I was running a men's store in Stone Mountain and I had all of these employees, but I found that customers were coming in to see me, mostly. So I decided to make my services more personal. I'm an advisor to clients, a long-term advisor. My phone is on 24/7, and if a client calls to ask what tie to wear, I tell 'em. If someone calls at 4 a.m., I'm there. I've got clients coming to me for seven-day trials, and I'm helping them out the whole way.
First, I get to know you, your lifestyle — everything about you. And we start one piece at a time. You want pieces that build on the colors and styles you already have, that can enhance a few existing outfits. Especially for clients starting out on a budget, that's the way to go. You want bang for your buck.
I'm usually dealing with corporate clients and occasionally ministers. I'm looking at black, grey and navy blue. And sometimes brown, which is the new black.
Not all clients are ready for custom. I start a lot of guys out on ready-made clothing. After they've got the basics down, that's when we move onto the custom stuff, or we try to accent it for the evening. I like the ascot, which is a more continental look, something from the French Riviera. It can make something casual look more dressed-up and something dressed-up look more casual. It all depends on where you're going and what you want to do.
For shoes, I always recommend a pair of lace-ups, brown or black. Avoid slip-ons unless you're going casual. You may think a pair of brogues look good with your jeans, but you need to think about the image you're presenting. You're going to make an impression on somebody, a good impression or a bad impression. I'm helping clients make a good impression.
Women are more challenging. Oftentimes, they see a style and want to integrate it into their wardrobe. But I tell them that what may look good on the model isn't always right for you. There is also a wider array of choices, and I see a lot of times where women are overdressed or underdressed. Women need to organize their wardrobes into work and play.
I sometimes clash with clients, but usually people understand that I know what I'm doing. If you went to a doctor, you'd let him do what he needs to do. I'm an image consultant. And when clients feel the confidence that what I do brings them, they eventually trust me.
Image is so important, especially in today's economy. People are going in for interviews when they're unemployed and their outfits need to speak success. I get a lot of college kids going into law careers whose fathers have come to me in the past. I'm multigenerational. When I get referrals from a law firm, I consider that a success because then I become a long-term advisor.
As for myself, I never like to dress down, all the way down. I like to keep myself dressy casual. I've got an image to keep up, too.