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FAQ

For many, hiring and using a personal fashion stylist is new territory. To get an idea of what to expect, listed below are the most frequently asked questions Vanessa receives from new clients. Feel free to e-mail Vanessa with any additional inquires.

I get booked up very quickly, so I generally have a 2-3 month wait until your first appointment. To ensure you don’t have this wait between appointments, I highly recommend booking all the sessions you anticipate needing right away. For first time clients, I recommend booking 3-4 sessions. There is no penalty for canceling an appointment as long as you give me 5 hours notice. I would much rather you cancel an appointment you don’t need than need an appointment you can’t get. I do try to bump up clients with immediate needs, but sometimes it is not possible. (My sincere apologies.) For those of you who cannot wait, I have two other stylists I can refer to you.
Most often, the consultation takes place in the client’s home as it is very efficient for the closet purge to immediately follow. For those that want to skip or wait on the closet purge, we do a phone consultation or we can do the consultation at my office in the Hillcrest area of San Diego.
I will travel as far as needed. A small travel fee is required for areas 15 miles outside San Diego’s 92103 zip code. For travel 1-hour or more away, my hourly rate goes into effect. Simply give me your address when you e-mail me to find out the travel fee.
If you are running late or we need to communicate about our meeting spot the day of one of our appointments, texting is the correct form of communication. Beyond the moments before we meet the day of our scheduled appointment, email is the best form of communication with me. As you will learn, I use my cell phone to take pictures and make notes throughout each of our sessions together. I am completely dedicated to you during your allotted time with me, so any texts that are not relevant to our session are completely ignored. This means if you text me while I am with another client, that text can easily be accidentally opened and missed. At the end of a day, where I have seen 2-3 clients, I head back to my office and tackle emails first, as texting is supposed to be family and friends and is the last thing I check in the late evening. This means texting will inadvertently put you at the bottom of my to-do list, or be missed completely. In addition to my frequent travels, email is the only way to ensure I have received your communication. Thank you for your understanding! 
After the consultation, I charge by the hour with a minimum of two. Once I quote you an hourly rate, it is safe from inflation for one year. You prepay for the first two hours. Once the two hours are completed, you pay me at the end of each session, unless otherwise discussed. I accept cash, check, and credit cards.
Absolutely. My service is completely tailored to you. If you want boutiques instead of malls, and exquisite pieces over multi tasking garments, we will relish in that.
Unfortunately crowded discount stores do not cater well to the personal styling process. The customer service, dressing room sizes and organization of garments are incredibly inefficient. You may save money on garments, but will end up costing more in my hourly fee because of the time it will take to find the items.
 No, I do not make any sort of commission on your purchases when we shop together and I do not work for any of the stores that we shop in, nor am I affiliated with the mall in anywayThe sales associate that assists us in the store makes the commission. You can rest assured, every store and garment I select is based entirely on what I think is best for you, my client.

On the topic of commission, if you are a reader of my blog, V-Style or V-Style For Men or my monthly Newsletter, click on a link, and make a purchase online, most of the time I do make a commission through marketing programs, like Linkshare. Obviously, this is completely separate from taking a client to a store, but thorough honesty is important to me.

The closet purge generally takes 1.5-3.5 hours, although I have had a closet purge that lasted as little as 20-minutes and as long as multiple, lengthy appointments (10+ hours). It all depends on how much clothing you have. Yes, you will be trying on most things.
I like to do multiple 1.5-3 hour sessions, versus longer sessions, for a more energized and enjoyable experience.  I find people get very tired after 2 hours. It is also nice to go home and let the first round of purchases settle in. We generally do 1-3 stores per session.
Most everyone needs two shopping sessions, or one in-store shopping experience and then some online shopping. After that, clients tend to book another shopping session for the next season. Once their summer and winter wardrobe is covered, clients bring me in about once a year or every other year for updates, events or personal changes.
Absolutely! In fact most clients require a certain amount of online shopping since physical stores don’t always have what we need. My hourly rate is the same as in-store shopping. When shopping online, I utilize numerous online retailers to give you a selection of what we are seeking. Most of the time I use free shipping/free return retailers to ensure no money is wasted. Once I have picked out the items, I send you the links via e-mail for you to purchase them. Once they arrive, it depends on where we are in the process that determines where we look through the items. Sometimes I have you order things before our in-store shopping session, so I have you bring them to the mall for you to try for me. Other times I shop online if I feel physical stores have not satisfied all our needs, or I feel online shopping is more efficient than hitting up more physical stores than we’ve already hit. In this case we will look through the online shopping at your home during our Outfit Creation session.

For some existing clients (clients I have seen in person at least twice) I shop online for them without my consulting afterwards. This means I send them the links to purchase, they order them and then decide whether or not they like them without me. I also shop online without in person consulting with long distance clients. Note: I only provide this service to clients whose bodies and styles I know well to ensure the utmost client satisfaction.

If we are shopping for one outfit or a certain garment, you can spend less than $1000. If you are looking to remodel your wardrobe, anything less than $2,000 is inefficient. $2,000 – $5,000+ is best for a new core wardrobe. Another way to look at it, on average, a quality garment costs $175. This average takes into account more expensive items like cashmere, silks, coats, and boots as well as less expensive garments and sale items. For clients with high-end interest or suit needs, a larger budget is needed.
I no longer work with very tight budgets, but I can most definitely refer you to a few trusted personal stylists that do. They work differently than me, but they are a delight. Simply contact me and I will send you their information.
 I most definitely work with environmentally conscience clients, but if you want to shop exclusively at resale stores, I can refer you someone that specifically works with these goals. 
In San Diego, I generally stick to Fashion Valley Mall unless a client requests otherwise. The stores I prefer to take clients to are Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Madewell, Hugo Boss, GAP, Ted Baker, Macy’s shoe section, and DSW. Obviously I use other stores when needed, like Salvatore Ferragamo, Chicos, 7 For All Mankind, Tory Burch, Scotch and Soda, Tommy Hilfiger, Zara and more.
Definitely. I can shop without you in store or shop online and then you try on the purchases at your home or office. If I shop in the store, I will need to make those purchases on my credit card. In those cases I then invoice you for the items you want to keep, and return the items we decide against. Keep in mind, the time it takes for me to return items to their respective stores will be added to your invoice as well.
I cannot emphasize enough, my ability to dress anyone. I can create any personal style from edgy and innovative to simple and efficient. My clients privacy is essential therefore very, very few of my clients are featured on the Female Client Images page and Male Client Images page. These are the clients I felt comfortable asking permission to use their images. No client photos are used without expressed permission of the client.
Absolutely. After the consultation, I will understand my client’s personal style and shopping needs. My greatest skill is my ability to read my clients, even when communication is not their forte. Once we have discussed the items my client needs and the schedule in which they need it, I become more of a personal shopper, versus a teacher.
Throughout the process I constantly discuss why we say yes to some garments and why we say no to others. We are always pointing out the pros and cons of the items we try on and I am happy to answer any and all shopping and style questions you may have.
All my clients need some tailoring. For particular body types, many items we buy will need something taken in or hemmed. This can add to the budget, although absolutely worth it. Another surprise can be the extent of clothing you are lacking. Most people need more than they realize, but we try to stay within your budget unless instructed to go over.