The dream: entering a luxe department store to find an oversize private dressing room awaits, piled high with clothes selected just for you. There's a smiling personal stylist who knows exactly when to help and—more importantly—when to leave you alone so you can privately assess the size of your pores in the mirror. And at the end of it? You strut out of there like Cher Horowitz, laden with shopping bags and the knowledge that your wardrobe is finally complete.
PSA: We did some investigating, and it turns out that personal styling services aren't just for fussy old ladies on the Upper East Side. The Macy’s My Stylist service is proof that this heaven exists IRL—and considering you get a big, fat 20% off on anything you buy at your first appointment (yes, you read that correctly), it's really just smart shopping.
Our editor Aemilia Madden (a notoriously savvy shopper and self-confessed tough customer) eagerly put her hand up to try it out for herself, claiming that if they can help her find everything she needs for an upcoming wedding, well, they can truly help anybody. Read on for our chat with Aemilia and to see the great pieces she scored with a little help from her Macy's My Stylist.
WHO WHAT WEAR: Aemilia, you already had everything fashion at your fingertips—why did you need a My Stylist appointment?
AEMILIA MADDEN: I know I have a strong point of view when it comes to my style; I quickly know what I like and what I don't. That being said, the thought of having someone dedicated to getting me organized for this wedding sounded very appealing.
WWW: How would you describe your style?
AM: I jokingly refer to myself as a tomboy with a Pride and Prejudice complex. I gravitate toward jeans and sneakers, but I actually revel in the chance to wear something a bit fancier too.
WWW: What's your usual deal when you shop—do you do it online or in-store?
AM: Online shopping is a large part of my job, but I actually really enjoy shopping in-store, although usually it's for killer vintage and secondhand pieces.
WWW: Do you like a second opinion when you shop, or do you roll solo?
AM: I do a lot of my shopping by myself, as often I have one very specific thing in mind that I want so I don't necessarily need a second opinion. But if it's a big splurge, I do snap awkward dressing room selfies and send them to my mom, best friend, or close co-workers, just for the final push.
WWW: Tell us about the wedding—what's the vibe?
AM: The wedding itself is black-tie, so I'm looking for something fairly formal—it's in San Francisco for one of my closest friends from college.
WWW: When you booked your appointment online, what was the outfit S.O.S. you sent out to the Macy's stylist?
AM: I'm in need of a formal evening dress that's elegant but not too fussy. I tend to avoid anything to princess-y since it's not my style. I like sleeker silhouettes and more subdued colors.
WWW: What were you definitely not looking for?
AM: A little bit of embellishment is okay, but nothing to overshadow the bride.
I've been stressing about everything I need for this wedding for a while, so I really wasn't expecting shopping for this particular dress to be fun.
WWW: What are your tips and tricks for making a floor-length gown work when you're kind of low-key?
AM: To keep it from feeling too fussy, I try to keep my overall look simple and sophisticated. Mules or platform heels will be comfortable (key when you'll be dancing all night long) but still feel celebratory. For jewelry, I've been all about hoops of late, and you can never have too many rings. When it comes to beauty, I like simple hair—maybe a low bun or just straightened and sleek; definitely no prom-y updos. And my makeup for events tends to have one focal point—a cat eye or red lip, but otherwise fairly natural.
WWW: What else is on your urgent shopping list?
AM: Well, there's also a rehearsal dinner before the big event and a brunch the morning after, both of which are more relaxed and will take place at the couple's favorite restaurants. And to make it more fun, San Francisco weather is unpredictable; even on a warm day, it gets chilly at night.
WWW: What are the top fall trends you wanted to incorporate?
AM: I love all the red I've been seeing for fall, especially in shoes and boots. It's a cool way to make a statement when the rest of your outfit is more low-key.
These red boots are my favorite thing Gina helped me pick out. What can I say? They're just so cool!
WWW: What are your shopping tips for busy girls?
AM: When you're shopping for new pieces, try to imagine a few different ways that they can work with what you already own. If you love a pair of shoes but can't figure out how you would wear them, it might be worth holding off.
There are so many events around a wedding these days that I almost forgot I needed shoes for the rehearsal dinner (on top of everything else).
WWW: What was the best thing about having a dedicated personal styling appointment?
AM: The experience was so easy—Gina, my stylist, was so much fun to work with! She knew from my online booking what I was after, and she connected with me before I arrived to find out the brands I like, which meant we could quickly get down to business. It was easy to swap in and out whatever pieces we needed to create a finished look, because she had so many options at the ready: super time-efficient.
WWW: Why hadn't you tried out something like this sooner?
AM: Honestly, I'm always a little concerned about letting someone else pick out clothes for me! But Gina asked the right questions and really got that I wanted to feel put together without trying too hard. It was so good being able to get together all the missing pieces for this wedding weekend at one time—with my schedule I'd never have been able to manage this otherwise. I'd still be looking for a dress.
WWW: What should we all know about the Macy's My Stylist service?
AM: Aside from the fact you get such a good a discount on everything at your first appointment? It's versatile; you don't actually have to wait for a big occasion. If you're just in need of solid workwear or whatever, they're here to get you sorted!