Liza Doolittle, Cinderella and Pretty Woman. What do these three fictitious characters have in common? They all transformed the way they looked and changed their lives. You may recall that Cinderella was transformed in the twinkling of an eye by her Fairy Godmother; and Julia Roberts’ character in the film Pretty Woman was transformed in one day, thanks to the credit cards of her benefactor at the most exclusive shops on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
On the other hand, Liza Doolittle, heroine of the classic film My Fair Lady was transformer over many, many months by the aristocratic Professor Henry Higgins. He coached her on every element of image from head to toe, including body language and elocution. It was a slow process, because whether he knew it or not, he was also changing her character and the very essence of who she felt she was. Going from scraggly street urchin to elegant refined lady isn’t achieved in the twinkling of an eye, and it isn’t achieved without a great deal of effort - and even greater personal growth. Liza Doolittle changed her image and she changed her life.
If you want to transform your image, be prepared to transform your attitude about yourself, just as Liza Doolittle did. In the process you’ll increase your presence and your self esteem dramatically.
Where do you begin? It begins with obtaining a clear understanding of color and how it affects your appearance on two different levels. First, you’ll discover the colors that make you look more attractive. Second, you’ll discover the profound psychological effect that colors have on the perception others have of you. For example, black can cause many women to appear stern, so you need to discover how to “dilute” black’s severity so that you wear it instead of it wearing you.
One good way to do that is to avoid wearing black with harsh colors like orange, and that includes lipstick. Black and orange are great for Halloween but not for an elegant refined look. Pink, on the other hand is soft and feminine, so it immediately diminishes black’s perceived severity. A lipstick and blusher in pink tones will let you own black when you wear it. Add bold earrings and you’ll immediately take on the air of a self-assured and important woman of the world, à la Liza Doolittle.
It may be painful to get rid of perfectly good garments, especially those that were expensive; and sometimes it takes a while before you can do so. Don’t worry, it’s normal. However, like Liza Doolittle, once you’ve begun to leave your former self behind and become the person you were born to be, you will let go of all kinds of things, including expensive garments in the wrong colors! It’s truly better to be in a simple shell in a fabulous color than a designer suit in the wrong color, because the wrong color can make you look tired, older, unfriendly, or even sick. .
You may be surprised to hear that we don’t choose colors or clothing from the results in the mirror. We choose them from the “heart and soul” which we sometimes call good taste and instincts. Neither will help you if your goal is looking better. The other place we make our choices from is habit, and most of us are buried in an avalanche of bad habits. You’ll be amazed at how many colors you “love” that don’t love you back in the mirror. Once you gain the awareness that color is the most important component of your image, you’ll take the time to discover the colors that can enable you to own the room.
When I work with VIP clients, I fly out to their location once a month and stay for two days. It’s usually by the third visit that the client says, “I’m getting rid of everything that doesn’t make me look like the fabulous person that I know I am.” It’s not that they are slow learners; it’s just that it takes that long to go through the deep internal transformation that enables a woman to catch up with her powerful and extraordinary new image and persona. Knowledge is empowering and liberating.
It’s exhilarating to look in the mirror and see an image that makes you smile with satisfaction. It’s even more exhilarating to know that you own that image.
Sandy Dumont is a veteran image consultant with more than 30 years experience helping men and women become more successful and empowered through the use of image skills. She is an acknowledged thought leader in the world of image and impression strategies. Visit her website for case studies: wwww.theimagearchitect.com