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Wardrobe stylists are fashion designers who design wardrobes for individuals or for groups of people, usually in the entertainment industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a total of 15,000 individuals were employed as fashion designers in the United States in 2010. However, only 870 worked in specialized-design services and another 260 worked in the motion-picture and video industries, according to the BLS. The amount made by a wardrobe stylist differs greatly between these two different types of fashion designers.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a fashion designer was about $75,500, as of May 2010. However, this includes all fashion designers regardless of specialization or industry. The BLS indicates that the average salary of those working in specialized-design services was nearly $67,000 per year. Toward the higher end of the pay scale, however, were those working in the motion-picture and video industry, who made an average annual salary of approximately $92,500 annually.
Placing the salaries of these wardrobe stylists within the pay scale for fashion designers nationwide provides some additional context. According to the BLS, the median salary of all fashion designers was $64,500 per year in 2010. The middle 50 percent of those working in this field made salaries ranging from $44,000 to $91,000 annually. The highest paid fashion designers made $131,000 or more per year. This means that wardrobe stylists typically fall within the upper 50 percent, and those in the video and motion-picture industry are in the upper 25 percent in terms of salaries earned in the fashion-design field.
Location also provides an indication of what the wardrobe stylist and other fashion designers can expect to make. According to the BLS, New Hampshire and New York were the highest-paying states in which to work in this profession. The average salaries of fashion designers in these states was $88,000 and $82,000, respectively. New York was also the state with the highest number of professionals in this field. California was second. Designers in California earned an average salary of $72,500 in 2010.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs for fashion designers is only expected to grow by 1 percent during the decade from 2008 to 2018. The potential for a high salary attracts many to this profession, creating competition for jobs. The relatively few number of jobs for wardrobe stylists means that competition for these designers will be even greater.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.