We have all heard that phrase, “First impressions last.” And cliché as it may be, it really holds true. This is especially accurate when you are in a job interview, client meeting, speaking in front of a crowd or even when you are simply a homemaker. Before people would get to know you deeper, your image and appearance is what will be conveyed first and it is what will stay them.
Appearance is our first split-second contact with people because the initial perception is eye-to-body—they see how our face looks, the way our hair is fixed, what we are wearing—what others immediately reference on to make a profile of us. Our appearance is part of the image we project. Image is the visual representation of who we are inside—our values and character, our personality, our essence.
The way we look influences how others view us. Our appearance and image will be evaluated and will affect how others think of our character, temperament, professional abilities, and so on. This is the reason why we also need to put importance in developing our appearance and image to help us effectively communicate our strengths personally and professionally.
The benefits of image management span a huge scope. Here are only some of what you can gain when you invest in your image and appearance:
1. It attracts people whom we want to build personal and professional relationships with.
2. It reveals and reinforces your positive attributes and helps weed out your negative traits and help you improve where you are weak at.
3. It creates an impact to the people you encounter and leaves a lasting impression.
4. It helps you achieve your specific objectives whether personal or in business.
5. It boosts your self-esteem and builds your confidence that you can achieve your goals.
That said, we need to understand the different components of appearance for us to know what areas we need to develop:
- Consistency and Congruency
Consistency is an area of appearance where you display your excellence and professionalism in a unified image. Consistency in appearance shows that you are credible, stable and responsible. Though not purely based on appearance, even the way you speak is included in the consistency of your appearance to others. Congruency, on the other hand, is how your clothing corresponds with you in your character or kind. Each garment you wear should be in harmony with you and the other items of clothing it is partnered with—in color, style, fabric, and character. Identify the standard you want to convey and how does it make you look like when you wear them. Does it highlight your good points and display a WOW factor or do you just throw an outfit together regardless if it is unflattering?
- Capsule Coordination Core Wardrobe
A capsule is a group of clothes that you can mix and match and can be purchased together to save you time and money. To make a successful capsule, versatility is the key. Your capsule is coordinated based on color scheme, styles that work together, fabrics that are compatible and similar level of polish and craftsmanship of accessories. Once your capsule is coordinated in your core wardrobe, it can be expanded and clothing pieces can be added or replaced easily.
Color is one of the common things we consider when we dress up. However, not many of us understand that the color we choose in our clothing or even with the items we possess, immediately sends a message to others already. This is why “the psychology of color” has now become one of the interesting topics taught in many image and fashion courses in institutions worldwide. Color also has many aspects included when developing one’s appearance such as hue, temperature, skin colors, value, contrast, and intensity.
- Dressing Principles to Balance Proportions and Personal Style
This is a component of appearance that is commonly overlooked. Most would only dress themselves based on what they see on their favorite celebrities or the newest collection in clothing stores or trends in fashion magazines and websites. But what we don’t realize is that unless dress ourselves based on our proportions and carry our unique style, our appearance will not look as sharp and authentic to the image we want others to see. Proportion, in definition, is a part, share, or number considered in comparative relation to a whole. This means that our height, length of neck and torso, width of shoulders, bust, waist, hips, and length of legs must balance out whenever we wear an outfit. Personal style is vital because this your timeless fashion statement that is not dictated by current trends or fads and can be established on. The moment you are able to discover your unique style, your image and appearance becomes more authentic and identifiable because it reveals who you really are within.
- Comfort and Fit
We cannot compromise comfort and fit whenever we invest on our image and appearance. No matter how well put-together the outfit may be, if you are not comfortable in it and it doesn’t fit you well, it will definitely show and it can ruin your appearance and even be detrimental to your image.
- Hairstyle, Makeup, and Accessories
Hairstyle, makeup, and accessories help enhance your overall appearance and image. It should not be overused or misused because it can break your total look. An image consultant can guide you how you can use these features to create an image that flatters your entire appearance and express your strongest qualities.
- Wardrobe Organization
Wardrobe organization is also integrated in developing your image and appearance. One of the important things to remember in this area is the manner how you keep your wardrobe. Having an organized wardrobe will not only make it easier for you to dress up, but it is also a rational approach as it gives order in your closet and care for your clothing. Arranging them by season, function, and kind, will help you effectively create an outfit for every occasion. Also included here in this area is following your clothing’s care instructions will lengthen the life of your wardrobe.
- Categories of Business Dress
The categories of business dress is based on the levels of business attire that men and women wear from formal business (such as important meetings with upper management or making formal presentation to a large audience) to resort casual (for when you have conferences or meeting in a resort or a very relaxed environment). Understanding this area of appearance exhibits one’s credibility and authority to the people you will be encountering. Knowing the kind of business dress and when to wear it spells a great deal in the success of your business endeavor.
- Complete Look/Grooming
Even if the clothes you wear are very simple items but you are well-groomed—such as your outfit properly ironed, your shoes shined, your face and hairstyle looks neat and maintained, you smell nice and clean—you will project a very positive outlook to others. This is why good grooming is highly imperative in any image development. The attention to detail in your appearance is appreciated almost subliminally by others. Even the minute details of your outfit, like undershirts, fraying clothes, or even the perfume you wear, can either make or break your complete look.
You need to remember that developing your appearance and image does not come free. It is an investment that affects not only your external outlook but boosts your self-worth too. Creating a winning image and appearance does not mean expensive clothing, but once you understand the other components of appearance, the cost can be reasonably priced because you know which items to invest on to complete the look you are going for.
You might think that having to consider all these components makes it complicated for you to polish your appearance and create an excellent image. This is the reason why seeking the service of a certified image consultant will highly benefit you in the long run. An image consultant works professionally with their clients who want to achieve specific goals and/or represent an image that displays their strongest suit and convey their personal and professional principles. And image management is not limited to people who are working. Even wives who stay at home need to keep an image and appearance that will help enrich their home making life and leave wonderful memories for their family. Here are other reasons why you should seek out an image consultant.
Contact me today if you want to know more about image management and let me help you discover your best image yet.