Did you know that what you wear can make a difference in your confidence level? Making simple changes can have a big effect on how you perform. Today we’re talking to Annette Bond, a certified image consultant working to help successful, powerful women get dressed with ease for their professional day-to-day life. She teaches women how to accept and embrace their authentic and best selves all while using clothing as a business and communication tool. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Annette as my personal image consultant. Today, she’ll be providing her insight as a successful and fashionably forward professional, leading us to align how we feel with how we look.
Q: Annette, thank you for joining us! Let’s talk about how you got into this line of work. How did you become an image consultant, and what does that mean?
A: Well, it is interesting to look back on how I got to where I am today. Going back in time, I know as a young girl I loved fashion and style. I had an affinity towards designing clothes, so my mother put me in sewing school. I started to make my own clothes using the textures and fabrics that I wanted, allowing my creativity to run free. It was a limitless feeling, being able to make unique clothing that was customized to how I felt. Fast forward a bit and I ended up getting a college degree in marketing and communications. Of course, after getting a degree, I needed a job! I did some searching and was hired, essentially as an intern, by an entrepreneurial family who owned several high-end boutiques. I was able to learn from the owner about the retail industry and participate in upscale events with clients.
But I had a distinct feeling that I didn’t look the part or feel on brand with the store. Thankfully they gave me a clothing allowance so that I could then build my own personal boutique. This made me feel more confident and empowered as I started dressing the part. The women that came into the boutique also wanted to feel stylish and current, but more importantly they wanted to feel confident while being working professionals, just like I did. I honed in on that concept as an image consultant after working with Mary Kay Cosmetics and became certified as a consultant for multiple companies. Today, the philosophy is that style begins with the woman, not the clothing. It’s about bringing awareness and acceptance to who we are. We really want to embody our strengths and personalities through our clothes, and as an image consultant that’s what I help with!
Q: What a great journey, learning how to really use your gifts to help others. You mentioned that women just want to feel confident and that it’s ultimately about the feeling. When you were in your role at the boutique and didn’t feel like you belonged, it was because something was off. I know when we first met, I had some luxury pieces of clothing that hadn’t been worn at all, and it had been years since I bought them. It was not until I could see myself in those pieces and as that person that I decided to wear them. My closet was displaying so many different parts of my vision and personality that it was difficult to decide what to wear. You helped me realize how important it is to condense and rein in all of my pieces so that now, I can dress with ease and in alignment with my own personal brand. There’s no fussing. Can you talk about how the elements of fashion, like the colors, and fashion feng-shui, all tie together for you?
A: Clothing can be used as a tool. Many times we only think about our outside appearance when getting dressed for the day, but fashion feng-shui is about incorporating a woman’s essence into her style and being intentional in how she shows up. How do you dress for a corporate environment versus a non-profit event? Or when you have a meeting, your dress will invoke feelings in others around you. How do you want to make them feel?
Q: Something else we’ve discussed regarding fashion feng-shui is that it truly allows us to be ourselves by enhancing parts of our personality through our dress. We don’t have to be a chameleon and wear something uncomfortable to fit in. If we want to show a bit of edginess but are going to a non-profit function, we can still dress warm and inclusive while maybe adding a pop of color or an edgy necklace to show that part of our unique self. It’s intentionally pairing things together that are uniquely you while still allowing you to connect with more people. So when people start to work with an image consultant like you, do they have to get rid of their whole wardrobe and start from scratch? How does that work?
A: Absolutely not! There doesn’t have to be a complete tear down of the wardrobe, because there are some things in your closet that you already love. Most clients start with a few items that already make them feel confident, and we will go from there to understand why those pieces make them feel confident. Then we will make new combinations of outfits and fill the gaps of color within the closet. Most importantly we balance their wardrobe to fit their lifestyle. Are you speaking on camera or in person? Is it to many people or to one person? Are you in a setting where you are conducting a lot of meetings? We want to make sure that whatever the lifestyle, the clothing choices will support that.
Q: I remember talking about the importance of why we like something, but also why we don’t like other things. Understanding that was a huge pivot for me, and I saved a fortune! I couldn’t understand why I kept buying things that looked great on the shopping rack, but at home they collected dust in the back of my closet. Some of the pieces I could even adjust to how I wanted to present myself after learning that understanding and learning to trust my own judgment. Coming from the mindset of a coach, in order to achieve your goals and dreams, you have to become that person first. Even without having the physical reality of that goal or dream, it doesn’t mean that we aren’t able to present ourselves as that person and start being that person right now. In fact, it’s crucial to become that person first so that we don’t revert back to old ways when making changes. Bob Proctor, one of my own mentors, always says that one of the easiest ways to get into character is through how you dress. Over the pandemic, I fell into the yoga-pants and sleepwear trap and began to feel sluggish and unproductive. I wanted to feel good, so I put the suit back on even if I wasn’t going out to see anyone that day and it gave me a confidence boost. What’s been your experience with clients in terms of that?
A: One particular story stands out to me. About five years ago I asked a client, “What do you really want and why do you want to work with me?” She replied, “I want to be that 1% woman.” She was an entrepreneur working in a male-dominated sector who wanted to walk into a room and be seen for her intelligence and professionalism through her presence and wardrobe. She was able to transform not only her wardrobe but her presence and how others viewed her. The real pivot was that the inner work was completed before we adjusted her closet, and she was ready to look as good as she felt. She was already that person before coming to me.
Q: That is so great. On next week’s podcast we’ll be discussing the unconscious mind and goal priming. You can move toward a goal without realizing it because you’re priming it with an affirmation or a vision. The woman we want to become is guiding our unconscious behavior, allowing us to recognize opportunities that we may have not even seen before. How can people start connecting and working with you?
A: There is a style guide I have called Get Style Confident Now!. In that, we go through three steps. We go through a ‘t-shirt word’ for yourself where you think about your brand, and then go through your closet. Bringing the awareness of who you are to your clothing makes everything as streamlined as possible. You can visit my website at https://www.annettebond.com/styleconfidence to download that style guide and get started on that process.
Q: Thank you so much for sharing that. I encourage you all to take advantage of the style guide! If you have not worked with an image consultant, connect with Annette to see how you can elevate your own brand and confidence.
A: Something I do want to say before we go, is that clothes don’t make you, but they do reveal you. Whatever we choose to wear, it is telling a story about us. Try to be aligned with that story you’re trying to tell the world and have fun with it, because life is short!
Q: Yes, it is! Thank you so much for your nuggets of wisdom. I know I am a grateful client.
So with that, I want the blog readers to think of an imaginary magic wand. If you could wave it and dress like the person you want to be, what would that look like? Visualize your future self. What are some of the things you’re doing? Begin to notice how you feel, your level of confidence, your elevated levels of joy, and the ease and flow of your wardrobe fitting with your lifestyle. Take an inspired action and write down whatever comes to mind. Remember, you want to present yourself as that person you want to be and you’ll be further along the journey of becoming that person for real!
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