"It's not about covering up, it's about showing up".
- Bruce Pflaumer-
Enjoying the Process:
I was ready for a change, so my motivation to work with an image consultant stemmed from my transition from stay-at-home-mom to working-outside-the-home-mom. I had a closet full of clothes, but was tired of still having nothing to wear. At first, I was hesitant to invest the money on myself and hire an image consulting company, but I needed help finding my personal style for my new career. I was nervous about inviting an outsider in to critique my current stay-at-home-mom wardrobe, and overwhelmed by the thought of de-cluttering and organizing my closet. I also felt like I needed to reach an ideal weight before scheduling an appointment with an image consultant and shopping for new clothes.
Our initial meeting involved meaningful conversation about my life, goals, obstacles, fashion versus style, budget and more. Before we could even begin the process of building a new wardrobe, Michael Bruce Image Consulting wanted to build a relationship and start to develop trust. For the closet edit, they put me at ease quickly, they gave an honest assessment and shared their expertise on how to better dress for my body-type and which styles, sizes and colors would work best for me. I was so relieved that most of what was left after the edit, were things I loved and wore the most; I could finally see them! And I was able to let go of items that no longer served a purpose; I had permission to purge.
The next step was shopping, I don’t like spending hours in a store, don’t get me wrong, I LOVE coming home with new clothes; however, I can’t stand the process that goes into getting them. For me, walking into a store can be overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time; if I can’t find the right size or a trend that suits my style, I’m done. The Michael Bruce Image Consulting team encouraged me to be open to what they picked out for me. The most enjoyable part of the shopping experience was the VIP service Bruce and his team provided. I was escorted to a reserved dressing room where clothing and accessories, that were thoughtfully pre-selected, were set up and waiting for me to arrive! They had me try on things I might not normally pick or be interested in trying, despite my initial reservations, everything they picked out for me was perfect! I didn’t feel pressure to buy everything, but I did because I loved It, and working with them has saved me time and money. Shopping doesn’t have to be a process, it can be adventurous, fun, educational AND efficient. By working with the team, I have built an amazing wardrobe that I love; my closet is now organized, and I have photos of various looks, which makes it quick and easy to get ready in the morning. I am more confident about my personal style and wardrobe choices, I love the way I feel, and will never grow tired of hearing compliments on my style!
I know my confidence and self-esteem have been elevated along with my style because I have experienced measurable results in both my personal and professional lives. I now understand how to express myself with my personal style, and confidently select clothing and accessories that accentuate my body, and that really reflect who I am inside AND out. I’m also more mindful when purchasing items for, or wearing items from my wardrobe. I take the time to think about who my audience is when I get dressed for my day. I’m also learning to be less judgmental of myself, and embrace the body I have, regardless of my size.
Michael Bruce Image Consulting has taught me to believe it when they say, “You are worth the investment!” Don’t be afraid of the process, don’t wait until you have an empty closet or until you lose weight. You can trust them, they offer great advice and not just about style or wardrobe solutions! They’re a valuable part of my life’s journey and I’m very grateful.
I Can See Clearly Now
When I look in the mirror, I cannot see myself; instead I see a distorted image, it’s almost like looking into a shattered mirror. I can only see “slices” of myself. Not being able to see yourself clearly effects, among other things, your style and confidence. I sought help from Michael Bruce Image Consulting, because I wanted to own my personal style and feel confident enough to get dressed, forget how I look and instead focus on experiences. I was skeptical about hiring an image consulting company, would they dress in a style that was me? That was within my budget? And would I feel comfortable enough to trust strangers with sensitive conversations about my physique? I was tired of depending on others to help put together my wardrobe; often it was stressful and unfulfilling. I was vulnerable to pitfalls like salespeople on commission telling me I looked fabulous, or other people projecting their style on to me, trying to help. I wasn’t comfortable in the trendy items they insisted I wear, none of it felt like me.
Then a colleague referred me to Michael Bruce Image Consulting. I was so nervous to just meet with the team the first time. Oh, what I went through trying to decide what to wear for the meeting!! But then shortly into our conversation, it became clear that the team is professional, knowledgeable and for the first time, I had real hope. I might have found a solution to a life-long challenge. More than a solution, this experience has been a game changer.
The team helped me discover my style and more importantly, I learned what I really wanted was to own the “me” that I project to the world, and that starts with how I dress (I also learned I was wearing all the wrong sizes!). I no longer spend wasteful time and energy trying on multiple outfits to figure out what to wear. I no longer spend more time packing for vacation than I spend on the actual vacation. I no longer get self-conscious at social events about what I’m wearing, I am present and enjoy the experience. I no longer spend too much time, energy and money on my wardrobe. I no longer dread getting dressed; I’m even ready for events early. My closet is intact after I get ready because it’s organized and full of beautiful things that I can wear because that they fit ME. My closet is no longer a storage place for sadness and regrets. My husband and other close friends and family have noticed my newfound confidence and I know that I can reach out to Michael Bruce Image Consulting with questions, when I feel a change coming, or if I’m in need of a tune up. I can see clearly now.
The Elements of Style
There’re several factors that led me to seek out an Image Consultant, some immediate and others more long term. The immediate impetus was that I began a new Director-level position with an educational institution and didn’t have the professional wardrobe I felt it required. I’m also finishing a novel and needed a new look with wardrobe options for meeting with agents and publishers. I also realized, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about style, image, and how to bring out my best self in professional situations. Taken together, along with being completely bored with what was in my closet, I knew I needed to take the step to hire an Image Consultant.
The holdup was being embarrassed by what was in my closet, by how little I knew about style and image, and by my limited income. I didn’t think I’d be able to build a wardrobe that would work for me, be versatile enough to do what I needed it to, and be affordable. I also found myself nervous about the possibility of being told that all the things I liked to wear, that I always thought looked good on me, would instead be revealed as all wrong. I hate to say I was worried about my ego taking a hit, but that really was a factor. If my sense of image, style, self has been flawed all this time, what would that say about me? It turned out this wasn’t even remotely a concern, but prior, I was nervous about all of that.
From the earliest interactions, through the closet purge to the final fitting, the Michael Bruce Image Consulting team was amazing. Clear, professional, humorous, and focused on explaining their ideas and theories to me. I didn’t feel criticized or judged, I felt empowered, respected and supported. It was a tremendous experience, during which I learned far too many things to list them all, however the main ones were 1) that image and style are NOT illusions—they are real, with real importance and value professionally and personally. 2) That image consulting is about bringing out, and sharpening the best version of myself, not creating a False Me. Image isn’t shallow, or “not real”, it is a way to focus and channel my energies into my work and life experiences and goals. Looking the part helps me bring all aspects of my life together to my benefit. 3) That I enjoy feeling confident about how I dress and look, it built my self-esteem in ways I didn’t know I wanted, or needed.
I like how I look, and I feel like I now know how to better put together looks that really works for me. I’m light years ahead of where I used to be, yet I still have so much more to learn. I feel like I know how to better combine elements of style and how to identify quality items that work for me. I also know that I can bounce ideas off my consultants and get feedback on my choices. That kind of support is immeasurable. This experience has helped me leave behind some old fashion habits that have long since needed replacing, and as a result, doing so has helped me really invest in my present, and lean into the future.
I never knew that doing this kind of image consulting could be so empowering and valuable to me on an emotional level, as well as on a professional one. I feel so much better about myself and about how I am pursuing my goals. I feel like I’m making strides towards them with less fear about the future, and with less “baggage” from old ideas and habits. Friends, colleagues, baristas in my coffee hangouts, and even people I only ever see in passing have noticed the changes, and really like them. I’ve become more efficient and productive at work, because I feel more professional and locked into a working mindset. I feel “grown up,” which is kind of a big deal for me as have I avoided it for years! Now I am embracing it a lot more than I did before. This was life changing for me.
If you’re considering using an image consultant, be brave and go for it. If you think you might need help, then you do. Be open minded, take direct feedback and embrace the learning component of it. It’s worth any nerves or discomfort you may have going into it. Let someone else identify and help bring out the positives you see in yourself, along with the ones you don’t see. There is no down side to doing it.