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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.


How can I prevent waiting for an appointment with you?

        I get booked up very quickly. To prevent waiting 1-3 months for an appointment, I highly recommend booking all the sessions you anticipate needing right away. There is no penalty for canceling an appointment as long as you give me 24 hours notice. I would much rather you cancel an appointment you don’t need than need an appointment you can’t get. I also recommend booking me before you need me. I try to bump up clients that have 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.


Where does the consultation take place?

        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, the consultation takes place at my office in the Hillcrest area of San Diego.


How far do you travel? And do you have a travel fee?

        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.


What is your rate structure? How do I pay?

        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.


Do you make commission on the purchases I make at the stores you take me to?

        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 anyway. The 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, 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.


Money and/or time is not important to me, I just want an enjoyable experience and beautiful clothing. Do you do that?

        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.


I like to shop at discount stores like Nordstrom Rack and Marshalls? Do you take clients there?

        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.


How long is the closet purge? Will I be trying things on?

        The closet purge generally takes 1.5-2 hours, although I have had a closet purge that lasted as little as 20-minutes and as long as 5 hours. It all depends on how much clothing you have. Yes, you will be trying on most things.

           

When I go shopping with you, how long is our shopping trip? How many stores do we go to?

        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.


How many shopping trips do I need?

        Unless shopping for one specific event, most everyone needs two shopping sessions. 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.


How much money should I expect to spend on the clothing, shoes and accessories?

        Unless we are shopping for one outfit or a certain garment, anything less than $1,200 is inefficient. $2,000 - $5000 is a great place to start for a wardrobe remodel. On average, a piece costs $125, this takes into account more expensive items like jeans, silks, coats, and boots as well as less expensive garments and sale items. For clients with designer taste or suit needs, a larger budget is needed.


I am on a tight budget and would like to spend less than $1000 on clothing. Do you work with budget conscious shoppers?

           I no longer work with very tight budgets, but I can most definitely refer you to a trusted personal stylist that does. She works differently than me, but she is a delight. Simply contact me and I will send you her information.


I am very environmentally conscious and only want to shop eco-friendly brands and/or consignment or resale shops. Do you work with clients that have shopping restrictions?

           I most definitely do, and for those that want to shop exclusively at resale stores, I actually have someone on my team that specifically works with your goals.


Are there any unexpected financial costs I may not have thought of?

        Most, if not 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 incredibly 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.


Where do you like to take clients shopping?

        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, GAP, Anthropologie, Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Madewell, Hugo Boss, 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.


Do you shop online?

        Absolutely! My hourly rate is the same. When shopping online, I comb numerous online retailers to give you a selection of what we are looking for. 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, our session takes place in your home where we decide what to keep. If need be, I am happy to purchase the items, and then invoice you for them.

          Sometimes clients have me shop online for them without my consulting afterwards, i.e. 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.


Can you shop for me, so I don’t have to go into the stores?

        Absolutely. I can shop without you in the stores or shop online and then we try on the purchases at your home or office. If I purchase them on my credit card, 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 the invoice as well.


I don’t see the look I want on your clients’ photos page. Is that all the looks you do?

        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 my website. These are the clients I felt comfortable asking permission to use their images. No client photos are used without expressed permission of the client.


I don’t need a lot of advice, I just want someone to get my shopping done for me. Is that something you do?

        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.


Can you teach me how to dress, so I won’t need you every time I go shopping?

           Throughout the process I constantly discuss why we say yes to some garments and why we don’t. 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.

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Vanessa Valiente is a San Diego based Personal Wardrobe Stylist, Fashion Consultant and Personal Shopper. If interested in Vanessa Valiente as a wardrobe stylist for television, film or commercial work, please go to www.wardrobestylistsandiego.com.

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