The consultant who helps you find your personal style
When Carrie Bradshaw – in Sex & The City – referred to “that eternal puzzle”, murmurs of empathy echoed around the world. Impulse shopping, not knowing what suits us, and being uncertain of our personal style, all result in this frustrating and rather common dilemma: owning clothes that don’t make us feel – or look – the way we want to.
It’s an uncomfortable truth, but it’s human instinct to judge others on first impressions. How we sound, what we say and – by far the greatest influence – what we look like, all combine to create our personal image.
Such assumptions seem superficial, but the fact is that our self-worth, respect for others, and creative and professional abilities are judged by first impressions. Our image is talking, but is it saying the right things?
Some lucky people instinctively have a sense of style, with an ‘eye’ for what works. The good news for the rest of us is that anyone can create a stylish look of their own . . . with a little guidance.
If a celebrity or high-profile politician gains positive prominence in the public eye, they’ve probably used the services of a professional image maker to raise their game. Cherie Blair, Victoria Beckham and even Prince Charles are among those who’ve recognised the importance of image. But is image shaping just for the rich and famous?
Hiring an image consultant
Definitely not, says Andratx-based image consultant Joanne Shawcross:
“It’s not about being wealthy, slim, or a fashion victim, but learning what makes you feel and look great.”
Research shows that in today’s savagely competitive business world, the right image is imperative – particularly for women. We must look the part to get the part.
Joanne’s proof of that. Before setting up her business, her career had taken her to the Iberian peninsula, Miami and Latin America – and a senior level in general management and human resources. She admits to having had self-esteem problems, but worked carefully on her image to help overcome these and achieve success: “I’ve sat on that side of the fence and lived through it, so I can empathise,” she says.
Becoming a professional image consultant was prompted by her desire to spend more time at home (she has a ten-year-old son) – and her lifelong interest in fashion and people. After training and qualifying in New York as an image consultant and personal shopper (with two of the most highly-qualified exponents of this field) Joanne set up her business Image Works, a bespoke service to help others make the best of themselves.
Image & the work place
Her clients aren’t all business executives. Many people choose to address the issue of their image after a life-changing event, such as divorce, a new partner, a long illness . . . or moving abroad.
Facing the future with self-confidence does wonders for social standing and personal relationships, as well as in the workplace.
Joanne’s enthusiasm for helping people is as obvious as her own sense of style. Her research into image and the role played by clothes is ongoing, and she clearly enjoys sharing her ever-expanding knowledge with her clients.
Her four core services are Colour Analysis, Body & Style Analysis, Wardrobe Management, and Personal Shopping, available individually or packaged. Prices range from 150-800 euros and Joanne believes it’s an investment:
“Not only will it improve your image, but shopping strategically also results in a lower cost-per-wear.”
Tot up the cost of past wardrobe mistakes and the financial logic is obvious.
In action, Joanne’s human resources skills shine through. She guides rather than instructs, ensuring the client really understands the process of identifying which colours flatter their own level of skin pigmentation. Afterwards, a conveniently-sized personal swatch of around 36 of their best colours becomes the client’s invaluable shopping companion – just one of the useful reference items that the service-orientated Joanne provides.
Another process tackles what she calls the ABC, based on body and face shape: “Accentuate the good points. Balance the overall effect. Camouflage our not-so-good points by drawing the eye to our best features.” Next comes the identification of personal style – a signpost for future purchases of clothes and accessories.
Opening one’s wardrobe to another woman’s scrutiny sounds daunting, but decluttering results in a new base on which to build. “Critiquing has to be done in a constructive way to motivate clients,” explains Joanne. “I’m very careful.” She’s also extremely discreet, respecting the confidentiality of her clients, who are mainly English and Spanish (in which she’s fluent).
Using Joanne’s personal shopping service might seem extravagant, but her intimate knowledge of boutiques and stores saves time – and purchases will also give a good return on investment. She works to a brief, doing some pre-selecting of garments before taking her client shopping. It’s a service that’s particularly appreciated by time-conscious men who want to buy their partner a gift.
Joanne would also like to run image training courses for boutique staff: “It would enable them to offer an enhanced level of service to their customers – and a happy customer returns.”
Networking at an abcMallorca business club lunch has led to an exciting new opportunity: Joanne’s services are to be marketed to winter short break guests at the Mardavall St Regis Hotel. “I’m delighted to have been chosen to work with such a prestigious hotel chain,” she says.
An image consultant like Joanne Shawcross can help solve “that eternal puzzle” with a capsule wardrobe of flattering mix ‘n’ match clothes, to inspire self-confidence and create the right image. Carrie Bradshaw would approve.
Contact: Joanne Showcross at firstname.lastname@example.org