Manhattan Makeovers Blog for Attorneys, Businesspeople, and Artists

Rationale for Using an Image Consultant

A rationale is a set of reasons or a logical basis for a course of action, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which, by the way, is one of my favorite dictionaries. But it’s surprising how few professional men and women have a rationale for using an image consultant. Sometimes they have a hunch that they need a new look. Other times they have a new job that they’re applying for, or they might have been promoted, and they want to look right. But all these nenulous ideas are absolutely meaningless since they fail to come to grips with the most important reason for using an image consultant like Manhattan Makeovers. In a word, the best reason to use an image consultant from Manhattan Makeovers is that we provide evidence-based advice.

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick

Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick

An evidence-based consultant provides recommendations that are specific to your profession, and these recommendations aren’t taken out of a hat, or out of thin air; instead, they are based on research about what actually works for professionals like you. Manhattan Makeovers is one of only a handful of recognized consultants that bases its recommendations on this kind of empirical research.

In the grand scheme of things, this should be of paramount importance to you. The work you hire an image consultant to do should reflect the research that they have amassed over a number of years or decades. They should be able to tell you why they are recommending dark pumps, a skirt suit, and a pastel colored blouse, for example. They should be able to tell you why they are recommending black footwear as opposed to beige. They should be able to give you evidence that their hairstyle suggestions will make you more effective at work. Unless they can do all these things, and back up their advice with reasons based on research, you’re wasting your time and money. At Manhattan Makeovers we have been researching the most effective hairstyles, footwear, and garment fabrics and colors for professionals for more than three decades.

If you are looking for advice on how to be a more effective banker, attorney, physician, accountant, or artist, then you deserve evidence-based advice. You deserve the best. And that’s why Manhattan Makeovers is here.

 

Blue Blues and Blue Rules

Colors can be your key to dressing for success, provided you know what the research says about how color affects people. Our clients are primarily professionals and artists, and they need to know which color suits, shirts, ties, and shoes will be most helpful for them in interacting with clients, associates, and even audiences, such as juries, boards of directors, and audiences at musical events. We have done a good amount of research into exactly how color can help or hinder the working lawyer, doctor, scientist, banker, accountant, and performing artist.

Take the color blue, for example. It is a ubiquitous color in the legal profession, and for good reason. There it is highly effective for most male and female attorneys. But how effective is it for bankers, accountants, and CPAs? Ah, there’s the rub! Interestingly, it is less effective for these professionals than gray. This is because men and women in gray suits inspire more confidence in people when it comes to money. They prefer a banker or financial advisor who is wearing a gray suit, and people generally attribute more competence to him or her, more integrity, and more ability to help them.

But this does not mean that blue is wrong for people in banking or for accountants. Blue can work for them, but it must be combined with the right color footwear, and the right hairstyle for maximum effectiveness. A blue suit often entices a man to wear brown shoes to look stylish. In actuality our research convincingly demonstrates that he is hurting his chances of success with brown shoes. The only color shoe a man should wear is black.

Women almost always make the mistake of trying to coordinate their footwear with their outfits. This leads to the significant mistake of wearing gray shoes with a gray suit, or blue shoes with a blue suit. While the latter might not be too objectionable, it is significantly less effective than black pumps would be on the same woman. The general rule is that a woman’s shoes should not match her outfit but should be rather darker than her suit color. And the only shoe that is effective for a woman attorney, banker, teacher, scientist, or doctor is the pump. End of story.

Artists, on the other hand, such as musicians, painters, and poets, have a greater ability to vary their outfits and footwear, and even their hairstyles. In fact, a poet who dresses like a banker might even be impeding his or her chances for success. In each case, we do specific testing with the client, we run focus groups, and we dress the client in various outfits and then test them with about a hundred subjects before we make our final recommendations. Only by testing can you be sure that an artist has discovered the most effective image. We call it the signature look since it should ideally vary from person to person, expressing something unique about them and their artistic vision.

You won’t hear us recommend the latest fashions, either. We’re not about what is fashionable, we’re all about what is effective. Especially when it comes to the color blue.

Patterns Can Help Or Hurt Your Image

Many professionals like to wear patterns in their shirts, suits, and accessories. Women often are attracted to dresses with patterns. But when these people wear patterns they are communicating, through the design, to everyone who sees them. The message that is contained in a pattern is very clearly on display, but almost none of our clients knows the meaning of that message. Most consumers, I would say more than 99.9 percent of them, have no idea of the meaning of the patterns. Yet their clothes still broadcast this message loud and clear to the subconscious of everyone who sees them.

Wouldn’t you like to know whether the message that you’re sending is positive or negative?

Patterns can help or hurt you depending on the meaning of the pattern. Unfortunately, no one learns about the meanings of patterns in school, and there are almost no resources that you can find to decipher the meanings of the patterns in dresses, shirts, ties, and suits. However, the good news is that Manhattan Makeovers has been researching the meaning of patterns for more than two decades, and we have worked with sociologists and psychologists, as well as cultural anthropologists, to decipher the meaning of the patterns in clothes.

wheel dress

Look at this image of a dress containing a pattern in the form of wheels. Whether or not you find it attractive, do you have any idea of the significance of this pattern? Many women would buy a dress like this, and there are some famous designers who also make dresses with this type of wheel pattern. These dresses often are quite expensive, and they seem to promise a glamourous aura to the women who purchase them.

Almost none of the women who wear this dress, however, will realize that they are displaying an image from the Middle Ages known as the crocodile tube. This ancient device was utilized to torture victims, and it often killed them. The victim would be fed into the crocodile tube, which consisted of sharp spikes, and you can see the remnants of those spikes in the inner circumference of the wheel patterns on this dress.

So what message is this dress and this pattern conveying to the people who see the wearer? To decipher this message is one of the things that Manhattan Makeovers does for clients. Cultural anthropologists have also helped us understand the subconscious message about bondage and enslavement conveyed in certain patterns in expensive necklaces and bracelets, wristwatches and rings.

When we work with you to enhance your image, we will help you avoid conveying the wrong or inappropriate message to clients, associates, and even to your dates and spouses. Certain patterns are effective, but many are going to be problematic. You may not know the message you’re sending, but we do, and we will help you send only the right message, thereby enhancing your image at work and play.

You can count on Manhattan Makeovers to help you select the best wardrobe items. The research we have conducted is second to none. Give us a call today to see how we can help you select patterns that will move you ahead in your career and your social life.

White Teeth and Your Image

All over America lawyers, doctors, bankers and other professionals and artists work to improve their image. They buy new suits, shoes, and get haircuts. But one thing they almost all fail to focus on is their smile. One of the reasons for this is that there is a lot of misinformation circulating about how to care for your teeth. People regularly brush with fluoride tooth paste, which is a big mistake. The Fluoride Deception by Christopher Bryson (2006) explains why. But an even bigger mistake people run into is that they brush and floss but still get dental decay and they don’t know why.

“I believe you can’t get cavities if you have a basic rather than acidic mouth,” my dentist told me recently. He’s an old-fashioned dentist who has been in practice for many years.

“How do I achieve that basic pH?”

“You can use baking soda,” he said.

If you rinse with baking soda you’ll leave your mouth fresh and with a basic rather than acidic pH. “The bacteria that are involved with causing cavities love acid, and every time we have acidic food or foods that bring down the pH of your mouth (carbohydrates are the most common) these bacteria wake up and become active starting the demineralization process (removal of minerals from your teeth). Having a less acidic or more basic oral environment keeps the bacteria in a more stagnant state while encouraging your teeth to accept more mineral into them.” (“Holistic Dental Care Tips.” 9/7/2016. The House of Dentistry.)

If you use water that is basic you will also be helping your teeth every time you drink it. The most basic water I know, which also tastes delicious, is Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water. It also has a high magnesium content, and most Americans are deficient in this important mineral.

Another tip to help your teeth is to stop using toothpaste that contains glycerin. Glycerin prevents your teeth from absorbing minerals because glycerin forms a coating on the enamel which is not a good thing. The only toothpaste that I know without glycerin is Earthpaste, and I recommend it highly to our clients.

In conclusion, you’ll improve your dental health by avoiding fluoride, avoiding glycerin toothpaste, and rinsing with baking soda to keep your mouth at a basic pH.

Hairstyle for young man

Women, please help us do fieldwork by sending your suggestions how this young man can improve his hairstyle and make it more attractive to women.

 

 

[Note: The client images were removed to protect our clients anonymity. Thank you to all who replied!]

By |February 1st, 2017|Wardrobe|1 Comment

Pump, heel, or flats – which is best for professional women?

The majority of professional women who come to us for image consultations are naturally interested in wearing shoes that will help them succeed on the job. But nine out of ten of these women are wearing the wrong shoes.

The first thing to keep in mind is that looking in fashion magazines, online, or in stores won’t help you find the best shoes. It’ll only expose you to paid advertisements from shoe manufacturers and designers, none of whom cares in the least about your success on the job. All they care about is moving merchandise and making women feel they need something new and trendy.

The truth is that trendy is ineffective. Just think about it for a moment and you’ll clearly realize that certain styles are NOT going to be effective at work. Very high heels, for instance. The only way to find out what works is to test the footwear, and this is precisely what Manhattan Makeovers has been doing for three decades.

One of the first things we discovered is that the pump is the most effective footwear for the professional–lawyers, doctors, bankers, accountants, and other white-collar jobs. It may sound boring, but the pump in a dark color conveys a subliminal message about your competence, integrity, and honesty. Our fieldwork and comparison tests are unequivocal on this point: your shoes communicate messages to your colleagues, clients, and customers.

The pump needs to have heels that are no more than two or two-and-a-half inches. They cannot be flats. Flats are ineffective at work. Your shoes also cannot be heels. They, too, are ineffective. Save them for the weekend or for dates.

Shoe and pump color for professional women

Probably the biggest mistake women make with their image is trying to match their shoe color to their outfits. Field tests demonstrate repeatedly that it is exponentially more effective to wear shoes that are at least two tones darker than your outfit. For the purpose of avoiding confusion: you don’t want to match the shoes, you want them to be darker.

What do I mean by “at least” two tones darker? This means that the shoes can be significantly darker and they’ll still be effective. For instance, you can wear a white suit and a black pump. You’ll be very effective with this combination.

Do your own shoe test

One final word of advice. I realize that you want to look fashionable. But if you want to be effective resist the temptation. The traditional pump will serve you well. You might want to do what our clients do and keep a reaction diary. See how colleagues, clients, and customers react when you wear dark pumps as opposed to how you’re treated in heels that match your outfits.

Our clients sell more, experience less friction in court, and report better all-around responses with colleagues and associates.

 

How to choose a hat or fedora

Today fewer people are wearing hats than in the 1950s or 1960s. But this is actually GOOD for YOU because if you do wear a hat you will stand out from the crowd. In effect, a hat can help you develop a signature style.

What is a signature style? Just think of Tom Wolfe with his white suits, Truman Capote with his hats, or Tennessee Williams with his signature cigarette holder. Every celebrity, writer, or actor who has a signature style becomes more memorable in the public eye. By wearing a hat today, you can develop a sophisticated look that can help you boost your visibility and name recognition. And remember, hats look great in photos, too.

So how do you select a good hat?

First, you need to go to a good hat store. There, you will find a selection and a sales force that can help you.

Second, you want to look at some of your favorite writers, poets, singers, or politicians who wear hats. My favorite is William S. Burroughs, which is why I chose a fedor similar to the ones he used to wear. It’s easy to find photos of your favorite hat wearer online. Print the photos and take them to the store with you.

Try the hats in the store, so that you achieve a look that matches the photos of the person you admire.

My recommendation is to buy a hat in a good hat store, not a supermarket. Supermarket hats are cheaply made, will not last, and are not in a classic design in most cases.

Don’t be afraid to spend up to two or three hundred dollars for a good hat. Such a hat will last twenty years or more. This comes to only ten or fifteen dollars a year when you look at the lifetime of the hat.

If you need help selecting a hat, we can also suggest that you go to J.J. Hat Center in Manhattan. We have no affiliation with them, but they’re the oldest hat store in the world, and in my opinion one of the best. We can take you there and help you decide on a signature look.

 

 

Coffee and Writers – a new survey

coffeeCoffee helps many writers increase their productivity. Some of the most prolific and successful modern writers have relied on coffee, including Honoré de Balzac, William Faulkner, Ayn Rand, and Jack Kerouac. When we look at the production of these authors, we often find that they were drinking copious amounts of coffee during their most intense writing periods. In fact, Jack Kerouac famously said that he wrote On the Road on coffee. He told his friend Neal Cassady that he, too, should drink coffee when writing. Although Cassady wasn’t a writer, Kerouac was always trying to get his friends to write, and he raved about the way coffee helped him finish his books in record time.

There are some interesting new findings about coffee that all writers should pay attention to, especially the recent genetic findings. According to the latest research, people are either rapid, average, or slow metabolizers of caffeine. Rapid metabolizers clear the drug significantly more quickly from their system. This means they also have a greater tolerance for coffee.

This research also indicates that rapid caffeine metabolizers will not experience an increased risk of nonfatal heart attacks, the way slow metabolizers will if they drink more than two cups a day. About 30 percent of people are rapid caffeine metabolizers. I found out that I was, too, by taking a fun genetic test from 23andMe.

If you haven’t taken the genetic test, but you still wish to know whether you’re a rapid caffeine metabolizer, just ask yourself whether you tolerate coffee well. If it keeps you up all night, if it causes you jitters if you just take a few sips, or if it makes you overly anxious, you’re probably a slow metabolizer. But if, on the other hand, you can have one, two, or even three cups during the day, without feeling overly jittery, then you’re likely to be in that 30 percent of the population who are rapid caffeine metabolizers. The good news is that if you’re a writer, you can still enjoy the beneficial effects of coffee if you just drink one or two cups, even if you’re a slow metabolizer. Rapid caffeine metabolizers can drink considerably more.

Jack Kerouac was almost certainly a rapid caffeine metabolizer because he would think nothing of having four cups of coffee at a time.

If you write for a living, or even if you just enjoy writing (such as on your blog), please take my new Writers and Coffee Survey. This short survey will help me with my new book about how writers use coffee to be more productive. The survey will only take a couple of minutes, and you’ll be redirected back to this website after you finish. Thank you!

References

  1. Cornelis MC, El-Sohemy A, Kabagambe EK, Campos H. “Coffee, CYP1A2 genotype, and risk of myocardial infarction.” JAMA. 2006;295(10):1135-1141.
  2. Nikolopoulos, Stephanie, and Paul Maher Jr. 2013. Burning Furiously: The True Story of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (Alternately titled: The Saga of Young Jack Kerouac and Jack Kerouac’s American Journey) Morrisville, NC.

 

 

By |January 5th, 2016|Health|0 Comments