Sarah's original photo
One of Sarah's new photos
Sarah had been asked my one of her client's for a more professional photo to accompany an article she'd written. However, the only photo she had was a snap of her at the beach. As you can see (above left), although it's a lovely photo, it wasn't appropriate for her business.
Dr Sarah McKay is a neuroscientist who runs her own business as a science and health writer, speaker and neuroscience educator.
When she contacted me she had already lined up a photographer, but realised she didn't know what clothes she'd wear for her photo shoot. We agreed she needed a personal branding session. The aim was to make her look as amazing as possible for her new professional photos, for the videos she's about to start making, and for her speaking engagements.
She wanted to find a just right smart casual professional style that isn't too corporate, or too casual.
Sarah's Style Words
We started with a Style Discovery Session, including a Colour Analysis, with a focus on business branding (although the results can be applied to her non-work personal style as well).
The session started by assessing the style fundamentals of Sarah's colouring and body proportions, as well as the determining the words to express who she is and how she wants to be seen (her style words).
We then looked at the style portfolio that Sarah had put together of looks, clothes, and style elements she loves (this was part of the style homework I'd asked her to do before our consultation). I helped Sarah to start a style glossary (words that will fulfill her style words) and began to create a vision of what Sarah's new style might look like.
Part of Sarah's style portfolio Some of my clients really struggle with finding pictures of looks they love. I advise them to focus on the outfit, rather than the model. And not to worry about whether it would suit them, but rather pick looks, colours, and even micro style elements (such as buckles and buttons) that they love! How strongly they like something is more important than quantity.
With her colour swatch, body proportion information and style glossary in hand we moved into Sarah's wardrobe to try and create suitable and flattering outfits. The aim was to create 4 or 5 trans-seasonal outfits for the photo shoot, that will also be used for her business wardrobe. Sarah confessed that she has preferred to spend money on books, rather than clothes. We quickly agreed we needed a shopping trip and drew up a shopping plan.
After the Style Discovery session Sarah was feeling much more confident about what she wanted her style to be and wanted to try shopping by herself, to practice her new style knowledge. She managed to find a few great items, but not everything.
I wouldn't really have expected her to be able to find all the items on her shopping list straight away. It does take a while to change shopping habits of a lifetime and to start to really see items that will work for you and to know where to look. However, we managed to complete her smart business wardrobe capsule in a shopping trip together.
The final step was a wardrobe session to show Sarah how to style the new items into outfits, and to integrate her purchases with the items already in her wardrobe. I took photos of each of the outfit permutations so that Sarah can remember what we created, and we identified the potential choices for her photo shoot.
The results were superb, as you can see from this small selection from the lovely photos she now has available to her for her business.
And of course she also has outfits that suit all areas of her working life, from casual home office wear, through several levels of smart business casual. We recorded many ways to style each item to make her wardrobe looks a lot larger than it is and to ensure she'll get maximum value from each item.
Items not shown here include:
Sarah in Sportscraft skirt
and David Lawrence top
Sarah in Rebecca Ruby
Peacock print dress
Sarah, as you might expect, is a very quick learner. However, I was amazed and delighted at how quickly and enthusiastically she embraced the style concepts I introduced her to.
Here is Sarah's feedback about her style makeover experience...
Q: What encouraged you to look for style makeover services?
A: Business headshot/photo shoot booked.
Q: Do you remember how you first heard about my services?
Met you at an Inspiring Women Networking event.
Q: What were your major objectives at this stage?
I knew I needed help with choosing outfits for photos.
Q: Were there any time constraints affecting your decision?
Q: What alternatives did you consider (if any) and why?
A: I called a couple of other stylists and you were the most friendly and least 'freaked out' when I said I was a neuroscientist!!!!
Q: Why did you choose me?
A: I remember your outfit at the Inspiring Women event and thought you looked so 'put together'.
Q: What were the major attractions of the solution?
A: I believe in getting help with things I'm not an expert at.
Q: Tell me how you felt going through the style makeover process?
A: So well cared for, listened to and understood.
Q: What were your expectations? And were they met?
A: More than met. I didn't know what to expect and the process was SO much more thorough than I dreamed.
Q: What are my strengths?
A: You listen carefully, consider what I've said, and are calm and caring.
Q: What are my weaknesses?
Q: Would you use my services again?
A: YES YES YES!!!
Q: What advice would you give to others who are considering reviewing and improving their image?
A: Call Jane!! I've already recommended you to a couple of friends.
Sarah's new beach photo
Q: What are the major benefits after your style makeover?
A: Having a beautiful new wardrobe of quality clothes, confidence in how to wear them in a variety of ways, and a clear idea of what suits me for when I go shopping next.
Q: What will you do now that you were not doing before?
A: I don't think I'll waste money on clothes and styles that don't suit me or give off the impression I want to give.
Q: On a scale of 10 (excellent) to 1 (extremely poor) how do you rate your experience with me?
Q:Would you refer and recommend me?
A: Yes and I already have.
Q: Do you have any other feedback or comments for me?
A: When I first called I got the sense straight away that you would help me with MY style (including figuring out what my style IS), not just dress me in what YOU think are the latest trends. Working with you was one of the best investments I've made in myself and my business, ever.
Are you ready to update your professional image? To ensure you look as professional and successful as you are (or as you want to be)? I'd love to help you.
I offer personal image consulting and styling services both in-person (if you can come to me in Avalon, near Sydney, on the beautiful Northern Beaches), and remotely (using a mix of email, photos, and Skype, FaceTime, or phone).
Sarah's blog on brain health really is very interesting (and easy to read -- no techie jargon!). You'll find it here.
"Your style makeover may require a few tweaks or a total re-think. Using a mix of science and art I show you how to discover your style and look great every day.
Hi, I'm Jane Liddelow, the Personal Image Consultant and Stylist responsible for this site. Find out more about me here."