1. Dress for Success.

There’s a reason that old adage has survived. It is especially important during the current weak job market. Eric Wilson recently wrote an article for The New York Times entitled “The Return of the Interview Suit.” With the sobering reality of “the unemployment rate in America at a 14-year high and more than half a million jobs lost in the last three months alone,” Wilson writes that there is a clear shift back toward serious business attire. Your image is your visual resume. You already know that your paper resume must be impeccable, free of mistakes, and give the impression that you are the one who will get the job done. You’ve probably even had it proof-read several times. So too with your appearance. You don’t know what you don’t know about your image, and in this tough economy you’ll want all the leverage you can get. An image consultant is trained to notice the miniscule yet key details you might not see, as well as offer other important impression strategies and tricks of the trade. Always remember the way you look and dress announces the outcome others can expect from you, and you’ll be treated accordingly.

2. De-cluttering: Was there ever a more beautiful word?

The number of professional organizers has grown exponentially over the last decade. Clearly, Americans are expressing their frustration over having too much stuff. A recent study found that women wear only twenty percent of their wardrobe 85% of the time. That translates into a whopping 80% of your clothes that are either worn rarely or not at all. Ask yourself how many items (impulse buys, bargains, or buyer‘s remorse) in your closet still have tags. How many pieces did you forget you own because they were hidden behind other things you don’t wear? An image consultant will help you sort through the piles in your closet, keeping everything that works, showing you how to salvage the good-but-not-great pieces, and creating a powerful and efficient workhorse of a wardrobe.

3. Don’t be a Slave to Fashion.

Coco Chanel said “fashion is made to become unfashionable.” Think about it: designers are always competing for your business, declaring what’s in, and pushing the envelope on trends that are often unflattering or barely wearable. How often have we caved in, buying that current fashion trend just because everyone else was wearing it? But have you ever actually looked at the designers themselves? Chances are, you won’t see them wearing their own latest runway fashions. Designers have developed their own style and it’s often classic and timeless; they know what works and they‘re sticking to it. An image consultant will show you how to shop for those styles that flatter your figure and make the most of your natural assets. Armed with the right information, you can be stylish at any moment, in any season, during any trend. For decades to come.

4. It is Not a Luxury.

Repeat that to yourself: It is Not a Luxury. A luxury is something that is desirable but nonessential. An investment is a purchase that you should be able to use for a long time. It takes less than ten seconds for a person to form a long-lasting impression of you. In that time, they’ve determined - right or wrong - how successful you are, how intelligent you are, and how worthwhile you are. Clearly, your image is a worthwhile investment. When you know you look good, you radiate confidence, success and power. What‘s more, dressing well is an act of self-love. It shows that you respect and care about yourself. It is also a subconscious nod to those around you that you respect and care about them as well. They are consequently drawn to you – and they accord you immediate credibility and respect. That is no small thing.

5. It’s the Economy, Stupid!

Although the idea of hiring an image consultant can seem daunting to your wallet, take a moment to think about how much you spend on clothes, make-up, hairstyling, accessories, jewelry, and shoes annually. Now think about what percentage of that you can chalk up to bad decisions and experimentations gone awry. The truth is, hiring an image consultant has little to do with being wealthy or becoming a fashionista. The decision to work with an image consultant is a decision to invest in yourself. It is as important to your lifestyle and career as working with a financial planner. An image consultant shows you how to find clothes that fit properly and flatter your body, how to choose colors that make you look youthful and dynamic, and how to shop smart so that you pull together a wardrobe that works for you and not against you. Just as you’d expect your financial planner to get the most out of your dollar, your image consultant will do the same for your clothing, your image and your dollar.

Author's Bio: 

Sandy Dumont is more than an image consultant. She is an expert, training others to become image consultants, and she is the founder and President of the World Association of Image Consultants. Sandy is a pioneer in the field of image psychology and impression management, and she is the leader in color and color psychology. She has consulted for TV, Fortune 500 companies, politicians and celebrities.

Sandy is also a columnist and the author of seven books, including four e-books on the subject of corporate and personal image enhancement and power dressing. Sandy is a “makeover” expert for both individuals and companies. At the Impression Strategies Institute, Sandy offers Diploma Classes in image consultant training. Her newest book, a compilation of her more than 30 years expertise on image, will be published in 2009.