Following my experience with the stylist at J Crew, I felt like actually experiencing working with a personal stylist would give me a better understanding of the premium apparel market. Beyond this, I really needed a few more pairs of pants for work, so I thought this would be a good way to hit two birds with one stone.
I’ve always liked Nordstrom’s. In terms of department stores, they are likely the highest end store in Pittsburgh (comment on this entry disagree). My thoughts about their brand and service made picking Nordstroms for this experience an easy choice.
I went to Nordstrom’s website and set up an appointment with a stylist for an appointment (I allowed their system to randomly assign me to a stylist). Soon after setting my appointment, I was greeted by the stylist named Susan. She sent a brief email introduction asked for some basic information to get an idea of my style.
I explained that I was looking for pants that I could wear to work in a business casual setting and provided by pants size. In response, she asked me for my shirt size, shoe size, and a few other measurements. I knew that in setting up this appointment she would attempts to sell me things I wasn’t asking for, but I had no idea what I was getting into.
We exchanged a few emails and I attempted to paint a picture of the current state of my wardrobe. I thought doing this would give her a better idea. I also described the environment I dress up for at work (business casual except for Fridays). With that information, she went about her job of picking out out some things for me to try.
I got to Nordstroms about twenty minutes early, because I didn’t want to be late. I walked over to the section where the stylist told me to meet her and spent about fifteen minutes looking around. There was no shortage of sales representatives walking around offering to help me. I felt like I could have jokingly asked for a cup of coffee and would have found one in my hand before I could blink. About five minutes before my appointment, I let someone know I was there to meet with Susan and gave my name.
My stylist took me to a dressing room filled with shirts, jeans, pants, shoes, and a few jackets. It was a little bit like walking into a dream filled with clothes that I would like minus a few of the shirts.Timberland Boot Company ‘Wodehouse Lost History’ Boot (loved them, but a bit out of my price range). She was pretty spot on with my taste minus about two or three shirts that I just didn’t like and one of the three pairs of shoes. Unfortunately, I am not made of money, so I wasn’t going to buy most of the things she pulled.
After looking around the dressing room for a minute, we walked out to look around the store for anything else I might want her to pull. I looked at a few casual jackets and sweaters that were far outside of my price range, but wanted to try them on anyway. I asked about peacoats since it was the end of the winter season and they might have some on sale. I found one I liked, but of course it was one of the few that wasn’t on sale and far beyond my price range. At this very moment, I am wishing I had bought it, but there is always next year, right?
I wanted to take a look at sports jackets and we both looked over there. She pulled a beautiful Hugo Boss sports jacket for me to try. It was slim cut navy sports jacket with side vents. I don’t know that I’ve ever put on a jacket that has looked as flattering as that one did. I asked her to pull it and started thinking to myself, is there any chance I am really going to buy this?
Going back to the dressing room things were pretty simple. I tried something on and asked her opinion about the fit. I found that a few things were a size too big and she ran to find me the right size. I feel in love with a pair of wool pants by a Ted Baker London.
They were incredibly light, but still felt warm. They were exactly what I was looking for to wear to work and my stylist let me know that they would hem them for me for no additional charge. That sold me on them pretty quickly.
I found another pair of pants I liked as well as a really sharp pair of Cole Haan dress shoes she picked out. I had no intention of buying shoes that day, but they were too perfect to say no to. I wore them while the seamstress there chalked the pants I was buying to be hemmed.
I let the stylist know what I was buying and that I just couldn’t buy the Hugo Boss jacket that I adored and she told me she’d let me know if it went on sale. I’m crossing my fingers the jacket will be on sale for the anniversary sale, but I’m certainly not holding my breath.
Overall, I can see why someone would use a personal stylist or personal shopper. Having someone who can size you up and help pick out things that will look flattering on you and have them ready for you before you even step in the store is a really nice experience. There was something so simple about this shopping experience. It was so personal, but that may have been helped by the fact that she told me she had a son about my age.
During this whole experience, I started asking myself if this service would live on. My idea from J Crew that stylists get most of their clients from recommendations was reinforced. She wanted to know what my experience was like using their website to be routed to a stylist since she wasn’t familiar with the process. She also seemed to have little knowledge or was unwilling to talk about the relationship between Nordstroms and Trunk Club.