Image consulting can be quite ambiguous.  Those within the field often operate under several different titles or they may even use specific services they offer as their title. This is the case when you see terms like Wardrobe Consultant, Personal Stylist and Image Consultant.

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What is the difference?

We like to view image consulting as an umbrella term to encompass appearance, behavior, communication, digital presence, and personal branding. We call these the ABCD’s of our image.

Personal styling and wardrobe consulting can fall under the umbrella, but true image consulting takes a strategic angle to their clients by combining marketing, public relations, psychology, and perception. They may be doing wardrobe consulting but for a larger purpose to serve the clients personal and professional goals.

So first, let’s start by defining the terms.

Personal Stylist

An individual who works personally with clients to help them develop a unique style based on their personality, lifestyle, body type and color palette. They may also help the client shop for specific items to execute this personal style. Often personal stylists work on editorial projects or with celebrities.

Wardrobe Consultant

An individual who works personally with clients to curate a wardrobe based on their needs, body type, and personal style. They may encompass the techniques of a personal stylist but are typically focused on the whole wardrobe by editing their closet and shopping for necessary items.

Image Consultant

An individual who works with people to change, refine or enhance their appearance, behavior, communication or digital footprint. Through a variety of services, they utilize these concepts of image to pull together an authentic and cohesive personal brand to serve the clients personal or professional goals.

Image Consultant Vs. Wardrobe Consultant or Personal Stylist

Often people think that using a Wardrobe Consultant or Personal Stylist can assist with selecting the right clothing, hairstyle, makeup and accessories and they would be right.   However, when you are talking about personal branding and image these are only a few of the things that should be taken into consideration when someone wants to up the ante.

In today’s corporate world employees, colleagues, superiors, clients and those in charge of hiring are looking at a whole package.   While this certainly includes what you look like on the outside, that great impression you give via your style and look will quickly be ignored when the rest of the package does not match up.

Since Image Consulting covers all the areas that are being looked at and closely scrutinized, this is definitely the option one should choose if they are wanting make a first impression that is remembered for the right reasons.

Image Consulting for the real world

You may already have an excellent personal style. Maybe you are the person that all your friends come to when they need advice on what to wear to an interview, what color looks best on them, what accessories they should add to that stellar outfit or what makeup they should choose. This may mean you already have a really good starting point towards becoming an Image Consultant.

Image Consultants are hired by some of the biggest corporations in the world, not to mention many individuals who are really wanting to step up their game and take their image to the next level.

That is where an image consultant comes in and systematically goes through the ABCD’s of their image.

Appearance

Appearance is an important factor and where we often start when looking at the overall image.   You would think this would be as simple as telling a client to wear this and not that, but there is so much more to this step.   Color consulting, style that matches your current profession and your personality, fabric types and care, menswear and suits, boardroom attire, cost and your current closet, hairstyles and makeup and so much more all make up the appearance that a client puts out into the world and uses to their advantage. There is a lot to learn in this arena.

Behavior

This is where Image Consulting starts to take on a much different thread than your typical Wardrobe or Personal Stylist because it is beginning to shape and cultivate an overall image and not just the one that shows up on the outside and is seen by all. Behavior is just as important as your outside image because as I stated earlier, the outside image only breaks the surface of what you put out into the world.

Behavior is all about attitude. Does your attitude reflect the position that you are in?   Are you leading by example? Examining a client’s current behaviors and realigning them with the image they want to create and project is where the Image Consultant comes into play.   This leads us into the next step that any good Image Consultant will follow up with.

Communication

Communication is another factor in making sure your clients image is in line with the position they have now, but also the position they want to aspire to be in. One of the best things about communication is that while it may not be something your client does well now, it is something that can be taught and learned and this is where any good Image Consultant comes in.

Teaching communication skills is not as easy as saying “Hey, just say it this way.” You must get to know your client so you can effectively find ways to improve on the communication skills they already have and also help them find new ways to contribute and set themselves apart from the pack.

Digital Footprint

In the digital age we live in, many do not understand the importance of maintaining a footprint on the web that reflects an image they want to show to the world. One post, one comment, one share or one photo can damage a reputation quickly. It is up to the Image Consultant to round out their client’s overall image by hitting on this specific target.

They can help their clients review what currently is being seen online by others and how they can be sure what they are sharing and how they are sharing it is part of the larger picture that is their image and often what others may be seeing before they even meet them in person. Google can be your friend or your worse enemy.

Becoming an Image Consultant

You may think becoming an Image Consultant is as easy as simply obtaining a client and going through these steps, but if you want to stand out from the pack, much like you will teach your clients to do, the certification courses at the Studio for Image Professionals taught by Sylvie di Giusto and Shauna VanBogart are your ticket to a successful career. The Personal Image Consulting Course and Corporate Image Consulting Course are both online courses you can take in the comfort of your own home and that will guide you to becoming certified in this field. You will learn from over 20 years of experience and gain knowledge you cannot get anywhere else.