NYC Image Consultant Academy

Come to the Image Insider Scoop for all-things image. We provide insights and perspectives intended to expand your points of view on in image consulting, fashion styling, business etiquette or communication. To expand our reach, all Scoop articles are published in English, Chinese, and Spanish.

We are here at your disposal – so please don’t hesitate to pose questions or to participate in discussion. You can find more information about the NYC Image Consultant Academy at

Note: A special offer is available for image consulting training classes to those who register at least three weeks before the training program begins.

Shanna Wu Pecoraro, AICI CIP

Principal Trainer & Executive Director

NYC Image Consultant Academy

Building Confidence Like A Pro

Projecting confidence in your professional life is sometimes easier to think about than to actually practice. Many of us truly know most of the answers, know when and when not to ask for help, and generally know our stuff when it comes to our business and the tasks we are responsible for. Sometimes, having to prove those abilities comes down to being confident. As any successful salesperson or longtime executive will tell you, “acting the part” is 50% of success!


So, thinking of yourself inhabiting the shoes of the role you want can build your confidence tremendously. If you get stuck, it may help to remember these other confidence-building tips:

  • Build upon the image you want others to witness in you – Your image is all about your confidence – your swagger! – and not the price tag of your shoes or the balance in your checking account.


  • Say “No” when you must – You can’t always meet everyone’s expectations or behave in a fashion that matches the world’s apparent plan. If you know you can’t reach a goal, say it as soon as you know it. You will all be better for it.


  • Think of yourself as a business owner, even if you work for someone else -“Owning it” like it’s yours gives you confidence like nothing else, as it will allow you to advocate on behalf of your product, sell through your service, and stand up for yourself confidently when you need to.


  • Express Yourself in Practice – Through your writing, reading, and listening skills. Write to the point, with an eye for the memorable. Read with an open mind and take notes. And listen without abandon, more than you speak: this is how we learn most rapidly about what’s great (and not so great) in the world; listening well also shows respect to those you are working with.


  • Spend most of your time with people who support you – It’s hard to hear sometimes, but you dishonor your mind and spirit when you cohort with people who criticize, condemn or downplay your importance. Instead of letting your friends, colleagues or clients dictate who you are, build your self-confidence by tuning into YOU. If this is difficult to practice, consider working with a therapist or life coach for a period, to help you recognize what anxiety, dread, disappointment, joy, contentment, and relief actually feel like – and then notice how you feel when you’re with certain people. If people close to you bring you down consistently, find new friends, and figure out a way to connect with positive clients and colleagues to build back your confidence.


  • Define what “taking risks” means to you – and take a little one every day — When you distrust yourself, or don’t reach out to others, or remain closed to vulnerability, or stop making waves, you miss too much! Take a small risk each and every day to get out of your comfort zone and start making bigger waves with your confident self!


How do you maintain confidence? Share with us on

#image-tips, #professional-dressing, #self-development, #shanna-pecoraro

Shopping For “Your Colors”

We all have a color palette that works best with our complexion and hue.


Light colors tend to go best for those with a fair & whiter skin tone. Toned colors tend to work best for the person with a soft over all look. Deep colors work best for a pigment-rich person. Bright colors work best for the person who has clear skin, bright eyes and silky hair, and of course we have to consider the person who may have warm, cool or neutral undertones.


While it may not be apparent on the runway or in the pages of fashion magazines, the real reason that looks often stand out, or “pop” to us, is that the colors chosen for the models work really well with their tone and hue. Mass-market brands would do well to pay more attention to this, by marketing & packaging their clothes to specific “color personalities” who can then become unofficial “endorsers” of their brands.



A recent trip to the new ARKET store in Munich, Germany, showcased impressive skill at pairing colors together on the rack to simplify ease. (And it would be shameful not to mention that the layout of the store was impressive, with each block of colourful garments visually appearing like a utilitarian art piece!)


With an ever-increasing shift to online retail, brick-and-mortar stores would do well to follow ARKET’s lead in pairing function and style with colors and tone. We think this will increase the likelihood of customer delight while shopping, which is also likely to result in increased sales at the register.


Are you a designer, or a fashion retailer? Could this work for you?  Tell us. …

#PeopleWatching: Finding the Fun in Observation

Traveling abroad creates opportunities for many adventures. New sights, sounds, smells and tastes are hopefully woven into each visit overseas.


Some of our favorite moments traveling abroad have involved people watching. That’s right: sitting quietly and just observing the interactions, body language, and overall humanity of the characters crossing near us, this way and that.


When it comes to personal style, in general and through #peoplewatching, we have observed that American fashion is more casual overall, European fashion is more “everyday elegant”, and Asian fashion is a fascinating mix of “Designer and Street”.



To expand: Americans love to travel in comfort, so a lot of the clothing seen is geared towards that. Fabric choices lean a bit more toward washable and more ‘forgiving’ cuts. Even for the professional traveling on business – for many, casual seems to be key when going abroad.


Europeans have a more ‘proper’ sense of style, which is not nearly as casual as Americans. Euros tend to dress properly for nearly all occasions. Quality over Quantity seems to be the mantra, with solid, long-lasting fabrics used in professional attire and for the everyday outfit.


Finally, Asian style seems to be driven by celebrities, influencers, and film/TV culture. Trending outfits appear in every occasion and type of profession. Many European & American Designers and fashion brands have considerable influence in Asian buying powers.


Do you ever sit near a crossroads and people watch? What’s your favorite place to go #peoplewatching? How does #peoplewatching influence your decisions as a shopper, or in your career? Tell us …

Tips to Remaining Youthful in Spirit

“When your friends begin to flatter you on how young you look, it’s a sure sign you’re getting old.“ – Mark Twain


Getting old doesn’t mean what it used to. In fact, we read and hear all the time that “age is nothing but a number”, and to some degree, that’s true. Some of the most energetic, fun-filled people we know are over 50! Yet in the same hand, sad to say, we’ve observed a good number of miserable people who are in there 20’s.


A casual observer might think that your natural disposition and upbringing have a lot to do with your outlook on aging, but setting an intention to take care of yourself is just as important. In fact, making a daily practice of self-care can bring tremendous pleasure, in addition to reducing fine lines and flabby arms.


Here are a few mantras we try to remember, daily, in order to keep the bad parts of aging away and the best parts on our side:


Aging gracefully doesn’t mean “doing nothing”
Many women keep the same hairstyle, makeup, and clothing for years. The style may look great when they’re in their 30s, but after 50s, the same style will not work as effectively as their 30s. Changing your hairstyle and recheck your coloring and style every few years is one easy fix and can bring a sense of vitality for weeks after!

Invest in well-fitted clothing
It’s not easy to find flattering clothes in every age, especially, after the 50s. We advise that you avoid body-squeezing clothes and choose only well-fitted outfits to do the trick.
Do not skip exercise

Using “Getting Old” is not an excuse for starting or skipping exercise. Swimming, yoga, biking, or simply walking, 3-4 times a week, for the joy of getting your heart rate up, has many long-term benefits.


Don’t overdo the “anti-aging” treatments
No one likes “looking older,” but a Botoxed face or puffy lip isn’t a great look either. The right skin products help diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and a little extra moisturizer blended with the right foundation can even out your complexion.

Make sure to get enough sleep
Fewer hours of sleep are most likely to show up on your face immediately and can be seen in the form of wrinkles, black circles, and puffy eyes. But not getting enough sleep is also linked to a greater risk of other health problems, which become even more important as you age.

Do not skip the dentist or the eye doctor!
We are often focused on our wrinkles or thinning hair but forget to take care of our teeth. Yellowing teeth make us appear older. Be sure to floss thoroughly and brush at least twice daily to maintain positive dental hygiene. Be sure to also keep your annual appointment with the eye doctor, getting dilated as necessary, and checkups to ensure your glasses meet the needs of your eyes as they change.

Don’t use the wrong colors
A visit with your image consultant is important, even if it’s only once every year.  As we age, some colors and patterns start to bring out the best in us – and others should be tossed aside. Working with a trusted partner can do wonders for your outward appearance, and help you feel confident, relevant, and sexy when you need those feelings the most!


Are you over 50? How do you practice self-care? Let us know ……

Getting What You Want in 2018

We’re already well into the month of January – the beginning of the new year! 2017 was dynamic, to say the least. What will 2018 have in store? Your best guesses are just as likely as ours, but one thing we do know is how important it is to figure out what YOU really want out of life, and then asking for it!

Here are a few tips we’ve been inspired by in the past that we’re aiming to keep top-of-mind for 2018.


Figure out what you want!

Knowing the what is sometimes the hardest part, because you have to think critically about what’s driving you and what motivates you this year. Once you’ve figured it out, write it down. If you’re confident with it, say it out loud and then share it with friends, colleagues, or your spouse. You’ll never get what you want in life unless you SAY IT!


Ask the right person (first!)

Go directly to the person who can give you what you seek, and ask for it. If you want the job at XYZ company, try to reach out to the CEO on LinkedIn first. Or send an email if you can find it online, explaining why you think you’d be great for what they’re doing. Starting at the top is the best way to get buy-in quickly.


Utilize the “what’s in it for me?” question in all of your asks

People will often give you what you ask for because it also benefits them somehow. Starting an ask with a clear statement of what’s in it for you along with what’s in it for them, will lead to many more wins for you!


Ask for MORE!

Negotiators always try this, and it often works. Asking for MORE sets the bar higher so that, after the negotiation is over, you’ll likely get what you want.


Explain why you need it!

Sometimes explaining something with a “because” added on is an excellent way to share what you need. By doing this, you allow the person you’re asking to visualize why it’s so important to you, and your potential happiness provides them with added joy when they (hopefully) say yes!


In the end, always aim to get to a place where you dismiss anything you’re worried about, and just roll. You can rock it!


What do you think of these tips? What tips would you share with your friends?

Let us know at ……

Goal Setting


With 2018 just around the corner, it’s never too early to take an evening away from the holiday parties and gift-wrapping to consider where you want to be – and what you want to achieve – next year. A commonly referenced way to identify and then stick to your goals is to make sure they are SMART goals!


To refresh your memory, identifying and following SMART goals means that your goals are:


S: Specific – you clearly define what the goal is

M: Measurable – you can clearly measure where you stand in completing it

A: Attainable – you can do this without shaking up your whole life. Making it to the moon isn’t realistic for most of us, but losing 10 pounds might be!

R: Realistic – Your goal will only be met if it is meaningful AND realistic to achieve.

T: Timely – You start your work for this by January 2nd and can clarify when you will measure and ideally complete it


For you to get started on your goals, it is essential to write them down. Then, plan the steps out to achieve the goal. Doing this in writing, by hand, helps you determine if the goal is realistic and achievable. Then, you just have to follow through. A tip that’s helped some of our clients follow through in the past is making a copy of your goals and taping it to your bedroom mirror, bathroom mirror, and desk at work, so you can remember to check the steps as you are achieving them each day.


What are your goals for 2018? Let us know if we can help you achieve your SMART goals in the New Year!

Empowering Women Through Body Language

Whether we like it or not, we are judged by our image. In this space and with our clients, we’ve done our fair share of posts on first impressions and dressing for success for ladies. Considering the revelations that have rocked the pillars of Hollywood, journalism, the arts, and many other industries over the past month, our own conversations have circled back to power and respect. For example, in the workplace, what’s “too sexy”, and in interactions with members of the opposite sex, what’s “flirtatious”?

As a woman, you can empower yourself immediately, in nearly any situation, by being in control of the verbal and nonverbal signals you’re sending. And while signals change depending on where you are, your confidence will apply in nearly any country you are traveling to. Here are a few body language mistakes that lady leaders often make.

  • Head tilts – Tilting your head can signal, “I’m listening”, but using it too much may be perceived as a sexy invitation. If you want to project power and authority, try to keep your head straight and forward, in a neutral position.
  • Girlish behaviors – Twirling your hair, playing with jewelry, biting your fingers, and touching your neck can make you appear nervous.
  • Nodding too much – Constant head nodding shows engagement and encouragement, but not power.
  • Voice “rise” – Raising the pitch of your voice in the middle of sentences is not an authoritative way to express yourself. Try to maintain a stable and strong tone.
  • Expressive hand movements – In situations where you want to maximize your authority — minimize your movements. When you appear calm and contained, you look more powerful.
  • Soft handshake – A weak handshake is perceived to be less confident and even submissive. Always try to go for a firm handshake.
  • Flirt – Flirting may gain you quick likeability, but may cause you to lose your competitive advantage in the business world. Try to avoid blatant flirting.


To improve your nonverbal communication skills, try working with a female friend who will give you honest feedback. Practice going through a 10-min presentation or business lunch, projecting confidence and avoiding the trouble habits listed above. Take your friend’s feedback seriously, and try to incorporate it into your professional life. Then, ask a trusted male friend to do the same with you. Ask them for feedback on your “performance”, especially your body language. Notice what may be different in his feedback, find the balance, and incorporate it.

Self-awareness in business interactions creates chances for you to get your core message (thoughts and ideas) across and in front of your gender and image. Your enhanced sense of confidence will project no matter where you are in the world, or whom you are doing business with.

How do you project confidence in the workplace through nonverbal communication?