Part 2 of how a ‘proper’ Personal Style consultation finally sorted me out!
In part one I started the story of how I discovered my own unique style of dressing. I told you how it was only in 1999 when I re-trained in ‘everything image’ that I finally discovered who I really am. My most excellent mentor was astonished that I was wearing ‘straight’ shapes, but he didn’t dwell on who had got it wrong.
He just set out to put it right.
He showed me what to wear and why!
I have never forgotten his brilliant advice because those words showed me exactly who I am and, more excitingly, what I could become.
Bill took us on a shopping trip to one of the big department stores and he told me, “Try this on. It’s perfect for your shape.” It was a short, black bolero-shaped cardigan in the softest lambswool I had ever felt. The minute I put it on, I felt like I had found the real me. I couldn’t stop staring at myself in the mirror and Bill had to shout at me to keep up as the rest of the group were moving on to another department.
By the way, I’ve still got that brilliant cardigan all these years later. Even if I never wear it again, I will always keep it to remind me of the day I found myself.
Did you notice?
Not once did Bill give me a style personality title. He told other people on the course that they were a Dramatic or a Classic or whatever, but not me. Why? I asked him this years later and he told me that my particular personality type couldn’t give a monkey’s uncle about titles so there was no point!
All I needed was the actual ‘do this and you’ll discover yourself’ approach.
Now isn’t that an amazing way to work with a client? I think so!
Strategy vs. Tactics
You see, style isn’t about what shape jacket to wear, or whether bootleg trousers are better than wide legs, or whether you’re short waisted or long waisted. These are mere details – they’re the tools and tactics we use in our overall strategy of helping a lady to express who she really is and / or who she’d like to be.
No, the key to your overall strategy is your client’s personality
You could have two women who are exactly the same age, height, weight, shape, colouring, etc. but I guarantee that they will both have completely different personalities – and that’s what separates image consultants from fashion stylists. And before you start overheating and sending me an indignant email, please note that I did not say ‘different from personal stylists’.
- Fashion stylists are called in to ‘style’ a product (perfume, hair colour, clothes, jewellery) and the model who is wearing that product is just a prop. After all, the ‘model’ could quite easily be a shop display dummy made of fibreglass!
- Image consultants and personal stylists deal with real, living, breathing clients who have a mind, thoughts, opinions, dreams, goals and aspirations – in short (as Mr. Micawber would say) a personality – which cannot and should never be ignored
If you treat just the physical body and forget to include that body’s personality, you may as well give up now.
That’s what happened to me.
For 16 years I wandered around wearing totally the wrong shapes and felt like a bag lady.
I never felt like me.
I didn’t understand myself so I had no confidence that I could ever advise anyone else properly.
But the moment Bill started telling me what would work for me, I blossomed personally and then my business and how I could make a difference in the lives of my clients started to make real sense to me. When you understand your own style, you’ll have the confidence to help your client find her own style.
Helping your client to understand her personality is the key to her future. You have no idea how life-changing this can be. Look at what happened to me, and I’m sure you have – or will have – your own story to tell. And your own story is what potential clients want to hear.
They will want to know why it is that you look so darned fantastic and how you changed the way you look and feel about yourself. And then they’ll book with you to change their own life too.
That’s exactly what changed my business in 1999.