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Confessions of a celebrity stylist

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

Allison Berlin is a personal stylist who has styled celebrities like Halle Berry, TV personalities like Stacy London from “What Not to Wear,” and worked for fashion magazines. Despite its glamorous reputation, Berlin claims styling isn’t just for the rich and famous.

“It’s a stigma that only celebrities use a stylist,” Berlin says. “There are so many affordable styling options now,” including her company, Style Made Simple, which offers private stylist consultations, and helps people find a style that represents who they are, Berlin says.

“Some people don’t understand the value of spending money on clothing, but they’ll spend a lot of money on restaurants and vacations,” she says. “But it’s really important to also spend money on clothing because this is the look you’re presenting to society every single day.”

As a stylist, Berlin says she can easily spot the items that would work best to create a perfect look, and helps people with common issues she sees, like buying clothes that may not flatter their body.

“People fall into the trap of dressing for the body they would like versus the body that they have, but the true trick is to dress for the body that you do have, and dress for it well,” she says.

Berlin says women should accentuate the waistline, which is the smallest part of the body, and avoid purchasing clothing that might pull across the chest, which indicates it’s too tight.

Berlin also recommends hiring a tailor so that your clothes fit you perfectly.

“Getting your clothes to fit your body properly is everything—that’s how you make your clothes work for you,” she says.

Berlin learned the importance of having a tailor on hand the hard way, when she was on a photo shoot and needed to cut the backs of designer dresses to fit her celebrity clients.

“Not all actors are sample size, and once you cut up the back of a sample you really can’t put it back together,” she says. “That’s why you should always have a tailor on set.”

When you do buy new items, Berlin says you should avoid buying trendy pieces, which are often cheaply made and fall out of fashion quickly.

“Fashion trends are a trap,” she says. “It’s important to focus on the ROI (return on investment) of the item you’re purchasing.”

Instead, Berlin says you should invest in more classic pieces like boots or a coat that can dress up items you already own.

Looking your best can give you confidence and have a positive impact on your life, she says.  

“I don’t think it’s vain or materialistic to care about yourself and how you look,” Berlin says. “When you go out into the world, it affects your confidence level and it affects the positive reactions you get from the people around you.”

Berlin says investing in yourself is always money well spent, because like it or not, we judge people based on appearances, and that can affect many aspects of your life.

Unfortunately we’re a very judgmental society—every day you’re being judged and your appearance matters,” she says. “It affects how people form opinions of you and they’re not always going to dig deeper and see what lies underneath.” 

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