Stylists for all: Online “mints” provide members-only shopping, advice

These funky flats (Hattie Flat, $79.98) would look great with dark-wash skinny jeans and a loose, three-quarter length sleeve white henley for a casual but cute look (Photo courtesy of ShoeMint.com).

These funky flats (Hattie Flat, $79.98) would look great with dark-wash skinny jeans and a loose, three-quarter length sleeve white henley for a casual but cute look (Photo courtesy of ShoeMint.com).

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Because of their highly disposable incomes, celebrities are expected to dress well and look flawless at all times. This is not to say that all clothing, accessories, and shoes that are expensive are pretty; instead, celebrities are held at such a high style standard because they can afford to hire stylists to help them avoid fashion faux-pas.

A stylist would be a helpful aid for the many young adults who have no idea where to start when cultivating their style. Someone may know how they want to portray themselves but have no idea how to translate it into a cohesive outfit. Tragically, a personal stylist is not a plausible option for students because of their countless monetary obligations ranging from rent to books to tuition.

Have no fear! There is a chain of Online style clubs that can help improve your fashion sense through a personalized, virtual shopping experience.

BeachMint, which was founded by Diego Berdakin and MySpace co-founder Josh Berman, is a social e-commerce company that allows customers to subscribe to their various Mint divisions and purchase items hand-picked by celebrities each month.

StyleMint, ShoeMint, and JewelMint, all create style profiles for customers after they take a free style survey. These surveys are heavily based on photos of different styles rather than forcing customers to sum up their styles in vague words such as “edgy” or “classy.” This is helpful since people do not always know how to classify their style in words but usually know the look they want to achieve.

New items for each of the Mint collections are released each month and are displayed in customers’ specialized online showrooms. Another perk of the Mint brand is that styling advice videos are posted on each of the product pages with ideas of different ways to style the product.

JewelMint, which was started in October 2010, was the first of the Mint series to kick-off.  Actress Kate Bosworth and her stylist, Cher Coulter, select and create pieces for each customer’s online showroom based off the customer’s style survey results.  Every item of jewelry is priced at a flat rate of $29.99.

This pretty bangle (Zoe Bangle by Zoe Saldana, $29.99) would match perfectly with gunmetal earrings and a ring to coordinate with the middle stone. Half of the proceeds from this bracelet go to the Wounded Warrior Project (Photo courtesy of JewelMint.com)

A cool feature of JewelMint is that they invite guest celebrity curators/activists to do collaborations with them. Half of the proceeds from the collaborations benefit the charity of the celebrity’s choice. Zoe Saldana is the current celebrity curator for JewelMint and her chosen charity is the Wounded Warrior Project, which is dedicated to honoring and helping the men and women of the armed services who have been severely injured while serving our country.

StyleMint, which began in July 2011, is backed by the famous twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen who design exclusive shirts for the site. The Elizabeth and James fashion designers create more affordable basic t-shirts for StyleMint customers and even provide written styling tips on the side of each product page.

This scoop neck tee with a flirty chiffon back insert (Harlem Scoop Neck, $29.99) can pair perfectly with boyfriend-fit jeans and tangerine flats for a more relaxed look or with a pastel pink body-conscious skirt and patterned heels for a night out (Photo courtesy of StyleMint.com).

The Olsen twins also have a StyleMint blog with style tricks and inspiration for members. Just as each piece of jewelry in JewelMint, each StyleMint  t-shirt is priced  reasonably at $29.99.

The newest Mint addition is ShoeMint, which debuted in November 2011. ShoeMint is a collaboration with actress Rachel Bilson, celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez, and footwear expert Steve Madden. Each of the chic pairs of shoes are priced at $79.98, which may seem steep at first but is a steal for the level of craftsmanship put into the shoes.

These funky flats (Hattie Flat, $79.98) would look great with dark-wash skinny jeans and a loose, three-quarter length sleeve white henley for a casual but cute look (Photo courtesy of ShoeMint.com).

A customer’s membership to one of the Mint brands starts with her first purchase. Once she is a member, her credit card is charged for one item from the site a month ($29.99 for JewelMint and StyleMint, $79.98 for ShoeMint) unless the customer decides to skip a month in the first 5 days. If a customer forgets to skip a month and does not want to purchase an item that month, then a credit worth $29.99 will appear in the account and can be used at any point in the future.

Another perk of using these Mint sites includes free shipping and returns..

If you think you have all of the fashion bases covered, then you can always check out BeachMint’s brand, BeautyMint, which is a collaboration between Jessica Simpson and skincare expert Nerida Joy. BeautyMint provides customers with a personalized monthly skincare system, which can help cater to the specific skin goals and concerns of its customers

Large chain stores can be overwhelming and leave customers feeling lost in a barrage of clothing and accessories. By giving customers a more individualized shopping experience, the BeachMint brands can help customers clearly define their style without having to pay for an expensive personal stylist.

BeachMint recently announced that two more Mints will be released in the next two months, which means that there are going to be even more ways that customers can use the crutch of online “stylists” to help them sort through wide and sometimes confusing world of style.