Published on August 10th, 2015 | by Karen Brunger


From Sabotage to Savvy

Have you ever wondered what to wear to be appropriate for the situation?

JoyceThe choices in styles, colours and fabrics available for women seem to be limitless. Yet it can be an incredible challenge to find the right combination of styles, colours and fabrics that are best suited not only to your physical characteristics and personality, but to the situation as well. As an image consultant, I have seen that most women sabotage themselves in their image – both professionally and personally. When I am called into organizations to give image help, a typical scenario is that the women are dressed at least one level below the men! Since there are still cases where women are earning less than their male counterparts in the same job, we don’t need to let image be a contributing factor.

Joyce’s Story

When Joyce entered politics she struggled with getting her ideas heard and gaining support. Her casual, ill-fitting, cheap clothes, out-dated hair, and ill-applied make-up were sabotaging her chances. Fortunately, she came to me for help! When Joyce called me to tell me she won the nomination, she said, “There is no way I would have won if I hadn’t changed my image.”

The Image Chart shows levels of dress from High Power to Creative Relaxed. You can use this as a guideline to identify the image that is right for your situation. A high power image is suited to “left brain” industries – finance, investment, medicine, and politics. A relaxed or creative image is appropriate for “right brain” functions – design, the arts, beauty, and marketing. Many industries are balanced between these two extremes – being both professional and progressive. Choose the elements from each to position yourself appropriately.


Karen Brunger
Founder and President
International Image Institute Inc.,

About the Author

Karen Brunger

is Founder and President of the International Image Institute and international Past-President of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI). She is a recipient of the international Award of Excellence and was Who’s Who Canadian of the Year for 2009. Karen served as AICI’s international VP Education for four years, where she was responsible for the standards of image training worldwide. She is also a Past-President of the Toronto chapter of AICI. Media-trained, and a regular guest expert, Karen has appeared in most major print and broadcast media in Canada, as well as in international media. She is co-author of Executive Power Image and Bushido Business and is a contributing writer to Active Magazine.

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