When I tell people that I am a Certified Image Consultant, they look a me like I have three heads,and usually make the assumption that I work in fashion. It’s not unusual for people who work in the retail clothing business to refer to themselves as image consultants.
As image consultants, it is important to inform people that a Certification program is available, requiring the Image Consultant to successfully pass an exam covering a wide range of topics.
Certification shows clients, colleagues and the media that you have achieved a competent level of training and knowledge in the image field and that you keep abreast of current thinking and technical knowledge.
AICI’s Mission is to Set and promote the highest professional standards for image consultants in Appearance, Behavior and Communication.
Yes, in addition to Appearance, we also need to share that we provide services that deal with Behavior and Communication, such as Dining Etiquette, Body Language, Professional Communication and Social Etiquette.
Why did I choose this profession? For two reasons – I am creative and I have compassion. I grew up with a strict Chinese father who insisted his daughters attend university. If I had a choice, I probably would have studied fashion or interior design. But as an obedient daughter, I achieved a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Toronto. Although it was not my first choice, I realized that providing therapy felt right because of my natural compassion for people. After years of counseling people in pain and from my own years of maturing, it became apparent to me that the world is judgmental. I decided to research the relationship between a good image and getting what you want, and the findings supported that the better one looked, the more benefits they would enjoy, such as getting that special job, a promotion, or passing the line up to enter an exclusive club.
Image consulting is not much different . Some of my clients come to me in pain because they are tired of being invisible, so I work with all ages and types of people to show them their true potential. The result is increased self-esteem and a positive impact on their social and professional lives. Everyone has the right to feel good about themselves.
So, Image Consulting is not just about wearing the right clothing – it is about self-esteem and increased self-awareness, which is liberating and empowering. It is important to teach the public that we are qualified professionals who make a difference in our clients’ lives.
The importance of having a good image is not a new phenomenon. In the 1830’s, Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
“I wonder how long men would retain their ranks if divested of their clothing”.
Image mattered then, and it matters now.
Lynda Jean, BA, MSW, AICI
Certified Image Consultant