Feb 052015

Hey, look what I pulled out of August 2008 for a Throwback Thursday post! This may be the moment when I first encountered the idea of personally becoming a Personal Stylist (aka Image Comsultant).

As long as we’re all about making ourselves over, Imogen asks:

I’m interested to know what makes you decide to make a change, take control of your image and do something?

I’m actually very interested, not just because of my job, but also because I’m being interviewed for a magazine next week about this topic. Would you ever consider using an image consultant to help you with your transformation? I’d love any feedback on the following questions – from your points of view:

  • Who benefits most from an image consultant (age, line of work, emotional state, stage of career etc.)
  •  The value of an image makeover

These are some of the questions I’m being asked.

Let’s help her out. 🙂

From the gut, here’s my intial reaction to the idea of using an Image Consultant:  I’m afraid an Image Consultant in Spokane would be … hinky, for lack of a better word.  A Mary Kay lady.  A glorified something salesperson.  A hair stylist trying to beef up her business.

But, realistically, a properly trained Image Consultant could be a better investment than getting your advice from your hairdresser, who is depending on keeping you in services for her income. 

What are your thoughts?

  12 Responses to “TBT: Would You Use an Image Consultant?”

  1. I am probably not an image consultant’s target audience, myself.

    I can see someone making a serious career change, or someone whose career is failing to move forward being interested in and deriving value from image consultation. The value of a makeover is dependent on the skills of the consultant and the true willingness of the client to change/grow.

  2. I’ve never consulted one myself, but I’ve watched both my husband and roommate (from before I got married, of course) use one. In my roommate’s case, she was needing to take a more public role in the place where she already worked. In my husband’s case, he had decided to quit a partnership that was going nowhere and trying to restart his career. In both cases I think it was a great decision. There was a lot of stuff to change beyond hair styles–glass frames (amazing what a difference those make), clothing choices, etc.
    I could see myself consulting one if/when I switched from mommy mode back to the kind of work I would want to do.

  3. I would probably not choose to hire an image consultant. I enjoy putting together my own look for different occasions.

  4. Is there an age that you think someone would more likely choose to use an image consultant? In my experience it’s not something that many under the age of 25 ever do.

    Also, you’re right Rebecca, I’ve just looked up the website, which is the Association of Image Consultants website, the place to go if you want an image consultant who has been trained and certified, and there isn’t one listed for Spokane. Sounds like a niche that needs to be filled there!

  5. @Imogen: regarding age – I’ve been on a number of professional women’s network listservs off and on over the years, and people often post to ask for recommendations for personal consultants and coaches of various types, including image consultants. My perception has always been that these requests usually come from the 40-somethings, for assorted reasons. In additional to any personal issues that may be associated with that stage in life, in general, professional women at that age will be transitioning into senior positions (and thus needing an extra edge), are established in their careers (more discretionary funds), may have more personal time (older children?), and are still far from the wind-down career stage.

    As far as younger people go, personal consultation is, or is at least perceived as, a luxury expenditure, and most of us didn’t have a lot of extra cash in the first few years. Also, though, in your early twenties you’re still exploring your own identity and self-concept quite a lot. Though I can see how professional guidance could play a role at that stage in life, I suspect there’s a lot of value in letting that portion of the self-discovery process operate naturally.

  6. Imogen – I’m glad I wasn’t being disrespectful. And I’ll keep it in mind. 😉

  7. No issue with respect Rebecca!

    Let me tell you who is my ‘average’ client at the moment:

    A woman late 30s or early 40s who has kids (often young kids) who feels she has lost her way with clothes, her body shape has changed, she no longer knows what to wear, and she hasn’t got the time to go shopping because of her busy life (or young kids keep her out of the shops), so is out of touch with clothes and fashion.

    She is also obsessed with NOT looking like mutton dressed as lamb (which is a whole other issue).

    She may be reentering the workforce, not working, or working and wants to go up the ranks.

    Financially she is not loaded, she usually sees an image consultation not as a luxury, but has realised that after years of buying clothes that don’t work, how much money she could save if she had some professional help to find what works for her, so she’s no longer ‘flying blind’. She sees it as an investment in herself and her self-esteem.

  8. I did actually do a “preliminary” consultation with an image consultant in NYC once. I sent in a very long questionnaire, then went to her office to see her. In fact, I went for the very reasons Imogen mentioned, except I had also gone into remission for a long term illness and wanted to get out of my “sick” clothes and non image.

    I found it very disappointing. She is a member of the aiic. I was a size 14 and I think she was shocked, and a bit horrified. (I’m 5’6″) She was very blunt, which I don’t mind, but she also told me I had a “horrible” body to work with…hardly professional.! She gave me some ideas ofclothes to wear, including actual manufacturers and style numbers, but seemed not to really have read my questionnaire…I wrote my bra size down, and she recommended a bra that didn’t have my size. She told me to wear Theory pants (which only went to size 12) and suggested a plastic surgeon for my “glowing complexion”…heehee. I really hoped she and I could go shopping (I hadn’t bought clothes for years due to my illness) but she wanted to wait until I lost weight.

    On the plus side she recommended a great makeup guy, and suggested I go for a bra fitting which was great.

    I wish I had seen Imogen!


  9. The people I think of who actually use image consultants are television news people and some corporate executives. I don’t think I’d want to hear the truth unless it came with some amazing transformation.

  10. I’m so sorry to hear your experience Christine, it horrifies me when I hear about people like that in the industry. Plenty of my clients are size 14 and more, I’m not that skinny myself – between a 12-14 so know what it’s like to buy clothes for a normal body.

    There are different schools of image consulting, like anything, and some spend more time being positive rather than negative – I’d never say anyone had a horrible body! Everyone has a perfect body, it’s just that it might not fit ‘standard’ clothing – which is actually only cut to fit 1% of the population – the other 99% don’t have ‘standard’ bodies either.

    There is an image consultant in America called Carla Mathis – (she wrote The Triumph of Individual Style), I have done some training with her, and I know all her consultants are on the same wavelength as me, as she’s very much focused on the perfection in everyone – her consultants are listed on her website Carla is one of the most beautiful people (spiritually) that I’ve ever met and wants everyone to feel more beautiful on both the inside and the outside. She is an inspiriation.

  11. Hi, I came across your “Would you use an imagine consultant?” page while searching for a local/Spokane class for my 20 year old daughter – something along the lines of comportment/ poise/wardrobe/posture and walk/etiquette – that kind of thing. By any chance do you know of anything like that in Spokane? My search has not been successful, so far. Thank you. – Diane

  12. Yes, but it’s not cheap. PJ & Co modeling does individual training for about $900. She’s excellent!

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