Lately I’ve been hearing a lot from people who are looking to start image development as part of their new year’s plans. I get a lot of questions like these when people are thinking of changing their image:

“What kind of colours would suit me best?”

“What styles should I be wearing?”

“Where should I shop?”

These, and many more questions like them, are really part of a complex line of inquiry, which is why the short answer is always, “It depends”. The line of inquiry starts with the science of you, meaning the features of your body and colouring. Certain features are best with certain types of colours and styles, and your features are completely unique.

The inquiry continues with looking at the art of you, meaning your personality and lifestyle. If you’re the kind of person who likes to walk to work and doesn’t mind getting a bit wet, your clothing needs to do something different for you than for the person who drives from garage to garage and prefers to be immaculate the entire time.

Almost any trained consultant can give you a basic overview of what kinds of colours and styles suit your body; some can give you information based on your personality. However, what really counts is the ability to do two important things:

1.  Help you uncover and understand all of your specific unique factors that play into what kinds of clothing will express your true self and make you feel great when you walk out the door.

2. Guide you through the maze of sometimes conflicting information that analyzing each factor provides and help determine how much weight needs to go against each factor.

For example, someone might be tall and have a rectangular silhouette. For the height, this person might be able to wear pleated pants. However, if the rectangular silhouette is more noticeable than the height, then flat front pants might be better for that person, provided no other factors are more important.

How to determine which is better is the province of the highly trained and experienced consultant, working through a well-developed process with a client who is ready for serious change.

Is this kind of process right for you?
“It depends.”

Seriously though, here are five excellent questions to ask if you’re considering professional help:

1. Where did you complete your training? (image programs vary from a few days to several months in length and depth of information)
2. What certifications do you hold? (there’s a difference between a certificate from a program that could be two days long and an international level designation from a professional body like AICI).
3. How long have you had your business? (generally, a bit more experience is worth more in the long run)
4. Do you practice image consulting full time?
(someone with a full time business is likely more experienced than someone who does this on the weekends)
5. What kinds of clients do you enjoy working with best? (this description will give you a good idea if their kind of client is you)

The answers to these questions should help you find a professional that’s right for you. Remember, it always depends.