wearing.
Q. Biggest mistake women make in choosing a special occasion dress?
Don’t put a tent over a figure challenge. Wearing too much fabric only makes you appear bigger than you are and when your dress overwhelms you, I see the dress before I see you. You are the star, we want a dress that compliments you!
Q. What advice would you give to retailers about how better to serve mature customers?
I would suggest retailers consider women's body challenges and provide more solutions for tummy challenge, ample bust, arm coverage, petites. I love that there are more midi lengths being offered right now; it’s a nice alternative for women who don’t want to wear a mini. Crop styles and cut outs are nice, just remember they don’t work for everyone so more variety and visual interests in dresses that don’t include cut outs, please! I love ruching and shirring in a fitted dress when it’s done right, (not too much fabric and placed in the right areas) then it can be more about line and design and less about what’s really going on underneath. We can’t make figure facts go away, but I’m all for smoke and mirrors.
Q. For people who’ve never worked with a professional wardrobe consultant such as yourself, what should they know?
There is an art and science to looking good in your clothes, I focus on both. I treat my clients as if I’m shopping for myself. I have an easy going personality with a down to earth attitude. My aesthetic style is clean, minimalistic and classic. I pride myself on going to work for clients and try to make their life easier.
I once had a client tell me she was going to an event and she had gained weight. Her ex-husband and his new love interest were also attending this event. I took that personally as if it was happening to me, and together we made sure she showed up looking and feeling her personal best. I like it when my clients feel good so they can forget about focusing on what they’re wearing and instead be in the moment and enjoy themselves or focus on any task at hand. My services are confidential so I’ll never tell anyone I worked with you, although I hope you’ll tell someone because word of mouth is how my business grows.
At the end of the day, my client is the boss and I’ll strive to assist them in their endeavors, I’m here to support them in any way I can.
Book a session with Sara.