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The Styled Side: You, too, can have a stylist

A display window at Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City.
A display window at Bergdorf Goodman department store in New York City.
Flickr user Dave Pinter (Creative Commons)

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Oscar nominations are out and that means the nominees will need to prepare themselves for red-carpet glamour.

Those stars don't do it on their own, however. They have help – a lot of help – from stylists.

You can, too.

"In places such as Los Angeles there are many stylists who cater to celebrities," says Michelle Dalton Tyree of Fashion Trends Daily, "but there are also many who only want to work with 'regular' clients and are strictly personal stylists."

Everyone wants to be like superstar stylist Rachel Zoe, but she had a lot of dues to pay before she became her own brand.

"Being a well-paid, celebrity stylist that always has work is definitely an elite status," says Tyree, "but it's become such a sought-after profession here in LA that it can seem as if everyone's a stylist."

So many like Alison Deyette made a name for themselves by catering to non-celebs, and finds it enjoyable to help with their transformations.

"They were raising kids, maybe they're single moms, maybe they got a frustrating job and I was part of that process that gave them enlightenment to make changes in their lives," says Deyette. "It doesn't get the limelight, it doesn't get cameras, there's no red carpet. But I find it's far more lasting than just choosing a dress that goes down the red carpet."

San Diego-based stylist Mahjuba adds that when she started out in 2002, most of her clients were rich housewives. Now, it's mostly professionals who often struggle with time management. Mahjuba helping them put together a wardrobe means one last thing her clients have to do.

These services don't come cheap, however.

An average rate for a personal stylist is between $150 to $200 an hour

"Then, of course, you are purchasing the clothes," adds Tyree. "Expect that you're at least going to shell out $2,500 on clothes alone. And that's the low end."

There are some compelling reasons not to go the cheap route and have a friend help you for free, though, like competition.

"Stylists warned to exercise extreme caution when using friends because they felt that they often do not have your best interest at heart," says Tyree, "and do not want you to look better than they do. Or they also may not be willing to give you hard truths, either."

But there are still some inexpensive ways to get style help, like through books such as, "Where Stylists Shop," and subscribing to a monthly clothing service like StitchFix.

Not to mention department stores often have salespeople earn commission for acting as personal shoppers.