I had the pleasure of photographing personal stylist, Alison Knox, in her element at work and at home. After getting a glimpse into her styling process, I couldn't wait to interview Alison and get the inside scoop of what a day in the life of a stylist looks like, how she got into this line of work, and what styling mistakes women should be sure to avoid. No matter the industry, as a Portland based business owner/entrepreneur, Alison's interview is both insightful and inspiring, I know you'll enjoy!
How did you get started working as a Personal Stylist?
I definitely never expected it to turn this into a career or to be my own boss. I have always been drawn to style and figuring out what works best for me and my body. After awhile I had those around me take notice, ask for my input and refer their friends to me. I soon realized I had an ability to break down style and wardrobes in an easy and approachable way that was really helping people. When I moved back home to Portland after 11 years in the Bay Area, I went through a 6 month process of trying to figure out what's next and this was the obvious choice. I got connected to the Paid Stylist Mentorship Program which helped me figure out how to turn this passion into a viable business and it just took off from there!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
As a solo entrepreneur and business owner, there is really no 'typical' day. My more administrative days are filled with emails, creating client lookbooks, meetings with vendors, calls with potential clients, planning style talks, exploring new shops in town or new seasonal offerings at my favorite boutiques, donating or selling client clothing, marketing and all the other fun 'behind-the-scenes' details. Days spent with clients are either in their homes for Closet or Style sessions where we're thoughtfully editing their current wardrobe, putting together fresh outfit combinations with the clothes they have and taking photos of each clothing item for their lookbook. Some of my favorite days are the client Shop day where I go a few hours ahead and they show up to a full, expertly curated dressing room and we begin the fun process of try-on. These are times I get to observe major shifts in confidence, seeing their own bodies through new eyes and actually having fun shopping again!
How do you think the way we dress influences our lives?Oh, it can absolutely impact our life in major ways! Because style is an outward expression of who we are inside, it can be a powerful mode of communication both to ourselves and to those around us. It can give us permission to enter spaces with a greater sense of confidence and ability to be present because we feel great in our clothing. We engage with the world in a different way when we feel represented through what we're wearing. Style can also be a response to a major life shift; career change, a cross-state move, a loss, change in relationship status, birth of a child etc, and making thoughtful style adjustments can help us feel more like ourselves in the midst of that growth and change.
What's the biggest style mistake women should avoid? In my experience the biggest pitfall I see women fall into is when they are not clear on who they are and what they want to communicate through their clothing and fall prey to every new, short-lived trend that comes on the scene. When we don't take time to pause and drill down on our own *personal* style and the nuances of our individual body, we are left at the mercy of what's on the mannequin and trying to force-fit that to our unique self. That being said, there is nothing that derails the impact of a great outfit more than the fit of the clothing items. It doesn't matter how much you paid or what brand it is, if the fit is off, it is not working for you. Also, it's worth noting that I strongly believe...leggings are not pants.
Do you have any advice for someone thinking about becoming a Personal Stylist?
Since we can only really give advice through our own experience, I have definitely noticed some helpful tools along the way and most importantly, how so much of what I do goes far beyond the clothes. There are many times when I simply feel like a therapist, a coach, an encourager and a brave person speaking truth into vulnerable spaces. With every client it is such an honor to be invited into their homes and closets and have them trust me for help and direction. I don't take it for granted and I think a strong ability to read people and easily create a safe and fun environment is necessary to be truly successful.
A lot of people have good style and know how to put cool outfits together for themselves but have a hard time translating that to other people's bodies and lifestyles. I think it's a gift when you can see others and interpret style in a way that makes it accessible for each person.
What are some current fav items in your wardrobe right now?I love this question! It's so fun to stop and pay attention to the items, silhouettes or colors I'm drawn to in a specific season. Currently, I'm loving my vintage Levi's (with everything), my coral colored mules that add the perfect pop of color, my long, knit vest that's a great weight for transitioning seasons and my power outfit continues to be my black loop knot overalls.