Get help for wardrobe update
Usher in the New Year with a style revamp, by tapping on the expertise of professionals to update your closet
MENTION "personal stylist" and immediately the image of celebrities on the red carpet and larger-than-life fashion divas such as Rachel Zoe, with clothing lines and TV shows in tow, come to mind.
But a new generation of style consultants now caters to regular Joes and Janes who need a wardrobe revamp, not for the benefit of the paparazzi, but to impress the board or simply refresh their looks.
The kicker: You certainly don't need Kim or Kanye's pay cheque to afford the services of these style professionals.
"Many people are afraid to ask what I charge for my services, assuming that I work only with the rich and famous who have the means to pay for such luxury services," says Ms Julia Blank, a founder of image consultancy Dialforstyle. "In reality, my service is very affordable. I jokingly say that I charge just a little more than a personal trainer."
Having worked in Singapore since 2006 after a move from New York, the Ukraine-born stylist boasts public figures such as Singapore-based US investor Jim Rogers and former MediaCorp artiste Edmund Chen as clients.
But the majority of her regulars are working professionals, especially mid-tier executives, or entrepreneurs.
Her fee starts from $199 an hour for an image consultation to select the best designs, cuts and colours for a client, a personal shopping expedition, or a "wardrobe weeding" session to throw out pieces that are languishing in the closet and style the remaining looks.
Image consultants aren't new to Singapore and are often hired by corporations hoping to conduct workshops to give their employees an image boost.
In fact, since its opening just two months ago, Robinsons Orchard's first personal-styling service has been utilised by over 60 customers.
The department store's style advisers wheel racks of hand-picked wares, based on a shopper's preferences and budget, into a private personal-styling salon.
Catering to both men and women, and even families, the service is free and there is no obligation for customers to make a purchase after a session.
"We have shoppers who started out looking only for one-time event dressing, like attending a wedding or a dinner and dance, but after they see how much fun and effective it is to shop this way, they become our regulars," explains Ms Michelle Hee, a style adviser for the store.
"You'd be surprised that most people who use this service aren't clueless about fashion, but they're just busy. Their lives are very hectic and we just help make it easier for them to look good 24/7 and have more time for other things in their lives."
Contrary to popular belief, hiring the services of a personal shopper isn't the sole domain of ladies who lunch - even when it comes to picking out designer outfits with hefty price tags.
"It's mostly PMEBs as they have little time to shop effectively," says Ms Lani Chan, head of Club 21's Style Services department.
"I have only very few socialites as they have plenty of time to shop for themselves. The ladies of leisure that I do see are looking for very specific things. They need party dresses, specific accessories and so forth. And I have to be on the inside track for them, so they can get this merchandise."
Launched in 2009, the $300 style consultancy fee is waived with a minimum purchase of $1,000 from the group's designer stores.