Are You Ready For An Image Consultant?

Are You Ready For An Image Consultant?

“If you are in a position to be asking people for their money, or to trust you with their money, you absolutely need to show up looking as if you have some of your own.” 

– Lauren Solomon, Image Consultant and Author

Paris Fashion Week 2021 featuring Fall/Winter 2021-22 womenswear is well underway this week and for devotees of all things fashion, access to most of the designers’ runway digital rollouts has been a pleasurable after-effect from the last year’s closing of such premier events.  

Similar to sports, the fashion industry has successfully pivoted in proving that with imagination and innovation, this industry will make the adjustments to return better than ever.                        

A New World Of Communicating

As of the date of this blog posting, it will be one year since every populated country shut down from fear, confusion, and destruction of a rapidly spreading deadly virus.  Now with vaccines being introduced, it is surreal to believe that we may be on the verge of daily life returning to some extent of normalcy and possibly the day drawing nearer to a maskless society (we can hope!).   

2020 forced us to adjust to a new way of communicating through online chat platforms. What will be interesting is how the long-term impact of the decreasing need for in-person interaction and travel methods for CEOs and top-tier entrepreneurs to conduct business more efficiently.  

Zoom and its competitors offered its’ own nuances that we’ve all had to conquer (including cheesy or interesting backdrops and the child or pet appearing on screen), yet, still projecting confidence and a strong image continues to be imperative in how an individual presents to the audience.    

Why An Image Consultant?

High achieving professionals understand and learn to convey an authentic, poised persona both on-screen and in person.  Thus, individuals seeking constant improvement may decide to employ a private coach to assist or update their image.  

For some select high performers and business leaders, dressing every day in the same black t-shirt and pants may have its minimalistic advantages in particular industries.  But, for many professionals, this may not be a viable option. 

Entrepreneurs will explore every advantage to seek the next level of success and tweaking or remaking our appearance may be the right decision, especially from a psychological standpoint.

The image consulting business has seen exponential growth, not only among the high net worth markets, but in niche markets, including graduating college students, mid-level professionals looking for promotion or career growth/transition, consultation of entire companies’ brand imaging, and of course, the wedding industry.   

This profession impacts the industries of sales, retail, client servicing, marketing, and even training programs for back-end personnel.  

THE SHORT STORY OF IMAGE CONSULTING

Imaging consulting roots can be traced back to the beginning of the 1970s when exclusive high fashion became more available to the general public.  Prior to the 70s, fashion etiquette was mainly taught in modeling and finishing schools.  Using image consultants was reserved only for celebrities, politicians, and public personalities.  

In the 1980s,  imaging consulting gained popularity as individuals discovered how dressing affects public perception.  Today’s image consultants have acquired an all-around repertoire of understanding fashion and trends for advising clients on wardrobe make-overs.

Kate Young and Rachel Zoe, among others, successfully built an industry of fashion styling, not only working with celebrities but expanding into their own brand of television projects, clothing, and accessory lines.

Hiring A Consultant

Who you hire and the choice of services depends on your particular goals and needs.  During your initial consultation, you want to determine:

  • Do they possess your standards of a high level of professionalism and discreteness

  • Trust is paramount being personal involvement in a client’s life

  • Will they honor and save you time

  • Adaptable to communicating whether in person or virtually

  • Possess a strong desire to help people change their lives

  • Passionate about the business of fashion, image, and style

  • Your consultant may or may not be licensed or possess a degree, and being formally trained may not be necessary

  • Their professional image has a  flair, yet polished

  • They have built a deep bench of contacts and resources in the areas of fashion, make-up, hair, manicurists, groomers, tailors, and even internet dating.

  • Your image consultant is paid to make you look good and build confidence

  • Will offer personal and professional image assessments

Although curating your wardrobe is the primary reason for hiring a consultant, the best in the business have the ability to coach you on your entire public image which may include:

  • Your body language

  • Vocal communication and other soft skills

  • Etiquette and manners

  • Your presentation to the world by your appearance

  • Your Digital Footprint

  • Personal Branding  

All of these components should complement each other and synchronize to enhance your public and private persona. 

A full-service agency will have the skills and personnel to:

  • Review and curate your current wardrobe for damages and maintenance; audit items for resale or donation

  • Personal image management for color analysis, figure and style analysis, face shape, makeup, eyewear, and hairstyle

  • Corporate image management addresses leadership image development, dress code development, international etiquette and image, professional wardrobe management, etc.

  • Design closet interiors for both home and office

  • Coordinate outfits, concierge shopping, special event styling for weddings, photoshoots, TV, video, or online platforms

  • Clothing and accessories care including dry-cleaning, alterations, shoe repair, jewelry storage/care

  • Travel Coordination – packing for business or leisure trips

Tips to Your Due Diligence

  1. Research their public Image – who do they work with

  2. Is their website and other social media, up-to-date and user-friendly

  3. Refer a few clients in their portfolio to speak with Top and celebrity mage consultants will be discreet and may hold their clientele list close to the vest.  However, top image or power stylists, such as men’s stylists  Ilaria Urbinati or  Ashley Weston, celebrity clientele list is long and impressive as she has built her business as a top Celebrity menswear stylist or dynamic celebrity stylist duo Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn.

  4. Do they have access to clothes that best represent your discerning tastes which could include the categories of being age-appropriate, styled for weight gain, or able to create a wardrobe for different aspects of your life (business, casual, travel, etc.) and work around your evolving and transitioning lifestyle

  5. Can score top designer looks or even have avenues to custom emerging designers and accessory makers

  6. Preference to a consultant who uses their platforms to support specific groups of designers, be it female, African-American, Hispanic, Filipino, transgender, etc.

A Few Additional Suggestions

While shopping for that right fit in a stylist, Lauren Solomon, image consultant for C-level executives  suggests to anyone upping their style:

  • Wear clothes that fit properly.   

  • Wear good shoes. 

  • Whether meeting in person informally or even working at home, casual clothing should be stylish and smart, always dress one level up from the people you’re speaking with or selling to” Just be sure casual clothing is maintained and cared for (not faded or stretched).    -AJ

 Share your thoughts in the comment section below or on Twitter!
 
Sources

Image by Lauren Solomon  and article on image secrets in Forbes

Suman Agarwal – Linkedin article 7 myths of image consulting

Ageless Iconic Style

Thank you to the following Photographers

AhmadArdity – Fashion show Catwalk

Godisable Jacob – woman in plaid dress

Tima Miroshnichenko – woman in car

Mathilde Langevin – woman exec. Holding glasses and book

Esudroff – Fly Baby Boy

Vladimir Yelizarov – Enjoying a cup looking fly

Kelly Fournier – beautiful black woman

Thomas Charters – business man in car

Milada Vigerova – stylist with earring

Marcos Paulo Prado – overhead shot of stylish woman

Spencer Davis – two suited men

Javier Reyes – suited up

Napat Saeng – stylish Ombre Suit

Nastua_gepp – couture dress

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