I get asked a lot about how to get into fashion styling. When I studied at London College of fashion LCF, my lecturer Beverly Alt taught us about what qualities a Stylist should have..

So to make a good cake.. you need the right ingredients!! So here are (in my impression) the KEY ingredients that make a good fashion stylist!! And I want to stress that it takes all of these characteristics.. and many many more to be successful.. and unfortunately there is no cutting corners…

Good Organisation: Time management is key.. you are given deadlines constantly… some are far away and some are not.. you need to be able to manage your time well. you also need to be in one piece.. nothing says professionalism LOUDER than someone who turns up to a shoot/meeting and they are completely organised!!

Hard Skin: There is going to be moments when you feel down.. as you start-up in your profession you will find you are low on money.. you may find that doors are closed in your face.. you may find your work criticised or you may even have conflicts with clients… FOR ME.. criticism is something that builds me.. I love to be told where I can improve.. you HAVE to have HARD SKIN!! no softies.. this does not mean being a b*tch.. that will not get you very far.. but it means not letting one knock keep you on the floor.. have the ability to use the window if the door is closed!!

Energy: In my impression.. people in the fashion industry could possibly have the worst eating habits.. I sometimes have gone a DAY without eating because I am so busy!! but I have learnt to keep lil snacks on me that keep my energy boosted to the MAXX!! you need to have energy.. It keeps you on top of your game.. if you are really unhealthy and are not prepared to run to get yourself to a meeting on time.. then in my impression.. your NOT CUT OUT!! I have ran like Chris Akabusi on some occasions.. Arieta Mujay will be my witness LOL!! Some think stylist life is all glamourous.. IN FACT you are one of the hardest working people in the industry..

Trend Awareness: It’s nice to be able to dress.. some think this is all a stylist does.. But being Trend Aware and knowing what is ‘in’ on the current season and seasons to come is essential!! it keeps you on your ‘A’ Game.. know what is big this season.. make it your own.. pick your favourites.. and style it with your model/client in a way that is visually appealing.. especially to the CLIENT!! your Client.. wether it be a magazine a designer Label.. or a man/woman you are personally styling.. get to know them… what they LOOK for.. Trends they like! etc.

Fashion Visual Sense: This to depends on the Client.. if I was to style for Company Magazine.. it would NOT be the same as if I was to style for ID Magazine or Instyle… this again is knowing your client.. and having a good visual eye for the customer.. and spotting kinks and flaws… it’s no good doing a photo shoot and wasting a whole hour on shots with a belt twisted etc. it takes attention to detail.. and unfortunately.. this is not just on the clothes.. it’s the look as a WHOLE!! (you are the ribbon to a package)

Versatility: Having your signature way of styling is an important thing to have, but it is also very important to be versatile.. be able to style in different ways.. for a man.. for a woman.. beauty.. hair.. the wider your versatility stretches is the more work you are able to get…

Good networking/Communication skills: Talking to big companies or people could be daunting.. but to be honest.. you WILL get the hang of it.. my friend Ernest Simons call me a ‘networking whore’.. lol… I like to talk to as much people as possible nowadays.. Getting to know people is important!! and most of all.. its important that people get to know the great person you are. good ‘people’ skills are good tools to stay professional.. and allows you to build relationships with people.. DO NOT CALL VOGUE and speak like Vicky Pollard!!

Open Minded: For me.. this is a wide-spread characteristic. be open-minded.. you are not always in control of everything.. I have found myself in a position where a member of the team on a shoot has a strong idea about what they visualised for the hair they had done..I was open-minded and tried what they said.. in fact.. it turned out better than what I had initially planned!! be open-minded.. you will work with people from different ages, genders, sexual preferences & races.. be open and ready to treat everyone equally.. if you don’t have the ability to be open-minded about basic things such as this.. I would tell you to consider.. ‘is this really for you?’ …turn back and think again..

Dedication: the nuuuumber 1 characteristic a good stylist has…

‘a goal is a dream with a deadline… but what good is a dream without determination?’

– unknown know where you want to be.. and unless you are REALLY bad and everyone is telling your work is absolute CR*P.. lol.. LET NO ONE tell you that you can not reach your goal.. if your dream means a lot to you.. you will take time and perfect your flaws and always work to the best of your ability.. be always DETERMINED to be the best!! that way.. you impress everyone you work with and leave a mark wherever you pass!!!

If you know you have all of this and much much more.. then you are a few more steps closer to your BIG DREAM!!

Start to build up your portfolio with photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists etc. when your confident.. Research and shadow/assist good stylists.. Start to build your relationships with designers and PR agencies etc. it all depends on what type of styling you want to do; print & media (magazines etc.), Music Videos, Personal Styling… and just GO FOR IT!!

I hope this helped.. if you have any further questions.. do not hesitate to ask..



  1. Catherine Horner says:

    I was really excited to get this book. I love the fashion industry. I’ve been reading this book slowly over the past two weeks. I was thoroughly enjoying it. I loved the informaton, the writing, style, and the ease of understanding. Then I was reading Chapter 6 page 99 about measurements and body proportion analysis. I had someone do my measurements. We took them two times to make sure we measured correctly. I’ve studied alot of Fashion/Style books, so I knew what my body type was. When I went to the charts in Chapter 9 my measurements came up with a body shape that is so far from mine, I knew the charts must be flawed. I am 5’2, bust measurement 32, waist measurement 26, and hip measurment of 31. I weigh 100 pounds. I have broad shoulders, and nonexistent hips and rear. The Chart said I was a Triangle aka the Pear. I know for a fact, I am not a pear. I have had many different weights in my lifetime. I have been an apple, a rectangle, and an inverted triangle. Never a pear. This disturbed me so greatly, I have quit reading the book. I really wanted to learn this business and make a go at it. If i made a gross miscalculation of a clients bodyshape, (by using the charts in this book) I would not be in business for long. SO beware the calculations, and possibly other mistakes made.I went to numerous websites and entered the same measurements and came up as an inveted triangle/rectangle. I don’t usually write reviews, but I felt it necessary to point out this calculation.

  2. says:

    I rarely write remarks, but i did a few searching and wound up here THE STYLISTS BIBLE: 10 CHARACTERISTICS THAT MAKE A GOOD FASHION STYLIST!! Erica Matthews. And I do have some questions for you if you do not mind. Is it only me or does it seem like some of these responses come across like left by brain dead people? :-P And, if you are writing on other online sites, I’d like to follow anything new you have to post. Would you make a list of the complete urls of all your community pages like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

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