Now for something completely different! I sent this email to my friend Sam today. She said yes!

Hey Sam,

I decided about a month ago that I am going to hire a stylist. I’m finally coming out and accepting that I do not know style. There are too many days when I look at my hair, or my clothes and think “I could look so much better than this”. But I just don’t have a good sense of what to buy, what and when to wear it, how best to do my hair, what jewelry to wear, and even – crazy as this is going to sound – whether maybe it’s time to add, wait for it…make-up to my world!

So I googled ottawa stylist to find someone, but in the back of my mind, I was thinking I would hire you if you lived here. I still think the clothes I bought when I shopped with you that one time way back when are the best clothes I’ve bought in a long time. You seem to have the ability to match style with the person, which is what I want. I’m not necessarily looking for a complete transformation, because let’s face it, I’m still me. But I do want to style-it-up and sexy-it-up.

This is partly for my social life, but also my business life. I think my brand is on the verge of growing significantly, and as I’m presenting at seminars and have another cool and visible project  on the horizon, I want to be stylin’!

So what do you think about me hiring you to be my stylist from a distance? Do you think that would work? I should actually be down in San Diego in June, and could head to LA for a day. Maybe start as a shopping spree, and then get you to send some hair cut/style suggestions along with a stylist suggestion? I expect to pay for your services, as this is a real skill you have, and I know I will benefit from it.

Let me know! I am in need here! 🙂


This may not seem like a big deal, but it is to me. I’ve always been about substance over style, but secretly, I’ve wished for more style. I’ve tried to make some changes myself, but the fact is, I’m not good at it. Yet. I don’t say any of this to be self-deprecating. I remain comfortable and confident with who I am. In fact I think this is a sign that I’m finally confident enough in myself to ask for this help.

To say that Sam said yes, is actually a gross understatement. In fact this is the first sentence of her reply:

THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY!! For so many reasons. I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS – and it’s all simple. Hang on, I’m still a little too excited to put a full sentence together.

Sam has already sent me a recommendation for a great local hairstylist, and I’ll be calling her early next week. Now it’s time to find me a flight to San Diego for a combined family visit plus wardrobe transformation. Stay tuned!

Elsbeth Vaino is a personal trainer in Ottawa, Canada who is not on the verge of a new career in fashion, but may soon look like it.


  1. Great thoughts, Zeke. I will ask. For the record, Stylist is not what Sam does for a living (yet?); it just happens to be something she’s really good at. She has a background in fashion, which I think helps, but she also seems to get people and so can help them not only find styles, but find the right styles for them. Stay tuned!

  2. I’ve recently realized that my inattention to personal style is a bit of a distraction for others with whom I come into contact.

    I’m always a neatly dressed and neatly presented person (everything clean, combed, trimmed, etc.), but the way I choose clothes (styles, cuts, patterns, fabrics) and accessories doesn’t immediately give the sense to the viewer that I’ve done so with intelligence and with care.

    For that reason, I’m coming to the same conclusion as you. I need a professional’s immediate, customized, and continuing advice on this matter.

    You’re lucky you have someone you know and trust who can assist.

    I’d be interested if you would ask Sam how she would go about obtaining the services of a professional style consultant if she moved into a new city.

    1. What organizations exist for these professionals?

    2. How do they commonly advertise their services?

    3. How should a layperson evaluate their claims to expertise?

    And so on.

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