Today, image consultancy is about more than just sprucing up your wardrobe, say experts in city
What to wear was a constant dilemma for Siddarth*, an IT professional from Chennai, now based in the US.
“I used to wear random clothes. I didn’t know what shoes were right for which occasion and always picked out clothes in blue and dark blue shades,” he said.
After two sessions with an image consultant — one of which involved figuring out what colours suited him and a second that involved tips on shopping and style — Siddarth now has outfits complete with accessories, for various occasions.
“It has given an immense boost to my confidence, in my career, personally and socially. Earlier, I would be unsure of what to wear to a business show or a client meet, but now it’s become much easier and I’m better at shopping for myself too,” he said.
Over the past couple of years or so, men in the city — professionals and businessmen — have taken to a phenomenon that is slowly gaining ground here — image consulting.
While women still form a major component of the clientele, increased awareness and the need for travel in many jobs have led to more men showing an interest in image consulting, say consultants.
Wardrobe is just one aspect of the process; appropriate body language, etiquette and communication in various situations and how to project oneself in the best possible manner also form part of image consulting, says Sulakshana Badani, a city-based consultant. And of Ms. Badani’s 50-plus clients, about half are men, she says.
In the year that Asha Daniel has been consulting, she has seen the number of her male clients grow. “Right now, 30 to 35 per cent of my clients are men, with several coming from outside Chennai to consult as well,” she says. Businessmen who have grown in their fields and want to enhance their image have shown a growing interest, she says.
Most of Nandita Pandey’s clients are men. “When I work with corporates, I deal with both men and women, with the focus being on women. But for my one-to-one sessions, most enquiries are from men,” she says.
Professionals at the lower management level, looking to move to mid-management, form a bulk of her clientele, she says, adding, most are between the ages of 30 and 35.
According to Aruna Das, Chennai chapter president of Image Management Professionals’ Association, there are around 10 image consultants in the city, and the service is growing rapidly.
For a city-based artist, the highlight of his experience was when he delivered a guest lecture at the National Institute of Fashion Technology.
“A lot of students there complimented upon my attire. It was a great feeling,” he said.
*Name changed on request.