Pitching for a Job, New Client or Funding?

Check Your First Impression First

Excerpted from “Your Image Talks; How to Win the Pitch, Presentation or Interview” by Gillian Armour


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What do we know about first impressions? Why do they have such a strong influence? Scientific research has shown that:

•        We all form an impression when we meet someone for the first time.

•        First impressions are based on limited information.

•        First impressions are based largely on visual cues.

•        Attitudes and actions are often driven by first impressions.

•        First impressions are, often, accurate.

•        First impressions are registered in nanoseconds, (don’t believe the myth of seven, ten, or thirty seconds) are instant, and cannot be undone!

Is it any wonder first impressions are the key to your proposal’s success?  Trained recruiters and clients will tell that even though they try to overlook an initial bad impression, it is almost impossible for it not to taint their attitude towards the applicant. If you think that is unfair, or think a client, a manager or senior staff member should be mature enough to overlook superficial impressions, you are simply fooling yourself.

The truth is if you want a successful pitch you must make a spectacular first impression. You can only make a good first impression if you are aware of what nonverbal messages you send.

Researchers disagree on the exact length of time it takes to cement a first impression. What they do agree on is that it happens very quickly. That is hardly enough time to introduce yourself. It does not give you any time to gain an advantage over other applicants. You cannot afford to waste a moment.

So how do you do it? How do you guarantee the impression is a good one, or, better yet, a great one?

The first step is to identify the factors that contribute to your nonverbal communication. Six elements of your personal style create opportunities to impress, which are:

 •        Your wardrobe choices

•        Your grooming habits

•        Your eye contact

•        Your facial expressions

•        Your body language

•        Your voice

For more about this important component of image management get your copy:

Your Image Talks - How to Win the Pitch, Presentation or Interview

Week of January 7th to 11th Jobs Board

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Fashion Stylist Institute grads check out this weeks jobs board with listings for fashion stylist, wardrobe stylist and fashion consultant jobs.

Amazon is hiring

Bloomingdales Beverly Center Los Angeles needs a Part Time Stylist

Macy*s South Coast Plaza is Hiring a Stylist Executive

Cotton Citizen Los Angeles Needs a Full Time Ready to Wear Stylist

Levi Strauss Hiring Part Time Sales Stylist - Levi’s Los Angeles

Macy's La Plaza Mall, McAllen, TX: My Stylist Executive

Bridal Stylist @ Anthropologie - 3222 M St. N.W., Washington, D.C.

As with any online job listing - beware of false leads. The companies listed above are all reputable and legitimate. FSI makes no warranties for the jobs listed. We post as a public service to our graduates.

6 Ways to Portray Power and Confidence

The following advice is excerpted from FSI’s Body Language Consultant Certification Course (releases Spring 2019)

 ©All Rights Reserved Fashion Stylist Institute


Genuine confidence may evade you, but there's no reason you can't act with self-assurance. Doing so will help you create the impression you have mettle and poise and will aid the growth of real self-confidence. With the right body language, you can sail through interviews, meetings, and social events with ease. The following tips reveal how.

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Walk Tall

Confident people keep their spines straight. Their upright stance portrays them as plucky and assertive. Copy their body language; sit up and walk tall. Imagine there's a rod in your back reaching through the top of your head into the sky if it helps. Standing tall also helps you breathe better which serves to calm you body making this stance important in stressful situations. Be sure to pull shoulders back and down to maintain a straight spine and open chest. An open chest signals power, confidence and energy.

Hold Your Head High

Shy people slouch. Their heads are rarely held high because they want to avoid their eyes meeting anyone else's. You'll appear poised if you look straight ahead rather than casting your eyes and head downward. Holding your head high and straight improves your image of power and confidence. Avoid tilting your chin up as this can unintentionally signify mistrust or snobbishness.

Take Up Space

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Self-assured people aren't afraid to claim space. Due to cultural differences and dress, confident women often take up less room than men, but they don't cross their arms and legs defensively and squash themselves into corners. Men often cross one leg over the other at the thigh or knee. Women keep their knees together and hold their legs at a slight angle--this pose is evident in photographs of models when an air of superiority and assertiveness is characterized. If you do claim space be sure you are not cramping another’s personal space at the same time. This can lead to unintended consequences so respect others space.

Relax

Confidence helps people relax. As such they don't tense their muscles or adopt a pained expression. Loosen your jaw by keeping your teeth slightly apart and soften the tiny muscles around your eyes. As a result, you'll look cool and collected. Do the same with your entire body, allowing your shoulders to drop and arms to hang loosely by your sides when you walk. Deep breathing, inhaling toward your belly at a slow and even pace, will help you achieve your aim.

Assume an Assertive Posture

As well as walking tall and keeping your head high, distribute your body mass equally on your legs--this will help you maintain an upright stance. At the same time, align your legs with your shoulders, and keep your feet slightly apart as you stand but not so far apart that you look strange. Aligning your posture from toe to top of head shows you are an assertive person standing in confidence, not aggression.

Make Contact

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Always face people when engaged in conversation, and make sure your body, as well as your head, is turned toward them. Make contact using your body to portray interest and authentic communication style. Showing interest via your body stance is important in many professions and can even get you the sale!

Adopt the body language of assertive people and your autonomic nervous system will help you attain bonafide confidence. With a straight spine, open chest, and balanced body, you will achieve the calm, positive demeanor of a self-assured individual. In the process, you will appear poised and create the impression you desire.

 Contact FSI for reprint permission, All Rights Reserved  ©Gillian Armour, CMIC

Why Certify as a Bridal Stylist?

I see far too many brides in the wrong style, color and shape of wedding attire.  For instance, I notice they are poorly accessorized, their shoe style doesn't match the dress style, their veil style is inappropriate for their facial shape and their jewelry is the wrong shade for their skin tone.  Other things I have noticed include ill-fitting dresses on plus size brides (even though there are many gorgeous bridal dress choices for the curvier woman) and brides and bridesmaids who's dresses conflict with the wedding theme!

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Bridal Stylists Help Create Memories

To correct what I see as negligence by most bridal consultants or wedding planners - they miss the most basic points about dressing the bride due to lack of knowledge - I created a new career niche and wrote a definitive guide for BRIDAL STYLISTS.  FSI offers a Bridal Stylist certification and on-line e-Course so students around the world can become certified Bridal Stylist professionals.  This course has been a hit since its start because there is a real need for it and because its an excellent way to earn an income.

 Within the bridal consulting industry there are many trained wedding planners, bridal consultants and event organizers who passively engage in the business of the bride’s appearance.  They take their clients shopping without doing a color analysis, body shape measurement and image analysis or style personality test.  They rely on the wedding dress stores to guide the bride.  But guess what?  Even these sales pro's, intent on selling the bride an expensive dress, know little about body shape, body type, small, medium or large frame, low, medium or high contrast coloring etc.  because they too, like the wedding planners, have not been professionally trained.

Unfortunately, many brides waste hours of time looking for the perfect dress because they have not learned the "fashion rules" that apply to their individual shape.  They get even more confused, and waste even more time by taking the incorrect advice of bridal store "stylists".  And, on top of this, family add their advice to the mix often with truly awful results!

Shopping for hours on end without successful results is frustrating and adds to the pressure a bride is under.  Bridal Stylists ease the process of dress shopping.  As a Bridal Stylist it's your job to make the shopping experience effortless and time friendly.

Additionally, as a Certified Bridal Stylist, you can use your knowledge to train bridal consultants, wedding planners, event coordinators and wedding dress sales people and help brides look their absolute beautiful selves on their dream day, a day they will look back on and cherish for the rest of their lives.

The Power of Your Appearance

The following excerpt is from the recently updated and revised book “Your Image Talks” by Gillian Armour, founder of FSI. Purchase link follows.


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Many people don’t realize the power their appearance has to get them what they want in life (and career). When you know how to work at building your image to your advantage, people will wonder what your secret is. 

Part of your success in life is how well prepared you are. In this chapter, you will learn:

 ·         How to update both your self-image and projected image and attract success

·         How to move from being “good enough” to being “the best”

·         Transform your thinking from accepting how the world sees you now to creating how you want the world to see you

·         Learn that your appearance is your personal power tool for success.

Ask yourself right now — how am I different and better than my competition? In what ways do I excel, and how do I fall short? Make a list of your attributes and drawbacks, now, before moving on. 

Done? For most of you your list did not include “I am better looking” or “I dress better.” So, what’s wrong with looking good? Do you feel great when you look good? Do you feel like you could do anything? Do we admire other men and women who look incredible? Of course, we do — there is an entire multi-billion-dollar industry devoted to our need to be admired and liked.

We live in competitive times. We all know that it is in those first few seconds of meeting others that opinions are formed.  Research shows that looks, social status, education, background, sexuality, financial status, mate potential, and intelligence levels (just to name a few) are all evaluated within the first ten seconds of meeting a person. If you are in sales, you do it even faster. We cannot help it. We are hard wired to be masters of the art of quick judgment. So why wouldn’t you want to step up to the plate and be the best-looking person in the room? This takes the ability to be good at preparation. Most of your success in life depends on how well prepared you are.

Get a copy of the book here.

Spring Summer 2019 Fashion Trends and Pantone Color Report

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At FSI our tag line is “School Yourself in Style” and we believe that a skilled and knowledgeable consultant makes for a professional one. We empower our students with knowledge whenever we can from wherever we can find it. Our mission statement is:

We are committed to providing basic through advanced professional training and high-quality educational programs both online and at our physical campus in Sacramento (the Capital of California).

We are committed to providing our graduates with the precise materials and tools they will need to grow their independent businesses so that they can achieve their career goals swiftly and confidently.

We are committed to helping each individual craft a powerful and unique personal style and brand.

Therefore we constantly supply them with fashion and trend reports with the end goal being that they, in turn, help their clients to become confident, informed, and fashionable.

This month we are providing trend reports and videos for free to YOU so that you too can transmit this knowledge to your clients AND grow your business in the meantime.

Click the links below to download PDF’s:

London Fashion Week SS2019 by Edited

Milan Fashion Week SS2019 by Edited

Paris Fashion Week SS2019 by Edited

New York Fashion Week SS2019 by Edited

FSI Pantone Trend Report with Codes -SS2019

Being Best Dressed

Gillian Armour, Certified Master Stylist

What does it mean to dress well and how does one do it?  Dressing well means knowing exactly what type of body you have and knowing exactly how to clothe it, maximizing and accentuating the positive aspects of it; nothing more, nothing less.  But, how does one get this knowledge if not blessed with knowing it naturally?  One consults professionals. That’s it – if you want to look your absolute best you must find the best to show you how.  

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Whole industries are built around this – Hollywood stylists are billed as the current “experts.” However, there are other experts more accessible to those of us not in the glamour loop of Hollywood.  They can be found in Google under “Image Consultants.” Or, check out FSI’s directory of over 3000 consultants to find the best one for you.

You can also find good “Personal Shoppers” at the better department stores (for free) but I recommend that you find a “Personal Stylist“ interested in YOUR needs and who knows a thing or two about style and color.  Their goal should be a well-dressed you. Sure, you will have to pay for this but consider it a one-time investment in yourself. 

Think of all those times you bought clothing, accessories, makeup etc. that you seldom wore or used because, deep down, you knew they weren’t quite right for you.  Stop wasting your time and your money. Invest in a good consultant and join the best dressed!!

I Want To Be A Fashion Stylist What EDUCATION Do I Need?

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There are many fashion, art, design, photography and film schools ready to enroll students who show an interest in learning skills to launch careers.  Choosing which one to attend can be a daunting experience.  There are many factors involved when you set out to choose a school.  We cannot possibly cover the broad range of options available to future stylists here, BUT we can give you a few pointers to help you on your way.

First, narrow down your interests.  Think about your passions and analyze the direction they have taken you.  Ask yourself questions about the jobs you have had in the past and the experiences that have come your way – what did you like or not like?  What did you like enough to want to pursue further?

Keep in mind that formal education is not a requirement for a successful fashion styling career.  Work experience, contacts, good taste and a practiced “eye” are the most important talents you need to succeed.  Combine these assets with the previously mentioned enthusiasm and reliability and the fashion world is your oyster.

To learn the basics about fashion, color and image, I would recommend taking small courses to round out specific experience or knowledge you are lacking.  Many image consultants offer courses in these subjects.  You can get a complete listing of Fashion Styling and Image Consulting courses on line at www.aici.org.  This site is for the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), a global organization that upholds gold-standard certifications for Image and Style professionals.

You will also want to do a fair amount of “self-education” by studying the latest fashion magazines and periodicals to educate yourself on recent style movements, current trends, updates on designers and more.  The more you know about up to the minute trends in design and style, the more inventive you can be.  You can use this information for the creative components of your projects.

STYLIST TIP
Be plugged in. As a stylist, you influence trends and create new, exciting looks for fashion followers so, be plugged in to current events happening around you. Know who the hot new bands are, the latest eatery to open or who is dating whom for example. All these cultural threads can lead back to the work you do to create an exciting vision for the client.
— Gillian Armour, Master Fashion Stylist

Our Favorite Fashion Knowledge Websites This Week

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The business of image and style consists of more than just knowing how to shop, style and sell. Consultants also need to be schooled in fashion thinking. This week we have chosen a selection of deep thinking/ journalistic based web sites. These will give you professional knowledge and inspiration. After all, keeping up with fashion is what our clients expect of us so have a read of these quality writers:

Vestoj.com – the fashion journal for “critical thinking on fashion” with both fiction and non-fiction deep thinking articles.

Fashionista.com – pop culture references to all things fashion

Heartifb.com – fashion writers (ie: bloggers) join to network and show off their work. Most of it amateur but a few bright spots of exceptional writing. Like YouTube – you must hunt and peck through the content.

CupcakesandCashmere.com – Emily blogs about fashion and all its aspects – how to wear, what to where, when to where and why!

Suzymenkesvogue.com – long term leading fashion journalist gives perspectives on fashion that are quirky and original AND well-informed. She’s got the fashion lingo down and can teach us many a thing about Fashion Week, fashion history, sartorial references and more!

BusinessofFashion.com - the updated and modern take on Women’s Wear Daily but less industry and more lay-person. A decent selection of fashion people podcasts. Requires membership after first five free articles.

Using Diagonal Lines in Fashion Design and Styling

Using Diagonal Lines in Fashion Design and Styling

I like to explore a variety of principles and elements of fashion design to style a client and make her look her very best. As both a stylist and teacher, I've always been interested in showing the "how" of the key components of fashion. One of the trickiest elements of fashion design is the diagonal line.

Musings: Falling Out of Fashion and Landing in Style

Musings: Falling Out of Fashion and Landing in Style

I have always prided myself in being fashionable. I read every fashion magazine, book, how-to, and any other information I could get my manicured hands on. Plaids, tweeds, and houndstooth, Oh My! This is the fall season that has returned to my favorite materials and styles.

Fall 2018 Fashion News and Views

Fall 2018 Fashion News and Views

Everything from your hair cut and color to your home décor is in need of a refresh, and we will dive into the details to get you there.

Makeup Tips for Self Portraits

Makeup Tips for Self Portraits

In this weeks post we review makeup tips to give clients who seek guidance on how to get a better self portrait.

Today photography is technologically advanced. Powerful lenses with zoom and impeccable color reproduction capabilities create exact replicas of reality -- with all your tiny flaws captured as well. Getting the perfect photo can be a challenge. The following makeup tips can make you look photogenic and help hide any tiny imperfections that stand out in your high definition photographs and selfies!

Successful Self Portraits Depend on Good Lighting

Successful Self Portraits Depend on Good Lighting

Facial focus

Anybody looking at your photograph will focus on your face first. Use a primer to even out bumps and make your skin look smooth, then apply foundation on top. Make sure you only use matte-finish makeup to avoid shiny skin. If you do a lot of self-portraits consider investing in high definition foundation. It’s a little pricier but evens out the skin tone and creates a smooth and silky impression in photographs (works well for video photography too).

Attractive eyes

Once they've looked at your face, they'll focus on your eyes next. Make sure you use a good eyeliner to enhance the definition of your eyes. Use a complementary shade of eye shadow, and complete your eye makeup with mascara and a lash curler. False eyelashes can make your eyes look bigger in photographs but watch the thickness. If they are not natural looking you run the risk of looking weird.

Cheeks and brows

Fill in your eye brows with a dark brow pencil. Like high cheekbones, the brows emphasize your bone structure in a photograph. Blush on your cheeks is pretty, but make sure you blend the edges and avoid any blush with sparkles as this refracts the light hitting your face and can make you appear fuzzy in photographs.

Lips

Go with bold, bright colors to draw attention to your lips. Dark and matte shades are best avoided for photographs. If you have a good pout, your lips will tell their own story, but if you have thin lips you can bring out their definition with a lip liner. Avoid excess lip gloss as this creates white patterns when the light hits the gloss and can make lips look deformed.

Hair

Your hair is an important part of your personality and can do wonders for the image captured by a photographer's lens. Choose a color and style that complements both your personality and your features. Try to keep the style natural and avoid overly styled, curled or colored hair.

Neckline

Photographs can emphasize the color difference between your face and neck. When applying your foundation, make sure you extend it beyond your jaw line to the visible zones around your neck and chest. This is especially important if you are sure that the skin in those areas will be visible in the photos. Also be sure to apply makeup under the lights you will be using to get the photograph. Makeup applied to the face in a dark room will look entirely different when viewed with bright lights shining on it.

Angle and smile

The difference between a frontal shot and an angled shot can be substantial; a slight angle can give depth to your features. Saying "cheese" for an artificial smile is passé. If you can't manage a natural smile, talking with the photographer and sharing a joke can give a natural look to the picture.

These makeup tips can help give you a picture-perfect image. Try to follow them as a routine for every shoot, or carry an impromptu makeup kit with you in case you get caught for surprise photographs.

 

How To Dress To Impress Every Single Day And Attract Men Wherever You Go

How To Dress To Impress Every Single Day And Attract Men Wherever You Go

by Gillian Armour

As image consultants we are tasked daily with providing solutions for our clients. This week’s post is based on a request we received about dressing to attract a significant other.

We had a lot to say to the client (some of which is offered here for you to read) but the basic advice is this - what you attract is based on how you look – if you want Mr Sloppy then dress sloppy, if you want Mr Gorgeous, then be gorgeous!

First impressions count

When you meet a new colleague who can’t knot his tie correctly and wears his shirt untucked, you think, ‘This guy’s sloppy. I bet his work is like that too’ rather than, ‘This guy’s clearly a hard worker.’ Making a good impression at all times is hard work, but it will pay off. You never know who you might meet during the course of the day.  If you’ve recently been looking for Mr Right, it’s time to step up your attraction quotient.

Here are some tips to ensure that you look good every single day.

Think about your work wardrobe

You spend over 40 hours a week in the workplace. That’s a significant part of your life, and one not to be forgotten when trying to impress. Although your working life may be dull, you never know who you might meet. Give your work wardrobe a thorough examination. Is your knitwear starting to pill? Are your trousers looking a little worn? Are your clothes predominantly black, gray and white? Treating yourself to a quality work wardrobe won’t be wasted. Buy trousers and skirts that fit your proportions. Team basic items with colourful, and interesting accessories such as bright, fashion necklaces and bracelets. Your sophisticated look will not only set you apart from the rest, but it will also make you feel more confident.

Save the workout wear for the gym

The athleisure trend may seem tempting but lycra and sweatpants do not belong anywhere but the gym. Don’t be tempted to pull on gym-wear just because you’re popping out to the grocery store. It’s perfectly acceptable to wear casual clothing to run errands, but make sure that the clothing says something about you. A pair of jeans and retro sneakers looks effortlessly cool whilst being comfortable. If you do catch the attention of a handsome guy, he’s much more likely to engage in conversation with you if you don’t look like you’ve just been to the gym.

Enhance your beauty

Although some women enjoy wearing heavy make-up, not all women are the same. And, heavy makeup can scare a guy. Think of cosmetics as a tool to enhance your natural beauty and not something to hide imperfections. If you do nothing else, make sure that you wear a little mascara every day. Applying mascara will make your lashes look longer and deeper and draw attention to your eyes. If you feel confident wearing cosmetics, also apply a little blush. It will brighten your whole face which can have the added effect of making you look friendly and approachable. It’s also important to remember to not neglect your skincare routine. Cleansed, toned and moisturized skin will glow throughout the day.

Have your cut and styled

The one thing you wear every single day is your hairstyle. Don’t be afraid to pay a good stylist top dollar to give you an excellent cut. A talented stylist will cut your hair to suit your face shape and your lifestyle. No one wants to spend hours fixing up their hair in the morning, but hair that’s cut well from the start will be easier to style. Don’t be tempted to wear your hair in a ponytail every day. Mix it up a little and you’ll soon notice the new male attention coming your way.

Keep your evening wardrobe separate

It’s more difficult to ‘wow’ men when dressed in your work and casual wear than evening wear. If you meet a guy you’ve had your eye on while out with the girls, he’s going to be less impressed if he’s seen you in that dress at work many times before. Keep your evening wardrobe separate from your day-to-day wardrobe to ensure that your clothes give the maximum effect.

When dressing for the evening, it’s important to remember not to mix a low-cut neckline with a short hem if you want to make the right impression. As with your work wear, make sure that you liven up neutral suit and dress colors with bright accessories. You want to stand out and not fade into the background.

Dressing to impress needn’t be hard work. A few changes in habits and wardrobe will ensure that you look your very best at all times. You never know when you might bump into the perfect guy, so make sure that you’re always looking and feeling fabulous. Remember –  you attract what you dress for.

To Shape or Not to Shape?

To Shape or Not to Shape?

Help Your Clients Look and Feel Great

“It’s not about making you thinner, it’s about no lines!” Khloe Kardashian

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a shapewear revolution sweeping the country. Around for thousands of years, shapewear has suddenly become the new hot item of the day and has moved from the back of our collective lingerie drawer to its new place of honor, front and center. This is a revolution you don’t want to miss out on.

Why shapewear, why now?

By late 2015, baby boomers, people between the age of 44 and 62, were the largest portion of the workforce (41.5 percent). And what are boomers obsessed with? Looking and staying young and fit. Though fifty may be the new forty or even the new thirty, nature and gravity will still have their way. Regardless of how young in spirit you are, your body will eventually give you away. One delightfully simple strategy for recapturing a more youthful silhouette and renewed sense of vigor is to slip into one of today’s shapewear creations. Instantly the years melt away. Your butt is lifted, the girls are perkier and your tummy is flatter. What could be better! Baby boomers while not alone in their interest in shapewear are certainly driving this trend.

The renewed interest in shapewear may also reflect a healthy rejection of the recent trend toward slovenliness. For some time, we’ve all been subjected to a seemingly endless stream of muffin tops, back fat and belly rolls. Everywhere you look, at the mall, the grocery store or driving down the street, you are visually assaulted by unruly mounds of flesh spilling over and out. When did it become OK to, literally, let it all hang out!? Judging by the growing shapewear industry sales statistics, fewer and fewer women are comfortable being quite so relaxed!    

It helps that today’s shapewear is, in every way, not your grandma’s girdle. In fact, most manufacturers don’t even use the term girdle today, preferring instead terms like panty shaper or body re-shaper (even the brand name Spanx has now become the generic noun for all things body shaping)!. Today it’s possible to look sleek, trim and curvy without giving up the comfort you’ve grow to expect.

And don’t think shapewear is only for the plus size woman or the over 40 crowd. Compression shapewear is very popular among young women who want a little extra smoothing out. Young and trim does not necessarily mean fit and as a friend who lives in New York said, ‘Thin is never thin enough.’ Shapewear can be any woman’s secret for looking great in their clothes. With more women than ever wearing shapewear and more choices than ever to consider, it’s a great time to take another look at your options.

Are You Red Carpet Ready?

If you’ve ever looked in wonder and amazement at the Hollywood glitterati on Oscar or Emmy night, understand that beneath all the finery, there is very likely more than a perfectly toned body. Wardrobe stylists work closely with the stars and know what’s underneath.

“[Shapewear] is their armor on the red carpet,” says celebrity stylist Tara Swennen, whose celebrity clients include Kristen Stewart, Emily Ratajkowski, and Modern Family’s Julie Bowen. “It makes them feel locked and loaded. It makes them feel solid. They’re jiggle-proof and wardrobe-malfunction-proof. It gives them an air of confidence.”

We are all influenced by the hip and glossy style that originates in Hollywood and is popularized in the media. The truth is, we all have red carpet moments in our lives, times when we want to dazzle and to create an illusion of perfection. Take a tip from the stylist and let shapewear work its magic.

Shapewear Isn’t New

Over the centuries, men, women and even children as young as seven or eight years old have regularly worn garments for the sole purpose of coaxing their body into the socially desirable silhouette of the day. The history of shapewear reflects the history of fashion, the ever changing ideals of beauty and the social attitudes of the day.

Shapewear has always had a lot to do with women’s breasts, at some times glorifying and at others diminishing their importance. Some of the earliest known examples date back roughly 4000 years to the ancient Minoans who lived on what is today the Greek island of Crete. This was a time when a woman wore their corset on the outside rather than underneath her clothes. If you thought Madonna started the trend, think again. Not only did the Minoans beat her to it, they also out did her. Minoan corsets cinched in the waist, raised the breasts and left them fully exposed for all to see. What today would be considered pornographic seemed natural in a culture that worshiped female divinities.

Now you see them, now you don’t. During the Middle Ages the spread of Christianity and the idea of original sin, redefined attitudes about the human body. The body became something to be distrusted rather than glorified and this attitude was reflected in the shapewear of the day. By the 1300’s, French high society was wearing a form of corset designed to straighten and tame the figure. Still worn over a woman’s outwear, the goal now was to minimize a woman’s curves, especially her breasts. The word corset itself derives from the French word cors, a diminutive meaning body.

By the 1500s, corsets were widespread throughout Europe. Since then, styles have evolved and changed to reflect the fashion of the day but one thing remained constant. With few exceptions; a brief period following the French revolution, the heyday of the flat-chested 1920’s and the feminist bra burning 1960’s; shapewear has continued in vogue.

A Shapewear Revolution

So if shapewear has been around for thousands of years, what sets the shapewear of today apart from those earlier versions? Well, quite a lot actually. 

Shapewear was originally fashioned using generally unsympathetic materials. When women first stepped into something like a corset, probably during the Bronze Age, the garments were been made of Bronze Age materials. Wood, bronze, and stiff animal hide were likely the materials of choice and you can bet, comfort was not top of mind. Later corsets relied on cane, whalebone, iron, stiff canvas and paste to provide the requisite rigidity. It’s not surprising that by the 1870’s, corsets were seen as having a disciplinary function as well as a fashion role. By holding the body in a constrained and upright position the corset was believed to encourage restrained and upright social behavior.

Luckily for us, everything began to change in 1939 when Polyamide (aka nylon), the first commercial synthetic fabric, hit the scene. Suddenly there was this new material that was both lightweight and strong. In 1959 another giant leap forward occurred with the introduction of Elastane (aka Spandex or Lycra). As the name suggests, it has extraordinary elasticity. It can stretch up to 500 percent, and has a recovery rate of 95 percent. Shapewear designers began to combine Polyamide and Elastane, modern shapewear was born and its slow and steady rise in popularity began.  

Comfort is the mantra of our day. Of course you want to look good but are you willing to give up comfort in the process? Most women want to have it all and why shouldn’t they? But when forced to make a choice, comfort almost always wins out. Luckily, you no longer have to choose. Compression garments made of Elastane and Polyamide have largely replaced more traditional corsetry. They deliver figure flattering results and they do it with maximum comfort.

If, however, you’re after the ultimate va-va-va-voom experience, then a corset or corset inspired garment is still your best choice. Even today’s corsets deliver a brand new level of comfort due to the new materials and fabrications now available.

Health & Fitness Benefits

Increased awareness around issues of health and fitness is another factor driving the shapewear revolution. Manufacturers advertise that shapewear can improve your posture, help you lose pounds and inches, drop dress sizes, improve your general health and wellness and even boost your athletic performance. While some of these claims may be inflated, it’s also clear that shapewear can have positive health benefits.

Orthopedic specialists have collaborated on many new shapewear designs with the express goal of creating garments that provide increased back support. If you’ve ever put on a corset, a panty reshaper designed for lumbar support or even a well designed compression garment, you know that your back immediately feels more supported. Some shapewear garments, for example, the Body Magic and Men’s Abdomen Shirt by Ardyss International, are recognized by the insurance industry as reimbursable when prescribed by your doctor. If you suffer from back pain, experiment with various shapewear options. Back pain relief may be only a shapewear garment away.  

Look Younger & Thinner Instantly!

As years pass, muscle tone is lost and posture suffers. Additionally, women must often deal with the effects of osteoporosis which weakens bones. The result is a stooped silhouette in which the distance between the bustline and waistline is reduced. This creates a very matronly stance. As soon as the girls start pointing at the floor, you are certain to be offered the senior discount when go to pay the check. I’m all for a discount but if you’re not ready to flash your AARP card just yet, shapewear can save the day!

As you add years and life experience, you’re also likely to add pounds. I know it’s not fair. A few of you will even manage to avoid those dreaded extra pounds but for most of us, the ticking of the clock, childbirth and menopause eventually result in an increase and a redistribution of weight. You’ll start to look in the mirror and wonder where you went and where this slightly chunky evil twin came from.

Not to worry. You won’t have to look hard to find body cinching shapewear that can actually take you down in inches and dress sizes. You can recapture your former waistline.  ‘How much can I lose,’ you ask? The answer, ‘More than you imagined.’ Ardyss International is one manufacturer that advertizes an instant reduction of between two to three dress sizes. You will of course give up something in comfort if you want to achieve such dramatic results but seeing yourself so utterly transformed can make it all worthwhile, especially if there is a red carpet event in the near future.

Reclaiming Sassy

It can be a challenge to look in the mirror when you’re 30, 40, 50, 60 or more years old and like what you see. As the decades pass things start going south. Your butt, your breasts, everything really, starts shifting as gravity has its way. What was up is, if not down, at least headed in that direction. So what’s a girl to do? If you’re not ready to become invisible, and I hope you’re not, you’re probably already looking for ways to inject new life and vigor into your style. Today’s new shapewear is an affordable, effective and noninvasive strategy for reclaiming your sassy former self.

Say Yes to the Shapewear!

For over 4000 years’ women have been saying yes to shapewear. It’s been how women have re-define their silhouette, boosted their confidence, expressed their personal style and fashion sense. But never before have there been so many options to choose from and never before has shapewear been so comfortable to wear.

Today there is a shapewear option for every ‘body’ and every figure challenge. There are corsets that will give you an hourglass figure to rival the most voluptuous Hollywood hottie and there are light weight compression garments that will ‘oh so gently’ smooth out offending bumps and bulges. Whether you want to achieve dramatic results or subtle changes, there’s a product that’s right for you.

So what are you waiting for? There’s never been a better time to stock your lingerie drawer with shapewear. Try on styles you’ve never worn before. Step out of your comfort zone and be adventurous. As a reward, you’ll be ready for your next red carpet moment. Just as importantly, you’ll be prepared to look and feel your personal best every day of the week.