Friday, November 09, 2012

MyStyle-I: Personal styling on a budget

Having access to a personal stylist is a dream come true for me. I don't have to go shopping or process returns. I don't have to figure out what looks good on me and think through  perfectly-layered outfits. But it's usually out of my price range. Either you pay a stylist a consultation fee or you go the route of Cakestyle, which was an awesome experience, but really designed for someone with much more expensive taste and a much larger pocketbook than me.

So when Marie Claire sales associate Cheryl Kogut reached out to me with a brand new business idea, I quickly agreed to be her first non-family, non-friend styling guinea pig. I sent her my measurements and a few of my favorite brands (as well as a link to my Pinterest board dedicated to fashion inspiration). Then we met face-to-face to review her process and discuss my goals (layered outfits, items that work with boots and tights, cool sweaters).

Then Cheryl went shopping. Her passion is online flash sales, where great designer items are sold for a steal. Plenty of fashionistas swear by them, but I don't have the time or inclination to check them daily or figure out how to incorporate a single, deeply-discounted item into my wardrobe.

About a month later Cheryl came to my house with bags and bags of goodies. She'd purchased me a $2488 fall/winter wardrobe for $1667.96, including tax and shipping. Of course, not every item fit, I wasn't crazy about the cardigans she'd brought and a few outfits fell by the wayside because one piece wasn't quite right. But I ended up loving an awful lot of it, buying 3 dresses, 3 pairs of Spanx tights, 2 scarves, a Rachel Zoe silk blouse and a pair of designer jeans for about $550 altogether. The Paige jeans ($158) and Rachel Zoe top ($129, reg. $295) accounted for about half of the total cost, but I felt like a million bucks in them. Seriously, now I know why people spend so much money on denim. This is the first pair of jeans I've ever worn that make me look like I have a nice ass!

Other items were real steals. A tie waist sweater dress from Spense & Cupio was only $32, marked down from $89. Cheryl paired it beautifully with a bordeaux scarf from Topshop ($36) and suggested chocolate brown tights and loafers. (I didn't buy the ones she'd brought, but found pair in my closet that worked.) The striped A-line minidress I'm wearing today (and tonight to see Louis C.K.) was $49.50 (originally $79), and she picked it specifically to wear with black Spanx and the tall black boots I had on when we initially met.

Cheryl makes money by charging a commission of 20% of each items' cost, but her extreme bargain-hunting ability pretty much guarantees you'll still be getting a good deal.

I've been wearing my new clothes all week, feeling pretty and getting so many compliments. If personal styling is something you've always considered buy haven't tried, this is your chance! Cheryl's website,, won't officially launch until January, but she is ready to start taking more clients and anyone who finds out about her through this blog will have her initial $25 consultation fee waived. Read on to learn more about Cheryl and her stylist services for the bargain-loving babe.

MM: You work full time at Marie Claire magazine. What inspired you to start a new business?

Cheryl: The same love of fashion that brought me to Marie Claire has also led me to discover the abundance of online deals that are increasingly available for the brands and styles I love. As a style fanatic, I have been scouring flash sales and online discounters since they first made their debut, honing my deal-hunting expertise. In my discussions with other women, I realized that many are overwhelmed by the concept of online flash sales and simply do not have the time or patience, consequently paying full retail price for the same brands. I saw a need in the market, and the idea was born! 

MM: What makes your styling services different from the other options out there?

Cheryl: MyStyle.i is dedicated to fulfilling your wardrobe needs with both quality AND budget in mind. We help women not only look amazing, but also get the most bang for their buck - all while eliminating the time and hassle that shopping requires! We deliver designer deals that fit seamlessly into your lifestyle directly to your door - you pay for what you keep, and we return what you don't. 

MM: Who is your target client? What budget ranges do you feel comfortable working with?

There is really no budget too small or too big. MyStyle.i can help you find that one special occasion dress or build an entire seasonal wardrobe. For seasonal wardrobe styling, we suggest that our clients are open to spending a minimum of $500 in order to get the most out of their styling. 

4. How does someone engage with you and what should they expect out of the experience?

Cheryl: To set up a complimentary consultation, I can be contacted at The initial consultation can take place either in-person or on the phone, and we will discuss what you hope to gain from your styling, your personal style, career, budget, sizing, etc., and I can answer any questions you may have. Two to three weeks later, I will personally deliver your hand-picked items to your home for you to try out. You keep the items you love that day, and I handle any returns for the items you don't. All in all, clients can expect a stylish, quality new wardrobe for the best price available with ease and convenience! 

MM: How would you describe your personal style?

Cheryl: I like to mix classic, timeless pieces with edgier trends. For work this winter, I am loving my black suede Tory Burch boots I've had for years (and got a HUGE deal on from paired with a gunmetal Michael Kors dress with leather trim and leather sleeves (also on sale). For weekend wear, I love my plum-colored Rich & Skinny skinny jeans from paired with a Topshop chambray shirt or one of my many dolman sweaters, accessorized with gray motorcycle boots and an animal print infinity scarf.