How to Become a Virtual Stylist: Job Skills & Responsibilities
It’s no secret that online shopping is on the rise. The Commerce Department estimates that as of November 2019, ecommerce sales were up by 4.4% for the year. And while online shopping has its advantages, that doesn’t make it any easier to figure out what to buy when you’re not sure if you look better in purple or red.
Because more people are comfortable shopping online, they’ve become more comfortable doing other things online, too. Buying a car and shopping for insurance come to mind. And so has hiring a virtual stylist. These fashion experts help people look and feel their best in clothing picked out to complement their style and match their tastes.
Whether you love fashion or enjoy helping people find their style, a virtual stylist job may be for you. With tons of companies offering this service and a lot of flexibility, we’ve got the breakdown on how you can indulge in your love of fashion—and get paid, too!
What Is a Virtual Stylist?
A virtual stylist is also called a virtual personal stylist, a virtual fashion stylist, a virtual wardrobe stylist, or a digital fashion stylist. No matter what you call it, though, they all do the same thing. A virtual stylist helps clients define their “personal style.” Stylists accomplish this goal by selecting clothing and accessories that flatter the client, fit their budget, and suit their tastes.
What Does a Virtual Stylist Do?
Working as a virtual stylist is, in some respects, the same as working as an in-person stylist. A stylist works with their clients to find clothing that flatters their body type and makes the client feel comfortable. Depending on the client’s goals, the stylist may help the client design a professional wardrobe, pick out items for special occasions, or help them define and refine their personal “look.”
Stylists don’t necessarily say, “Wear this.” Instead, stylists pull together “looks” for their clients, then create a lookbook with various wardrobe suggestions. This can be a series of mix and match clothing items or a series of entire outfits. Some companies, though, prefer to send complete outfits to clients. This allows the client to try on the various items and provide feedback to the stylist, so the next outfit is a better match.
Working as a virtual stylist likely means never meeting your client in person. To help create the best looks possible despite never meeting in real life, many stylists use several online tools to help them better understand their client’s styling needs.
For example, most virtual stylists have their clients fill out a comprehensive questionnaire to help them understand what the client wants and needs. The questions may ask the client to describe their current style, what styles they dislike, and what they hope the stylist can accomplish for them. The questionnaire can also include pictures of different looks or styles so the stylist can get a better idea of what appeals to the client (and what doesn’t).
After the questionnaire is completed, the stylist gets to work, creating various style suggestions. Those suggestions are then shared with the client. The client provides feedback, and the stylist adjusts the suggestions until the client is satisfied with the stylist’s picks.
What Skills Does a Virtual Stylist Need?
Of course, becoming a virtual stylist requires a serious interest in fashion. However, there’s more to being a virtual stylist than just loving the latest looks.
A successful virtual stylist needs excellent listening skills to understand the client and their wants and desires. Suggesting the latest fashion trends won’t go over well with a client who’s specifically stated that they prefer a classic look. Likewise, a client who tells you they are uncomfortable in revealing clothing probably won’t appreciate your suggestion of sheer, sleeveless tops.
It’s equally important to have superior communication skills, too. If you suggest a shirt with stripes on it, your client may not understand why you picked it (especially if they loathe patterned clothing). Explaining why you chose this shirt with these stripes (the stripes make you look taller, call attention away from your hips as you requested) can help the client understand your choices and be more willing to try out what you’ve suggested.
Being trendy and being aware of trends are two different things. For example, if skinny jeans are suddenly out of fashion, you need to know that information before you suggest your client invest in five pairs.
At the same time, though, you need to know your client’s likes and dislikes. A client who loves skinny jeans and doesn’t care that they are out of fashion may want to wear nothing but skinny jeans no matter how “out” they are. But, if your client has said they dislike skinny jeans and will never wear them, it doesn’t matter how popular they are.
Understanding of Clothing and Body Types
An essential element of styling is understanding fabrics, cuts, and how clothing works in general. For example, if your client doesn’t like clingy fabrics, you should know to stay away from satin and silk fabrics.
And you need to know what types of clothing work with which body types. For example, if you’ve got a short-waisted client, you probably won’t want to suggest high-waisted pants to them no matter how “in” high-waisted pants are.
Stylists need to focus on their clients. But, this doesn’t only mean providing them with the best service possible. A large part of being a virtual stylist is helping clients find and define their style. This means doing what’s right and best for the client despite what is trendy or hot. And, it means not forcing your personal tastes on to your client. You must listen to the client and let them lead the styling.
Who Hires Virtual Stylists?
There are several places where you can work as a virtual stylist. Many of them are independent companies that provide styling services to clients. Companies like Stitch Fix and Allume are examples. They may use private-label brands or suggest items from mainstream retailers. Some department stores, like Neiman Marcus, offer virtual styling as well.
It’s not uncommon for stylists to work for themselves. Many stylists work as both virtual and in-person stylists to an array of clients around the world. However, working independently means you’ll need to build your network to help find new clients.
How to Become a Virtual Stylist
In many cases, neither a college degree nor extensive experience is required to become a virtual stylist. The main criteria are that you love fashion, and you’re good at what you do.
That said, you may need to prove that you’re a good stylist. That’s where your lookbook comes in. Just like you created lookbooks for clients, you need to pull together a lookbook for yourself. It should contain a variety of looks you’ve put together for clients and demonstrate how you met the client’s needs, tastes, and budget requirements.
Virtual stylists have the freedom to work for a company or as an independent freelancer. And, many virtual stylist jobs are flexible, too, letting you work hours that are convenient for you and, in many cases, from wherever you want.
Check out our job listings for remote virtual stylists jobs and start your career in fashion today! Not a FlexJobs member? Join today and get full access to our virtual stylist job posts and everything else fashion-related, too!
Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com
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Rachel Pelta is a Content Coordinator for FlexJobs. With professional experience in job placement and as a manager, she creates content to help people succeed in their job search, and to help managers get the best out of their staff.…Read More >
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