Style Mantras

Piyanka Swaroop talks with You & I
Piyanka Swaroop, founder and director at The Image Ambassadors consultancy firm, talks to You & I about how she styles both men and women, and the importance of image consultants today.
What does image consulting mean to you?
Image consulting and its tools enable one to look their best at all times and on all possible occasions. They allow one to be a confident person – true to oneself and one’s sensibilities. They can take you from how you’re placed in life now to where you aspire to be.
You work with both men and women. How has that been?
Men and women have different thought processes when it comes to image management. Women tend to be cautious and would rather play safe, whereas men are more accepting of the need for a makeover. I always believe that in terms of men, being too self-conscious of your figure hampers you from trying new styles and outfits. I’m always pleasantly surprised when they show a willingness to try a new look, considering that most men are a bit conservative when it comes to styling.
Tell us about your clientele.
Fortunately, my clientele is varied; I have attended to clients as young as 17 or18 and as mature as 65. It’s exciting to know that today almost everyone I meet is very conscious about how they appear, how they behave, how well they communicate, and how they can enhance these aspects.
How do you assist your clients apart from image consulting?
Besides image consulting I do a lot of workshops for multinational organisations – they request mainly etiquette, grooming, and communication sessions for their employees. Today’s globally connected world requires employees to be ready to interact and network with people from other countries, and these soft skills go a long way toward creating a good impression of the individual and the organisation.
Piyanka Swaroop 
What is your personal fashion style?
My own style is very classic. I stick to timeless styles, colours and accessories. They work well for almost all occasions, and considering how quickly today’s fashion changes, it’s necessary to have a signature style.
What do you think about the dearth of image consultants in India? Is the trend catching on?
I would say there is a dearth of really good image consultants in India. Many people believe that image consulting is personality development, but that’s just a small part of what we actually do. Besides that, we are stylists, make-up artists, personal shoppers, soft skills experts and much more. The trend is definitely catching on. And I would call it more than just a trend – it’s a lifestyle choice, a redefinition of your image, personality and personal style.
What do you like to do apart from your work?
I love to travel and explore new destinations. Health and wellness is extremely important to me, and when I’m not working, I’m working out. Both my husband and I love to read, and our library at home is a book lover’s dream. I also write and blog every day on various subjects.
Your fashion icons?
The biggest influence on my personal style has been my mother; she has a timeless grace and elegance about her. I’m also very impressed by the styling of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, who is conservative yet very stylish and elegant.
One essential that people should always carry with them for style and comfort?
Actually that would have to be more than just one! However, if I had to choose, I would say a beautiful silk scarf or stole. It can instantly add that touch of class, style and beauty to any outfit. You can take a basic outfit – say a T-shirt and jeans, for instance – and add the scarf to make it look formal, smart and very stylish.                                                                                           --- as told to Vatika