Choosing an image consultant

Image Consultant

Dear Kathi,

I haven’t worked with an image consultant before but have often considered using this type of service. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t know exactly what would happen if I did use an image consultant. Could you explain the process to me?

The main reason I haven’t used an image consultant is that I am nervous about the expenditure. I feel like I spend a lot on clothes that I don’t wear, for one reason or the other, and would like to buy the right items the first time around. I hate to shop!

Meryl, entrepreneur in Encinitas


There are many people who do not know what an image consultant actually does while on the job. I understand why you might be uncomfortable but there is no need for embarrassment. Working with any type of personal consultant is always a learning process.

Keep in mind that image consultants will operate slightly differently from each other but typically charge for their time by the hour. Although an Image consultant might seem like an unnecessary luxury, in the long run most people end up spending less for their wardrobes while using a consultant.

They know which items to buy in the future and are less likely to bring home the mistakes that frequently entered their closets before. Once you understand what it feels like to wear clothes that really work for your body and image, you will never be tempted to buy sale items simply because they are discounted! Instead, you will know exactly what department to shop in and which items will serve you in the long run, meaning fewer clothes to buy and more to wear often!

Some Image consultants will interview you, take notes about your size,determine your needs and actually shop for you. They will meet you and help you locate the pieces they feel will create an upgraded image. They base their choices on your body shape and coloring, as well as recommend or accompany you to a hair stylist, and, if needed, an optical store. They may be with you every step of the way or simply refer you to other hair/makeup/optical professionals who are most appropriate for your needs.

As a professional organizer and image consultant, I always start with the client’s closet and wardrobe at hand. I first assess what the client owns -which items work and don’t work for him or her.

Items that don’t fit or are the wrong shape or color are typically donated to others who might benefit. All good items in disrepair or dirty are scheduled for alterations or cleaning.
As a general rule of thumb, people only wear 20 percent of the clothes that they own, so there are usually a lot of clothes that leave the closet. Think about which items have not left your wardrobe for over a year or even the last six months. These are likely suspects for donation. If you haven’t worn them, often you know instinctively that they don’t help your image.

Based on the essential elements for creating a balanced wardrobe, I, as the Image consultant create a list noting the already owned, appropriate items and the items that are needed. A game plan is formed based on the client budget. I then pre-shop and rack potential pieces from the list.

The client meets me at the store to try on the clothes and find the perfect fit. Nothing is purchased unless it is a “wow” or has the potential to be made perfect in shape and fit.
Regardless of an Image consultant’s personal process, most will choose a basic color palette for each client. This provides a solid guideline for the client to determine future wardrobe decisions. The ultimate completed wardrobe will mix and match, with numerous variations.

Finding clothes that flatter will boost your confidence and help you develop a sense of style. A good Image consultant will teach you the rules to follow for future purchases and how to coordinate your new wardrobe in the future.

You will feel really good about your appearance and be able to make proper clothing decisions. You will learn to how to camouflage your weak spots and appreciate your body as it is.
We all have good parts and parts that could use de-emphasizing.That is what an Image consultant does: Teaches you how to draw attention away from your challenge areas. Shows you your assets and how to highlight them. That is fashion in its highest form.

Thanks for writing and don’t hesitate to write with any other specific questions.

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4 Responses to Choosing an image consultant

  1. Gil says:

    Does an image consultant only help with clothing decisions and establishing a style for a client or are their other areas that an image consultant can help this?

  2. kathi says:

    Dear Gil,

    Image consultants can help with many levels of image and depending on their skill sets. They often provide many services in addition to basic clothing decisions. Color, cut and style are the first concerns when we help clients choose clothing. I also assist clients with new hair style and glasses.

    If my client wears glasses 24/7, I always consult on their choice of frames. If you wear glasses, these are typically the first thing people notice when they meet you. The frames you wear broadcast an instant image. This image could be hip, serious, fun, or stuck in the past decade. Since these glasses are worn 24/7, it is hard to jump out of the perceived image unless you change glasses frequently which most people don’t.

    As a Professional Organizer, I also assist clients with their closet and the organizing systems within. Many Image Consultants will also coach in business presentation and business etiquette.

    Image Consultants are also concerned with lifestyle and work environments. We want to be certain that the wardrobe and image we create for the client will support that client’s lifestyle and activities.

    One thing is for certain, if someone spends time on their image, it shows both outwardly and inwardly. They have a much stronger level of assuredness and self confidence which makes them more powerful able to control of their life and work choices. Clothes are merely the tip of the iceberg when you work with an Image Consultant.

    Thanks for this question!

  3. Jennifer says:

    Do you have any suggestions on how to go about in choosing a wardrobe consultant? I have found many in the area where I live but not sure how to choose especially I have not met any of them. Thank you very much.

    • admin says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      I would visit their website and see what they say about their consulting process. Every Image Consultant works differently. Determine what your goals are before you hire a consultant. For instance, do you want a whole new wardrobe/image or simply lessons about what to wear for your body shape, coloring and size? Do you want to use pieces within your closet to create a more cohesive wardrobe or start completely anew? See how they will handle personal transformations. You will resonate with some and others will feel alien. Follow your instincts and call on the ones that feel good to you.

      Ask them if they receive commission from your clothing purchases. I personally do not feel comfortable making any money from items that my clients purchase. I prefer to charge by the hour. This way, I am not motivated to make a clothing sale and only advise my clients to make a purchase if it is a WOW- or can be tailored into a WOW item. Stores also provide courtesy discounts for my clients. You might ask if this is part of their service.

      I would suggest that you call for a phone interview and see if they listen to your goals when you speak to them. Also, see if their personality will compliment yours during the phone call. You need to feel comfortable with this person a they will be working with you intimately. Make sure they have experience and are not brand new to the industry. Ask how long they have been in business and ask about their training and background.

      Hiring an Image Consultant can dramatically change your life for the better. You will feel more powerful and in control of your life. The world will view you differently and you will embody a more professional confidance. This change in persona goes very deep and the majority of my clients get the job, mate or new career after they take the time to transfrom their exterior.

      As clients frequently tell me, developing a new image goes much deeper than changing your outward appearance. Set your intention for where you want to be in the next five years and enjoy the experience of creating a new, more powerful you! Best of luck and have fun with this process!

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