It is no news that first impressions can take you a long way. “People judge you within 30 seconds of seeing you. The halo effect is when you start off on a positive note and everything you do after that is seen in a positive light,” says Lata Goenka-Kedia, image director at Maximum Effect. Natalie Pereira, whose company Ripple Effect handles image consultancy, communication and presentation, concurs that it takes more effort to undo a bad impression in a world where perception is 90 percent of the validity.
“Image consulting is about how you communicate and what you communicate, the messages you want to portray right from your appearance to your behaviour, and your written and oral communication –what we call the ABCs of image management. The crux of it is how you are perceived and ensuring that it is in line with what you want to communicate. Everyone is a work of art and it is really just about choosing the right frame to showcase yourself,” says Goenka-Kedia.
A common misconception is that it is expensive business. But as image consultants will point out most people wear only 30 percent of their wardrobe. Rather than a splurge fest, consultants guide you to building a wardrobe that is 100 percent usable, which makes it a cost-effective exercise.
Goenka-Kedia says, “The process starts with a coffee meet followed by a series of analysis – colour, body line, facial, personality. When I work with corporate clients I use various diagnostic tools and the approach is more strategic. Questionnaires help get a clue about the individual’s personality and what their goals are. My aim is and what I enjoy bringing out is their individuality, their personality through their dress.”
|Lata Goenka-Kedia, image director at Maximum Effect|
Ask the experts what is their take on workplace boo-boos and Pereira says it is unacceptable that in India most people cannot draw attitude boundaries between work and home. Goenka-Kedia feels a common blunder is wearing traditional clothes to the workplace in inappropriate colours, with flowers and excess jewellery and that one cannot underestimate the power of a good fit. Jaishankar suggests factoring in the occasion, audience, your style and colour profiling before taking a call on what to wear.
A well-tailored third piece gets a big nod from Goenka-Kedia. She says, “A wardrobe essential is a blazer, a scarf, a shrug depending on the work environment as it gives immediate authority.”
While clothes maketh a person, image consulting works on the level of self-awareness which is the secret to a transformation that lasts past the midnight hour.
By Anuradha Prasad/ Raintree Media Features/ www.raintreemedia.com