In part one of a two part series, Amber Mizerak discovers that getting dressed in the morning is a whole lot more scientific than she realized. Read on to see how she and the rest of the "Ctrip Bombshells" fared under the color coordinated eyes of image consultant Tricia-Ann Kee of Shanghai shopping tour.>>
You never know where networking may lead you. I've gotten internships by sitting next the right person at a local pub and I became a nanny for a family after waiting on their table at a restaurant. The main reason I attended ShanghaiExpat's February speed networking event was to promote this blog because, of course, everyone should know about what a great China travel resource we've got going over here at ChinaTravel.net. I'm doing it for you, the people.
As a result of the mixing and mingling that evening I met Tricia, an image consultant from Singapore whose self-proclaimed mission is "inspiring lives by enriching the mind, body and spirit of people through image transformation for personal empowerment and corporate excellence." That sounded like something a lot of laowai are in need of—whether a jaded expat far from home and the latest fashions or a tourist keen to hit the shops and the fabric market, who wouldn't want a few personal pointers to get the best out of their next Shanghai shopping spree? Together Tricia and the laowai ladies of Ctrip English formulated a plan....
Tricia-Ann Kee created her image consulting company, image@inspire "to inspire individuals to rediscover themselves and ignite their passion for life, to inspire organizational excellence through dependability on its people and to inspire the underprivileged to invigorate their self-esteem by showing compassion through community involvement." A former marketing manager for Estée Lauder, Starbucks and Mattel, she knows that first impressions count and appearance along with behavior and the way we communicate play a big part in shaping the way we are perceived. When Tricia proposed to makeover the girls on the Ctrip English team (A.K.A. the Ctrip Bombshells) we of course jumped at the chance. This kind of personal branding is as much about your personality as it is the way you look, so first things first, we filled out a form describing our personality, goals and current style so she could get a sense of who we were. A few days later we met up for our color, bodyline and personal style analysis.
I'm not going to lie, I was a bit skeptical at first and couldn't quite believe someone could use scientific analysis to help me and my image (read on to find out if it did!). The laowai women on the Ctrip English team have all been expats in China for three to five years, so it's no secret that we're a bit behind the latest styles in our home countries—me especially, having lived for two years in Ganzhou in the middle of rural Jiangxi Province where polka dots, bows and plaid all go together; these kinds of prints in extremely small sizes aren't exactly flattering on a 30-year-old Western woman and I was eager for Tricia to uncover where I was going wrong.
Color, bodyline & style analysis
We rallied together on a Sunday afternoon (in spite of the St. Paddy's Day partying the night before) dressed in our favorite colors and made our way to one of our colleague's beautiful lane house apartment in the French Concession. The massive windows let in lots of light, perfect for showing off our natural coloring. With a full length mirror in place, Tricia got to work with her measuring tape, rulers, smocks, color boards and string. One by one she fastened a white cloth around our necks as if we were about to get a haircut. She draped one color swatch after another over our shoulders as we all looked on in the mirror and watched our faces turn from radiant and glowing through pale shades of green, gray or yellow depending on the colors. Maybe this process was scientific after all!
Next we learned about our contrast levels. Did we look good in in black and white or better in closer shades? What were our color values? Were we a warm winter, a cool winter or a warm spring palette? We learned about body shapes and proportion, rises (the length between your crotch and your waist) both long and short, and were reassured to know that our waists and chests were all in the right places. With our colors and shapes well established our final point of call was defining a personal style to match our personalities, lifestyles and career choices—were we traditional, sporty or creative?
During the session I was happy to not only learn more about how to improve my personal style but to also spend an afternoon with a group of inspiring women. We know we're not perfect, we may have flat butts and not the flattest of tummies (I speak for myself), but I left that day feeling on top of the world. As well as her specially-prepared kit of color and style analysis tools, Tricia brought warmth and personality to our four hour session. With her expertise, a session with Tricia is perfect for a girly afternoon, a bachelorette party ("hen party" for the Brits out there) or before a major event where you have to look your best.
Dressing myself will certainly never be the same again—it's much more scientific than I ever realized. Now I can't walk down the street without noticing how peoples' color combinations bring out the best in them (or the worst) or watch a movie without thinking about how the character's face really stands out. The good news is that it doesn't take a million dollars to look a million dollars and with just a few key things to remember, you can really make yourself stand out from the crowd.
The next stage of our adventure is a shopping challenge. This will be a competition held between the three of us to see who can best dress themselves according to Tricia's imparted wisdom. We will be judged on appropriate choice of color, clothing that enhances our bodyline, personal style, occasion and how well we pulled together an iconic look.
Stay tuned for the final results next week....
Go team! Wish us (I mean me) luck!
Color you pretty with image@inspire
A personal color analysis session with Tricia costs RMB 1,200. The package includes a thorough session on the psychology of color and Tricia will teach you about how different colors can affect your mood and emotional energy and appropriate colors for different occasions.
Next you will learn how to create harmony in the way you dress by mixing and matching colors and accessories, creating combinations that are harmonious to the eye. Do you look better in warmer or cooler colors? You'll learn how to identify the colors that best complement your skin tone, hair and eyes.
Lastly, you'll learn how to camouflage the areas that pose a challenge to you. After all of this you will receive a color palette and several analysis reports that summarize what you've learned (believe me, there is a lot to take in!).
What shape are you?
After a bodyline analysis session with Tricia you'll better understand your proportions and identify your body shape and body type. After deciding which of the six body shapes best describes you, you'll learn how to create a wardrobe to enhance your natural silhouette.
Next a facial and body scale measurement helps you determine what size accessories work best for you. You'll also learn some secrets about how to camouflage your figure challenges and flaunt your assets.
And last but not least you'll decide on your personal style. Are you a romantic or dramatic dresser? Maybe you're more sporty or traditional? It's up to you and Tricia to decide!
Tricia-Ann Kee is the founder and principal image consultant of image@inspire. She is a firm believer that anyone or any company can achieve astounding breakthrough in their personal or corporate lives when given the opportunity to unleash their full potential. The key is to create a powerful brand that leads to personal empowerment, which in turn can impress, influence and impact others. She has more than 14 years of extensive experience and a successful track record with world-class multinational corporations that include Estée Lauder Cosmetics, Mattel and Starbucks.Tricia is a Certified Image Consultant and Makeup Artist and an associate member of the Association of International Image Consultants (AICI), the leading professional association of personal and corporate image consultants worldwide.
If you'd like to book Tricia for your next get together you can visit her website or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will not be disappointed.