Manhattan Makeovers Blog for Attorneys, Businesspeople, and Artists

What Is Evidence-Based Image Consulting?

Let’s be clear about the most important reason for selecting one consultant over another for wardrobe and style advice: it’s critical to use a consultant whose work is based on evidence about what really works to make you more effective. Why settle for anything less?

at the Met for a makeover with client

At the Met. Michael Christian (left) with client. (photo Paulina Glozman)

At Manhattan Makeovers, our three decades of research has uncovered all the vital statistics and data to help you choose the best jackets, suits, shirts, footwear, and accessories. In addition, we have done fieldwork on which hairstyles are most useful for bankers, lawyers, accountants, scientists, and artists. In each instance, the colors that are most effective are what you want to be wearing, the shoes that test well are those you want to own, and the hairstyles that will help you get ahead in your field are the ones you want to wear.

It may be fun to page through the latest issue of Cosmo or GQ, but doing so will not help you succeed as a lawyer, banker, or doctor. However, when you absorb the fruits of our research, you will be well on your way to a new you. You’ll have an advantage over others in your field, and you’ll immediately see the difference that evidence-based advice can provide for you.

By evidence-based research, we mean that our advice is calculated to make you more successful based on numerous tests, surveys, and fieldwork that we have conducted. Yes, we understand that you want to look fashionable; but even more vital for your success on the job is whether your overall appearance causes others to view you are competent, trustworthy, and authoritative. Only certain colors, shoe styles, and accessories will have this desired effect. Wear the wrong colors and you are causing trouble for yourself every day. Change to the proven colors, the effective hairstyles, and the tested footwear, and your life will be so much easier and your relations with clients and customers so much smoother.

We have spent years doing this research so that you can benefit from it during a consultation and makeover with us. By the way, the term makeover is not something men should be afraid of since it applies equally to men and women. In fact, many of the most successful men in all fields, from politics to business, use image consultants and makeovers to increase their effectiveness. From presidents to rock stars, from Hollywood directors to famous authors, image consultations are the way to benefit from tested advice and become more successful in your chosen field.

The photo above illustrates the first part of your makeovers experience, meeting with us for your initial conference, color analysis, and review of our customized look book, produced for you based on your height, weight, hair color, and profession. We’ll sit down with you over coffee or tea while we go over the material, and then we’ll show you a few works of art that illustrate the principles and concepts we’ll share. Then it’s off to the salon for your haircut and styling. Next we’ll shop with you in Manhattan. And each step of the way, we’re explaining more about the fruits of our research so that you grow and develop in your understanding of how to improve your effectiveness at work and in social situations.

Is the consultation also fun? Yes, of course it is! But more than anything else it will change the way you are perceived by others, and it will make you so much more effective at what you do when interacting with other people.

Color Analysis Mistakes Women Make

Color analysis is a term of art used in the image consulting field. The very definition of this term should be enough to make any intelligent woman suspect that the entire concept is based on false premises. As used by the majority of image consultants today, a color analysis is a procedure that supposedly allows a trained individual to look at you and then tell you which colors will look good on you and which colors won’t look good. If you buy such a fraudulent service you are, frankly, wasting your hard-earned money, and this article will explain why so many uninformed women fall prey to such a bogus claim.

color wheel

Color wheel

After I expose the high level of deception involved in the typical color analysis, I will explain exactly how and why a professional can indeed benefit from research about which colors are more or less effective for her profession. Manhattan Makeovers has conducted such research, and the fruits of that fieldwork and investigation can help you as an attorney, banker, CPA, physician, scientist, or artist. But first let’s debunk the misleading things most women believe about a color analysis.

As John T. Molloy, the father of image consulting, has pointed out, there is no rational reason for a woman to think she is a summer, fall, winter, or spring person when it comes to color. Yet the majority of image consultants today subscribe to the discredited Color Me Beautiful theory, which deceptively classifies women into one of these “seasons” and then claims that only colors that pertain to that classification should be worn by her. What utter nonsense! In fact, Mr. Molloy was himself a guest on numerous television shows where these so-called image consultants classified him as summer, fall, and spring. He wondered why he was never called a winter person. This inability to consistently classify a person into one of the four categories is strong evidence that the system is counterfeit.

Girls like the idea of talking to another girl who will drape a swatch of fabric over their shoulder and babble about how, “You’re a spring, darlin’! I can tell just by looking at your skin. Ooo-wee, how much fun we’re gonna have shopping together now, since we know what season you fall into. Oh, my, dearie, just wait until you try on that puce-green sweater I have in mind for you.”

The fact of the matter is that no one can tell you what season you’re classified into since seasonal classification is a sham. Moreover, the only way to tell if you look “good” in a certain color is to try it on and look at yourself in a mirror. If you don’t trust your own judgment, shop with a friend.

But the important point for professional women is that you can know which colors have empirically tested well for women in your field of work. That is, certain colors are more effective for people in sales. If you wear only these colors you are likely to sell more. Other colors and color combinations have tested well for attorneys. Still other colors are more effective for certified public accountants, bankers, scientists, physicians, and artists and musicians. Only fieldwork and testing can tell you which colors are most effective for a person in your profession. Thankfully, Manhattan Makeovers has done all this work for you. And during a makeover and image consultation, we will give you a “look book” with the fruits of that research, customized for your profession. We will sit down over a cup of coffee and answer all your questions, describing the ideal footwear and hairstyle to match the color combinations that will make you more successful.

Naturally, we will also tell you the colors and styles that will increase your attractiveness in social situations, such as luncheons, casual meetings, and romantic get-togethers. These colors and styles are different from those that will work in the office or, if you’re a performer, what is most effective onstage.

Bottom line: Do not be misled into thinking that a color analysis will tell you what season you fall into. That kind of nonsense has been proven false many times over. What you can rely on, however, is empirical research about exactly which colors will make you more effective in your professional and social life. And the people who can tell you that are the analysts at Manhattan Makeovers. Call us today to schedule your complete makeover—and enjoy the many advantages that solid research about effective colors can provide for you at work and play.



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.