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Introducing Style for Hire

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This month, we launched Style for Hire nationwide, with a new mantra: We Get It, So You Have It. The "we" being more 130 of the best personal stylists -- hand-picked by me -- to be part of our stylist network. The "it"? Well, that's really up to you! "It" can be personal style; "it" can be confidence; "it" can be finally having a wardrobe that brings you joy every day; "it" can be a pocketful of saved money. Whatever "it" is, we want to help you get it, because we have the know-how, the skills and the expertise to make it happen.

Fashion is often perceived as a frivolous pursuit -- but it's just the opposite. Personal style is about self-expression and can be achieved at any size, age or price point. It's a tool you can use to gain confidence, achieve goals and help you project the best version of yourself.

I believe that everyone can have great style, because style is not a privilege -- it's a right! It also takes time and a bit of effort. Did you know that only 8 percent of women in the U.S. have a truly balanced shape? The rest of us lucky ones are bigger on top, bigger on the bottom, have a little extra in the middle, or have a straight shape -- and to course correct, we are left to our devices to find the tools to create what we all strive for -- the classic female silhouette, an hourglass figure! And to most of us, this is an overwhelming task. Which is why my good friend, Cindy McLaughlin, and I created Style for Hire.

Creating proportion on women whose frames are naturally disproportional is one of the goals of styling. We believe that a good stylist should be able to create outfits that give you that special "aha!" moment in the mirror. They are skilled at the art and science of using clothing to achieve a balanced shape, or at least the perception of one: defining the shoulder, narrowing the torso and waist, accenting the hip line, and highlighting other features that are well proportioned. Through years of experience, stylists have developed the expertise to simply use clothing and accessories to draw the eye to features that already play this role and distract the eye from those that don't. They're masters in the art of optical illusion! That's the science or geometry, if you will, of fit.

As you work with a stylist, the art, or the creative aspect, of styling, unfolds. A great outfit always takes into consideration color, print, texture and shine. Mixing these elements creates a well-tailored look, provided they are incorporated into an outfit cohesively. Again, this can be a daunting task, but over time, with proper direction, anyone can learn how to develop their own style, based on these fundamentals.

Now let's talk about what many of us fear -- that stylists will somehow judge you, in your own home, in your own closet. Our personal stylists work in a judgment-free zone. This service isn't some snarky TV show. Our stylists are part cheerleaders, part coaches and 100 percent friends. If you don't have the budget to shop, a stylist can simply help you make sense of what you already own.

Over the next weeks and months, you will be meeting some of the stylists who are a part of the ever-growing Style for Hire network, as they post blogs about the art and science of style and styling. They hail from cities and towns near you, and they work with clients every day, shopping in your malls, in your local stores and deal with the style challenges of people just like you! They all love fashion. They all adore shopping. And they know their way around a closet -- even ones that feel like a black hole.

A personal stylist strives not only to make your journey toward great style easier, but also to educate you about how to choose clothing that works for your body, how to strategically shop to maximize your wardrobe budget and enhance your shopping experience (in both ins-tore and in your very own closet) but most of all, how to look and feel fantastic.