Like a chef, I can’t imagine doing my work without a few key ingredients to hand.
For example, a successful colour analysis can’t be achieved without having a set of specially dyed fabrics. These tools, along with a keen eye and sense for the qualities in a person’s skin, eye and hair colour provide results that not only update an image, but can boost self confidence and esteem in both private life and in the work place.
To carry out a colour analysis or indeed any other image session, it is impossible to work without the key ingredient of them all. People.
Or is it?
Personally, the thought of working remotely even with today’s fast moving technology seems counter productive to what I do.
I love the privilege of working closely with people to create a result that very often, they say they wish they’d done years ago!
When it comes down to personal image, nothing is more personal, than actually talking about it.
With every new style session, an initial consultation is carried out to create a personally tailored map. Questions range from favourite colours and style challenges to discussing body shape. The information gathered is key to a successful outcome but should be handled with sensitivity and care.
Photo: Lia Edwards Rachel with Margareta-Maria Heinrich
Without exception, these questions can trigger various emotions and responses whether conciously, or not. Reactions can include anything from subtle eye movement to physical shifts in body language and changes in skin colour.
Without seeing someone in the flesh, It would be easy to miss out vital clues on how they are feeling as they are taken through the various stages of a personal image makeover to its final conclusion.
The thought then of conducting a style session over the phone and via Skype was the last thing on my mind, when I got an email to ask for just that.
Here I take up the challenge to see how it works!
- *Freya is a primary school teacher in her mid-thirties and is returning to teaching after looking after two young children. She needs an updated wardrobe to go with her new post.
- Freya suffers from a condition known as hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) and colours up easily around the neckline and facial area, so it was vital that her clothing is comfortable and not restrictive. This meant as much natural fibre as possible as well as carefully selected styles that were away away from problem areas like the neckline and underarm area.
Choosing the right styles would not only help Freya to look cool, but help her feel cool and also disguise the process happening in the first place.
- Freya needed more choice in tops and blouses. Experience in on-line shopping meant she spent more time returning clothes than keeping them.
- She needed clothing that was easy to move around in whilst working with groups of active young children.
- She wanted her style to be casual, without trying too hard and a look that reflected her age.
With each phone session I created a list of the items she was looking for to fit around her budget, size, fabric and colour etc. This would include an image of the clothing, the brand, size and the best online site selling the item. All she had to do was order them and try them on!
I also created a fashion/mood board to give Freya a visual picture of what her new wardrobe would look like and sent her a colour booklet so she could go shopping and match up her best colours.
Conducting the style sessions over the phone, allowed me to concentrate on every detail of Freya’s goals without distraction. As well as listening, I was able to do considerable note taking. Great for in filling in any gaps. (this could be perceived as rude with someone in front of me)
Dealing with personal issues was easier than I thought, and Freya felt comfortable and confident enough to tell me everything that was necessary to establish a clear working trust between us. Again, I think the phone session helped, and acted as a ‘safety barrier’
I enjoyed the on-line session and I can say it works and offers a good substitute especially if you live too far from the city, decent shops or you don’t have time to shop. However, it won’t ever replace being present and working through often personal stages of an image consultation (which can be a lot of fun working together!) this to me results in a more valuable and without doubt, a far more personal service.
Testimonial from Freya
I initially approached Rachel on recommendations from two friends who had been extremely happy with the services she had provided. Our initial consultation was via telephone and I felt immediately at ease talking to Rachel as she is so warm, friendly and has a genuine desire to help. After each conversation we had, Rachel provided a detailed summary of what we had discussed and she included links to recommended sites/products which she felt fitted my needs.Overall Rachel and I had several conversations either via telephone or Skype and she addressed each and every concern of mine with multiple suggestions and detailed responses.
The end result is that I have a colour palette which is tailored to me and I have a new confidence in myself and the way I look leaving me feeling ready to start work again!
*Not her real name