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Make Room For Fashion: A Personal Stylist, the Ultimate Luxury

There are some luxuries that seem to become infinitely more luxurious after becoming a mother—massages, mani-pedi’s, naps, reading (and finishing) a book. But when I heard about the birthday gift that my friend’s husband gave her the year after her son was born, I knew she was about to experience luxury on a whole level. He got her a stylist.

I don’t know about you, but having someone editing my closet, telling me what to ditch and what to keep, writing a shopping list for what I need then taking me shopping and leaving me with a cheat sheet of what to wear when—that sounds pretty magnificent.

Since my darling husband hasn’t picked up on my heavy-handed hints yet, I decided to call up stylist and mother to two girls, Amanda Sander, to get her tips on styling busy moms.

“The truth is,” said Sanders, “Many women lose themselves after having kids. They don’t think about themselves anymore, they are constantly thinking about their children, their families. It’s a new life and it’s actually a perfect time to reassess what you now need and want.”

Her first order of business when working with a new client is to help them organize their closet in a way that lets them take note of what they have.

“Everything should be out of dry cleaning bags, organized from light to dark on uniform hangers. If you can see what you have you’re more likely to wear it.” She says one of her biggest challenges is getting people to part with sentimental pieces such as prom dresses or the first career dress. “In New York closet space is real estate,” says Sanders. (My friend had to go separate ways with a turquoise leather Escada suit from the '90s).

Next, she creates a shopping list appropriate for the events in the clients’ life. Then they go shopping, often starting in the big department stores such as Saks, Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman or Bloomingdale's.

“I can shop entire outfits at those stores,” she says. “The necklace, the shoes, the coat and the bag.” More often than not, she says, women will buy the dress but they forget the accessories that complete the look. She suggests a long gold necklace as a perfect accessory that works on multiple levels, from jeans and casual top to a suit to a cocktail dress.

Finally, when all the shopping and organizing done, Sanders takes pictures of the looks she created for clients, leaving them with a cheat sheet.

“My mother always told me to plan for the week ahead and that’s always stuck with me. Dressing up for occasions and wearing clothes for everyday should be fun, not stressful, the last thing you want to do half an hour before you’re going to a school function or a cocktail party, is be worrying about what to wear and if it will look good.”

While a personal stylist maybe a long shot for most of us mere mortals, I did manage to glean a few tips from Sanders on what’s worth the investment. Click below to see examples of her five classic pieces that every woman, Mom or not, should own.

Nicola Ruiz is a writer living in New York. Tweet her @nicolaruiz.

The black suit that can be broken up into separates—a blazer with jeans, or pants with a pretty top.

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