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Fashion Stylist

I Want To Be A Fashion Stylist What EDUCATION Do I Need?

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There are many fashion, art, design, photography and film schools ready to enroll students who show an interest in learning skills to launch careers.  Choosing which one to attend can be a daunting experience.  There are many factors involved when you set out to choose a school.  We cannot possibly cover the broad range of options available to future stylists here, BUT we can give you a few pointers to help you on your way.

First, narrow down your interests.  Think about your passions and analyze the direction they have taken you.  Ask yourself questions about the jobs you have had in the past and the experiences that have come your way – what did you like or not like?  What did you like enough to want to pursue further?

Keep in mind that formal education is not a requirement for a successful fashion styling career.  Work experience, contacts, good taste and a practiced “eye” are the most important talents you need to succeed.  Combine these assets with the previously mentioned enthusiasm and reliability and the fashion world is your oyster.

To learn the basics about fashion, color and image, I would recommend taking small courses to round out specific experience or knowledge you are lacking.  Many image consultants offer courses in these subjects.  You can get a complete listing of Fashion Styling and Image Consulting courses on line at  This site is for the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), a global organization that upholds gold-standard certifications for Image and Style professionals.

You will also want to do a fair amount of “self-education” by studying the latest fashion magazines and periodicals to educate yourself on recent style movements, current trends, updates on designers and more.  The more you know about up to the minute trends in design and style, the more inventive you can be.  You can use this information for the creative components of your projects.

Be plugged in. As a stylist, you influence trends and create new, exciting looks for fashion followers so, be plugged in to current events happening around you. Know who the hot new bands are, the latest eatery to open or who is dating whom for example. All these cultural threads can lead back to the work you do to create an exciting vision for the client.
— Gillian Armour, Master Fashion Stylist

Which Career Track Should I Choose?

Here at Fashion Stylist Institute we are deluged with questions when its back to school time.  This weeks post highlights one of the top questions we were asked this week - Which course should I choose?  Since we offer over 10 courses we thought it best to spell out the CAREER description of our top 3. These are Image Consultant, Fashion Stylist and Wardrobe Stylist.  It is a bit hard to distill all that these careers entail and the type of training that goes in to mastering the skills of each job so we will try to highlight what each career means to those starting out.

A Fashion Stylist works primarily with editorial, retail, photography and entertainment clients and occasionally with one-on-one celebrity clients. Their training and education is slanted toward developing a strong visual sense, an understanding of color, proportion and the principles and elements of design.  A Fashion Stylist can be a Personal Stylist to an individual.  Their strength lies in their ability to combine outfits, accessories, hair, makeup etc. into a creative style story for the client.

An Image Consultant works primarily with individual clients (private) on their appearance standards, can go into niche markets, such as consultation with corporate clients, and does personal shopping, closet edits, and wardrobe planning. Education and training slants toward understanding body shape, fit, tailoring, color, hair and personality traits.  Image Consultants are the all-around Jack’s and Jill’s of the image trades.  They can do a lot of everything related to the ‘A, B, C’s’* of image and can also specialize in niche markets.  A professionally trained Image Consultant can style for a photo shoot, analyze client body type and style personality, shop for clients, manage closet inventory, and process closet and wardrobe edits.

A Wardrobe Stylist is a professional who works with wardrobe, owned by an individual client or a corporate client, such as a movie studio, a fashion retailer, fashion designer, or photographer.  They are experts at organizing, curating and developing clothing collections.  Wardrobe Stylists are also experts on the emotional aspects of clothing collections, how to organize a closet, how to shop for (or with) a client and how to maintain collections to last a long time.

The career tracks of Fashion Styling, Image Consulting and Wardrobe Styling can, of course, have overlapping skills and techniques.  A Fashion Stylist can and does process wardrobe styling for clients and a Wardrobe Stylist can and does work with celebrity clients on their personal style or image.

Each of these consultants should be active in social media by writing articles and keeping clients up to date with original blog posts and re-posting of relevant fashion news.  To help with that we just released a new certification course for the Fashion Blogger.  (a post for next week)

*Appearance, Behavior and Communication - consulting skills and techniques learned by studying the core competencies of Image Consultant Certification.