Consultation Shouldn't be Considered a Luxury
Wardrobe is for Many a Practical Necessity
Most people want to be seen as competent and confident, and appropriate dressing is part of that expression, says Diana L. Kilgour, wardrobe and image consultant. Kilgour has consulted since the early '80s when interest in colour analysis was growing. By the mid-'80s, when dressing-for-success became the executive credo, she had an enviable client base and the skills to assist. Since then, she's continued to thrive, expanding her services to include personal shopping, consultant training, corporate workshops and seminars and in-home wardrobe advice.
Getting help with clothes is not a luxury. For many, it's a practical necessity, says Kilgour.
We grow up thinking we should automatically get it right when we reach a certain age, she says. But awareness of what makes us look and feel good and, most importantly -- why it does -- isn't stamped on a brain cell from birth. It is learned.
For some people, asking for help is as natural as going to a hairdresser. Others take a more discreet approach. "Some of my clients ask me to come to do their closets when their husbands
are out of town," says Diana Kilgour. Some couples she says, book a
consultation together because it's easier if she gets them on the same style
level than for one to criticize the other.
"People new to town call me because they aren't familiar with the shops. Parents book appointments for university graduates and men ask for help with shopping once or twice a year."
Why is finding a personal and appropriate style so hard?
Most people, she says, take a right-brain approach to clothing. "They shop when they are in the mood and they fantasize about being someone other than who they are. They're too emotional."
On the job, Kilgour's tact is a mix of psychology and practicality. "I need to know who you were when you put these clothes in your closet, who you are now, and where you are going."
Her emphasis, she says, is on style and taste, not fashion.
"I look at the whole person, I listen to him or her. Personality is an important factor in dress. When everything to do with looks from hair style, eyeglasses, clothes and shoes is consistent, then it looks natural."
Back in the acquisitive '80s, says Kilgour, "People used to dress to impress, some companies even encouraged competitive dressing among women.
"Today, clothing is less aggressive. People want to look more appealing and trustworthy."
As an example of change, she says that women shop less for fun and entertainment,
and more for practical solutions to their dressing dilemmas. That's why, she
says, although fashion forecasters keep saying "black is out," it will stay
because "it's practical."
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