Are You Ready To Hire A Personal Stylist?

You might be thinking: “What do you mean ‘am I ready?’  How will I know?” (queue Whitney Houston).  Well don’t you worry, I’m going to tell you!  Let me first say this; I’m not your average stylist.  While I would love to tell you that everyone needs a stylist, and everyone needs a stylist NOW, that’s just not the case.  For the people who could actually benefit from the process of working with a personal stylist, they still have to be ready.  Not sure if you caught it, but I said the word “process” because that’s exactly what it is.  You’ll be hard pressed to find a stylist who will work with you for an hour or 2 and then be on their merry way (at least not if they’re any good).  There is a lot that goes into working with a stylist (again, I’m talking about the good ones) and you have to be ready for it.   It’s in the best interest of everyone involved to ensure that the client is ready to work with a personal stylist, otherwise the outcome could be disastrous, trust me.

What’s the big deal, you say?  Well, it is a big deal.  First of all, it is a really personal thing.  You’re not just dealing with clothes, you’re dealing with everything that comes with those clothes, you know what I’m sayin?  I’ve had clients cry in their closets, clients have had revelations about their childhood and how it’s affected them in adulthood, and so much more.  Sure, this isn’t the case with every client, but more often than not, a lot of emotions come up when working with someone on their style and it’s important to be in a space where you can deal with that.

In working with mostly women, the issue that comes up far more often than the rest is that of body image.  For the most part, I’ve been really lucky with my clients in that they’ve been ready.  But I have had a couple who were not.  What does that look like?  It looks a lot like the following: loving pieces, but hating those same pieces on their body, seeing flaws in themselves that literally no one else would notice, being totally dissatisfied when looking in the mirror before we’ve even begun our work.  While we all have things we’d like to change about ourselves, it’s imperative that if you’re going to work with a personal stylist that you give yourself some grace.  You have to acknowledge who you are, and where you are in your life.  If you’re not happy in that current space, you’re not ready. 

What difference does it make?  It makes all the difference in the world.   Imagine seeing the world through foggy glasses?  Nothing will look as it should, and more importantly, nothing will be beautiful.  The whole world will be seen through a distorted lens, and you’re doing yourself a disservice looking at yourself through that same distorted lens.  You’ll walk away thinking you’re the problem, and you’ll be right.  But it wont be because you’re too short, or carrying too much weight, or because your nose is a little crooked, it’ll be because you insist on looking at yourself through this lens of an unattainable perfection that does not exist.  I’m not at all suggesting you forget about fitness goals, or forget about bettering yourself.  What I am saying, though, is that until you can be satisfied in the space you’re in, you will never be ready for the process.  And if you’re not ready for the process, it’ll never work the way it’s supposed to.

Imagine baking a pie, but only for half the time you were supposed to.  Imagine if you had been expected to do multiplication tables before you were able to add?  How about trying to run a marathon without training or stretching first?  Well, you’d think pie was disgusting, you’d think you’re an idiot unable to do simple math, and you’d think running a marathon was something from the devil.  You wouldn’t feel that way because any of those things are true, but because all of these things require steps to be successful; and you skipped those steps. The end result is the final product of a process and you went ahead and dismissed that process, and so the outcome is not at all what it should be, and it’s totally skewed your opinion of the product.  Pie is delicious!  But you have to bake it properly.  Multiplication tables are a breeze (most days) but you’ve got to learn to add first, and marathons…well, those really are from the devil, but you get what I’m saying.  Working with a personal stylist is fun, of course, but there’s a lot that comes with it and if you’re not prepared it’ll ruin the outcome.

So then, how do you prepare?  It’s just like I said; you have to give yourself some grace.  You have to know that you are and always will be a work in progress.  Whether we’re talking about our physical body, education, whatever it may be, we’re always working.  I don’t know anyone who feels like they’re perfect the way they are and there is nothing to be improved upon.  That isn’t life.  At least, that isn’t real life.  Acknowledge that you are a work in progress and ever-changing and that you’ll get there when you get there.  From there, you have to realize that no one will ever be as hard on you as you are.  You are seeing flaws no one else sees.  You are always going to be far more critical of yourself than anyone else will be…and that’s mostly because everything “wrong” you’re seeing is magnified in your head, that’s not how it really appears.  The last piece, and I think the most important (and my method with clients) is to highlight, not hide.  Stop living in the space of what you’re looking to hide or conceal.  Take some time, and find out what you love about yourself and if you’re not quite there yet, what you like about yourself and exploit that.  It’s no fun trying to hide what you don’t like.  What is fun, is highlighting what you DO like.  However big or small, find what you can say is great about you, and play to that strength.  Until you can give yourself the space to do these things, you’re not ready.  But my hope is that one day you will be.

Candace HannaComment
Misconceptions About Hiring A Personal Stylist

A lot of people have anxiety about the idea of hiring a personal stylist.  There is a really common misconception that personal stylists are only for celebrities; that’s really not true at all.  Sure, it’s becoming a lot more common now, but every day women have been hiring personal stylists (also commonly referred to as image consultants) for years.

So, what’s the problem?  Well I’m going to walk you through the misconceptions and explain the truth of the matter, and hopefully you’ll leave with a better understanding of it all.


I Can’t Afford A Personal Stylist

Ok, this could very well be true -but there’s also a really solid chance it isn’t.  The misconception here is that style is only for the elite, and for those who can afford it because stylists are outrageously priced and only put you in designer clothes, and that’s just not true.  The fact is, there are many personal stylists out there all with varying rates and services.  I think the idea of the service being so personalized scares people into thinking you’ll be spending $10,000 for an hour of someone’s time; and while that may be a few stylists out there, that certainly isn’t all of us (or even the majority of us).  You just have to do your research.

I Don’t Want To Look Like The Person I Hire

I hear you, but a good stylist has no interest in making you look like them.  I certainly have no interest in making my clients look like me (see what I did there? Because I’m a good stylist…see what I did?).  A good personal stylist knows that style is PERSONAL and all about you.  It’s not about the stylist and what they want to make you look like.  A good stylist (this is where your research comes in) takes the time to listen, and ask the right questions.  They take the time to understand you, and to help you develop your style (if that’s where you need assistance).  Sure, every stylist is going to push you just a bit (as they should) but a good personal stylist is going to help you bring everything that’s inside of you, outward.  That’s all.  They’re not there to change you or make you into some prototype.  They/we are there to enhance you, not change you.


I Don’t Want To Have To Call A Stylist Every Time I Get Dressed

Neither do I!  A big part of hiring a personal stylist is the learning.  Listen, I’ve often been told that I’m teaching myself right out of a job because I teach my clients everything they need to know. All the wisdom I have, I impart on my clients.  The fact is, it’s really important for my clients to understand how and what I do.  My goal isn’t to have my clients dependent on me for all things style. I want them to learn, and have that type of freedom so that if and when they want to style themselves, they can! My clients come back to me over and over again because they know I know what I’m doing, and they often just don’t have the time or energy to put themselves together.  A personal stylist is there to help you and teach you, so that you can fly on your own one-day little dove…if that’s what you want to do.


I Can’t Afford Designer Clothes

Neither can I!  I’ve been doing this a long time, and I have yet to put any of my clients in designer clothes.  I’m not sure where this misconception came from…probably from confusing personal stylists with celebrity stylists.  A good stylist is not only cognizant of your budget, but will make it work!  Not only do I take client budgets seriously, it’s always my personal mission to come in under budget.  Style is not about spending a ton of money, and a good stylist knows that.  I can’t tell you how many of my clients are blown away by the fact that I take their budgets seriously and by the deals I’m able to score.  My integrity is a real thing, and I’m not about to let you throw away money you don’t need to.  Your deal is my deal, that’s important to me and should be to any personal stylist.  Beyond that, I don’t ever make suggestions on what a budget SHOULD be.  Only you know what you can afford to spend on a wardrobe, it’s my job to make it work!

What other misconceptions about hiring a personal stylist do you have?  I’d love to hear them so I can help clarify.

Candace HannaComment
My Thoughts On Rent The Runway

This is a question that I get as a stylist ALL the time: What are your thoughts on Rent The Runway?  Well, I have a few.

Let me start by saying that I am not at all affiliated with Rent The Runway, they don’t pay me or send me free stuff (but here’s to hopin!).  I first learned about Rent The Runway from a friend of a friend a few years ago.  I’m Egyptian, and as you may or may not know, we are a fancy people.  When it comes to weddings, engagement parties, etc. no expense is spared, and the expectation is that you will come dressed to impress.  I always laugh when I hear friends ask “What does black tie optional mean? I have to wear a tie???”.  More often than not, black tie is not an option for a typical middle eastern event, it’s an expectation.  Again, we’re fancy.

Having said that, the average middle easterner can attend anywhere from 2-6 weddings in a SINLGE summer.  Yes, you heard me, a single summer.  That doesn’t include engagement parties, baby showers, bridal showers and the like.  So, getting dressed can be pretty expensive, especially with social media at EVERY corner.  You cannot blow your nose or sneak up to the buffet for a second plate without someone snapping a photo (and posting it, no less).

So, what does all this have to do with Rent The Runway?  Well, to put it plainly, it’s become my saving grace.  As a personal stylist my M-O is that the idea isn’t to spend a million bucks on your clothes, but to look and FEEL like a million bucks IN your clothes; and that’s really what Rent the Runway does. 

Cocktail dresses and evening gowns are not cheap.  A great dress for an event can cost anywhere from $300 - $1000 no problem.  Do the math on that?  If I’m planning to wear a dress only 1 time because I’ll inevitably be photographed in it (which most days, I don’t really care about, especially if I’m looking great, I’ll write about that too) I certainly don’t want to be dropping that kind of cash more than once  a summer (much less several times).

Rent The Runway gives you the option to wear so many gorgeous dresses (I don’t know how they do it!) for literally a fraction of the cost.  You can rent a $1000 Monique Lhullier  dress for $150, you can rent a $1100 Marchesa Notte dress for $165, a $900 Theia for $135 or $500 BCBG for $70.  The fact is, Rent The Runway gives us access to dresses we regularly could only dream of wearing, and where else are you going to find a designer dress that you feel great in for that price?  I have the answer, you won’t. 

I know what some of you may be thinking: “Candace, darling, $165 isn’t cheap!”.  To that I would say, you’re right, it isn’t.  But I will also say is that you must consider your CPW (Cost Per Wear).  Cost Per Wear is exactly what it sounds like.  So let’s do the math. Say you actually go out and purchase a gown for $500.  Maybe you wear it 3 times (if you’re brave and don’t really care about being photographed).  $500 (total cost) /  3 (total wears) = $167 CPW.  If you rent a dress for the same cost, your CPW is the same.  The difference is, you can rent 3 different fabulous dresses that you’ll LOVE wearing, as opposed to wearing the same dress that you’ve purchased 3 times.

The fact is, when people get married, nobody wins.  Wait – no, I mean, when big events happen, they’re going to cost us, that’s just a fact of life. So why not spend the money wisely on something that’s going to make you feel your absolute best for that night?  Not to mention Rent The Runway will send you a second size for free, shipping and returns are really easy, and the customer service (in my own personal experience) has been really superb.  I don’t endorse a lot of things, but they really do things the right way!

In conclusion, if you are a fancy person and attend many fancy events a year…and even if you don’t, Rent The Runway is a great (not to  mention really fun) option.

Candace HannaComment
Shop Your Closet Challenge

I don’t know about you, but as a stylist I’m shopping A LOT. I’m out shopping for and with clients, but beyond that, I’m out shopping for myself. What I’ve noticed is that the shopping experience can go a number of ways, and lately, it’s been pretty tough. You ever have those days you’re dying to buy something, but just can’t find anything worth taking the plunge on?

Me too.

When those days come, I’m grateful to the gods that I was able to save another dollar - but I end up feeling “blah” because there isn’t anything new, exciting, or inspiring out there. On these days, I like to shop my closet.


We all have pieces that we love, but haven’t figured out how to wear, pieces that have gotten lost in the shuffle somehow, and pieces that we’ve only thought about in 1 one way. THAT, my friends, is today’s challenge. Forgetting about excess for a moment, and working with what we’ve got. Let’s make a solid effort to let the old inspire us in very new ways!

I want you to try for the remainder of the week to shop your closet. Whether it’s a single piece you haven’t worn in a really long time, putting together an outfit that you’ve never before considered, or re-purposing a piece, I want you to to put your wallet away and step into all the options that already exist for you! In a world where more is more, and we’re distracted by all the shiny-ness around us, let’s really try to inspire ourselves, and share it!I want to see what you’ve done! Post it in the comments, on instagram using the hashtag #shopyourcloset, or share in our facebook group The Anti Stylist. I’m excited to see what you do!

Need help shopping your closet? Check out The Closet Style. Book some time today to chat!

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Candace HannaComment
Get Ready...

It’s time. You’ve waited long enough. I know how hard it can be, because I’ve been there too. Waiting around till we’re the perfect weight, till our skin clears up, till our hair is the right length, or we get the promotion we want. We’ve all done it; waited for the “perfect” time to start feeling great.

I’m writing about it because I’ve fallen victim myself. There were times I wanted to be thinner, and other times I was saving up because there was a piece that I thought would make the difference - but I’m telling you, it wont. If it’s not one thing, it will always be another.

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My whole life I’ve REALLY hated photos of myself. You may have noticed, you don’t see a ton of me on the “interwebs” - and that’s my fault. It’s because I hate pretty much every photo of myself, but you know what? That’s going to change. I’m starting with this post - all sorts of photos of me! Is it uncomfortable, yes. But does it need to be done, YES. I’m a stylist, people need to see me. I can’t wait until I’m perfect, because I never will be. My motto with my clients is: HIGHLIGHT don’t hide! And I haven’t even been taking my own advice…for shame! It’s because we are SO critical of ourselves, that nothing ever becomes good enough. My years of styling the everyday woman has taught me one thing for sure: No one is as critical of us, as we are of ourselves. Period.

I’ve challenged myself to share photos and I’m challenging you to something a little different. Stop waiting! Make the decision today to feel GREAT. To feel great in your skin, in your clothes, in your life. So, here’s my challenge to you:

What are you done waiting on, and what’s been holding you back? I want you to tell us what you’re DONE waiting on, and what you’re going to do despite not being perfect. What moves are you going to make? What outfit are you going to wear? What conversation are you going to have?

I know it can be hard to do, but that’s part of the work we MUST do to be better and get what we want. Need help? Click here to schedule some time to chat. Be sure to download your FREE guide of the “Basics on Basics: My Guide To The 10 Pieces Every Woman Needs”.

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Candace HannaComment