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By Sandy Dumont
The Image Architect

Did you ever see someone walking down the street wearing garments that were glaringly wrong or unflattering for the person? Maybe, like others, you have wondered if they had a mirror at home.  Alas, they probably did. The real problem is usually lack of concern about the appearance, laziness or a lack of awareness.  

With 30 years of experience dealing with image, I have concluded that lack of awareness is the culprit most often. Here is a checklist in case you haven't stopped to look in the mirror and consider your image from head to toe:

(1)  Is your hairstyle up to date? Or did you succumb to a "no muss no fuss" hairdo that looks less than professional. Wash & Wear hair is fine, as long as it doesn't look like Wash & Wear hair. In other words, it doesn't look like it dried in the car on the way to work and has a carelessness to it.  If you appear careless with your hair, it will be assumed that you are careless about your work.

(2) Women: Do you wear makeup? Or do you feel that you don't have time to spend putting on makeup each morning? How would you feel if Laura Bush came to your organization to speak and showed up without makeup? You might feel that she didn't think your organization mattered much, because she didn't take the extra time that morning to put on her makeup. Most importantly, she might look unimportant and, therefore, not make as much of an impact. If you look at the paintings of the great masters from the past, they applied "lipstick" and "eyeshadow" to biblical figures, even though these products did not exist at the time. In reality, they improved upon Mother Nature and added color to the lips to make the women appear softer and kinder; then they added soft shadows around the eyes to give them more shape, definition and prominence. In reality, the figures in the painting would not gain your attention had the masters not improved upon Mother Nature. Without makeup, you may look washed out and, studies have proven, less professional.

(3) Do you wear appropriate colors? Or do you believe you can wear any color as long as you feel good in it? Colors affect us on two levels. First, the results in the mirror; and secondly, in terms of looking more powerful, dynamic, trustworthy, etc. Most people choose colors from the "heart and soul," which has nothing to do with the results in the mirror. They like the color and feel good in it. With a trained eye, they may ultimately come to learn that the colors they like best may actually cause them to look less attractive than they could. Most importantly, some colors take away power and cause you to look passive and unimportant. Thus, you may be kept waiting, have difficulty getting your foot in the door or be treated as if you are unimportant. Take the time to find out about the power of color.  

(4) Do you wear the appropriate "line" or style of clothing and accessories? Or do you choose items because they look good on someone else? The lines that are created by the clothing and accessories you wear, including the shape of your shoes, can make or break you. Square toes, for example, make you look clumsy. Line is "read" subliminally in mere seconds. The line of your garments or accessories can cause you to look severe  - or dynamic and friendly. And their line or shape and make you look two sizes larger – or smaller. Stripes, for example, make you look taller, but they also make you look broader.   "Flaws" of any kind create distractions to your message, and camouflaging them improves your communication dramatically.  

(5) Women: Do you wear accessories? Or do you buy an "outfit" with perfectly-matched top, jacket and pants or skirt and leave it at that? This is nothing more than "robot dressing." It suggests a lack of imagination or creativity. Unfortunately, you will be judged to be someone who accepts the status quo rather than to be a mover and a shaker. Creativity and imagination are valued assets in all areas of life, including your personal, public and business life. Take the time to discover the accessories that make you look dynamic and state of the art.  

Take a serious look at yourself in the mirror and the persona you present? If you entered a room filled with people, would heads turn? If  you don't stand out in a crowd, your image may need some fine tuning. You owe it to yourself to do the best you can with your image. There are no unattractive people, only people who have not learned how to look attractive!  

Sandy Dumont is an internationally-known image consultant with 30 years experience. She has been quoted by US News & World Report, NBC, CBS, In Touch Magazine, The Washington Post and countless other publications. She is a leading  pioneer in the field of image. Contact her at:

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Member Comments

    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Bresue wrote Mar 3, 2010
    • Sandy,
      It’s nice to know that my hair style is in fashion, as it is the same style and color as yours! What a nice coincidence.
      As for number 4, that is one of the most difficult for me. When I see an outfit in a magazine or store that I really like, I sometimes find after trying it on that I do not have the figure for which it was designed. So I try something else until I find what flatters me most.

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    • 0 votes vote up vote up

      Sandy Dumont wrote Mar 4, 2010
    • Brsue,
      You are like a lot of women. We see something on a mannequin in a store and it’s a size 2 at most, and never has thighs or a tummy! Most of the mistakes in the closets of my clients were because they bought an outfit “as is” in the store, complete with accessories.

      It’s always a good idea to discover the basic jacket or top that flatters your figure type, because that’s where most women get off track.

      Pants are easier. Straight-leg pants are best for most. Stretchy pants that hug the thighs aren’t good if you have thunder thighs.  Short women look taller in straight pants, too.

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