Pat Gibson, 51, Strongsville
Image consultant for her company called The Artistry of You and markets a cosmetic and skincare line called Artistry.
Tell us about your company.
I started The Artistry of You about five and a half years. I’ve been doing image consulting for about 20 years. I was looking through the newspaper when my son was about 3, he’s now 26, and I was frustrated with my full-time sales job and the fact that I left my son everyday. I had a dream that I owned my own boutique so when I saw an ad about image consulting, I thought it sounded creative and along the lines of the things I enjoyed in terms of fashion.
What does an image consultant do?
My passion is teaching my clients how to know what looks good on them, how to understand and do it on their own. I do a person’s color and provide them with a customized palette of the colors that work for them. It’s done with a special color draping process under special light. Style consultations involve face and body shape, which hairstyles and glasses shapes with look good, what patterns will work and even what jewelry color is best. I do closet audits and personal shopping and I provide photographs of the complete looks.
Who are your clients?
I would say that 75 percent of my consultations are one-on-one with individuals and 20 percent is with groups and I also do speaking engagements. I work mostly with women and some men. I have clients who just need help dressing for one special event or packing for a trip or who need a quick closet revive for help getting a few good outfits together. So much is changing with social media and the world, so I am currently working with a marketing person to come up with a plan for ongoing style consultations.
How do potential clients find you?
For now, people can find me on my website, it’s www.theartistryofyou.com or on Facebook at The Artistry of You.
How long does a consultation take?
We can do color and style in about two and a half hours. I do mini closet audits in 90 minutes and a full audit in three hours. It can be a lot to absorb at once, so we can break things up.
It seems as we age we want to get rid of excess wardrobe.
We almost have to. Not only do styles change, but our body changes, as well. It’s frustrating to stare at an outfit that used to look great and now it doesn’t fit so well. It’s better to get it out of the closet.
What is it about fashion?
I’ve always loved fashion and I think women should embrace it. What we show on the outside should exemplify who we are on the inside. My take on fashion is that I feel everyone is beautiful in their own way so enhancing that in order to look and feel our best is what it’s all about. You can shop anywhere from a thrift store to Saks Fifth Avenue and as long as you know what to look for you can be very stylish.
How do you describe your own style?
I love dramatic styles because I used to be very soft spoken. In college, I was afraid to call for a pizza. That’s probably why it took me a while to go into business for myself. Dramatic clothes help bring me out and help me to be more confident. Now, I’m a risk taker. I like texture and bold colors and I’m careful not to overdo it with the accessories.
What is style?
Style encompasses your personality, your coloring, your look and it reflects what you like. For example, I like things that sparkle. It all comes together to create one’s style. A person can also have more than one style to suit different functions. I have classic styles for speaking engagements and I have more dramatic things that are the real me.
What do you think about designer labels and shopping?
I feel that you can look good at any income level. I have clients who earn a range of salaries. Is there a difference between a designer handbag and one that is not? Yes, but I have both because sometimes I might want a bright pink bag, let’s say, and I don’t want to spend $300 because I like drama and the trends so I don’t spend as much on those things because the styles come and go. I teach my clients to invest in classic, tailored pieces that fit great and will last.
You must be good at cleaning out your own closet.
I am. I donate things to First Impression, Inc. of Medina. It works a lot like Dress For Success. I volunteer my time dressing underprivileged women and those in need that are looking for an outfit to wear to an interview. Find out more about them at firstimpressionmedina.org. It’s pretty new, we’ve helped five clients and they’ve all gotten the jobs.
Where do you find fashion inspiration?
I follow a lot of fashion bloggers and I really like Victoria Beckham, she exemplifies my style. I never want to copy anyone but it’s hard to do dramatic well, especially as we get older, but she does it.
Where does this love for dramatic fashions come from?
Interestingly enough, a client asked me the other day if your style comes from inside or is it from the environment. I thought about when I was in second grade picking out my first communion dress with my mother. She was beautiful but not really into fashion. I remember trying on the poofy princess dresses and thinking that they looked horrible. I must have known it didn’t work. I ended up with a straight sheath with a panel on the front covered in bling. It was a dramatic design. I guess I did have that sense already. After that, I was a tomboy until my freshman year of college. It was a journey for me.
Where did the journey go from there?
I’m from Buffalo and went to a Jesuit college. Through that school I went to the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City on a transfer program where I earned two degrees in four years. I earned a merchandising degree there. I met Donna Karan. That was my first awakening to dramatic fashion.
Where does your creativity come from?
I’m the oldest of eight siblings and we’re all creative. My grandfather was a photographer. I think it might come from him. One of my sisters had a floral design company and my brother’s is an artist and art teacher.
Has your style changed over the years?
I went from business attire to having my own company at 45. I spend a lot of time in people’s closets, bending down, taking measurements. I got rid of the stiff button downs and reinvented myself. I am more dramatic now than I was when I was younger.
Is it difficult to keep your style out of your client’s style?
My style is dramatic, classic and modern. I’m good at making sure my clients get what works best on them. I take a lot of time finding out who they are. We do some word testing to find out how they’d like to be seen by others and what they like visually. Then I take what I know will look good on them and put it all together. I really keep my tastes out of the equation. I do inch them out of their comfort zone…gently.
Where do you like to shop?
I like to discount shop. I started my company during a tough financial time but I knew this was something that I was supposed to do. Because of that, I’m a good example of how to look stylish on a smaller budget. My family is more important to me than a pile of designer bags. I would rather find 10 things that I love at TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Nordstrom Rack or a resale store.
Give us a bit of advice about our closets.
People tend to only wear 15 to 20 percent of their wardrobe because the rest of it is either the wrong colors, the wrong shape for their body or the wrong styles. I have found that people tend to shop for an event and that they shop under stress. The odds are stacked against us and the thing you pick in that situation is probably not the best thing for you. It will likely sit in the closet.
What is your wardrobe philosophy?
Start with a core wardrobe and know what neutrals work best on you. Black isn’t everyone’s best neutral. Some women look better in gray, navy or brown. You need some plain, versatile, classic pieces in your closet. You need navy or black slacks and a classic jacket or blazer, for starters.
Do you stick to any rules?
I teach my clients the importance of focal point. We don’t want the focal point to be below the waist. No horizontal stripes or words on the clothes. I create an “eyes up” focal point. You want people to look at your face. Glasses are very important and can create a great focal point so they better be the right shape and color. Also, wear styles that flatter you over wearing a trend. Not all trends work on all people.
What is your fashion mission statement?
My hope when I work with a client is that they will feel great no matter where they’re at with their weight, age, shape, budget or with other life situations. We are unique, our clothes can make us feel better about ourselves, they don’t define us, but they can make a difference.