By Karen Hemmerle, Contributing Editor

Marian Rothschild is a Certified Personal Image Consultant, founder and president of  Look Good Now. Marian coaches men and women to achieve a complete, head-to-toe, inside and out, genuine image for polished presence and exquisite influence. She is a speaker on personal branding for a polished presence, and a fashion writer for newspaper and magazines in Colorado and Chicago.  Marian is a best-selling author of Look Good Now and Always, available now on Amazon.com. 

Boulder Writers' Workshop:  Please tell us about your book Look Good Now and Always: A Do-It-Yourself Style Makeover for Busy Women.

Marian Rothschild:  Does your head-to-toe appearance look and feel fantastic? Not sure what’s age-appropriate or where to shop? Want to create a put-together look every day? This step-by-step guide tells you how to choose colors, shapes and styles for a polished presence to feel genuine, confident and sensational inside and out. Hundreds of style tips, personal stories, client experiences and industry experts contribute to help you dress for your dreams. Busy professionals, working moms, job-seekers and women wanting an image upgrade will benefit from this Amazon best-seller
 
BWW:  How did you decide to become an Image Consultant?

MR:  It’s a culmination of everything I’ve done previously, plus leveraging a natural knack. I did some professional acting in commercials, industrial videos, tiny parts in little films and quite a bit of theatre. From my training and work in theatre, I know that, depending on the role the actor is playing, we change our hairstyle, makeup, wardrobe, posture, energy and voice. This is done so the audience sees the character in the play, instead of seeing the actor, from the moment they make their entrance.

Many times in life we are called on to play different roles, all while being 100% authentic. I love helping people express their full potential with intention, authenticity and consistency.
 
BWW:  What is your writing process? How do you get through the times when you just don’t know what to write next?

MR:  I write as if I am speaking to a client with whom I’m consulting. My writing is very conversational and very relatable. If I don’t know what to write next, I leave it for a while and come back to it later. Usually something happens with a client or speaking to an audience in the meantime and I use that experience to make a point.
 
BWW:  What are some of the common image mistakes that most women make?

MR:  Most women forget to take the time to put themselves together, head to toe. They don’t think that image matters, so they don’t take the time and attention to present themselves as polished. I’m the first to admit that it isn’t always necessary to wear makeup and nice clothes. Not if you’re working from home, or are gardening or walking your dog. Consequently many women feel incomplete, lethargic or less than confident because they aren’t expressing themselves fully.
 
BWW:  For women who can’t afford a big shopping spree, what’s the best way to update and refine their wardrobe?

MR:  You don’t need a lot of money; what you need is information. You need to understand what shapes flatter your unique figure and what colors make your complexion appear energized and glowing, with eyes that sparkle. You need to know how to use wardrobe and colors to your advantage to express things like capable, approachable, creative, authoritative, and other brand values.

Quality is much more important than quantity for professionals in terms of wardrobe and accessories. Items can be purchased at consignment stores rather than retail, but they have to be the right items you’re your shape, coloring, essence, and goals.
 
BWW:  A lot of writers and people in the arts think they can get away with any funky style they feel like. Is that a mistake?

MR:  Funky can be interesting, same with a creative or dramatic style. When your personal style is an expression of who you are, that’s fun and fulfilling. The rut that many people get into is thinking that their appearance doesn’t matter.

I have statistics from the U.S., the U.K. and Europe that prove that, like it or not, humans ‘get’ the concept of brand communication. Businesses are built on them. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, you have a brand. Your brand is your appearance, plus your expertise, plus how you are known. If we don’t get the elements of that brand communication right, we struggle to stand out in a good way, engage, lead, get ahead.

William Arruda, an international brand expert explains that when you meet someone for the first time, they form an initial impression of you. If you would like to change that impression, studies show that it will take an additional 18 encounters.
 
BWW:  Writers are notorious for working from home in pajamas or yoga pants. Does it matter how we look when no one is going to see us?

MR:  Nope. Just don’t get in the habit of slouching when you’re writing because then when you are out in the world, your body will be in the habit of slouching. Bad posture can give you the appearance of low energy, apathetic, insecurity and dis-ease.
 
BWW:  What image mistakes do men make?

MR:  Same as women; thinking image doesn’t matter, not putting time and thought into wardrobe and grooming. "But this is Boulder” is not an excuse for wearing the same hairstyle you had in junior high, the same black tee shirt day after day and dad jeans you bought from Costco. Oh, and wearing sneakers for every event besides weddings and funerals. Sneakers are for the gym and walking your dog.
 
BWW: Does our style have to change significantly between our 40s and later years? Can we keep our long hair into our 60s and beyond?
 
MR:  Our personal style does not have to change significantly after 40, but from 45 onward, we really have to be aware of what's appropriate for our body, for our coloring and for the situation. As we mature, our personal style, our preferences may shift gradually, and that's fine. You may feel like you'd like to express yourself more creatively, or with more color or classic styles.

I never tell anyone what they can or can't do. I give them options. Ultimately you have to decide what is best for you, being 100% truthful regarding coloring and cutting your hair. I can guide you to new possibilities and make recommendations, but you are the boss of you, so you get to decide.

BWW:  You also coach people on having commanding communication skills. What is your best advice for those who dread speaking in public?

MR:  Plan out what you are going to say. Write a script. Edit and practice it many times. Then video record yourself practicing, take notes on what needs improving, then practice some more.

But here’s my best piece of advise; when you are standing up in front of a group, picture your very best friend or someone who thinks you are just terrific and are so incredibly clever. That person just asked you a question. He or she wants your opinion on something they are not sure of. Answer that one person, talk to them as you deliver your speech.

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Karen Hemmerle is an essayist and produced screenwriter, and is currently writing a nonfiction book, Goodbye to the Fat Girl. Read the blog about her book at http://goodbyetothefatgirl.wordpress.com or follow her on Facebook.