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So You Want to Be a Stylist? Nicole Chavez’s 5 Tips for Making It

Actress Kristen Bell and stylist Nicole Chavez shop at Henri Bendel

Actress Kristen Bell and stylist Nicole Chavez shop at Henri Bendel; Image: Getty

The road to my success hasn’t been easy and while I never rest on my laurels, I’ve learned a lot over the years in my work styling stars like Rachel Bilson, Kristen Bell, Nikki Reed, Scarlett Johansson and Courtney Cox. Here are five crucial tips for how to be a fashion stylist. 

1. Get experience

First and foremost I believe learning by doing is key. It’s important to get an internship with another fashion stylist. Stylists always need extra hands, so reach out to all of the ones you admire. If that’s not an option, do whatever you can to get into the world of entertainment. For me, I got in via the costume side. Experience is so crucial for gaining the confidence you need because as a stylist you have to be assertive and confident in your job.

Nicole Chavez and Rachel Bilson

Nicole Chavez and Rachel Bilson; image: Getty

2. Be persistent

It’s important to realize that you will have to work hard for nothing for a while. It’s also imperative to remember that even if you get to your end goal and become a successful fashion stylist, you are providing a service — you are not the star. The nature of being a stylist is that you’re there to take care of your client and she always has to come first.

3. Be well-read

You should always be looking at blogs and following Instagrams of people you are inspired by fashion-wise. You should know what’s happening in the industry and read all the trade publications like WWD. Get familiar with the major editorials and the collections, learn about designers, and study up-and-coming designers — these are all very valuable assets especially because once you’re an established stylist, you don’t always have a lot of spare time for research, so you want to set up good habits in the beginning.

4. Work hard

A strong work ethic is key to accomplishing anything you want to do. I don’t think you need to have formal training, but it does help. It’s also always an added plus when someone has an editorial background, but I’m very open to working with people who are green because it means you can train them.

5. Create a test shoot

Styling your own shoots shows initiative and is a great way to build up your portfolio when you don’t have work experience. Plus, it lets you flex your creative muscle and shows that you are passionate about what you’re doing.