What does an Image Consultant Do?

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I am often amazed that given the preponderance of TV makeover shows in the past few years, that many women still don’t know what an image consultant is and how they can be served by one.  Or, I meet women who understand what I do as an image consultant but who say to me things like, “well I’m sure you only work with very rich women”, or “I am sure I can’t afford you”, which is actually not true, at least not in my case.

As a practicing image consultant for over 6 years, it’s astounding to me how little has changed regarding the public’s awareness of this field of image consulting.  As with any profession, image consultants wear a variety of hats, depending on their skills, interest and target client. I have worked with men and women over the years but my ideal client is a woman. Often she is a professional woman, who places a lot of value on how she is perceived by others and who understands that her image is a critical part of her professional success.  And sometimes I’ve had clients who come to me to help them with their personal image—maybe it’s a woman who is trying to attract a mate, or a woman who wants to improve her look for her own sense of self-worth and esteem. There can be many reasons, but the underlying theme is that anyone who desires a change, boost, overhaul, or refinement to their image/look/style in any way, can benefit from the expertise of an image consultant.

My services support my clients in a number of ways:

  • Making sure their first impressions are positively memorable
  • Helping them craft or refine their unique personal brand
  • Selecting outfits for special events
  • Revamping,  tweaking or developing their own signature style
  • Helping them dress to enhance their figure
  • Ensuring their body language and non-verbal cues support their overall image intent
  • Shopping with  or for them so they can build a wardrobe of clothing that reflects their goals and preferences
  • Showing them the colors that give them the greatest impact
  • Optimizing their wardrobes so they have outfits they love, that work for their bodies and lifestyle and which make them feel amazing
  • Coordinating and building outfits for them so dressing each day is more effortless
  • And so much more

Welcome to Flaunting It with The Image Diva!

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Do you need expert fashion advice on looking polished, pulled together and stylish without spending a fortune so you too can Flaunt It? For image tips, wardrobe advice, style ideas, resources, super cool giveaways, and more, you’re in the right place! The goal of Flaunting It with the Image Diva is to keep you informed and up-to-date on all things fashion and help you to look fabulous of course! My blog has over 4 years of content, so kick back, relax and knock yourself out absorbing all the tips and advice and having fun entering our blog giveaways. And please do post your comments on the blog. I love hearing from you!

For more detailed style advice, be sure to pick up your copy of my Amazon bestselling book Frumpy to Fabulous: Flaunting It. Your Ultimate Guide to Effortless Style.

For more information on all the ways I can help you elevate your look, visit Elan Image Management’s Services.

Dare to be Fabulous!

Age is just a number. To 60s and stunning

I am fascinated by women 60 and over who seem to have learned the secret to getting older with grace and joie de vivre!  I know of a woman in her mid-70’s who is so full of life and living it to the fullest. She cross-country skii’s, bikes, walks an hour every day, volunteers and wears some of the most stylish ensembles on her petite frame (including skinny jeans!).  She gets to spend quality time with her grand kids and hubby and just radiates this spark of light, because it is so clear that she truly is in the prime of her life. She is such an inspiration!

I often wonder what type of discipline or traits it takes to have a quality of life like this in the “golden years”. To have the health and strength it takes to be active and look great and to repurpose one’s life so it is no longer about “work” but about partaking in those activities that bring us the greatest fulfillment and joy? Is this something one plans or does it happen organically? Is it sheer luck? Is it God’s grace?

tina turner wedding

I look at celebrities like Tina Turner, 74, who recently got married to her long time beau. She is radiant and happy as she talks about their life together. She looked simply gorgeous in her black wedding gown. She doesn’t look a day over 55. She still works hard. Her arms and legs are as toned as ever. She is in love and loving life!

oprah

I look at Oprah who just turned 60 and who has never looked more comfortable in her own skin. She still commands the world’s attention with her interviews and is living out her new chapter on her OWN network. 60? It’s just a number.

daphne selfe 86

I recently posted this photo on my Facebook page of super model Daphne Selfe who is 84 and looking amazing! She too is an inspiration. She has had no plastic surgery and allows her lines and wrinkles to be present in their full glory. Yet they do not define her—the confidence and poise she possesses makes us see past those to her innate beauty.

None of us are immune to the effects of our bodies aging. What we control is our attitude and response to this part of the human experience. Beauty is beauty, regardless of age. And a full life can be had at any point once we choose to accept life’s terms and hop along for the ride.

Here’s to 60+ and stunning!

Natalie

Be sure to visit Elan Image Management’s website for more style tips. If you find yourself struggling with how to coordinate your wardrobe, Contact Us to explore how we can help you with one of our image consulting services.

Perfect Your Personal Brand in 2014

Can you believe it is the middle of January already? In my work as an image consultant, I see first hand how fundamental our “visual presentation” is because of the link people make between what something looks like on the outside compared to what is on the inside. We live in a culture where we do judge a book by its cover. So how does your image stack up? Is it conveying the message you need it to convey to be successful in your field of influence?

Brand positioning is as important for individuals as it is for Fortune 100 companies. Strong public personal brands, including Oprah, Michelle Obama, Martha Stewart, Serena Williams and Lady Gaga all have a unique expression that makes them distinct from any other woman.  These women are household names worldwide because of their unique talent/expertise/platform, but also due to how distinctly they present themselves. Therein lies the power of personal branding.

Here’s a quick way to tell if your personal brand has power. On a scale of 1-10 are you?

  • Memorable?
  • Well differentiated?
  • Reputable?
  • Credible
  • Authentic?
  • Influential?
  • Relevant?

If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll discover that you have some work to do to position your brand for power and influence. In truth, we can all do with some brand re-positioning from time to time.

As we start a new year, take the time to reflect on your unique personal brand. Think about what the people you want to influence need and expect from you. How do you deliver against that in a way that delights them? How do you want people to experience you? What images does your brand personify? Do you know your perceived brand value? These are important questions to ask yourself as you position your brand for success.

It’s important to understand that your personal brand is ubiquitous. Every interaction a person has with you is an opportunity for you to build or undermine your personal brand. In today’s social media culture, your online personas need to be managed as well. Your personal brand has the power to elevate or diminish your impact. You can harness this power by crafting your brand intentionally and strategically.

I can help you. Contact me to understand how we can work together to build your personal brand so it has maximum impact. Make this the year that counts!

Here’s to a fantastic 2014.

Natalie

 

Your Style Re-Defined: Updating You in the New Year

2014 is here! With a new year comes renewed hope and optimism about things we’d like to change about our lives. Making New Year’s resolutions are ways we try to keep ourselves accountable to the changes we want to make.  Whether it is a conscious or subconscious choice, we may also have goals we’d like to achieve with our image.

Take a minute and think about what you’d like to do differently or present differently in the next few months with your look and style. To give you some ideas, some of your goals may include: 

  • Being more commanding and having more presence at work
  • Building/Refining your personal brand
  • Having clothes that fit and flatter you
  • Getting out of your “uniform” and having more varied style options
  • Elevating your overall image
  • Having a defined personal style
  • Dressing in ways that are more age-appropriate
  • Wearing more color and knowing the colors that work for you
  • Looking more polished and pulled together
  • Having more options for social occasions
  • Dressing to get a better job
  • Dressing to attract a mate
  • Learning how to shop smarter and more effectively

Really think hard about what you would like to achieve with your image in the coming year. The foundation of any change starts with awareness. After we become aware of what we want, we can then put an intention to act upon it in place. Write down what comes to mind. Over the next couple of days, think about your plan of action to achieve your goals.

As an image consultant who has worked with many women on their image-related goals, I’m here to help you. I conduct consultations in-person or via Skype. We can make the focus as specific or as broad as you need. Visit my Services page for a sense of how I can work with you. Please do reach out to me for more details.

Here’s to a  year that positions us all for the success we desire in our lives!

Natalie

How to wear the right boot for every ensemble

Dear Readers,

First, I owe you an apology. I’ve been quiet for a couple months on this blog….my blogger and I both got distracted and I am so sorry I have not been able to update as I hoped. I’m going to do my best to update a few times a month to continue to provide you with the style, image, personal branding and wardrobe advice and tips you’ve come to rely upon. I’d love you to comment on what you have found most valuable.

As an image consultant, I’m often asked by women what is the appropriate boot height for them. The answer of course depends on a number of variables, including; the woman’s proportions, the style of boot, the occasion and the ensemble. To keep this post simple, I’ve focused on 3 main boot heights: ankle boots, knee high boots and over the knee boots. My goal is to give you the confidence to wear boots with a variety of outfits this winter. Let’s start with ankle boots.

Ankle Boots

These are most flattering when worn with slacks, jeans or on taller women, leggings or tights. The key consideration is to make sure the top of the boot is not hovering at the edge of your pant leg which can ruin the line of your leg. Because ankle boots can make the legs look more truncated, if you are a petite woman or a woman with short legs in relation to her torso, you want to really be careful that you are opting for booties that hug your upper ankles and blend in with your slacks. You also want booties that  have a heel. For petite women, keeping your boot the same color as your hoisery is an excellent way to keep the legs long, as the third ensemble below. When pairing a bootie with a dress, it is best if the dress is above the knee.

boots1

Knee-High Boots

My favorite height boot is the knee high one. It looks amazing with jeans tucked in, with a dress or skirt or with leggings. With a dress or skirt, add opaque tights and you have a look that says you’re hip and modern. You want to leave an inch or two of the knee/upper thigh exposed for the best look–if the boot is hovering just above the hemline it can be very distracting.  I have had women complain that because of their wider calf it is difficult to find knee high boots. In the past couple years more boot options have become available that accommodate different calf widths, so don’t let that deter you. If you have a bottom heavy figure (pear shape),  be careful when trying to execute the skinny jean/legging tucked into the boot look as it can make you appear more so.

boots2

Over-the-Knee Boots

These boots are not as popular as past seasons but some women just can’t get enough of this sexier boot alternative. Let’s face it, it can be very sexy when worn with a short dress or long tunic top as in the first ensemble below. Over the knee boots are also just fab with skinny jeans or leggings. The whole point of the over the knee boot is to show the whole boot so you don’t want your hemline covering any part of the boot. For women with large thighs, the over the knee boot may not be the most flattering alternative as it highlights the thigh area.

boots3
Regardless of the boot height you choose, the boot is must-have footwear in the colder months. With so many options you are sure to find a style that makes you look and feel fabulous!

Be sure to visit Elan Image Management’s website for more style tips. If you find yourself struggling with how to coordinate your wardrobe this holiday season, Contact Us to explore how we can help you with one of our image consulting services.

Be Fabulous!

Natalie

The Anatomy of a Comeback: What Lindsay Lohan can Teach You About Rebranding

Lindsay in 2004

To kick off the month, we examine Lindsay Lohan’s rocky public persona as she attempts to make a valiant comeback to underscore whether crumbling personal brands can be revitalized.  We’d love to hear your feedback!

When Lindsay Lohan starred in the hilarious and smart Mean Girls, she’d managed to do what most child stars dream of doing: She’d managed to make a clean break from her squeaky Disney image with nary a nip slip nor awards show debacle in sight. She was sexy without trying, she was grounded but not boring, and to top it off she could actually act. Oscar winner Meryl Streep described Lohan as “in command of the art form.”

Cut to 2006 and Lindsay’s public image has taken a nosedive. She’s getting a reputation in Hollywood for being difficult and unreliable on set, and is battling DUI charges. She opts out of several movies and enters her first rehabilitation center, while her messy home life is splashed across tabloids.

Though Lindsay has been in and out of court and treatment centers for the past few years, she’s made it clear that she is ready to make a comeback. Rebranding the image that you’ve worked so hard to create can be tricky; in a matter of years Lohan went from a household name to a punchline. However it isn’t impossible to change your public image. Robert Downey Jr. is an example of great rebranding; after years of arrests, substance abuse, and relapse, he’s managed to return to the A-list and restart his successful career.

When attempting to change or repair your image, honesty is key. If you’ve made a mistake, take responsibility for it. Attempting to blame others or to deflect attention comes off as childish and stubborn. No matter how difficult it may be, saying “It was an oversight on my behalf, I am sorry, and it won’t happen again,” is one of the most respectable things that you can do. At the cusp of his comeback Robert Downey Jr. had a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey, admitting his mistakes and referring to his previous self as “a wreck.” The details were bleak, but his honesty propelled him back to success shortly after. Lindsday Lohan has also made a recent appearance on Oprah’s network, during which she discussed her previous drug use. While it isn’t necessary to admit your faults on national television, truthfulness goes a long way when overturning your image. Humans make mistakes and they evolve, and the public can empathize with this.

Lindsay guest hosted Chelsea Lately this month

Robert and Lindsay’s comebacks are working for them because in addition to their honesty and genuine desire to improve, they’re likeable people. They both seem grounded and give off a personable vibe that many celebrities don’t. It’s crucial to try your best to leave a positive impression and not to burn any bridges in your field. Everyone makes mistakes.

For those of us who don’t live under constant public scrutiny and  paparazzi surveillance, it may be easier to come back from a negative brand identity. However, with the boom of social media, most career fields are intimate with small degrees of separation. It’s harder to hide missteps even when we are not in the public eye. You’re often just a few clicks away from a nightmarish former boss on LinkedIn, or from someone with your dream position.

Lindsay marked the start of her comeback with a guest-hosting stint on Chelsea Lately, during which she interviewed guests and even cracked a few jokes at her own expense. She looked happy and healthy, and her appearance was generally well-received. Although she’s had a rough time in the limelight, the public seems to be rooting for her. We at Elan Image Management are as well.

So, yes, you can re-brand yourself even after the worst of public humiliations. Take ego out of the equation and just let your humanity do the talking.

Carina Drakes for Elan Image Management.

If you find yourself struggling with how to craft and build a strong personal brand, Contact Us to explore how we can help you with one of our personal branding services. Be sure to visit Elan Image Management’s blog for style tips and moreGet even more tips, inspiration and guidance on our Facebook page!

Be Fabulous!