Bella Osterman is a seasoned personal stylist whose passion is to help you discover your unique style and select the perfect wardrobe. Jessica Chipman sits down with the fashionista to discuss the ins and outs of this fast-paced business…
Finding your feet in the world of fashion and personal style can be a daunting experience. Knowing what colours, textures and styles work best for you seems like an overwhelming task. Luckily, there are style saviours like Bella out there who make it their goal to uplift your wardrobe.
Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Bella studied a fashion and design course in Uppsala, which included a styling module. It was here that she fell in love with the art of putting outfits together. Much to their enjoyment, Bella began styling her family and friends for fun, before moving on to styling herself, where she thrived on constantly changing her look.
Towards the end of her teenage years, Bella moved to the UK where she landed herself a Christmas temp job as a personal stylist at Debenhams. When the opportunity of a full-time contract was offered to her, she jumped at the chance.
The job however relocated her to Preston. Whilst falling in love with her new career, she was also falling in love with her now fiancé, Jade, who is from the North East.
After making a long distance relationship work for some time, Bella was given the opportunity to relocate with Debenhams again, to Newcastle.
The Start Of Style By Bella
Things were going great for Bella and her career, until the pandemic hit. It was at this time that she got the dreaded phone call informing her that she’d been made redundant. However, every cloud has a silver lining, especially in Bella’s case, as her redundancy forced her to pursue her dream of becoming a personal stylist.
She wasted no time in putting her business plan together, starting with the basics like her website and social media channels. As soon as the doors reopened in the world of retail, Bella started taking bookings.
Fast forward two years and Style by Bella is a fully-fledged personal styling business that is growing in popularity.
“If it wasn’t for the pandemic, I probably wouldn’t have taken the plunge and started out on my own,” she starts.
“I feel like it was a blessing in disguise because it gave me the push I needed to believe in myself.
“I now offer a one-to-one personal styling session where clients can choose from a two, three, or four hour appointment, based on their individual needs. What happens within these sessions varies based on how long we have together, but they all include a full consultation, outfit preparation, body shape and colour analysis, and then my personal styling service.
“I also offer a Wardrobe Detox service, where I go to clients’ houses to review, organise, categorise and help decide what items you should let go of. It’s useful if you have a lot of things at home that you like but aren’t sure how to put them together as an outfit.
“I like to take a relaxed, non-judgemental approach with my clients. It’s important they feel comfortable around me.”
Bella Osterman and Colour Matching
I asked Bella Osterman what she advises her clients do with clothes that they are parting with, especially as platforms like Depop, eBay Preloved and Vinted grow in popularity.
“What I usually do is sort clothes into three piles: keep, need tailoring or adjusting, and donate. I volunteer at Smart Works, a fantastic organisation which helps North East women into employment through the power of interview clothing and coaching, and I advise my clients to donate their work-wear to them.
“During the pandemic, I sold my old wardrobe on Vinted. The high street has become a lot more casual since the pandemic, which I think is nice. In Sweden everybody is quite casual.”
Style by Bella works closely with clients to hand pick a selection of clothing that works specifically for them. I was particularly intrigued to find out how Bella goes about colour matching, and how the personal styling process works.
“I carry out a colour analysis which I use as a guide. This is based on your hair colour, eye colour and skin tone.
“After an initial consultation, where I like to find out as much as I can about my clients, I then have a think about which products I think would work best for them.
“The final stage of the styling process is actually going into shops to purchase clothes. I’ll take my client into different shops, mixing and matching as we go to give them a fully unique look. I don’t want them to look like carbon copies of the mannequin.”
Fashion and Music
Bella’s work revolves around the seasons, as fashion trends are generally tailored to weather, lifestyle, and preferences associated with the time of year. She carries out a seasonal refresh of her own wardrobe twice a year, and avoids shopping in between to avoid blurring the lines between work and pleasure.
When it comes to the inspiration behind Bella’s career path, it doesn’t come as a surprise to learn she was heavily influenced by the music industry. Fashion and music come hand-in-hand, with the ever-changing trends and seasonal updates.
Watching, admiring and learning from the styling aspect of her favourite music videos growing up inspired Bella to pursue a career in fashion.
“80s music is my favourite” she explains.
“I remember watching music videos when I was younger and falling in love with what I saw. I remember thinking, if I can take some of their styles and add them to my own, I think I can create something really cool.
“No one else in my family used to be artsy or creative. My mum worked in finance, my dad in food retail, and my siblings in technology and engineering, so I could never bounce ideas off them growing up.”
As her business goes from strength to strength, Bella tells me that turning her hobby and passion into a full-time job has been her biggest accomplishment to date.
She takes great pride in the fact that her clients have chosen her to help them. One of the biggest joys that comes with Bella’s work is that she gets to be creative on a daily basis, and utilise her skills to help others.
Bella Osterman and the future
As our conversation comes to a close, we start discussing what the future of Style by Bella might look like.
“I would love to have a little style studio or a place where my clients can come to me. It would be nice to have a base where I can work on designs and have everything in one place.
When Bella Osterman isn’t revamping wardrobes and picking out iconic outfits – or more recently, using her styling skills to refurbish her new home – you’ll find her spending time with her fiancé or out for woodland walks with her two dogs.
It was a delight to spend some time speaking to Bella, and I can’t help but wonder how she’d restyle my wardrobe.
Taking inspiration from our conversation, I’m already starting to plan my wardrobe detox and winter looks. Roll on party season!