Fashion: Working with a Personal Stylist

Lin Patten has worked as a stylist at Garbarini for almost 30 years, helping people jazz up their personal wardrobes, break out of fashion ruts, and dress for major, all-eyes-on-me events.

Photo by Jeff Nelson

What’s the benefit of working with a stylist?
“A stylist has the ability to push you out of your comfort zone, which always makes you better. I’d much rather go for a run with people who are faster than I am, because that’s going to make me faster—it’s the same concept. We also have lots of tricks and resources. If you have a dress that requires a certain type of undergarment, for example, we can refer you to someone specific. Once you’ve established a relationship with a stylist, it’s so much easier moving forward. If you call and say, ‘Hey, I have an event,’ I’ll know what you need for that event.”

How do you start the process of working with a new client?
“Typically, I start by asking them about their lifestyle and what kinds of things they’re looking for. Sometimes we go through magazines and grab a couple pictures of outfits they like. Then I put together a rack with pieces that can mix and match, and I let them go through the rack. Whatever they gravitate toward, that’s where we start.”

What makes Garbarini special?
“Garbarini is a boutique experience, though it’s tricky to use the word ‘boutique’ because we’re such a large store. We have everything from denim to collection wear. You really do have the opportunity to get a complete wardrobe here. What’s nice about a small boutique is that it’s a personal service—we really get to know you. We even try to let clients know what other people are wearing to a big event in hopes of preventing crossover.”

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Let’s say I’m trying to update my wardrobe. Where do I start?
“Always start with great basics. You absolutely have to have a great pair of jeans, a great jacket, a great little black dress. Emphasize quality over quantity. If you get basics that can mix and match, you can always add a jacket, belt, or scarf. Accessorizing is key. That’s where your personality shines. I’m also a firm believer in having a fantastic tailor. You could have two women, both size six, with bodies so completely different that the same dress fits them differently. By altering things, you can make a quality piece look even more luxe.”

Can you describe your personal style?
“I like modern pieces—a little edgier, a little more architectural. I’m also basically a connoisseur of leather jackets.”

Denver-based women’s boutique
239 Detroit St.