Manhattan Makeovers Blog for Attorneys, Businesspeople, and Artists

Sitting is bad for your health

The video that follows features James A, Levine, M.D., professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic and a world-renowned leader in obesity research. He is co-director of the Mayo Clinic/Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative.

He is also the author of a new book about the dangers of sitting. That book is filled with research that should scare everyone about sitting too much.

book by James A. Levine, GET UP!

In the following video he talks about the value of moving rather than sitting, and he explains that a sedentary lifestyle can contribute significantly to obesity.

As an image consultant, I recommend Dr. Levine’s book to everyone. It can help improve the way you look and feel, and it can do wonders for your health.

This is the video:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola has also written a good article on this subject: “Walking more may be key for a longer, healthier life.”

By |October 17th, 2014|Image|0 Comments

The subliminal impact of men’s neckties

All you have to do is ask yourself whether you are affected by a man’s tie to realize that very few people have ever thought about this question. In fact, most men choose ties based on whim or guesswork. But the truth is that the tie contains a large association of subliminal messages which are being broadcast to other people. These subliminal messages are saying things about your competence, integrity, and intelligence. More importantly, your tie is a status symbol, and the most effective ties include 100 percent silk ties in certain specific designs and patterns, which I will discuss here.

By wearing the correct color and style of tie, a man can increase rapport and communication with other people. If you wear the wrong style tie, if you’re a salesman, for example, you are likely to alienate potential customers and sales will decrease. If you’re an accountant and have a high net worth client, wearing the wrong style of tie can cause him to trust you less, whereas wearing the appropriate tie for the wealthy and upper-class individual will tend to make him think you are on the same playing field, increasing trust and communication between you.

There are only six types of tie styles: rep, solid, paisley, polka dot, Ivy League, and knit. The rep is a striped tie and it works best with working-class and middle-class people, and is somewhat less effective with upper-class, aristocratic, and rich people.

Solid ties are relatively neglected by many men, who mistakenly feel that these plain ties are not sophisticated. In fact, the solid is a very sophisticated look and works with all types of people. It is also easy to match with any suit.

Paisley ties have big amoeba-like designs and are less formal and best used on days when you don’t have to make an important presentation or meet a new client. They are also good for the weekend and will work with all types of people.

Polka dot ties are effective with working-class, middle-class, and upper-class individuals, especially if you match the dot color to your shirt color. Smaller dots are more formal and effective than bigger ones, and huge dots should be avoided since they can make you look clownish.

Ivy League ties are like polka dot ties, except that instead of dots they have a repeating pattern in the form of the symbol of an Ivy League school. Other examples include a small figure inside another small figure, such as a square inside a small circle. These neckties work best when your client has graduated from an Ivy League school or if your client is ultra rich.

We will discuss silk knit ties in a future blog post.

Posture as a Class Marker

bad posture of Lou Costello in Nuck Privates

Lou Costello in Buck Privates had bad posture

Hut – hut – hut – hut! Hut – hut – hut – hut! Hut – hut – hut – hut!

The sound of Marines marching echoes in your ears if you listen for it. Marines, soldiers, sailors — even Abbott and Costello had to march when they were in the army. But you could always tell the real soldiers from the comedians because Costello’s posture was laughably poor.

In fact, posture is such an obvious marker of social class that Abbott and Costello were able to take advantage of that to get laughs in movies like Buck Privates. Unfortunately, if your posture is poor you won’t be getting laughs if you’re an attorney or any other professional; instead, you’re apt to be passed over in favor of an expert who has better posture, specifically, an upper-class stance.

Our research — conducted in law offices, college classrooms, airports, and urban neighborhoods over the past three decades — discovered trends that are significant with respect to posture and social class: it turns out that members of the upper class stand, walk, and sit tall, while working class individuals slouch, bend, and have a more curved posture in comparison.

We conclude one thing from this research, namely that posture is a clear marker of social class and that the way you stand, sit, and walk is a dead giveaway to new clients, judges, and colleagues about where you fall in the social hierarchy.

When we do image consultations, we offer optional help on posture for clients. Not everyone is interested in this aspect of their image; but they should be. If you have middle-class or working-class posture, you are a walking, talking advertisement for failure rather than success, especially when dealing with people from the upper class.

For this reason, we offer clients the option of improving their posture through various tested methods, including horseback riding lessons. There is no question that these lessons, which you can see in the accompanying video, can result in better overall posture because the proper posture for riding a horse will carry over into your professional life.

“I’ve seen it many times,” says a New York riding instructor. “People with poor posture take riding lessons and they walk out that same day with better posture.”

The best way to avoid being a walking advertisement for failure is to mimic an upper-class posture. Horseback riding and other simple exercises can improve your posture and elevate you in the minds of others, ultimately leading to smoother interactions both on and off the job.

By |June 10th, 2014|Image|1 Comment

Age and Image

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer

Bobby Fischer was a teenager when he became the U.S. Chess Champion. Almost all the international grandmasters were in their twenties and thirties when they reached the apex of their careers. What does this mean for YOU and your image?

A study of “The Age Factor in Master Chess” by Ernest Rubin, published in The American Statistician (1960) found an “extremely significant” difference between young and older players in terms of skill and chess mastery.

There is a similar correlation between success in sports and age. The author of the above-mentioned study found that “few athletes in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, boxing or track, to mention a few sports, reach their fortieth birthday on the active list.”

Having co-written a recent book on hormones — The New Testosterone Treatment (2013) — it is obvious to me that the reason for the diminution in sports and chess skill with age is due to the well-known decline in hormones that occurs with increasing age.

What does this have to do with your image? Well, really everything! As you age into your late thirties and forties and beyond, your hormone levels typically decline. Testosterone, estrogen, DHEA, pregnenolone and other hormone levels decline in almost all people, with increasing diminution in cognitive, mental, and physical strength. There is only so much that can be accomplished by cosmetic enhancements, such as changing wardrobe, footwear, and hairstyles. In many cases supplementing with hormones can increase mental and physical strength and bring a client new youthfulness.

For this reason we are able to refer interested clients to anti-aging doctors who can help them safely achieve teenage hormones levels. Such clients can expect to see dramatic improvements in their mood, endurance, and consequently in their image. Others will perceive them as being more alert and youthful.

The fear that hormone replacement is harmful or carcinogenic is unfounded when one uses natural bioidentical hormone replacement therapy.

While not all clients wish to pursue this option, those in the know will at least consider the suggestion and will investigate our advice to consider this as one of many methods to improve their image after the age of forty.

References
Friedman, Edward, with William Cane (2013). The New Testosterone Treatment: How You and Your Doctor Can Fight Breast Cancer, Prostate Cancer and Alzheimers. (Prometheus Books).

Rubin, E. (1960). The Age Factor in Master Chess. The American Statistician, 14, 19-21.

By |April 5th, 2014|Image|0 Comments

Accountant Wardrobe Advice

skirt suit

Skirt suit

The majority of female accountants realize that they must dress conservatively in order to be successful, but very few of them are aware that there is research about what is successful in their profession. The fact is that this information is not available in glamour and fashion magazines or on television shows, all of which cater to the popular taste and never present information about the actual effectiveness of garments, footwear, and hairstyles.

Manhattan Makeovers was established to provide the answer to questions by female accountants (and other professionals, both male and female) about what items of wardrobe are actually effective. In order to gather this research we have conducted surveys and done real world tests on various items of clothing for men and women. We have also tested footwear and hairstyles for effectiveness in various professions, including accounting, banking, medicine, teaching, and science. Because of this database of information, we can tell you exactly what will work for you if you are an accountant and what will be ineffective.

There are certain colors, first of all, that must be worn if you are to be effective. These colors do not depend on your hair or skin color. The discredited Color Me Beautiful book and technique will not tell you which colors are most effective. We provide our clients with this key information within twenty minutes of meeting them. They then know which color jackets, suits, and skirts are most effective. They also know which color dresses and skirts to avoid.

Certain colors, we have discovered, are more effective for women who work in the financial industry. This includes accountants, bankers, and women in other financial services. Wearing the right colors conveys to clients, colleagues, and supervisors that you are intelligent, trustworthy, and competent. Yes, your wardrobe communicates much more than a sense of style. It unconsciously speaks to issues of trustworthiness and integrity. Anyone in the banking or accounting industry must convey this kind of message.

ACCOUNTANT STYLE

The best style for an accountant is conservative. But exactly what does this mean? Does it mean skirts or pants? Does it mean a gray suit or a black suit? Does it mean a white blouse or a pale blue blouse with polka dots? Does it mean wearing flats, pumps, or heels? Does it mean a hairstyle that is long or short or somewhere in between? And should an accountant wear makeup to work?

All these questions have been answered quite definitively by Manhattan Makeovers and its fieldwork research team. When we provide a makeover for an accountant we present her with all the results of this research so that she can instantly make the right selection from her existing wardrobe, and so that she can acquire any new items she needs to make up any wardrobe deficits that might exist.

The hairstyle of an accountant is also important, which is why we take our clients to a professional hair salon where they can get the proper cut, color, and styling for their profession. We always advise clients what has tested well for accountants, and they can then decide which hairstyle they would like to have based upon this research and their existing hair. Our colorists and stylists are the most trusted names in New York hairstyling.

The bottom line is that in order to be effective an accountant must look the part. Only research can tell you what will be effective, and only Manhattan Makeovers has that research today for the New York accountant. Our clients also travel to us from around the world and usually stay in New York for three days for their complete makeover.

Phone Face and How You Can Avoid It

cell phone and breast cancer

Cell phone caused breast cancer

They talk on the phone all day long and never suspect that it may be affecting their image. In fact, the younger a person is the more likely they will be carrying a cell phone all day long. But what effect does this have on their image? And should bankers, lawyers, accountants and artists carry a cell phone with them and talk on it when in public? Does it affect their image?

To answer these questions, we polled 12 executives who were the owners of companies or in a management position. They had a median age of 52 and were able to decide on the fate of people they might hire. In other words, they’re the kind of people whose opinion matters when it comes to your next place of employment. They told us that in their opinion cell phone face is something to be avoided at all costs.

Forty percent of the managers said a cell phone was a distraction. Fifty-two percent said that a cell phone was a sign of an unfocused mind. And 80 percent said they would be less likely to hire someone who had a visible cell phone with them during an interview.

One of the managers referred to what he called “cell phone face.” It’s that ever-present look you get when you carry a cell phone with you all the time and bury your face in it even when in public. “It reflects a distasteful fluorescent glow up onto the person’s skin, making them look green and sick.” he added. “It also makes them look disinterested in what is going on around them.”

Another executive told us that if a person comes into an interview with a cell phone in his or her hand, he stops the interview right then and there and tells them to either shut it and put it away or consider the interview ended.

CELL PHONE FACE

The problem with cell phone face is that most young people don’t know they suffer from this condition. In other words, they show up at events with their cell phone blazing, and a sickly green glow reflecting up onto their face. “It’s like they’re in a horror movie, or sick,” said one female executive in a law office. “I don’t think they know it, but they look like they’re in another world. It’s certainly not an inviting image.”

As image consultants, we realize that people want to stay in touch and that young people, especially, feel a need to be on their cell phones 24/7. However, it’s our responsibility to report that in many cases the very cell phone which they think is keeping them in touch is actually destroying their chances for advancing their careers.

“I don’t hire people who arrive at an interview with a cell phone in their hand,” says a senior-level manager at a New York restaurant. “I have found that they may be more focused on talking and chatting with their friends than on doing their job. That, to me, is a real turn-off, and I have never hired a person like that.”

CANCER AND CELL PHONES

Another problem with constant cell phone use is the real possibility that the microwaves it emits will cause cancer. In the photo at the head of this article you can see a girl who  carried her cell phone in her bra. She did this for 12 years and then noticed a lump, which grew bigger. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Naturally she was devastated, and she thought she might die. She elected to have a mastectomy, surgical removal of her left breast. Her name is Tiffany Frantz and she is brave enough to warn others that there is a real danger here.

For those unsure about the risks, we recommend the book Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age: An Insider’s Alarming Discoveries about Cancer and Genetic Damage by Dr. George Carlo and Martin Schram.

Our final point, as image consultants, is that carrying a cell phone does not make you look cute or connected. Our research demonstrates that it makes you look untrustworthy and distracted, and it impedes your chances for success with decision-makers.

By |December 27th, 2013|Image|1 Comment

Mastering Speed Reading for Your Image

Mastering Speed Reading

The best speed reading book ever written. Short. Sweet. Easy to Use.

I learned speed reading and read War and Peace in 32 minutes. It’s about Russia.

Sure, this is a funny joke. But does speed reading really diminish comprehension?

Not at all! If done properly, it can actually increase your comprehension. And there’s no better book to teach this skill than Norman Maberly’s Mastering Speed Reading. I read it in high school and was able to read a book a day. By the time I graduated I had read Nietzsche, Tolstory, Sartre, Kierkegaard, Camus, and hundreds of other great authors.

SPEED READING AND YOUR IMAGE

But what does speed reading have to do with your image?

The life of Jackie Kennedy suggests that the answer to this question is “Quite a lot.”

Before she met John F. Kennedy, Jackie was a photojournalist for the Washington Times-Herald newspaper. Her column was “The Inquiring Camera Girl.” She used to take pictures of people and ask them a question and write a column about them.

She was a great reader, and as a result, a wonderful conversationalist. At parties, she could talk about art, painting, literature, or anything under the sun. When she met Senator Kennedy, she caught his attention not only because she was a vivacious young woman, but also because her mind was sparkling with a hundred different topics that she could talk about. As a politician, it was natural for John to have multiple interests. The fact that Jackie could keep up with him in conversations — largely because of her wide reading — fueled their mutual attraction.

If you learn speed reading you’ll be able to read widely. You’ll never be at a loss for something to talk about. When people meet you, your demeanor is part of your image. A person who can talk about many topics usually has a welcoming demeanor because they can talk about anything. So, in this way, by opening your horizons to many different topics, you will improve your image in the eyes of other people.

JACKIE KENNEDY AS A YOUNG WOMAN

Jackie Kennedy was a firstborn with a sister, Lee Radziwill, four and a half years her junior. The future First Lady’s undergraduate degree was in French literature. Upon graduation from college, she became engaged for three months to a stockbroker, John G. W. Husted, Jr. She also took a few graduate classes at Georgetown University, in Washington, D.C.

Jackie Kennedy at Doubleday

Jackie was a booklover. Here she is at Doubleday.

Shortly after she met Kennedy, she featured him in one of her newspaper columns. She also helped him run for public office, and after they got married and JFK was elected president, Jackie became one of the most well-known women in the world. After her husband’s assassination in 1963, and the assassination of her brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy in 1968, Jackie feared that the Kennedy’s were targets, and she felt that her children might be in danger. So she decided to leave the country, and she married Aristotle Onassis, a Greek billionaire who was in the shipping business. They lived in Greece and spent a good deal of time on his $32 million yacht, the Christina O. Named after Onassis’s daughter, the ship has 18 luxury staterooms.

LATER IN LIFE

After Aristotle Onassis died in 1975, Jackie moved back to New York and worked as an editor at Doubleday. She secured this job because she was a friend of John Sargent, president and CEO of the publishing house. In effect, she worked as an executive assistant to Sargent, with fairly light editorial responsibilities. As a socialite, she was frequently in the company of men in high authority. For example, when she returned to New York, she became the companion of Maurice Tempelsman, chairman of Lazare Kaplan International Inc., the largest diamond company in the U.S.

In later years, Jackie often dyed her hair black. It is believed that this contributed to her developing the disease that killed her, non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

 

By |September 26th, 2013|Image|0 Comments

Saggy Pants Law May Be Unconstitutional

According to Neil Richards, professor of law at Washington University, saggy pants laws being passed in various cities across the United States may be unconstitutional.

saggy pants

Saggy Pants

“Saggy pants laws form a hybrid case,” says Professor Richards. “They are regulating in terms of indecent exposure but seem to be directed at the expression of identity through clothing.”  He points out that the law belongs to a group of regulations that attempt to prevent people from having their feelings hurt by the dress of other people, and that these types of laws “tend to do very poorly when subject to First Amendment analysis.”

Saggy pants laws ban pants that are worn three inches below the belt, or pants that reveal too much underwear or the wearer’s skin.

To date laws have been passed or considered in eight states.

  • Wildwood, NJ. The law was passed in June 2013. It bans saggy pants on the boardwalk. The fine is $25-$100 for first-time offenders, and up to $200 for repeat offenders, who could also get 40 hours of community work. In addition the law bans being shirtless after eight pm on the boardwalk, and wearing blouses and skirts that are too revealing. It also bans walking barefoot at any time.
  • St. Louis, Missouri is voting on a similar law this month (August 2013)
  • Miami, Florida. Declared unconstitutional in September 2008. This law resulted in a 17-year-old youth being jailed for one night, and subsequently released when Palm Beach Circuit Judge Paul Moyle found the regulation unconstitutional.
  • Collinsville, Ill. Passed by city council in July 2011.
  • Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana. Passed April 2013. The local NAACP’s president, Jerome Boykin, said he actually approved of the law, claiming it is not directed at blacks. “Young men who were in prison who wanted to have sex with other men would send a signal to another man with his pants below his waist,” he said.
  • Chicago schools banned the fashion. This is one area where laws have been upheld since they are aimed at enhancing the educational environment, something government is traditionally allowed to do.
  • Delcambre, Louisiana. Outlawed since June 11, 2007. See NYT, 8/30/07. “Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail” by Niko Koppel.
  • Shreveport, Louisiana. Outlawed since September 15, 2007. See NYT, 8/30/07. “Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail” by Niko Koppel.
  • Moultrie, Georgia. The law was called ridiculous by Anderson Cooper.
  • Ocean City, New Jersey, decided not to adopt a saggy pants law after it appeared to be susceptible to an Equal Protection challenge.
  • Bronx, NY. In July 2013 a Bronx man was issued a summons by a police officer for wearing saggy pants. Judge Ruben Franco ruled that the summons should have no force or effect since New York has no law against saggy pants.
  • Atlanta, Georgia. Considered a law as early as 2007.
  • Stratford, Connecticut. A proposed ordinance was rejected by the Town Council because they thought it might be unconstitutional. See NYT, 8/30/07. “Are Your Jeans Sagging? Go Directly to Jail” by Niko Koppel.

The law has been criticized as racist by civil libertarian groups and by black rappers and hip-hop artists. One constitutional challenge is that the law is too vague and could wind up prohibiting things it was not intended to prohibit. The American Civil Liberties Union usually challenges such laws as violations of the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection clause. That clause can be used to argue that the law discriminates against blacks and does not treat them equally. The NJ chapter of the ACLU is particularly critical of the law.

The law also appears to violate the First Amendment, which has been interpreted to allow the right of self-expression. According to Professor Richards, First Amendment challenges may or may not work in various jurisdictions because the government sometimes succeeds in regulating indecent exposure. “I’d be hesitant to call all saggy pants laws categorically unconstitutional under current doctrine,” he said.

A similar law was struck down in 2008 in Florida.

“I am with the sagging movement,” says The Game, a rap artist. He offered to pay the fine of the first five people convicted under the Wildwood, New Jersey, law.

Wildwood Mayor Ernesto Troiano is in favor of the law. “I find it offensive when a guy’s butt is hanging out,” he said.

The style is believed to have originated in prison, where belts are outlawed to reduce violence and suicide. Rappers and hip-hop musicians popularized the look in music videos. Teens of both sexes have picked up the style and can be seen wearing this style today. I saw it in the Bronx this year and last year. At first I thought the young black man was unaware that his pants was falling down. Later, I learned that it was a fashion statement.

As an image consultant, I can tell you that we have never recommended this style to any of our professional clients.

Do we believe that a law should prohibit it? Certainly not. It is a form of self-expression, popular with some youths today, especially the black and disenfranchised populations. But senile old men can always use the saggy pants style as an excuse if their pants starts to fall down. “I’m in fashion,” they can argue. And who can say they’re not?

On MTV in November 2008 President Obama expressed his opinion on saggy pants laws: 'Here's my attitude. I think passing a law about people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, getting health care, dealing with the war in Iraq. Any public official who is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there . . . Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You're walking by your mother, your grandmother, and your underwear is showing . . . What's wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face that you don't have to pass a law . . . but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people. And, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear. I'm one of them.'

By |August 25th, 2013|Wardrobe|0 Comments