Reno’s Kathleen Audet preps business leaders with professional makeovers |

Reno’s Kathleen Audet preps business leaders with professional makeovers

By Claire Cudahy |
Kathleen Audet looks at clothing options with Sherry Rupert, a Top-40 Powerful Women finalist, at Audet’s studio on California Avenue in Reno.
Photo: Jeff Mulvihill Jr.
Editor’s note This story is adapted from the 2018 edition of Sierra Nevada Powerful Woman, a magazine produced by the Northern Nevada Business View and Sierra Nevada Media Group. Click here to read a digital copy of the magazine.

RENO, Nev. — Kathleen Audet cares about who you are.

The Reno-based image consultant and owner of Your Authentic Image has built a thriving business around getting to know her clients on a deeper level and helping them project that in what they wear.

“I wanted to be able to talk to women about dressing from the inside out instead of taking the culture’s view of how you look,” said Audet. “I really think that it’s a big difference to just style someone and say, ‘you should wear this’ or ‘this is in your closet, let’s make outfits out of that’ versus finding out who you are, what you want to say to the world and how you want to perceived.”

Born in the Biggest Little City, Audet grew up on Cape Cod in Massachusetts before attending school in Boston. Though she graduated with an English degree, a love of style and art sent her into the fashion industry.

“I did some color analysis and make-up work before I started moving into peoples’ closets to do styling because it just seemed like a natural next step,” said Audet.

But after a stroke in 1994 at the age of 33, Audet’s view of her work changed.

“I couldn’t figure out how to dress myself or do anything with clothes really well so I hired an image consultant from the West Coast to come help me,” said Audet. “She said to me, ‘you need to figure out how to work with women from the inside out.’ That’s when I changed my whole business model and decided I was going to work with women from a place of ‘who are you’ and ‘how are you going to reflect that on the outside.’ That’s when it became much more of a broad subject: dress, grooming, body language.”

The result, said Audet, is an elevation of her client’s nonverbal communication and personal and professional leadership.

“It’s not a makeover,” said Audet. “It’s a transformation.” 

Getting to know you

Before Audet even begins the process of styling a client, she sends them a questionnaire with 50-75 questions to get to know them better.

“Then we sit down and go through 300-400 words and narrow them down to four to five that resonate with them the most,” explained Audet. “I teach them how to translate those words into the design elements in the clothing, like lines, shape, color and pattern.

“How do those mix together to create clothing that they love and want to wear?”

Over the course of her career Audet has worked as an image consultant for clients around the country, and their reasons for seeking her help are varied: Some are looking for a new wardrobe to match a promotion at work, while others feel a sense of dread getting dressed in the mornings.

“I really am about empowering them to do it on their own. I’m not about them being dependent on me at all,” said Audet. “I would much prefer I teach them how to dress, how to get up in the morning and be excited about their closets.”

Through Your Authentic Image, Audet has helped companies develop dress codes, and over the last few years, she’s worked with speakers through TEDxUniversityofNevada.

“I help speakers figure out how to dress so they have authority and also garner warmth and trust from the audience,” said Audet. “How do you get the nonverbal cues of your clothing to match who you are on the inside so the second somebody sees you there is no disconnect? They immediately know what he’s saying or she’s saying is true.”

Expressing who you are

When Audet learned she had made the Northern Nevada Business View’s inaugural Top 40 Sierra Nevada Powerful Women finalists, she offered her services to the fellow female executives.

For Denise Castle, executive director of JOIN in Carson City, working with Audet has been “a gift.”

“Now I’m more aware of taking into consideration the day ahead of me,” said Castle. “If I’m doing a presentation, who might I be speaking to? I take a moment to pause and think about how I want to nonverbally communicate my presence today through my wardrobe.”

Clara Andriola, executive director of the Reno Rodeo Foundation and fellow nominee, said the styling process has been transformative — and unexpected.

“It’s an expression of who you are, which to me was the most enlightening. We all like to think we know who we are, but the process that she uses solidifies that,” said Andriola. “That’s the most amazing gift that I think Kathleen brought that I never expected. Most people hear makeover and think you’re just going to change your hair or your clothes, but it was an incredibly enlightening process.”

Though Andriola is still going through the styling process, which spans several months, it’s already changed how she approaches each day.

“I think it takes a special kind of person, to see, recognize and give the space that is necessary to go on that journey,” said Andriola.

Visit to learn more about Audet and Your Authentic Image.