What Does a Stylist Do?

When I tell people that I am a stylist, they often respond with something like, “that’s so cool!” But, then they look at me again and ask, “What do you do, exactly?”

I’m so glad when they ask! There’s a lot of misconceptions about stylists and what we do. People often default to celebrity stylists like Rachel Zoe and think only of red carpets and photo shoots.

While that is one type of stylist, that work is more often done in cities like New York and Los Angeles. Here in Washington, D.C. – my focus is a bit different.

Being a Stylist in Washington, D.C.


D.C. is a “type-A” town. Everyone works absurd hours, travels a lot, and the limited time they do have available, they want to spend it with family and friends – not shopping for clothes and organizing their closets. People have a lot of anxiety when it comes to dressing themselves. And it only gets worse here – where (like it or not) appearance counts. The way you are dressed and present yourself sends a message, and you want to be sure that it’s the right one.

I am a personal wardrobe stylist helping busy professionals save precious time, get organized, and look their best by doing their shopping and putting together looks and ensembles that both suit their lifestyle and look great. I also edit and organize their closets, making it easy to put together outfits that communicate that much sought after sophistication and polish that Washingtonians desire.

My goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for my clients to look and feel their best.”

My goal is to make it as easy and convenient as possible for my clients to look and feel their best. The process can vary depending on the needs of each client but generally works like this:

Styling Process

  • Free one on one consultation: This takes place either in person or on the phone, although in person is best. I try to keep these meetings within a half hour to forty five minutes, and I ask questions to get insight into my client’s lifestyle and needs when it comes to their wardrobe. I also try to find out their general preferences (favorite colors, trends they love / hate, fabrics they enjoy, etc.), overall style, and budget.
  • Personal Shopping: After this meeting, I shop for my clients based on the details from the consultation. I’ve developed relationships with retailers throughout the area, and do my best to save my clients money where I can, based on sales and promotion information I’m given, and discounts I’m allowed. I buy pieces based on what works best for each client’s body type and features, and try to move them slightly out of their comfort zone – but not so much that they don’t feel true to themselves.
  • Wardrobe Consulting: After shopping, I meet with my client again, so they can see the options I’ve picked and they can try them on. During these sessions, I show them different ways they can mix and match the pieces to create different outfits for different circumstances occasions. If they want, I also put together look-books of the different combinations so they can use it for easy reference when they’re trying to recall what goes best with what. The client keeps the clothes they like, and I return what they don’t. This saves them a lot of time and hassle not having to run from store to store, deliberating over pieces, and then having to return the things they weren’t sure about.
  • Closet Editing / Organization: While I offer closet editing / organization as a service unto itself (without me shopping for you – many find this very helpful when they’re getting ready to put their home on the market), many times clients are very excited about their new clothes and want out with the old, in with the new! I work with them to edit out items they no longer wear, like, fit properly, or have seen better days – and donate them to local charities that help support veterans, or men and women who are trying to get back into the workforce. This way, they can feel good about not only clearing out old clothes, but by helping others get back on their feet. After the edit, I organize the closet in a way that makes sense and is aesthetically pleasing. Clutter and disarray cause anxiety, and an organized closet is a great way to help bring calm and tranquility into your life.
  • Special Events: Besides everyday wardrobe needs, there are certain events that are extra special – you really need to look your absolute best. Think weddings, galas, Inauguration events, award ceremonies, etc. Often, these significant moments require a look that is one of a kind – and need to be shopped for months in advance, so a gown or formal wear can be ordered and properly tailored. This takes a LOT of time and effort that my clients don’t have to spare. I go out and talk to designers, gather options, and whittle them down to a manageable few for a client to select for the big day.

Every client is different, so I change and adjust the process to suit them. Sometimes they need me to accompany them to a tailor or fitting, or travel out of town to find clothing options that aren’t available here. I’m always happy to make adjustments – my job is only done when my client is completley satisfied and excited about showing the world the best version of themselves. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to schedule your free consultation.

Colleen Bayus photo

Colleen Bayus is a personal wardrobe stylist in the Washington, D.C. area. Her company, Styling by Bayus provides personal shopping, wardrobe consulting, and closet editing & organization services. Like on Facebook, Follow on TwitterInstagram, and LinkedIn. Contact her with questions. 

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