“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
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
Research their public Image – who do they work with
Is their website and other social media, up-to-date and user-friendly
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.
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
Can score top designer looks or even have avenues to custom emerging designers and accessory makers
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
Suman Agarwal – Linkedin article 7 myths of image consulting
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