I didn’t set out to become an image consultant. No. I was going to be a dancer. I was practiced in ballet, Broadway, and ballroom style dancing. During my teen years I was involved in classes, recitals, community and college theater productions. At 15 I was working in costumes and makeup. That experience taught me that clothing and grooming communicate—and the world is our stage.
Modeling was very natural work for me. At 17 I modeled at the Grand Opening of the Portland Lloyd Center Mall, the very year that Nordstrom shoes store merged with Best fashion retailer. The uncles knew what they were doing. Shortly after, I moved to Utah to study dance under Willam Christensen at the University of Utah. My very first semester I tore tendons and ligaments away from my knee cap. That ended my dream—but by then I loved this beautiful mountain land called Utah and I wanted to stay in the sunshine all year ‘round.
The home arts were important to me, so I switched into Family and Consumer Science to study foods, clothing, interior decoration, child development, and home management. At 18 I developed the Cluster Concept of wardrobing. Upon graduation I was invited to teach the course in visual design in dress and wardrobing. My students wanted to learn. They were excited about what I was teaching them. I was hooked and knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. One husband, three children, and three moves later, we returned to this wonderful land called Utah. Within weeks I was invited to teach fashion, fitting, and wardrobing at Brigham Young University in their Department of Clothing and Textiles.
During those years I began to specialize in the psycho-social aspects of dress and image. I developed the first course in the Behavioral Aspects of Clothing. Parents wanted me to do with them what I did in class for their children and that led to consulting and private classes. I was invited to write a weekly newspaper column about image, leading to a syndicated column for more than ten years. I was invited to co-author a book on pregnancy, my contribution being beauty and wardrobing—with lots of great pictures. It landed me on the Oprah talk-show.
People have asked me, “Judith, why didn’t you leverage being on Oprah?” Easy answer. I had three little kids waiting for me at home. They were more important than “fame and fortune.” I didn’t however, waste my time. More books followed. I was invited to teach at academic, government, and corporate conferences, workshops, and expositions throughout America and Canada. I had weekly radio and television segments.
The image industry was born and I pioneered image education for consumers, customers, clients. A Charter member of the Association of Image Consultants International (AICI), in 1982 I offered the first consultant image education course titled, Educational-Training in Image Management Careers. It’s not enough to be “trained” in the field. Each client presents a different set of variables to recognize and decipher. Image Consultants must be fully educated to pull from the broad foundation of image information the specific applications that will work for the client. I continue run a full-service business, to consult with private clients and to teach seminars, retreats, and courses in image management, attracting students worldwide. My work to advance the image industry never ends. Curriculum partners now include India, China, and Mexico, keeping my creative output on high.