When choosing an image consultant, it is often a good idea to ask for recommendations from friends and colleagues whose grooming and sense of style you admire. It is also important to interview an image consultant to find out about his or her training, professional background, and philosophy of image development. Another thing to consider are your own goals in improving or reinventing your image. Some consultants may specialize in developing your corporate image, while others may be more focused on fashion or personal image issues. If you have recently undergone a significant change, such as losing a considerable amount of weight or are dating again after being in a long-term relationship or marriage, ask the consultants whom you interview whether they have experience in working with people in similar situations.
A professional image consultant can assist you in choosing the right hairstyle and clothing for presenting yourself to others in the way that you wish. The image consultant can also give you constructive feedback on how you appear to others and changes that you can make to present a more positive image. Ideally, any image consultant whom you choose should have undergone a professional image consulting training program or have a significant history in the fashion or personal appearance industries. Ask about his or her education and training and also find out whether he or she can provide you with any references. In addition to those within your own social and professional networks, owners of salons or retail clothing stores may also be able to recommend reputable consultants.
When interviewing an image consultant, be upfront about your own image concerns. Some image consultants may be able to show you a portfolio of before and after pictures of their clients. Others may include photos of clients on their website. Think about whether you like the way these clients look and whether their style matches yours. A person may be a qualified image consultant, but if he wants to force you into a style or look that doesn't suit you, his services won't be of much use.
Finally, ask an image consultant about his or her fees and the length of time that you are expected to work with him or her. If you can afford only a couple of sessions, explain this and ask if it is possible to make some positive changes after meeting only once or twice. You may also want to pick a few areas in which you need the most help and ask him or her to focus on these and perhaps recommend books or other reading material so that you can take a self-help approach to other areas of your life and style.