How Not to Give Style Advice
I was asked recently if I'd thought of chatting with people in a networking meeting situation, being a bit more pro-active in my approach, and asking if they'd be open to a bit of feedback regarding their image/style/personal brand. I recoiled in horror! This is just not my way at all...I'm more about getting to know my client first, their likes, dislikes etc so that any advice I give is more likely to be taken. it reminded me of this story...
I met a lady one time called Kate who was presenting at a conference I was at. She’s a very successful businesswoman in her field and is an inspirational author and speaker. She refers to herself as a fat lass with a laptop and a pack of tarot cards – it’s tongue in cheek, I don’t sense any confidence issues. (But who knows?)
Anyway, she told me that one time when she was presenting somewhere an image consultant had approached her at the end of her talk and said something like ‘You know what would suit you better? A wrap dress.’ I would call this uninvited ‘style advice’ downright rude! She knows how to ingratiate herself with people – not. This is the type of person that gives colour and image consultants a bad reputation as being judgemental fashion police types.
Being kind, I would like to think that this woman thought she was being helpful by sharing some of her styling knowledge and passing on free advice. She was giving away something that she would normally charge for and I expect she was keen to demonstrate and share her expertise with a view to gaining a new client. In truth I think this was quite presumptuous.
I would never give styling ‘advice’ regarding how someone was dressed unless they specifically asked me. She knew nothing about Kate but was making a judgement and assumed that she would want to look ‘better’ and perhaps more ‘professional’ – in her opinion. For all she knew Kate could’ve been wearing her favourite outfit and feel totally comfortable and confident; truly in her power.
To me it is extremely important to ask questions before I give any colour or style advice to anyone. I really need to know a bit about them, their lifestyle, relationship with clothes, find out what their likes and dislikes are, any hang ups they might have etc.
I also want to know why they are seeking my advice as an image consultant – What do they hope to get out of a chat with me? You see, I don’t actually have a magic wand and I can’t make you lose 4 stone or your legs be longer...I can show you tips and tricks that will enhance your favourite bits and disguise the bits you’re conscious of but I wouldn’t suggest a style of top to hide your fat belly or make your big boobs look smaller unless you said that’s what you wanted.
I sometimes get women say stuff to me like ‘I know I shouldn’t be wearing this’ or ‘don’t tell me off for wearing black, I know it drains me’ and it gets on my nerves. I don’t actually care if you are wearing black and it makes you feel amazing and totally confident (even if it’s not your best colour).
I am not the fashion police; I am not judging. My job is to help you feel confident, to feel comfortable and authentically you in your clothes. To help you look good, so you can feel amazing and then your confidence soars and you feel like you can conquer the world. If you already feel like that, whatever your personal style is then you don’t need me in your life.
If, however, you sometimes have clothes quandaries and aren’t quite sure what to wear, or you sometimes feel great when you buy something and wear it all the time, but have loads of clothes in the wardrobe that your never wear, then I could probably help you.
I can help you understand what you like and why you like it. I can show you which colours really suit you and make your eyes look brighter and your skin look clearer and what sort of top to wear to make your pear shaped hips seem more balanced or disguise your big boobs...but ONLY if you tell me that these are issues for you.
At the end of the day my work is not really about being an image consultant and styling the clothes – it’s about your confidence and the messages you want to convey through your personal style. I use colour and clothes to help with that, that’s my specialism. With me it’s very practical and accessible because we all need clothes whatever the situation. Why wouldn’t you want to know how you could make yourself feel amazing just by changing your top?
It’s a knock-on effect – you look good, you feel good, you feel good then you feel confident. When you feel confident you present yourself better in situations, you feel better about putting yourself out there, and speaking at that important gig, going for that interview or first date...you know how it is.
To sum up my message is always the same – if you love it, wear it, if it makes you feel good then who cares what anyone else thinks. But be safe in the knowledge that I’m here with tips and tricks if you would like to learn how to create your own perfect formula so you always look on point and feel fabulous. If you're ready to make changes why not check out my services and get something booked.
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