I am not much of a shopper; I’m one of those ‘in-and-out’ kind of girls. If I know I need a pair of shorts for an upcoming trip, I will stop in at a store, walk straight over to the shorts section and pick a pair that fits. I’ll buy it, leave, and move on to my next to-do. When I’ve needed more than just one item, I will put off the task, and instead wish I had a personal stylist. Well, as luck would have it, I became friends with one a few years ago.

Dee and I met at an event in 2016 that honoured Vancouver’s Top 30 Mom Bloggers (Dee was the cream of the crop that year!). Our encounter was brief but we followed each other online, ended up meeting up at a charity fashion show (I was there for the charity, she was there for both the charity and the fashion) and we hit it off really well.

I was actually surprised that I could be friends with a personal stylist. I guess I had my own judgements about what kind of person would gravitate to a career like that. I imagined a stylish woman in leopard-print and (faux) leather might look down on someone with a wardrobe overwhelmingly comprised of leggings and sweatpants. But our weekly phone conversations and the way she celebrates me as a mom, writer and friend, showed me that Dee sees right past the oversized sweatshirt and into the soul of the people she meets. Or else, she is really good at holding her tongue.

The Joy of Style

On her blog, The Joy of Style, she writes in a relatable, light-hearted but no-nonsense way that makes the world of fashion accessible even for someone like me. What she has taught me is that fashion is really just about showing up in the world. It’s about taking that extra minute to tell myself I am worth that extra minute, and that I can still be comfortable outside of sweatpants. I won’t lie to you. I am wearing sweatpants right this minute. I have done this many times since she came on board as my personal stylist. In my opinion, there is a time and a place for soft, elastic-waisted joggers. But I’ve also found that the right pair of jeans and a blouse can be just as easy to slip on, and make me feel a lot different about myself when I wear them out in public.

What Does A Personal Stylist Do?

Dee has a really unique approach to livening up a wardrobe. It’s kind of like a deep-dive into who’s hiding under a typical go-to outfit (for me that was sweatpants, T shirt and hoodie – although when I teach, I smarten up with a pair of jeans, T shirt and cardigan). My work and weekend wardrobe are basically the exact same. A special event might have me wearing a comfortable dress or black pants and a blouse. When she asked me how I would describe my current image, I summed it up in one word: unremarkable.

The thing is, I’m not really an ‘unremarkable’ person. So, describing myself that way kind of hit me in the feels. I think I am a multi-dimensional person with a unique view of the world. I am fun-loving. (Even if I talk about books at parties. Books are fun). There is definitely room for moto jackets and books in my life. But it wasn’t so much that I was hiding in my current closet but more that shopping is just not fun for me. Hunting for items in racks is not fun. Turns out a personal stylist does that for you!

But before Dee selected some new items for me, she wanted to see what I already had in my closet. I loved this about her! It’s not about buying a brand new wardrobe, but rekindling some magic with what you already have. (My husband also appreciated this by the way, as it kept the cost down!) If you are in the vicinity, she will pop in and take a look at what you’ve got but we did this by FaceTime. At the end of the hour, I was amazed at how many outfits I had hiding in there simply because I didn’t know how to put them together. She also made me bring out my 12 year old jean jacket, the one I just never thought to wear when I could wear an oversized hoodie instead. And now it’s actually one of my favourite accessories!

This 12 year old jean jacket and I were reacquainted during the closet remix session. Dee found this amazing graphic T for me!
 Photo credit: Jamie Khau, Styling the Inside

The process of putting outfits together also taught me what elements to look for when I do need to replace an item or want to add to my wardrobe. For example, with my style, I could probably never have too many graphic T’s. I love them with jeans and with skirts (even my sparkly sequins skirt I own).

After creating a couple of Pinterest boards for Dee to review (of things I love and things I loathe), Dee went shopping for me (woohooo!) and put aside a good number of T shirts, blouses, jeans, and jackets. We then met up the next day, walked in to each store, tried on what was already put aside for me, and I could quickly say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to each item. This was the main reason I wanted a personal stylist.

Here are some outfits I was able to put together with the new items I bought:

I had the jeans in my closet already, and I love pairing it with this super comfy, pink blouse. It makes me feel a little poetic with the big sleeves! Photo Credit: Jamie Khau, Styling the Inside

personal stylist, dee clarke, the joy of style, taslim jaffer writer

I bought this sequin skirt last winter but didn’t know how to wear it with anything! Dee helped me pair it with this graphic T and moto jacket. Photo Credit: Jamie Khau, Styling the Inside


Another item I owned for a year without wearing was this fur vest. I loved it but again, didn’t know what to wear it with. I chose to wear it with this plaid shirt and distressed jeans I bought with Dee.   Photo Credit: Jamie Khau, Styling the Inside

Here are those jeans again! I paired them with this floral blouse and a comfortable jersey blazer which is perfect for when I teach or go to an editorial meeting. Photo Credit: Jamie Khau, Styling the Inside

Now What?

After my personal styling experience with Dee, did I turn into a shopper? Not really. I don’t feel the need to buy anything for the sake of buying it. But I don’t feel overwhelmed at the idea of having to do it when the time comes. I know which stores carry the kinds of styles I gravitate toward. I know my size a little better now, too!

Choosing clothes in the morning or for an occasion feels more fun, too. Especially when I pair something together I hadn’t done before.

If you’re curious about how a personal stylist can help you, I wouldn’t hesitate to contact Dee. You can check out her blog, The Joy of Style, and read some of her posts to get a better feel for her ideas and philosophy.

Got any questions? Leave them in the comments below!

taslim jaffer writer