Friendly Fashion Intervention

When is it appropriate to make a fashion intervention?

It’s common for me to be asked to stage a fashion intervention. It’s usually a friend referring to a friend. “Can you help her/him because I don’t know how to approach it?” Reality TV has shown us the surprise attack method of fashion intervention. I am not a fan of this method as breaking some one down to build them up seems cruel and unnecessary. In my opinion it is always best to have a heart to heart chat then seek the additional help of a wardrobe consultant. A talk with a friend lessens the chance they feel like something is wrong with them. While it may sting initially, they know you have their best interest in mind. You want to help. You want them to be noticed, be promoted, find a girlfriend, look as great as they are….

While an image consultant has the skill to help a client, you have a relationship and past history, which gives insight to their frustrations, challenges and goals. Once the discussion has been started an introduction to an image consultant is certainly beneficial.

How do you breach the topic?
Image consulting and personal branding are not about fixing. It is about improving one’s image by gaining educational tools which align the “inside” and the “outside.” The world will you as a shining personality with intelligence and value. When you are concerned about a friend’s image, begin with the below suggestions.

What you can do every day to help.

  • Share your story if you’ve worked on your image. What expected and unexpected results did you get?
  • Lead by example – inspire them with your image.
  • Compliment them when they look fantastic and don’t focus or mention when they don’t. This encourages the good behavior and teaches when they make an effort it is rewarded
  • Plan fun outings to encourage self-awareness – make-overs, window-shopping, professional development.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do you think they need help?
  • Do they want help? Did they ask?
  • Are they aware you are concerned?
  • Do you think they’ll find value in working on their image?
  • Have you heard a persistent complaint that made you think they’d be well served by a wardrobe consultant? (We can’t just dress them pretty . It also requires a shift in confidence and presence which allows the clothes to “fit” the person.)
  • Where do they spend their money? This will make priorities clear. Eg. Cultural events, travel, hobbies, wardrobe, athletics.

Script suggestion:
(Friend’s name), we’ve known each other for (duration). I hope you know how much I value our friendship and want the best for you. I’ve noticed over the months/years that you’re not happy with (eg. Lack of dates, not being promoted, feeling blah about life, frustrated with your shape, etc). I’ve heard you mention it several times and thought it might be helpful for us to brainstorm how I can help. Would you like my thoughts and advice?

Ask them:

  • How do you want the world to see you?
  • What would you like them to know about you? Pick 3 to 5 adjectives.
  • How do they think the world perceives you currently?
  • Considering the above questions is there alignment or breakdown between what you want and what is currently happening?
  • Are you willing to make an investment in yourself (both financial, time and effort)?
  • Have you worked with a wardrobe consultant before?
  • If yes, why did it, or did it not, work?

Once they know you are in their corner and genuinely want to help, it is time to go hand in hand to a wardrobe consultant. Thank you for starting the process – it’s the most important step! Remember, building a personal brand is a long-term relationship in itself. On average it takes an individual six months to learn and digest goals, imbed habits and see consistent results. With continual learning and successes the individual will see the tremendous value in investing in one’s own personal brand.

We’d love to help. Just ask about our consumer personal branding division with a focus on wardrobe consultation.

Clare Hefferren

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