Are you tired of playing Wardrobe Roulette® when you look in your closet or shop for clothes? Sandy Dumont has the answer! Her latest book is the perfect guide for the do-it-yourself woman who understands image is a powerful tool. It is not for fashionistas because what’s “in fashion” may not enable you to command respect and increase your credibility.
Name: Sandy Dumont
Official Website: http://www.theimagearchitect.com
• 30 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies (Rolex, Porsche, Bank of America, NY Life, American Express Financial Services, Association of Government Contractors, Association of Realtors, Financial Services Association, Mitre Corporation, Goodman & Company, Honeywell, Sheraton Hotels, Lancôme, Yves St. Laurent Cosmetics, International
• Leader in the field of color and image
• Pioneer in the field of image psychology and impression strategies
• Former high-fashion runway and photo model
• Lectures and coaches throughout the US, Europe and Asia
• Recognized as a leader in impression strategies and image development
• Unique background in fashion education, art and psychology
o Graduate of John Robert Powers Fashion & Finishing School, Washington, DC
o Former faculty member of The Barbizon (fashion) School, Washington, DC
o Former faculty member of Management Center Europe, Brussels, Belgium
o Certificate from The Institute for Deep Therapy, Denmark & Belgium
o Lifelong art student
• Founding member of the Professional Speakers Association of England
• Member, National Speakers Association, and a speaker at their yearly convention in July, 2006
• Immediate Past President, Virginia Chapter, National Speakers Association
• President, National Association Women Business Owners, SE Virginia Chapter
• Board Member, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce
• Small Business of Year Rising Star award, Chamber of Commerce
• Recipient of Women of Distinction Award, December 2009
• Weekly radio show host in Belgium
• Presented workshops to Girl Scout troops for 15 years
• Credentialed in Assertiveness Training
• Image consultant for the Belgian State Television (BRT - Belgian Radio & Television)
• Image consultant for TV Brussels
• Author of five e-books on subject of Image
• Produced series of “Impression Strategies” DVDs
• Monthly columnist for numerous publications in Virginia, Palm Beach, Florida
• Publishes a monthly e-Newsletter
• Featured regularly on radio, TV and in print
• Quoted regularly in the press as an image expert (Money Magazine, Wall Street Journal, US News & World Report, Forbes, NY Times, LA Times, CBS, MS-NBC, Financial Times of London, etc.)
• Other clients have included Chesapeake General Hospital, Bon Secours Hospital, Viejas Casino-San Diego, First Horizon Mortgage, US Embassy of Belgium, Bankers Online, US Navy, Army & Air Force.
Sandy Dumont’s skill sets apply to the areas of corporate and political image, branding, risk communications, executive management media interactions, and situations of litigation. Ms. Dumont provides the necessary actions and training required in an environment where perceptions drive motivations, performance and marketplace position.
1. Why is image so important in terms of success?
The way you look and dress announces the outcome other people can expect from you. It also announces how you feel about yourself, and you’ll be treated accordingly. I discovered that at an early age.
When I was 16, I was an invisible grey mouse. I walked across the stage of my high school auditorium to perform a piano recital. From behind the stage two boys shouted, “Where’d you get that haircut, Boney Maroney?” I winced. My mother had cut my hair and it was a disaster; she also made my dress, a shapeless thing in a drab grey mousey color. I sat down to play and completely blanked out. I hated the way I looked so much I wanted to crawl in a black hole and disappear.
A year later it was graduation and my birthday, so I went shopping for a new dress. My “Guardian Angel Image Consultant” must have been sitting on my shoulder. She whispered “no” to the blah blue, the passive pink and the puny green. Then I came upon The Red Dress. “Try it on,” she said. I did so, reluctantly.
When I looked at myself in the mirror, in that exquisite moment I could see my own self peeping through. I had found the real me. My new red dress changed the way I saw myself and felt about myself.
I scoured the pages of fashion magazines and taught myself how to do makeup; I went to a hairdresser and used my hard-earned babysitting money to get a decent haircut. And, of course, I wore red a lot. Then the most astonishing thing happened – for the first time in my life, people told me I was pretty. They saw me.
That red dress and my new-found self image gave me courage. I told my mother that I didn’t want to be a concert pianist. That was what she wanted. I wanted to paint, and so I stopped the endless piano lessons and began my life-long study of art. This study provided the technical background I used to establish a reliable and fail-proof system for color analysis.
Soon afterwards, I gathered all my expanding courage and moved to Washington, DC and enrolled in a two-year fashion school. I became one of the top fashion models in town. Top designers and fashion coordinators shared their secrets. My life was changed forever – and I had changed profoundly. The “grey mouse” was gone forever, and in her place was a self-assured fashion model – whose signature color was, of course, red.
My life changed dramatically, and it all began with a red dress. The way you dress defines who you are not only to others, but to the person in the mirror when you leave the house each morning. When you know you look good, you feel good about yourself. Ultimately, image building is about building self esteem. I learned at age seventeen that when you change the way you look on the outside, people treat you differently. Then you change on the inside. It’s utterly empowering to know you look good.
2. What makes you unique as an image consultant?
I don’t tell people what to wear – I educate them so they own their image. It’s much more empowering to know you look good, or that you’re dressed right for the occasion – instead of wearing what Sandy Dumont told you to wear but having a nagging feeling that it’s not really “you.” The best feeling in the world is when you know you know!
Sometimes it takes on outsider to enable you to see your potential. In my case, my “Guardian Angel Image Consultant” whispered in my ear to try on the red dress. The truth is, there are no unattractive people; only those who haven’t yet learned how to look attractive. You don’t need a Fairy Godmother to change your life. You can change your life, just as I did, if you take the time to educate yourself about image skills. Image skills can take you from ordinary to extraordinary. People who look extraordinary own the room when they enter it. They turn heads and close deals.
My awareness of extraordinary people came about when I was fourteen years old and our family went to Miami Beach during summer vacation. I can still see the boardwalk now and all the beautiful, elegantly-dressed, suntanned people on parade there. It was my first encounter with so many extraordinary-looking people in one place. To me, they all looked like the movie stars I had seen in magazines, and I stood there wide-eyed and enchanted.
As I look back now, I’m sure all those beautiful people on the boardwalk in Miami Beach worked hard to look good. As Cindy Crawford said, “Even I don’t wake up looking like Cindy Crawford.” When you see Cindy on the pages of a fashion magazine, she has taken the time to make herself look extraordinary. It’s what we expect, and to do anything less would be unprofessional.
A true professional in any field knows that he or she must meet the demands of others in order to be successful. When you feel good about who you are and what you do, you want to shout it to the world. If you are extraordinary, you need to look extraordinary!
That’s where my unique skill sets come in, including years of studying psychology. It enables me to help clients unpeel layers of habit and a myriad of outside influences until they, too, get a glimpse of the Real Self that has been waiting to emerge. From there on, a unique Signature Image emerges and self esteem soars.
Change of any kind is a process, and this is particularly true with image changes. It can be frightening to “discard” the self in the mirror we’ve known for so long. Those eyebrows don’t look funny to us, nor does that familiar hairstyle from way back when. The best example of this is Donald Trump. You’d think he knew his hair was ridiculous and that his choice of colors was awful. You don’t know what you don’t know – plus it’s impossible to be objective about yourself! Furthermore.
3. What are the biggest image mistakes made by women?
FIRST: Dressing to match the superficial appearance. Of course, that’s what we’re advised to do. There was a popular book on color analysis in the early Eighties, and the reason it was such a success was because it confirmed our centuries-old belief that if we’re blonde, we look good in baby pink and other pastels. Redheads nodded in agreement when they saw photos of women with their coloring and said, “I knew I looked good in rust and coral!” The problem with this system is that you fade away into your garments and look nearly invisible.
Kate, a beautiful red-headed Irish speaker and business coach, showed up at her image session wearing a coral jacket. “It’s my favorite color,” she explained. Once we got into the session, she saw for herself that the coral jacket only created “false harmony” with her hair, and that it made her skin look splotchy and somewhat sallow.
“But I always get compliments when I wear coral,” she said - in utter amazement.
I had heard this a thousand times and I explained to Kate that false harmony was responsible for most of her compliments. We just love “matchy matchy” stuff. If I wear baby pink I guarantee you I’ll get tons of compliments, but it’s actually one of my worst colors. I fade away into my clothes – and I look older, because all my furrows and wrinkles pop out. She didn’t believe me until I showed her. “Omigosh, you’re right. I wouldn’t have believed it.” Kate looked at herself in the mirror, contemplated for a moment and added, “I don’t know who looks worse!” We both had a good laugh.
I quickly changed Kate’s makeup from golden tones that “matched” her hair, to pink tones that harmonized with her skin. Then I draped her in black. Early color consultants in the past century had an ill-conceived “rule” that redheads couldn’t wear black, but Kate saw for herself that she looked fabulous! It’s all about knowing how to wear black.
I added fuchsia lipstick and stepped back. Kate’s eyes opened wide and she grinned. “Is that really me? I never thought I could wear black,” she said. Kate was over the moon with her beautiful new self. Along the way, she also discovered her True Self, much as I had done when I was 17 and had my “red dress” epiphany.
My thirty years research indicates that skin trumps hair and eye color. Your “baby blues” don’t get circles, the skin underneath your eyes does when you wear the wrong colors. Your hair doesn’t get furrows and wrinkles, but when you wear the wrong colors, furrows and wrinkles are dramatically emphasized on the face .
SECOND: Dressing to match your personality. This error is also promoted in most of the books on color and image that I have in my office. Basically, sporty women in earthy tones and sturdy fabrics like corduroy and tweed; feminine types in pastel colors and delicate fabrics like silk and chiffon; and outgoing types in bold colors and dramatic styles. A lot of books about color suggest that Madonna can wear vivacious colors and bold styles because she’s outgoing and dramatic; but that sweet Amy Adams cannot. Your personality has nothing to do with the colors that flatter your skin and make it look better.
When I lived in Brussels, a young Englishwoman told me she was certain she was an Autumn and looked good in earthy tones like brown, beige and moss green. In the workshop, she discovered that earthy tones were her worst colors. They made her brown hair and freckled skin look drab. “But I have to be an Autumn, I’m an environmentalist,” Sarah told me with a sad, woeful look.
At the end of the workshop, Sarah surveyed the clothes that she had brought with her for feedback. “They are all wrong,” she said sadly. “I instinctively bought earthy colors because they made me feel good. But now I see they don’t make me look good. Sarah surveyed the rack of clothes she had brought to the workshop and said, “You know those Autumn colors are actually grunge colors, and I don’t want to look grungy anymore,” she said defiantly. With that she grabbed a huge piece of shocking pink fabric and draped it around herself, beaming at the beautiful reflection she saw in the mirror.
Sarah reported that making the color changes produced dramatic results. When she entered a room, she made a powerful impact, and everyone took notice. Best of all, she reported, her husband fell in love with his “new wife” all over again. Who says you can’t make a second first impression?
“Sandy’s book is one of those unique finds. It’s totally different from all the other books on color and image. The pictures and examples have helped me look more professional and attractive; furthermore, I know I look younger.”
-Doris Young, RN, Ph.D. President, Natural Health Resources