Nina Whitehead is on a mission to see the people of Herts empowered and uplifted via the clothes they wear.

If my clients leave me with a wardrobe full of clothes they love and that work for their lifestyle, I've done my job," says personal stylist and image consultant Nina Whitehead. Via her business Edits Styling, effervescent Nina has been helping the people of Hertfordshire look and feel their very best for the past ten years.  And she's someone who truly loves her job: "One of my sons asked me the other day what I'd really like to do for a living. I told him I was already doing it. 'But if you could swap, Mum?' I don't want to swap, I told him - I've got my dream job and I'm sticking with it!'

Certainly, Nina's earlier career helped ensure she's the ideal fit for the role she's so passionate about today. Straight from university, she knew – despite having bagged a degree in Geography - that her passion for fashion was here to stay, and immediately landed a job as an assistant buyer at fashion chain River Island.

Great British Life: Knowing where to find the best pieces is key to Nina's roleKnowing where to find the best pieces is key to Nina's role (Image: Vickihullphotography.com)

Other roles included a stint in Barcelona working for Massimo Dutti, followed by time at fast-fashion giant New Look. "All these jobs gave me the chance to discover what people chose to wear and why, and what makes a great piece of clothing."

Having met her husband at New Look, Nina felt her perapatetic lifestyle - with regular buying trips to China, the Far East and Europe on her agenda - wouldn't work with family life. Instead, the couple moved from Dorset  back to Harpenden, where she'd grown up and where her parents still live. Three sons later, she was ready to return to work, with Edits Styling a natural outlet for her skills. "Having trained with highly regarded colour specialists Aston & Hayes, I began simply by offering people Colour sessions and it's still a core part of the business," says Nina. 'I always say to people looking for a re-style, if you go for just one option from the services I offer, make it that one - it's so useful when it comes to building your style and it makes such a difference to how you look and feel.' From there, people began asking Nina for further style advice, 'so today I offer a wardrobe detox, styling sessions, online shopping and I take people shopping, too.'

Great British Life: Pounding the pavements of Herts to bring her clients a wardrobe to cherish: Nina in actionPounding the pavements of Herts to bring her clients a wardrobe to cherish: Nina in action (Image: Vickihullphotography.com)

So what exactly does all this involve? 'I'll always begin by taking a deep dive into a client's lifestyle," say Nina,  "What do they want from their clothes? How do they want to look and how do they want to feel? I'll take in every consideration - whether they want outfits they can walk the dog in or special occasion looks, or both.'  It's also, says Nina, about building a relationship of trust and honesty: '

Eighty percent of my clients are women and often I'll be journeying with them at a key point in their lives - they might be looking to revisit their wardrobes because they've had a baby, or been through a divorce or got a new job. There's definitly an element of coaching in my relationship with them, and that's why mutual trust is so important - it's about the power of clothes to make people feel better in themselves and stronger, too.'

Great British Life: It's all about judicious choices - do you need it? Will it work with your lifestyle? Do you love it?It's all about judicious choices - do you need it? Will it work with your lifestyle? Do you love it? (Image: Vickihullphotography.com)

Nina has clients who come to her regularly, others she may see once every five years or so – and often they’ll recommend her to their friends, to their daughters or to the men in their lives. ‘Helping men style their wardrobes is entirely different – they're so much less emotional about clothing choices than we are,’ she says. 

With so much of her business coming via word of mouth, is there ever the risk that Edits Stylist clients end up with a Nina Whitehead look, rather than their own? ‘Absolutly not’, says Nina, ‘This is where the client-centred approach is so vital – everyone has different needs, different tastes and different body shapes, meaning what works for one person won’t suit someone else at all. And I’ll never, ever, force a look on someone – it just won’t work on any level’.

What Nina does like to do, though – especially in these cost conscious, sustainability focused times – is to leave her clients with a wardrobe that’ll last them for years. ‘I’m always helping them look for pieces that fulfil their needs as well as their wants,’  she says, ‘And my years of experience mean I know where clients can  save and when to splurge. It’s all about making your wardrobe work for you, whatever your lifestyle and budget.’ Get your wardrobe right, then, says Nina,  and not only will you have more confidence and joy in your everyday life, you’ll have one less thing to think about too. No wonder she’s never short of clients.

Great British Life: Carefully chosen, quality pieces will have a place in your wardrobe for yearsCarefully chosen, quality pieces will have a place in your wardrobe for years (Image: Vickihullphotography.com)

Nina’s 3 tops tips for successful wardrobe planning
Review what you’ve got – do you need it? Do you wear it? Do you love it?
Make a list of what you actually need and stick to that when you’re shopping
Think about investment – a good quality classic coat, for instance, really will last you for years, which means spending money on one will never be a false economy

Nina’s top three independent Herts boutiques
'Oui in Harpenden has been going strong for over 25 years – full of stylish, wearable pieces'
'The Dressing Room in St Albans – a great reputation for quality and service.'
'The Women’s Society, Hertford – brilliant for classics with a twist.'

www.edits-styling.com