Scarlett spoke to us at Yale, and she is the owner of Scarlett Image, a professional image consulting company, where her tagline is: “Where women look Younger, Thinner and Taller.” WHO DOESN’T want to look younger, taller and thinner out in the wide world of business and life, right? Read on for more!

Below are my interview questions and answers with Scarlett – and throughout this post, I’ll be sure to highlight the tips we all need to consider in matching our clothing to our personal brands of awesomeness—both at home and at the office.

Q: Thanks for being part of this post, Scarlett! First, many women want to lose weight before making themselves and their wardrobes over. Do women really need to wait?

 

SD: Absolutely not. One of the most common mistakes women make before working with me is waiting years to lose some weight before investing in their wardrobe and appearance. Besides the facts that years and often decades go by without any significant weight loss, the size of a woman’s clothes has nothing to do with looking and feeling put together and confident. She can be a size 4 or 14, but if her clothes are the wrong color, style and fit, the size on the label won’t make any difference in her appearance, or how she sees herself. Why should anyone not look and feel their best immediately? Your personal and business lives depend on your image reflecting yourself in a positive manner.

Q: Let’s say a woman reading this is ready for a makeover! What is the first thing she should do to herself and/or her closet?

 

SD: Ideally, she should: find out what her most flattering colors are, so she no longer spends money on clothes that do not flatter her skin tone, eyes and hair color. Then she should go through her existing clothes to see which ones are not flattering, outdated or no longer fit. If the top is 10 years old and still fits, it is not a keeper as it is too outdated and will make the wearer look older and stuck in the past. If shopping for new clothes is needed, then it is very important to focus on the style and fit that is best for her particular shape and lifestyle. Do NOT get caught up in trying to look younger by wearing trendy clothes. Often, this attempt backfires and actually ages a woman. Stick to basics and use accessories to add interest and personal style. It is also very important for her to stop buying the same type of clothes over and over again. This is very common as women are attracted to what they already have. When I show my clients what they should be wearing, it is almost always not something they would have picked out on their own.

I just wrote an easy to follow closet organizing guide that will show you how to organize your clothes so it will be much easier to know and find what to wear. You also will get a video tour of my closet showing you how to use my organizing tips. Women love seeing the inside of my closet, as they expect it to be out of a magazine, and are pleasantly surprised to see it is not so different from their own.

Q: If a woman is going to splurge on some items to get her feeling great about herself and her wardrobe, what’s worth the splurge?

 

SD: Get a few new bras, but only at a local small lingerie or department store where you can get a bra fitting by a professional. The difference the right sized bra can make is unbelievable. For starters, the waistline will be more defined, as the correct bra will keep the breasts up where they belong, and you will find your clothes will fit so much better. When your bust line is back where it was meant to be, you will instantly feel and look younger, thinner and taller. Imagine how great the right clothes would now look with your new uplifted shape!

Tips on bras: Bras needs proper care so that they will last longer, so never put them in the dryer and do not wear the same bra two days in a row, as the elastic needs to ‘rest’ so they will hold their shape longer.

Q: In your professional opinion as an image consultant, what items are OK to keep up with trends on, but also save money on and not splurge?

 

SD: This is where you have fun with trends by using accessories to update and add interest to basic outfits. Currently, black and white combinations are on trend; so add a black and white scarf or necklace to practically any color top, to add style and personality to your outfit.* There is no need to spend a fortune on accessories, as you can get great looking accessories at low price points just about anywhere these days. Kohl’s, Chicos, Forever 21, Ann Taylor, etc. are great resources for trendy accessories that won’t break the bank. I like to show my clients unexpected ways to use scarves, jewelry, shoes and/or handbags, to totally change and update what may be a plain outfit into a stylish and ultra flattering look. It is amazing how just a necklace in your right colors and shape, can transform a simple top from boring to brilliant.

*Note: Black and white are not for every woman, as the color combination might not be best for her. That is why discovering what looks best on you is so important.

Q: What about age appropriate clothing for women? There seems to be a debate in this area.

 

SD: Too often, a woman will shop in the junior department because she feels that as long as those sizes fit, she will look younger. Honestly, it simply does not work that way, and the end result is a woman looking older and a bit silly, as she is wearing clothes meant for the body and age of a teenager. When she wears clothes that fit her properly, so that her positive features are emphasized and her negative ones, either real or imagined, are minimized she will automatically look and feel younger.

SD: Age appropriate does not mean you have to dress in boring or ‘old’ looking clothes. It means wearing and buying what makes you look your absolute best, and gives you the confidence you may have lost or never had in your appearance. I have clients that range in age from 30 to 70, size 4 to 20, and in a wide variety of careers, yet each now feel they look better than ever because they are no longer wearing the clothes that made them disappear and feel old and tired.

Q: If a woman needs more help, where and how are you available to help them?

 

SD: Since I now have clients all around the country, I developed a virtual consultation done either via Skype or on the telephone. After receiving a few photos and specific information, such as eye and hair color, I give very specific information that includes:

  • What colors to wear and not wear.
  • Which neckline styles will be best for you to wear and buy.
  • What style of clothes are the most flattering.
  • Which brands to shop for.
  • How to wear accessories to compliment your specific features.
  • Suggest different clothing combinations using what you already have in your closet.
  • Recommend which style and brand of shoes to wear based on your specific needs.
  • Answer any questions you may have, and so much more.

SD: You can see details of my Virtual Style Consultation here. I would also suggest she also goes to ScarlettImage.com and request a copy of my FREE Style Tips Guide, as it will provide even more helpful tips.

SD: As a final comment, I want to stress upon you that when you know what clothes and accessories you should and should not be wearing, you will no longer waste your money buying the wrong clothes and stop looking at a closet full of clothes while saying “ I have nothing to wear”.

Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Scarlett!

Erin Albert is a professor, entrepreneur, and author. More on her at erinalbert.com.