As the style capital of Australia, we are spoilt for choices when it comes to shopping, and in this day and age it’s not only the women who want to look stylish when she’s out and about around town. Walk the streets of Melbourne and you’ll notice that men are putting in just as much effort as women when it comes to style, if not sometimes more. With that in mind, last week we put one of Melbourne’s only men stylists to the test to see how she could give me a fresh new look.
We first heard of Sally Mackinnon through her womens’ styling side of her business, Styled by Sally . Working closely with Melbourne Central and other boutique retail stores around town, Sally first started Styled by Sally in 2007. Now she has three other stylists who work with her to cover not just the CBD, but all of Melbourne and it’s suburbs. With a view to launch the mens styling side of her business, Stylist for Men later this year, Sally gave us a VIP preview of her styling consult. Sally’s Stylist for Men is designed for a wide group of men in need of a fashion makeover, ranging from blokes on tools and dads with bubs, through to corporates and business workers who need to impress in the boardroom.
The first part of the styling consult involved me filling in an online form to give Sally a bit more of an idea of the kind of clothes I like to wear and the kind of style I like. Filling in the form I chose the contemporary/smart casual/sporty style noting down some of my favourite stores such as COS for their simple day-to-day wear, Zara for their jackets & pants, and Zegna for suits.
Once this was all done, it was time to meet up with Sally. I must admit, as someone who thinks they are semi-fashionable, I was a bit nervous in meeting a professional stylist. I had heard a lot of stories from friends about other stylists (in particular women’s stylists) who were pushy, snobby and charged a fortune, but my mind was put to ease upon meeting Sally. As soon as I met her, she made me feel totally comfortable with her friendly and down to earth attitude.
We met at the Little Sparrow Cafe in the Emporium for a sit-down coffee where we both discussed what we wanted out of the experience and how we can make me look more stylish within my budget. I was after some new business shirts for work and jeans for the weekend and I was delighted when Sally suggested some of my favourite stores – Calibre, The Practical Man and Saba.
Saba was the first stop. Sally explained to me that I should wander around myself at first and point out the clothes I like so she could garner a sense of my style. I pointed out a few bits and bobs and Sally was quick to work with these. Mixing and matching the clothes I picked up with some of the ones she had her eye on, she gave me a complete look which I never thought of putting together myself. But the styling didn’t just stop at putting the clothes together, there was all the extra detail, like the cuffing of the jeans, the unbuttoning of my shirt’s top button and all the extra tips like matching my belt with my shoes. I walked away from Saba in love with so many pieces I never would have looked twice at.
The next stop was The Practical Man, one of my favourite stores in Melbourne. Here we worked to complete my weekend casual attire with a few extra accessories. Sally knew the shop owner there, and I could instantly recognise their rapport as soon as we walked in the store. We quickly found some mens bracelets that I instantly fell in love with and purchased right there on the spot. A couple of hours of shopping well spent!
As a Melbourne resident and full-time stylist, Sally explained she is in and out of Melbourne CBD’s retail stores almost every day. She had built solid relationships with many store managers and owners which in return provide her clients with exclusive discounts and premium customer service.
The day was a great insight into the men’s world of fashion from a stylists point of view. I never felt any pressure to buy anything that I didn’t feel comfortable in and it was a whole another experience shopping with a professional. As Sally said, “its not like shopping with your wife or mother”, and she was right. For men who are in need of a new look, but feel overwhelmed by department stores and pushy sales ladies (or even bossy wives), Sally’s Stylist for Men is the perfect antidote to that. The whole styling session is relaxed but still focussed and efficient, which is ultimately what us men want. Sally was quick and spot-on to offer pieces that will offer versatility to the rest of my wardrobe. We take our hats off to Sally.
By Alex Mihardja
Call Sally on 0416 184 997 or email email@example.com to book an appointment.