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Graduate Student Essay We Love

As an essay project we ask our students to describe why they want to be an image consultant. Often these essays are inspiring and on occasion they are extraordinary in their inspiration - take a read.

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.

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!!

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.


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.


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.


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.


Help Your Clients "Scale Up" High Fashion Looks to Plus Size

By Gillian Armour, AICI CIP

Fashion Stylist Institute Scale Up Plus Size
Fashion Stylist Institute Scale Up Plus Size

Our work as image and fashion consultants takes us down many paths with our clients. Recently I’ve been doing quite a bit of consulting with Plus Size female clients. My clients tell me they want to look fashionable and yet are constantly challenged with finding "fashionable" clothing in the market place today.  It can be very disheartening for them to watch fashion shows, admire the clothes, and realize that not a thing on the runway will fit them. Despite this realization, they can definitely recreate the looks while being body conscious and fabulous.

Here are a few tips I offer and that you can use to help your clients find great fashion in any size:

It is quite simple and affordable to look "high fashion" no matter what your figure.  You'll need 3 things: current fashion magazines, a notebook, and patience to wear your dream outfits!

After you've seen a look that you would like to recreate from a fashion magazine, deconstruct the outfit in your notebook.  With great detail, list the components of the outfit including all accessories.  Note the color, fabric, cut, and embellishments for each article that constitutes the outfit. This list will be your guide for the rest of your "scale up" adventure, so every detail is important. List accessories in the side margins as you will be shopping for these later on as well.

From client experience I can guarantee that you already own at least one article of clothing on your list. So, your next step is to shop in your closet. Pull garments that are the colors of your desired palette.  Gather accessories and shoes that are similar to the ones you've noted.  If necessary, take any existing garments to the cleaners in preparation for assembling day.  Once you've taken an inventory of what you already own then it's time to do some online shopping to fill in your list.

There are great "as seen on stars" websites as well as trendy plus size online shops available. Comb through these shops using keywords from your detailed list ("wide-leg trousers" "bow tie blouses" etc.). You may find a comparable outfit already coordinated and ready to wear, and in your size on these sites and will be able to accessorize with picks from your closet.  A few sites I recommend include:,’s Plus Size Shop

Alas, if you don't find what you need online, you'll have to visit department stores (alone or with your fashion consultant). This can be a little tricky if the look you seek is for next season. Don't fret! Sales racks will have clothes from past seasons that can be used. For example, if it's the dead of winter and you're looking for a cute summer ensemble you saw in a Spring/Summer spread from fashion week, check out the sales rack.  You will be able to find linens and lighter weight fabrics for a fraction of the price. Furthermore, if you hold out until March, you'll be able to find exact looks for the next season trickled down from the runway, hopefully in your size. If not, you will find alternatives with the same color palette. Keep in mind also that in late July and early August many department stores are marking down Spring/Summer in anticipation of the new Fall collections coming onto the sales floor.

Your last course of action to "scale up" runway fashions is to hire a skilled seamstress. You should have a seamstress on call anyway for your clothes to fit you perfectly. In this case, you need a highly skilled seamstress with a keen eye for detail. You'll be presenting her photographs, a Polyvore collage or your magazines tear outs of what you need to complete a look. You may already have the jacket, accessories, and shoes, but you need the blouse and trousers made. It is imperative that she is able to free hand a pattern and craft you well fitted clothes that match the expensive, authentic look of the designer outfit you desire to replicate. Ask for work samples and references. You'll need to do some research about her background in working with various fabrics and techniques, as well.

Assembling day will be exciting! You've put in the work and now you finally have all of the components for your look straight off the runway. It may have taken some time, planning, and money, but plus sized women should be able to wear high fashion. Let the work you put into getting the stylish finished product be you and your image consultants little secret.

How to Market Your Brand Using Pinterest – A Newbie Fashion Consultants Guide

Foreign Magazines to Pinterest
Foreign Magazines to Pinterest

By Gillian Armour, AICI CIP Launching a new fashion, image or style business is never easy or simple. No matter how much planning you've poured into creating your new company, chances are there is still more work to do. One of the most important things you'll need to do when launching your new image business brand is to engage in online marketing. Our industry is very visually oriented and utilizing Pinterest is a strong way to generate new leads and get traffic to your main site.  At Fashion Stylist Institute it's our goal to prepare you for success in all your business endeavors and we hope this tip sheet inspires you. Here are the steps to take immediately to begin marketing on Pinterest:

Create your Pinterest account

The very first thing you'll need to do is to create a business account on Pinterest. Make sure that your display name is the same name of your company. Additionally, you should aim to use the same username you utilize on other social media sites. The more similarities you have between your sites, the better off you'll be. Image consultants historically use their own name for a consulting business name. This makes your brand memorable and sets you apart from all other consultants pinning away on Pinterest.

Fill out your Pinterest profile

Make sure that you don't skip filling out your profile. Some new consultants are in such a hurry that they don't want to waste time with this. Keep in mind, however, that many people will check out what your business has to say about itself on Pinterest. In addition to sharing a few words about yourself, you'll need to create an interesting tagline (for example: “I help women find vintage styles for their wardrobe”) and upload a professional profile picture or a custom logo.

Create at least 10 boards

You should ideally create at least 10 boards to start off with, though many consultants do create more. When you create a board on Pinterest, you'll be able to sort items that you want to "pin" into these boards. Items that you pin should be related to your business, your service and any advice you want to pass on. When someone is searching for image advice, a fashion photo or style theme and discovers your boards, they'll have the chance to follow you and receive any future updates from you in their news feed. Creating a variety of boards will ensure that you get new followers on a regular basis. Just be sure that each board you title pertains to your fashion business since you want to attract viewers who can relate to your subject matter.

Find appropriate pins

Search on Pinterest for images that you can pin onto your boards. If you do closet makeovers, for example, create boards that have to do with organization, shopping or storage. You can then pin related images to these boards. The person who originally pinned the image will receive a notification and may choose to follow you, as well.

Create images for your website

If your goal is to draw new visitors to your own website, you'll need to create "pinnable" images for your site. A pinnable image is any picture that someone can easily share to Pinterest. Ideally, you should take images of makeovers (before and afters), your studio location or your products and add a label or quote to them. You can do this easily using photo-altering software on your phone or computer. You could also label the picture with the name of a relevant article it links to, the name of the service depicted in the image or even your tag line.

Pin items from your website

You might also consider the images you already use on your website.  Pin each of these to Pinterest. Then the picture will automatically include a link to your website, so anytime someone shares the image, their friends will have the chance to click on your link. Make sure that when you pin an image, you include a brief description utilizing SEO-friendly keywords such as “image consulting” or “fashion makeover.” When people search for images (or keywords) on Pinterest, your graphics could pop up.

Share your posts on social media

Anytime you pin to Pinterest, make sure you let your social media followers know. This will give you even more of an audience when it comes to seeing your pins. Remember that the benefit of having someone pin one of your images is that their friends and followers will see the image, too. Even if the person who shared it doesn't become a client, chances are that one of their friends might or may even know someone in the market for your help.

Like all social media marketing, Pinterest marketing can take time. Fortunately, with a bit of effort, planning and dedication, you'll receive new website traffic and customer visits from the images that you share online and your fashion, image or style consulting business will grow as a result.

If you would like further training Fashion Stylist Institute offers certification courses in fashion, image, and style disciplines.

Tips for Working Consultants

editors note: We recently asked our working graduates to guest blog. We asked them to share tips and advice for stylists.  This week our guest blogger is Janene Stone, Certified Fashion Stylist, Hong Kong Hi -  if anyone would be interested in working with a contact in Hong Kong - I am Australian and prices of products in Australia are not cheap. Thus, over the years people have whatsapped me with a picture of what they want and I scout around to find that product at a cheaper price. The client pays for the mail [shipping] and my 10% of the cost of the item. It really is an easy fun way to shop. As an example my Mum has not bought her Lancome skincare in Australia for years because I pick it up much cheaper here.

In fact, I half expected name brand items to be cheaper in the U.S. but after a recent trip to San Francisco I returned to Hong Kong with nothing because nothing was cheaper than Hong Kong.
Shopping by whatsapp is convenient and does not include any overheads. In a way I have become somewhat of a resourcer for people who own wedding dress shops and have even been asked to source wetsuits!
PS Whatsapp is a free download which also allows you to phone; it is the only way Asian people communicate.


Investment Dressing: Paying More for Better Quality

How often have you thought you had found a great deal on a blouse or a dress and bought it on a whim, only to get home and discover that it practically disintegrated with the first washing? All too often, we are taken in by these so-called deals that are really just low prices for low quality clothing. It is a waste of money and time as well. Spending $200 a month on these poorly constructed clothes means you are wasting $2,400 a year! Investment dressing requires you to pay more money per item of clothing, but you are going to be getting high quality items that will look and feel great and last a long time. The trick is to spot these smart buys that will help you build up an investment wardrobe that you can use for years to come.

Know Your Colors

Getting your colors done does not seem to be as much the rave as it has been in years past. This is a mistake. One of the smartest investments you can make to always look great and to not waste money when you shop is to get your colors professionally done so you feel confident a color will look good on you before you make a purchase.

Look for Timeless Pieces

There is something to be said for the little black dress that is appropriate for all occasions. If you look for clothing that has lines that aren´t trendy, but always look good, no matter the latest style, you have a winner. This includes pencil skirts, sheath dresses and simple blouses. These are items of clothing that could hold their own in any decade, not for being at the height of fashion, but for their simplicity and quiet class.

Go for Quality Fabrics

Paying more for clothing that is made of better fabric is a smart decision. In fact, the type of fabric used in your clothes can make all the difference in how good you look. A cheap polyester dress will look far worse than the exact same design in a classy linen blend.  Choose the better fabric and you won´t regret it. Real silk, linen and wool are all fabrics that look terrific and will help build your investment wardrobe. Blends are fine too. Wool blends will be less itchy, linen blends will wrinkle less and silk blends will usually breathe more.

Remember That More is Not Better

Having a few expensive, classic pieces of clothing in your wardrobe is worth far more than having two or three closets full of cheap clothing that will never pass as good quality. Make sure you remember this when sticker shock hits!

If you have traveled to Europe, you have probably noticed how great the men and women look. They do not have as many clothes in their wardrobe yet everything they have is made of the highest quality.

Make It All Work Together

The best way to build your investment wardrobe is to plan your entire wardrobe for versatility. Having two or three pairs of pants, three to five blouses, a couple of skirts and a nice jacket and suit can actually work for you if you plan it. Choose just two or three classic colors that all complement each other and you´ll be able to mix and match your entire wardrobe, creating dozens of different outfits. Throw in a scarf or two and a couple of different belts and accessories and you can have even more looks, all with just a few select items. Opt for mostly solid colors rather than prints and you´ll have more combinations available to you.

Remember the Shoes

Choosing the best shoes available will also enhance your look. Invest in a few pairs of good quality, sensible shoes and you will be able to wear them with every outfit. A couple different high heels, a pair of flat shoes and perhaps some boots or sandals, depending on where you live, will serve you well and when chosen in classic colors that suit your wardrobe, you´ll never have any problems putting together a great outfit.

Investment dressing is not a trend it's a classic way to create your wardrobe and it´s one that is well worth jumping on. Take a few minutes to plan out a cluster wardrobe and choose a couple of colors to base it on. Then it´s time to go shopping. Stick to the plan, choose high quality items and at the end of your day, you´ll have a wardrobe that will last you a long time and suit any occasion.

Plus Size Tips to Help Clients Look Great

Are you consulting with Plus Size clients? Here is a tip sheet for you to hand out. Often, women who are plus size feel that they simply cannot look good. Not true. While it can be difficult to find something attractive when you are larger than the average sizes, it is definitely possible to put together outfits that look fabulous every time. Being plus size does not doom you to a life of black outfits. Plus size women can look great all the time; it is just a matter of choosing to follow these ideas.

1) Start With a Strong Foundation

No matter what your outfit, be sure to start with figure-enhancing foundation garments. Bras, slips, pantyhose, and even a comfortable shaper can make a huge difference. You want smooth lines underneath your clothing so the eye goes where it should and not to a bulky undergarment pushing through.

2) Make It Fit

There is a silly myth that larger women should use loose-fitting clothes, but that is actually not a good idea. Clothes that fit your body, no matter what size, will always look better than bulky clothes that hide your assets. With a nice, fitted shirt and pants, you will always look much thinner you look than in a baggy sweater.

3) Darker Colors Are Slimming

Bright colors do make you look larger. Don’t dismiss them – balance them with a darker color as darker colors make you look slimmer. Black, navy blue and burgundy are all very classy options that will make your clothes look better on your body. Add some darker neutrals to your wardrobe to help you look great.

4) Prints Should Be Proportionate

Have you ever seen a plus size woman in a dress with a tiny print all over it? It usually results in making her look far larger than she actually is. Much like a petite woman´s body would be overwhelmed by a large print, small prints are not usually suitable for larger women. Sometimes a small print combined with a bold larger colored stripe can look great. Evaluate each print option individually knowing that the smaller the print the bigger you will look.

5) Avoid Stiff, Bulky Fabrics

There is no need to bulk yourself up by using fabrics that stand out from your skin and add visual weight. The same goes for ruffles or layers. They add unnecessary bulk to your look. Rather than going with stiffer fabrics, look for ones that are light and flow without clinging, as clingy fabric just enhances any bulges.

6) Keep Accessories Proportional

What you use to enhance your wardrobe counts too. Everything from earrings and necklaces, to belts, scarves and handbags should be scaled to your size. A tiny clutch or delicate chain will only serve to make you appear larger than you are. Make sure your jewelry and other accessories are proportionate to your size for the best results. Do not hesitate to wear bold statement pieces. Leave the dainty earrings to the petite ladies – on you they will look out of place.

7) Wear What You Feel Comfortable In

All these tips can be helpful in creating a look that makes you feel confident and look great no matter what your size. No one looks good when they feel uncomfortable, make sure you also choose clothing that makes you feel good and you are comfortable wearing. The confidence you display when you feel at ease will shine through and help enhance any outfit.

8) Time For a Closet Review

It is important that you always feel you have some great outfits to wear. If your size fluctuates, keep only a few outfits at your smaller size, not a whole closet full. If you do, you will feel like you have tons of clothes but you never have anything to wear. Go take a look at your wardrobe and do an honest assessment of what you’ve got and what you might need. Try things on, send anything to the cleaners that needs attention and send anything to the seamstress that needs mending. Invest a few hours in putting different outfits together, and deciding which accessories finish out the look.

Follow the guidelines above and then go do some shopping to fill any holes in your wardrobe. With a little attention to your look, you will feel and look great every time you get dressed.

How to Modernize Your Headshot

Are you stuck in a nineties rut with your head-shot? Is the background color of your head-shot photo blue, khaki or white? If so then it’s time to modernize. Recently I took a look at the last round of head-shots I had done 6 years ago and realized that not only had styles changed but I had changed as well. My hair is a lighter shade, my face more mature and my attitude more confident. I wanted a new image of myself that reflected these changes. Taking another “portrait studio” head-shot didn’t feel like the best option to reflect my new attitude! As image consultants it is our professional duty to present a successful and updated image but nothing says “outdated” like a headshot photo that looks last decade. Yes, I know, there is such a thing as a formal head-shot (basic black, blue or white background) and these are okay if you (or your client) need to appear “corporate”.   Image, fashion or style consultants should look modern, in style and approachable to their clients, even corporate ones. Clients look to you to set the tone for the consult and if one of the first things they see is a boring, uncreative head-shot they can  jump to the conclusion that that’s who you are. Remember, you only make a first impression once.

Many of our clients are also looking for advice on how to take a profile photo to look fashionable, to attract others or to promote their personal brand. A good headshot can do all these things. So lead by example. And keep in mind that on social media people change their profile/ head-shot images monthly, weekly, or even daily, so sticking with the same image month in month out says you aren’t keeping up with the times.

Here are a few tips for transitioning to a modern head-shot:

  • Look for and hire a good photographer using outdoor lighting, interesting props, and colorful interiors, not just solid color backdrops or green screens.
  • Arrange for the photographer to shoot in environments that reflect personality (your consulting studio, a fashion showroom, or a boutique, for example).
  • Visit Pinterest and key in “modern head-shots” – you will get lots of ideas and inspiration.
  • Don’t rely on your iPhone or amateur photography when creating a head-shot.
  • Don’t limit your creativity when composing the shot – have fun, be yourself but with the goal of creating a photo image that conveys a modern sense of style – you are, after all, an image consultant!
  • Finally - don't be too wild with color, props or poses. Be authentically you and project your personality in your photo.


Check out this site for ideas of successful head-shots taken outdoors with interesting backgrounds.

Google “cool head-shot photos” to see how others are transforming the head-shot of old!

Gillian Armour, AICI CIP

Student Questions

editors note: this month we are posting our top ten MOST ASKED questions students list when they are in our Image Business Start Up course.

Why would you create a business plan?

It took me the first two years of blindly managing my business before I realized the power of having a plan on paper.  Once I committed my plans to paper a focus came and my business started to take shape much quicker.  I do not advise that you start a business without a structured, well thought out and developed plan for growth.  Creating a business plans helps one to focus on the who, what, where and why of the business.  It gives the owner of the business a focused intent and establishes the steps to take to achieve success.

A business plan is also required if you are seeking any kind of financing or financial backing.  Creating a business plan establishes the sales, profit (or loss) goals for the business and outlines the steps needed to achieve those markers.  A really good business plan will also include any strengths, weaknesses, opportunities or threats (S.W.O.T. analysis) to the current business model, to the future growth of the business and to its long term success.

A business plan is also a way to measure the growth and success of the business once it’s been active for a while.  Going back to review the plans you made for the business gives you a checks and balances picture and can then help you to take steps to adjust for increasing marketing and therefore increasing sales. My business plans used to be one year in length, now they are thirty days maximum and sometimes I do weekly plans to keep my business goals in check.

Next week we review the question "What are the tools a fashion designer can use to market, promote and sell their work?"

Is Your Client Base About To Change?


2015  is a key year for the generations in the workplace. It is the year of the “Generational Turnover” or “transition” and the last year in which the Boomer Generation (now aged 51 to 69) will be the largest generation of working age.  Boomers are being replaced in the workforce by Gen Y (ages 19 to 35) and Gen X (ages 36 to 50). Baby boomers are now retiring and Gen Y, with a population of 82 million and Gen X (population 49 million) will have the greatest presence in the workforce in the next 24 months. This means that the way people work, shop, live and learn is going to undergo a significant change.

How does this impact the Fashion, Style and Image consultant? On several levels – the first of which is that the retiring boomer now needs a whole different wardrobe.  Her needs are now shifting from a work wardrobe to a casual, retired lifestyle wardrobe. For the generations moving into positions of power and competition in the workplace the needs will be for a more professional and appropriate wardrobe.

Additionally if your niche market has been the boomer generation you are going to have to re-think your niche and begin paying attention to the needs of the 19 to 50 year old's who represent the largest group in the workforce in the next 12 to 24 months.

For the next five years the demographic for us to nurture is going to be Gen Y as they become the largest group to mature into 2020. Generation Y age group will be 24 to 40 by then and historically this age group has been the base one for our bread and butter image services.

Start thinking now how you can tailor your services to this big (some would say HUGE) market. You have about a year to begin the change in your business model.

What is an Image Stylist?

An Image Stylist makes you look good!  She works closely with her clients to style favorite looks, elevate taste levels, and counsel on the elements of fashion image (taste, style, relevance) and the principles of fashion design (proportion, fit, color). In essence an Image Stylist is just that – she styles your image. Her methods are entrenched in the fashion world – not the “executive image” world. She has a passion for fashion and for the creativity involved in fashioning her clients. She is an expert on clothing silhouettes, personal color, editing a closet, clothes shopping and wardrobe management. Her modern take on style includes updating you on what’s in and what’s out. She works closely with a client on grooming style, speaking style and fashion style. She has a broad knowledge of designers, brands, trends, and styles (from couture to street) and probably has a thriving blog all about the OOTD. She has a keen eye for detail, fit, tailoring and construction along with an innate understanding on body image issues, esteem challenges and confidence factors that can be impacted by a positive image.

Think you are ready for this exciting new profession? If you’d like to learn how to certify and earn education credits as an Image Stylist Professional then visit our course catalog and read more here Certify Me.

How Does the Wardrobe Stylist Fit Into the Styling World?

There is a significant difference between a Costumer, Costume Designer, Wardrobe Stylist, Fashion Stylist, and Image Consultant.  A Costumer works with the production team on movies and TV shows to create the vision of the costumes and the Costume Designer manifests the vision. The Wardrobe Stylist works hands-on with the actors who are wearing the costumes and the Fashion Stylist does the task of dressing the actor, accessorizing and sometimes tracking the inventory in the wardrobe department. A Wardrobe Stylist also works with private clients editing, curating and styling their clothing choices. The term “wardrobing” means to manage the wardrobe requirements of a project, whether it is film, television, stage or theatre.  The Wardrobe Stylist works with the Costume Designer, the Wardrobe Manager, the production crew, and others.

In general, the Wardrobe Stylist is supplied with directives for fashion coordination from the Wardrobe Manager or the head Costumer.  Depending on the budget you may also be supplied with a story line or design brief from the Costumer.  The design brief can include photographs of ideas, fabric swatches, color palettes, notes about the characters, notes about the scenes, the location, the story and other pertinent details that will help the Costumer create the outfits and costumes the actors wear to represent their characters.

Much of the work the Wardrobe Stylist does is a team effort.  S/he works closely with the Costume Designer (or clothing designer), the art director, the photographers and the stylists that are on set (or on project).  His/her people skills have to be professional and diplomatic.  Since styling for a project is always a team effort, employing multiple creative types, the Wardrobe Stylist needs to be able to negotiate egos and personalities well.

It’s important to know the hierarchy and the job description before you begin, so always check with the set, stage and costume designers for their input before you start work on the project.

You will be asked to supply costumes from wardrobe that fit a particular scene or storyline so it is important you know the inventory.  Most costume departments keep very careful records not just about their inventory, but also about when certain styles were worn, by whom and for what purpose.  The career tracks of Fashion Styling and Wardrobe Styling can, of course, have overlapping skills and techniques.  A Fashion Stylist can and does process wardrobe styling for clients and a Wardrobe Stylist can and does work with celebrity and personal clients on their personal style.

For the purposes of our online training courses we call a Wardrobe Stylist someone who manages the wardrobe, owned by an individual client or a corporate client, such as a movie studio, a fashion retailer, fashion designer, or photographer.

If you would like to know more you can purchase our bestselling book on Amazon "The Professional Wardrobe Stylist" or just sign up and get your professional certification today!