Let me start with what Image management is not…as often people take Image management as getting a makeover, attending a personality or grooming workshop. Visiting a beauty parlour, buying designer clothes or going for diet/weight management programme.
Image management is on a going pro-active process of evaluating and controlling the impact of your appearance on you and on others. Your image is you in the eyes of others. You are perceived, evaluated and judged on the basis of the image you project. The concept of image management applies to anyone who has ever needed to improve his/her image, confidence and credibility. As an individual living and working in a highly complex and competitive society, you must recognise and understand the impact of your image as it communicates first to you then to others. Some people have a natural talent or ability to present themselves appropriately and attractively but some don’t. The good news is that Image Management skills can be learned, then practised till they become your second nature.
Let’s take an important component of your image which is clothes and wearing them in the right manner. One needs to understand one’s enhancing and suppressing characteristic and how to use the resources of clothes, grooming and behaviour to flatter the one and counter the other. It needs ongoing evaluation of oneself to keep changing with age, circumstances and with changing roles and goals.
Albert Meherabian, the famous scientist did a research which said that 80 per cent of your message is visual out of which 50 pre cent is clothes. So select clothes that meet your individual needs and purpose. Clothes which are appropriate for your lifestyles, personal style and for the fabric.
Common sense tells you to avoid clothing styles that expose or emphasise and therefore reinforce figure variations that you don’t want noticed.
- For example: Strapless or sleeveless outfits expose the body to view and generally emphasize whatever is seen. Short sleeves expose the arm, shorts skirts expose the leg, and so fourth. If that’s not what you want, you’ll need to cover up.
- Narrow shapes and tight-fitting or clingy fabric exposes whatever body part is underneath, generally emphasising it. If that’s not what you want, you’ll want slightly wider shapes and a looser fit.
- A helpful general guideline is to look for clothing styles that will naturally accommodate your figure type and other figure variations. In other words, the garment shape makes visual sense, as it essentially repeats your body shape.
- Selected in the right size with ample ease allowance, these styles flow easily over your entire figure, even areas where you may be larger. The clothing silhouette is dominant and your body is subordinate.
- Example an A-line skirt or shirtwaist dress with a flared skirt easily accommodates the proportionally larger hip and thigh area of a triangular figure. A wedge-style chemise dress easily accommodates the proportionally larger shoulders of an inverted triangular figure. Flowing easily over bust, midriff, and waist below. A contrasting yoke on a sportshirt or polo created by colour, texture, or pattern can naturally accommodate a triangular male body.
Another general guideline worth knowing is to look for clothing styles that naturally cover, camouflage, counter and minimise to create attractive illusions about body areas that you may consider less attractive and emphasize the most attractive characteristics about your figure. For Example: the same shirtwaist dress, with moderate shoulder pads, slight gathering below the shoulder yoke and blousing at the waist works beautifully to fill out the upper body area. Palazzo pants work to fill out the leg area of an inverted triangular or diamond-shaped figure for better balance with the top of the figure. At the same time, width at the hem of the pants will emphasize slim ankles.
Choose style shapes with characteristics that look, feel, and hang appropriately for the fabric of the garment. Choose style shapes that will fit in well and coordinate with the existing wardrobe.
Coordinate or combine shapes as well as separates in two or more styles, to achieve greater variety, interest, and individuality.
by Image consultant and designer Shweta Singh