Seamstresses provide tailoring, alteration and custom sewing for clothing or costumes. Seamstresses can reshape clothing that is too big or too small so that it fits properly — for example, hemming pants that are too long or bringing in the waistband of pants or a skirt that is too large. Seamstresses can also provide more complex alterations such as adding tucks to shape a dress or bringing in the body of a shirt. More time and expertise will be required for challenging fabric such as silk or clothing with lining, like a blazer or lined slacks. Seamstresses are also skilled in altering wedding dresses and other formal wear. The time and skill required for these types of alterations is greater than for basic tasks like hemming, so be sure to find an experienced seamstress to handle your special items.
Many seamstresses can also custom-make clothing for you. To come up with the design, you can bring in a pattern you like or an item of clothing you want the seamstress to replicate, or ask the seamstress to create a pattern for you. You can bring your own unique design to life with the help of a seamstress. There is no formal job training required to be a seamstress; many learn to sew and design from practical experience. For larger projects, like tailoring a suit, always be sure to review portfolios of work and read about the seamstress’s experience before committing.
A fashion consultant is a paid professional who will advise you on what to wear and how to wear it to fit your desired lifestyle or career goals. A fashion consultant can provide many services including personal shopping, closet audits, beauty consultations, style consultations and ongoing seasonal services. A fashion consultant often has a design or fashion background (although this is not required) and an innate sense of style. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with the colors, cuts and designs we think suit us. A fashion consultant comes in with fresh eyes and provides constructive feedback to guide your style choices.
During your initial meeting, your fashion consultant will take stock of your current clothing selection and learn what you hope to achieve. They’ll identify core wardrobe pieces you need, as well as advise you how to wear items together. Many consultants create style lookbooks for their clients explaining things like exactly which shoes to wear with what pants and how to accessorize each look. Fashion consultants are a great option for people who are updating their style due to age, career changes or body changes, or who are just ready for a new look and feel. Most fashion consultants charge by the hour, with some offering packages and others working from a retainer.
Image consultants help people look and feel their best by coaching them on their clothing and beauty choices. An image consultant can be hired for a one-time occasion, such as an awards ceremony, big birthday party or photo shoot. The consultant will recommend clothing, hair and makeup to suit the occasion either using either what the client owns or taking a targeted shopping trip. For a complete fashion consultation, the image consultant will assess your wardrobe, your lifestyle, and what you hope to present to the world, and will then determine the best colors, styles and cuts for you. You can get help streamlining your professional appearance, adjusting your style after a change in body size, solidifying a new look, or finding clothing to fit one area of your life like work or weekends. Image consultants also provide closet edits, going through your clothing and paring out what isn’t right for the look you’re trying to achieve. Personal shopping is another service that image consultants provide. After an image assessment, they can either shop with you or shop on your behalf to find you key pieces you need.
To find a fashion consultant, start by browsing portfolios online. Styling is a visual art, so finding a fashion consultant who fits the style you desire is key. Great personal stylists aren’t confined to one style, but if you’re seeking a hipper, fashion-forward vibe, you’d do well to find someone with a modern portfolio, while a fashion consultant with a consistently refined style could be a better fit if you’d prefer a more conservative look. Reading reviews is also helpful for learning more about the fashion consultant. Research their training, background and years of experience. After reviewing websites and Instagram accounts, meet with the stylist in person to learn how well they fit your personality; some fashion consultants offer a free phone consultation prior to hiring. Before hiring, make sure you clearly understand their terms of service and payment.
Personal shoppers take the pain out of having good fashion. Personal shoppers are paid professionals who work with women, men or children who need style assistance. If you are stuck in a fashion rut, are unsure how to dress in a way that flatters your body, need to revamp your image, or want a more professional career look, personal shoppers can help. Personal shoppers identify the look their client wants to achieve and purchase the necessary clothing and accessories to achieve it. The process often begins with an initial consultation with the client to understand their style goals. This consultation may include a closet “audit,” an assessment of the client’s current wardrobe to see what items can be eliminated and what must be purchased to achieve the desired style.
The client and the personal shopper can shop together, selecting items as a team. The personal shopper may also shop on behalf of the client, then bring all items to the client for a final decision. A third option is pre-shopping, where the personal shopper reaches the store(s) ahead of the client and sets aside clothing for the client to try on, expediting the whole process — a win for anyone who hates spending time in the mall. Personal shoppers can also be hired for one-time events such as weddings, vacations or birthdays. You can also enlist a personal shopper to do your gift shopping for you. Overall, a personal shopper is an investment in making good style choices.
Tipping seamstresses is not standard protocol. That said, anytime a talented seamstress goes above and beyond, offering a gratuity is a thoughtful gesture. A gratuity might be appropriate if the seamstress accepted a large project for you at the last minute — for example, hemming new suit pants the night before your work trip or taking in your party dress the day before your birthday. A gratuity may also be appropriate as recognition for the long hours of skilled stitching that your seamstress has put in altering your wedding dress, which often requires multiple fittings and precise fixes to make your dress perfect. If you do decide to offer a gratuity, first ask if the seamstress accepts gratuities; if they do, offer them an additional 15 percent to 20 percent of the total bill.
Personal shoppers provide a much-needed personal service, but tipping is not standard protocol. A professional wardrobe consultant or personal shopper will meet with you, consult on your desired style outcome, and shop with you or for you. Some personal shoppers work as independent business owners, while others work for department stores. Services for self-employed personal shoppers average $120-$200 per hour, although prices vary depending on where you live. Personal shopping services at department stores are free of charge, as the personal shopper is employed by the store and receives a commission on what you purchase while shopping with them. There are perks to both kinds of services, but one major advantage of an independent personal shopper is that they can shop in any store with you or for you, and can also come to your house to assess your closet. Either type of personal shopper helps you refine your style and make good fashion choices.
Hiring a personal shopper may seem like excess spending, but can actually save you money in the long run. The national average price range for personal shoppers is $120-$200 per hour. Pricing per hour can vary greatly, depending on where you live in the country and the reputation of the shopper. The majority of personal shoppers charge per hour, with many offering pre-set package pricing that bundle several of their services. Typically, the larger the package—or the more hours up front you purchase—the greater the savings on their hourly rate. Here are a few examples of average personal shopper costs:
- Hourly rates: $50-$200. Prices can vary greatly depending on reputation and geographic location.
- Eight-hour personal shopping package: $672. Purchasing in bulk provides a $120 savings from the $99 hourly rate.
- Three hours of personal shopping: $490 (includes 1.5 hours of pre-shopping for a total of 4.5 hours). Purchasing in bulk provides a $185 discount off the hourly rate of $150.
- Twenty or more hours of closet reorganization and personal shopping: $1,400. This service time is split over two seasons and includes up to 20 hours of service, which comes to $70 per hour.
- Three hours of personal shopping for vacation: $600. Includes three hours of personal shopping plus packing and outfit coordination at the client’s home.
If you’re ready to upgrade your look, you’re ready to work with an image consultant. The national average cost for a style consultant ranges from $120 to $200. An image consultant helps you pinpoint the look you’re trying to present to the world and steers you toward the clothing, hairstyles and accessories that will achieve it. Having an image makeover can boost self-confidence, help you portray a more professional work look, let go of styles that no longer suit you, and find the best fits and colors for you. Style consultation is for any gender or age. Rates for image style consultants can vary depending on where you live and the consultant’s background, reputation and training. Here are some examples of average costs for image consultant services:
- Hourly rate for personal styling and personal shopping: $55-$100 per hour, depending on your location.
- Fashion consultation: $500 for 3 hours. Includes a full assessment of closet and personal style goals of client.
- Four-hour package: $320. Includes a closet audit, outfit planning and shopping game plan.
- Eight-hour package: $640. Includes a closet audit, outfit planning and shopping game plan, and personal shopping services.
- Beauty consultation: $250 for 2 hours. Overview of best beauty products, colors, applications, and hairstyles for the client’s goals.
The price for seamstress services will vary depending on the type of work you have done. The national average rate for a seamstress or tailor is $150-$280. Simple projects like repairing holes and hemming jeans usually have flat rates; larger projects, such as sewing custom creations, altering suits or altering wedding dresses, are typically priced based on the specifics of the fabric and pattern and the amount of work time needed. Here are a few examples of tailor and seamstress average costs:
- Shorten sleeves of a dress shirt: $19.
- Shorten jacket sleeves: $23 (without buttons) to $28 (with buttons).
- Take in the body of a jacket: $40 (two seams) to $52 (three seams).
- Take in a dress shirt: $20.
- Adjust the shoulders of a jacket: $35.
- Hem a skirt or dress: $10-$14.
- Take in or let out a skirt or pair of pants: $15 (unlined) to $20 (lined) or $25 (with a zipper).
- Shorten top-stitched pants: $10.
- Shorten cuffed pants: $14.
- Shorten lined pants: $14.
- Shorten lined and cuffed pants: $18.
- Take in a sheath dress: $45.
- Restitch a fraying seam: $5.
- Replace buttons: 50 cents each.
- Move a button: $2.
- Add a hook and eye: 50 cents per set.