Two tasks rolled into one often is a nice way to get things done. That’s what Kim Boudreau Smith was thinking when she knew it was time to clean out her closet, but also call on an image consultant who would help her turn over a new leaf, so to speak.
Smith, of Birmingham, had met Patty Buccellato, a Rochester Hills-based image consultant who runs Refined Images, at a wine tasting fundraiser (for Women Offering Help & Hope— WOHH). Smith won a gift certificate for Buccellato’s services at the event.
Buccellato’s Refined Images business offers people of all ages tips on how to arrange closets, what clothes work best for them and wardrobe color consulting for skin, hair tones and more.
Whether interviewing for a first job, re-entering the workforce or looking to spruce up a busy Mom look, and everything in between, Refined Images can present several eye-opening options. Buccellato, incidentally, is featured in Stepping Stones to Success, a book that includes chapters that feature Deepak Chopra (The Power of Purpose), Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and others.
How it works
Buccellato’s first one-on-one image-consulting session typically lasts about 2 1/2 hours. “We do a color analysis, where I drape colors around the client’s face,” Buccellato said while holding up various hues near Smith’s face during a recent consultation in Smith’s Birmingham home. (Buccellato asks that clients wear very little makeup so true skin tones can be assessed.)
“It’s a discovery process,” Buccellato noted. “And it’s also a validation process for the client because often they’ll point out things in their closet they love instantly and sure enough those items are indeed right for them.”
As Smith peered in a mirror and watched Buccellato place a variety of tones over Smith’s neck and shoulders, Buccellato explained the complex shades of red playing against her client's skin tones.
“There’s cool red and warm, yellow-based red. You look terrific with the warm tones," Buccellato told Smith.
“I’m just totally excited that I get to wear red,” Smith said, breaking into a big smile. “This particular shade is perfect — I’m running out to buy a suit today!” she laughed.
Smith is best in muted tones (even bright tones can be muted), said Buccellato, due to her hair, eye and skin tones. Eventually, the image consultant will build a personalized color fan for Smith that she can use when shopping or pulling colors together when getting dressed.
As the women made their way to Smith’s closet to assess her specific apparel on-hand, Smith revealed that most of her clothes fall in one or two color tones. “Sort of boring,” she admitted. Buccellato didn’t think her wardrobe was as boring as Smith thought, but just needed reorganizing. She showed her how to assemble various looks and make certain jackets and tops pop with statement necklaces, scarves, etc., working a lot with what Smith already had.
“My work is about the client, not about style trends,” the consultant explained. “Trends are a tool to support the individual, but it’s not about being on-trend; you have to find what flatters you and can often just add a trend as an accessory piece.”
As she assessed Smith, she compared her to a piece of art. “Kim (Smith) is the artwork and you have to look at her line, direction, scale, etc., as we go through her wardrobe. I assess body silhouette, composition and color," Buccellato said. "So my challenge is to find the right fabrics as well as color and tone. There are ideal garment shapes for people based on their body shape, including rectangle, triangle, modified rectangle, etc.
"And I don’t do the ‘fruit’ thing,” she added with a laugh, referring to how many people compare body shapes to pears, apples, etc.
Some of Smith’s go-to pieces will most certainly include warm reds, but also browns. “A deep, inky-blue suit with a brown blouse will look stunning,” Buccellato said. “Or a red suit with a rich-brown blouse. Or think of a brown sundress with red stitching or a red scarf or necklace.”
Speaking of scarves, Buccellato offers this tip for those in search of the perfect scarf to complement an outfit: “Look for 'friendly,' as in a pattern that has the color of the outfit in it somewhere.”
As the owner of the i-Academy Inc., which offers motivational speaking, change agent processes for women and more, Smith and her closet now are even more polished than before.
“My company is all about change, clarity, results and how to weather life’s storms when your ship may be sinking," Smith said. "I encourage clients to remove the mask.”
Now Smith is more clear on how to present herself in the best possible way, selecting colors, shapes and textures that bring out exactly who she is. Yes, her closet is more organized now, too, and a lot more efficient.
Find an image consultant
Other image consultants in Metro Detroit include:
- Tanya Chisholm of Troy, owner of Fashion Sensei
- Illysia Neumann-Loreck of Plymouth, owner of Closet Envy
- Julie Maeder, president of New Leaf Image Consulting, Troy
- Michelle Pratt of Chelle Belle, Troy
Check the Association of Image Consultants International for more information.