Diana Kilgour, Vancouver, Wardrobe and Image Consultant

Diana Kilgour
Image Consulting Vancouver

Phone: [604] 688-2889

Diana Kilgour - Wardrobe Consultant
Personal Style and Image Consultant

Business in Vancouver - April 6-12, 1999

Dressing for Success

Buying a lot? Buy it all at once

Business in Vancouver - April 6-12, 1999

Knock 'em dead: Wardrobe and image consultant Diana Kilgour appraises her newly stylish client, Canaccord Capital's David Smith.

Canaccord Capital Corp. broker David Smith was nudged, or possibly pushed, along the road to sartorial splendour by his wife, who referred him to Vancouver image consultant Diana Kilgour.

Smith knew the kind of image he wanted to project through his wardrobe, but he had neither the time to shop nor, he admits, the taste to put it all together.

He gives Kilgour full marks for both tact and taste.

"I can't say I was an honour student. She didn't exactly come out and tell me I had crummy taste. If I selected a yellow striped shirt, she would ask me if I thought beige would look better. She let me figure things out for myself," said Smith.

She did not accept excuses, however.

"I told her that stockbrokers dress in the dark. She told me to lay out my clothes the night before," he said.

Whether Smith is as sartorially challenged as he imagines, he did know what he wanted: clothes that were sharp but not too powerful.

His aversion to neon power clothes is typical of many of the business people Kilgour dresses. The IBM dress code that endured through the 1980s, when Kilgour started her consulting service, has given way to a more casual, approachable look.

"The dress for success ethic really meant to dress in as intimidating a fashion as you could. It translated into if you've got it, flaunt it. Managers still want to project authority, but they are looking for comfort. Dressing casually and well isn't easy. In David's case, though, he needed to look smart, as does anyone dealing with people's finances and futures," said Kilgour.

The state of Smith's wardrobe when she met him was fairly typical.

"The education usually starts in a client's closet. I learn a lot about them from the choices they have made. David had a few things he felt very good in, some things he wore once in a while, and some he never wore," said Kilgour.

The first step is to weed out the nonessentials and delegate them to a spare room closet -- or to give them away.

She analyzes a client's lifestyle, physical characteristics -- including complexion and hair texture -- and personality before shopping begins.

Although her clients vary from struggling law school grads to well-heeled West Van mavens, her advice is always the same: buy as much as you can afford at the same time.

"You will get much better coordination and flexibility from your pieces of clothing if you deal with them as whole outfits. Most people buy one garment at a time and hope it goes with what they have at home. They shop with their fingers crossed," said Kilgour.

Smith refers to the process as his personal "renovation."

"She arranged to meet me at a store and had all these suits lined up. She kept things moving along and was clearly in control. It was a treat. I didn't have to go shopping for a few years," said Smith.

He was finally forced to come out of the closet when his supply of custom-made dress shirts Kilgour had made by a local tailor began to dwindle.

For the most part, though, Kilgour buys off the rack and calls a client when she sees an item she knows a client would like.

Wardrobe consulting is only one aspect of Kilgour's service. On request, she also advises clients on speech habits, grooming and etiquette. She warns clients practicing the art of the power lunch of the dangers of spinach and poppy seeds. She has even been hired to choose clients' eyeglasses.

"I will tell a client if he needs a firmer handshake. I coach people in the art of business lunches to help them overcome discomfort in this situation. Whatever it takes to help them make a positive first, second, and fifth impression," said Kilgour.


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DIANA KILGOUR Vancouver Image Consultant

Personal Style & Image Consultant - Colour Consulting - Color Analysis - Closet Organizer
From Corporate to Casual since 1981
Vancouver, BC, Canada