Image consulting takes in-depth knowledge of the art and science of image management and applies it to the different roles people perform in different stages of their career.
However, 27-year-old Saudi finance lecturer Najwa Aldardeer took the basic concept and came up with a new kind of business based on listening and studying what is needed to create a fabulous image.
Aldardeer noticed three things in people while growing up: Body language, verbal communication and etiquette. Only then she did not know they were categorized under the term “image consulting”.
Her journey began when she was preparing for her Ph.D. in economics and finance in Australia. A small box popped up on her computer inviting her to sign up for a styling course. Out of curiosity, she visited the website when her eyes targeted what she was unconsciously looking for.
Her keen interest in style and fashion turned into a professional study when she took a course at Australia College in 2011, along with a certificate in etiquette and a training course in the areas of grooming, deportment and fashion at Victoria’s Models in Australia.
“My mission is to interpret and enhance images to the best by linking psychological aspects to external image, delivering the desired look and well-understanding of the principles of one’s image,” said Aldardeer.
Her two main target audiences are mothers, since their weight is constantly changing, going through birth and all that; and workingwomen, since they are usually looking for new looks and continuously interested in changing their wardrobe. “Plus, their work is basically to interact with people. Therefore, their looks affect them, and that is why I believe they are important at work,” Aldardeer added.
While working with local designers and being part of fashion shows, where she helped arranging some details, the consultant noticed how important it is for designers to keep in mind and learn the basics of image to understand their clients and what they are looking for, from colors to designs.
Two basic things you need to know are body shape and skin tone. “Colors play a big role in styling,” Aldardeer said. “Like seasons, there are four groups of colors that define which suit your skin more. Spring means vibrant colors; winter is deep; fall is warm; and summer is soft,” she added.
Now, the true conflict occurs when one knows how to wear a piece of clothing, then mixes and matches it with another piece from his or her wardrobe. According to Aldardeer, everyone needs to know the basic four body shapes: Pear, apple, hourglass and ruler. Sometimes, a woman’s body is a combination of two shapes.
Arab News asked Lama Hafzah, a student from Jeddah’s College of Business Administration, to represent the apple body shape, so Aldardeer could provide some tips to illustrate the idea more vividly.
The consultant’s feedback is usually categorized into skin tone, body shape and style.
Since Hafzah’s skin is considered dark along with her natural hair color, her tone would be dramatic winter style. To analyze the winter group more, dramatic shows authority and power.
“That’s an analysis I plan to go further with in my website. It will be launched soon to expose in a more detailed way how you relate to your colors through your personality in four or five lines,” said Aldardeer.
As for knowing her clients’ style, Aldardeer said she spends some time with them to understand them and find out what they want. “Lama Hafzah was not very fond of wearing a belt just above her waste. What I did was getting two different belt sizes, measured her waste, and upon that I chose the medium-sized belt, seeing that she has a long waste. This move was to give illusion of weight on the waste, since she has two body shapes: Apple and ruler,” she added.
Other advices Aldardeer thinks are helpful for apple body shapes are V-neck shirts or scoop (circular) neck shirts to make the chest look smaller, in other words, to balance the upper part to the lower part.
For clients who are shy or find it hard to go for a face-to-face session, Aldardeer provides an online consultation, which contains two services: Color analysis and personal style (body shape). She uses the website “Pinterest”, where the client selects photos of styles she likes. “Then my job begins in understanding her style more, which will lead to deciding what suits her and what doesn’t through her posts,” Aldardeer said.
Aldardeer’s next step is to work with more local designers and especially abaya designers, knowing it is the traditional uniform we are most of the time wearing.
The consultant’s tip for women with pear shaped bodies when wearing an abaya is to avoid many details on the lower part and focus more on the upper part by sticking to V-necks and add embellished sleeves to balance the upper part with the lower part.
Aldardeer is currently working on the “Style ME Saudi ” project with Tara Sillery, a two-day styling training course that aims to find Saudi Arabia’s next top stylist. The project will take place in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.