get one thing straight. I’ve always been the stereotypical guy
when it comes to clothing. When I wake up, I basically grab something
out of my closet and put it on without worrying about color coordinating.
The only thing that really mattered to me was whether they were cleaned
never really been too enthusiastic about shopping for clothes either.
Never did I care whether my pants, shorts or shirts polished my image
as a whole. Instead, I was more concerned whether they fit comfortably.
And if they did, that was reason enough to purchase them.
my closet and look at my wardrobe. That will give you a good idea about
my simple-minded and ignorant approach to clothing. A few weeks ago,
I decided to that I needed to drastically change my image and the way
I went about dressing myself. Working in a job that allows me meet and
interact with a myriad of people in Lake County, I realized it was time
to start dressing as sharply as possible. After all, the first impression
I make on these people is a direct reflection of the company where I’m
But how would
I go about this? How would I know which colors would look good on me?
What type of pants and shirts would make me appear as a “sharp-dressed
man?” As I attempted to answer these questions, I kept drawing
a blank. It became painfully obvious that I would need to seek a professional
I decided to utilize the services of Betsy Barbieux, a lifelong Leesburg
resident and certified image consultant. She has an excellent reputation
in Lake County and throughout Florida. My boss, Rob English, told me
minutes before I left to see Betsy: “James, be open-minded about
everything she tells you. Many people have told me how they receive
lots of compliments about the colors and clothing she chooses for them.
She’s excellent at what she does.”
As I walked
in Betsy’s Leesburg-based business, Image Inside & Out, the
first thing I noticed was her outgoing personality. She seems to have
some sort of magical “glow” around her that lights up an
entire room. You can’t help but notice her friendly smile and
sparkling eyes. Within seconds, I had already reached a comfort level
with Betsy. I thought to myself: “Wow, I’m coming to her
so I can make better first impressions with the people I meet. Look
at the first impression she just made on me!! This lady will definitely
be able to help me!!”
to me that I was going through her “Ultimate Image Day,”
where she offers a full range of services to assess image and create
a personal style strategy that coincides with ones body type, lifestyle
and goals. She told me what a good first impression is all about.
to create visual weight across their shoulders, which will make others
look at you face instead of your stomach, hips or feet. When we approach
someone for the first time, our eyes start down and then proceed to
drift up. If something is out of harmony, the eye will bounce back down.
My goal is to get someone to look at your face and eyes. I don’t
want them stuck on your tie, lipstick or pants. If someone instantly
compliments you about your suit, I’m afraid the suit walked in
the room first.”
and I began the color analysis, I explained to her that the majority
of my clothes were black. Hey, I’m a pretty big guy, and I’ve
always heard that black is slenderizing. She quickly debunked that myth.
“I’ve had a lot of people come to me over the years who
wear black for the same reason. The goal when dressing is not to look
smaller or bigger. I would rather see clients reach self-acceptance
and dress the best they can.”
She also explained
to me how the colors make a difference in your appearance, whether it
be clothing, cosmetics or accessories such as jewelry. The wrong colors,
she said, can make you look older, while wrinkles and blemishes appear
more evident. Even the whites of eyes can look washed out. In contrast,
the right colors make you look younger, and your skin looks healthier
and radiant. Fine lines and wrinkles will not be emphasized as much.
color analysis, I sat in a chair and stared into a mirror as Betsy determined
which clothing colors would best harmonize with my eyes, skin and hair
using tester drapes and tester panels. When it was all said and done,
she said I was a “Thanksgiving floral arrangement.” By that,
she meant that the most appropriate colors for me are any shade of brown,
golden yellow, coral, tan, olive and various shades of green. Colors
such as pink, gray, white, black and blue were out of the question.
She was nice enough to present me with a booklet containing 36 fabric
swatches of the colors which matched me. It will definitely come in
handy when I’m out shopping on my own.
two weeks later, I went on a private shopping lesson with Betsy at Belk’s,
which is located in the Lake Square Mall. Throughout most of my life
I’ve thought shopping for clothes was about as fun as watching
paint dry. Somehow, though, Betsy managed to make it fun. Part of the
reason for that, I suspect, is because she was so excited about making
me look better. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on me. And that proved to
be a good thing because I don’t think I’ve ever tried on
so many clothes in my life!!
She told me
that price is the last consideration when purchasing clothing items.
“If we can find a perfect piece of clothing you’ve got to
go for it,” she said. “We might spend $400 in a couple hours,
but at least you know you’re not buying clothes that you’ll
throw away. So in the long run it saves you money.”
out several outfits for me. Now, let me say this: these were outfits
that I NEVER would have thought about purchasing before I met Betsy.
One was a green Hawaiian-style shirt with flowers embroidered on it.
Personally, I was worried that the flowers were way too feminine. However,
she assured me that was not the case.
And that was
confirmed the very next day when I wore that shirt to work along with
tan pants. The reaction I received from my co-workers was simply amazing.
“Oh my gosh look at James,” said Cindi McRae, her mouth
wide open and eyes almost popping out. “You are a handsome devil.
That outfit is perfect on you!!”
My boss, Rob,
was equally impressed. “James, you’ve never looked so good
in your life. Betsy did a terrific job with you. Now that’s how
you should dress all the time.”
day, I went to do an interview at a business in Clermont where I had
been about five months earlier. As soon as the receptionist saw me she
said, “James, it looks like you’ve lost a lot of weight.”
Now, the honest truth is I haven’t lost weight. Like I said earlier,
I thought only black clothing could make me look thinner. Obviously,
I can only conclude that this particular outfit looked so good on me
that the receptionist naturally thought I had lost weight. It was a
trip to Belk’s with Betsy proved to be the most productive shopping
experience of my life. It has also helped me to focus when I go into
a store. I am able to quickly see if there is anything there for me
or not. My time is precious, and now I can shop without wasting any
time, and more importantly, any money.
I was very,
VERY impressed with Betsy Barbieux. She is very thorough and professional,
and I would wholeheartedly recommend her to anyone looking to improve
his/her appearance. They say when you look good you feel good, and in
that respect Betsy has helped me feel better about myself. It’s
truly amazing how many compliments I’ve received since proudly
sporting my new wardrobe!!
so much, Betsy, for opening my mind and helping me realize that dressing
well IS important.