Image

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.

Photography and Image

Lewis Mason in Greenwich Village

Lewis Mason in Greenwich Village

Jack Kerouac sat down and wrote The Subterraneans in three days, hopped up on coffee and Dexedrine, not stopping to lift his fingers off the typewriter, pounding the keys at sixty words a minute, and telling the world all about his crazy relationship with a black girl named Mardou Fox . . . and his friends Allen Ginsberg, William S. Burroughs and Neal Cassady and omitting commas like crazy so that he could get the words down and not pause to create any typographical effects instead creating all the effects he needed with the words themselves and the way he had the people talking and interacting and living their lives. You know if you know anything about him that Kerouac created and lived in a world that was fresh and vibrant and in high definition like a sharp image that burns through time and comes down to us fresh and pristine and the beauty of it is that although his time has come and gone the way he lived is still available to us and can be recaptured and is being recaptured by a new group of young people in Greenwich Village even today . . . and for what it’s worth I’m going to give you some photos of them so that you can catch up on what’s happening and get inspired to maybe get behind the lens of a camera and create your own 1960s images in black and white, which is what Kerouac and friends did with their lives, creating an image of the Beat generation that has captivated the interest of people the world over.

Here for example is a photo of one of these young people who can be found in the Village at all hours of the day and night in coffeehouses and cafes and pizza places and open mic clubs like The Bitter End and Cafe Wha? and others in the West Village. This is Lewis Mason, an up-and-coming actor and singer/songwriter who is currently enrolled in the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in New York City and who associates with the habitués of theaters and clubs, creating work on the run and honing his writing skills and reading books and poems and plays in a way that most of his generation do not do today. The unfortunate state of affairs in the year 2015 is that there has been such a sharp decline in the reading of literature. The NEA recently issued a dire report on the sad state of American reading, Reading at Risk (2004), which explains that not only is book reading on the decline but the drop in reading is accelerating.

Lewis Mason at the Bitter End

Lew outside the Bitter End

Why get worked up over the decline in the reading of literature? Because if you’re a young person in America today they’re writing books about you (!) and speaking in unflattering terms about the dumbing down of the current crop of college and high school students, recent grads, working people, and almost everyone else. There’s a book that you have to read entitled The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30) by Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University, and the reason the subtitle says “don’t trust anyone under thirty” is obviously because they don’t read and they don’t know the history of the culture they find themselves in, they have close to zero cultural literacy, and they lack a common understanding of their own culture. It’s a crying shame and it’s enough to make you want to tell your friends and family to click off the TV and the computer and the tablets and the cell phones and open a book, for heaven’s sake, read something and don’t just text your life away or fritter away your time with so-called social media, all of which, Bauerlein persuasively argues, is sapping the culture out of you like a vampire draining a corpse. E.D. Hirsch had a similar criticism of the vacuity of his students and actually wrote a book, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (1988) listing, like a dictionary, all the things they did not know.

Lewis Mason at The Bitter End looking up

Lewis Mason

Anyway, the key point is that if you want to preserve your intelligence and integrity as a member of contemporary culture—with a link to it’s deep core and roots—then you owe it to yourself to develop an understanding of that culture’s literature, specifically, novels, poems and plays, and start reading books. People who do that, according the the NEA study, are also more likely to attend arts events, go to the theater, visit museums, and become engaged with their community on a political level. Good photography is another way for you to participate. You could take photos or have them taken of you. Whichever you do, you’re likely to experience a boost in your self-image and become part of the artistic culture that is flourishing again in the Village. I encourage you to let people photograph you and to contact a professional photographer to help get your image on the move again. While you’re at it, stop in at a few of the bookstores in the Village. Lewis Mason even works at one, called bookbook, on Bleecker Street. Go in and buy a book and support the few bookstores that are left in this city.

Lewis Mason door NYC

Lew on 5th Ave.

By the way, The Subterraneans is a superlative novel, short and full of interesting observations, despite how fast it was written. Yes, Truman Capote famously said of Kerouac’s method of not editing his first drafts, “That’s not writing, that’s typing,” but the book still comes close to D.H. Lawrence in my opinion. And another thing, you might as well know it, John Giorno is still working and writing great poems in the Village. He was an associate of the Beats and was one of them, and has the most amazing delivery of poetry. I love his poem “Just Say No to Family Values.” You can catch him sometimes at the Bowery Poetry Club, which has devolved into a burlesque joint but which apparently metamorphoses into the old poetry club two nights a week.

Here is a list of books that, in my opinion, you should be reading:

  • Dynamic Speed Reading a nonfiction work by Norman C. Maberly (1966). You can get this book used for one cent on Amazon (plus $3.99 shipping), so you really have no excuse not to read it. It will enable you to absorb useful information like a sponge and you’ll be able to read very fast when you want to. If you’re already read this book, I suggest you reread it. It is one of the most important books you will ever read precisely because it will make you less afraid of reading.
  • The Subterraneans a novel by Jack Kerouac. Written in 1958, it is more modern than your iPhone and very short. Why not read it! Then you can boast to your friends that you’ve read Kerouac. The book dips into the love lives of Kerouac (called Leo Percepied in the novel), Allen Ginsberg (called Adam Moorad in the novel), William S. Burroughs (Frank Carmody in the novel), and more.
  • The Birthday Party, a play by Harold Pinter. The link is to the BBC production, starring the playwright, Harold Pinter. You’re lucky because today many great plays can be seen in their entirety on YouTube, including this one.
  • A Clockwork Orange, a novel by Anthony Burgess (1962). The novel uses a lot of Russian words and is about a violent boy who loves Beethoven.
  • Any book by Wilhelm Reich. Not to have read this man is to miss a liberating intellectual and emotional experience.
  • Any book by Friedrich Nietzsche. The writing is breathtaking, the ideas as well. You might start with Ecce Homo, his hilariously funny autobiography, which contains chapters entitled, “Why I Am So Wise,” “Why I Write Such Excellent Books,” and the like. The link is to the book online. Even if you don’t want to read it, why not at least click on the link and look at his writing style. This man, who has a reputation as one of the greatest philosophers of all time, is not difficult to read. On the contrary, he writes more clearly and with more excitement line by line than anything being published today.
  • The Armies of the Night a nonfiction novel by Norman Mailer (1968). A beautiful account of his antiwar efforts, the first part of the book is the best.
  • Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1972) by Hunter S. Thompson, which is a comic novel about a journalist who covers a police narcotics convention while high on every imaginable drug. This is an example of gonzo journalism, in which the author stretches the truth for comic effect.

There are more books that I’ll add to the list at a later time, but this is a good start.

(Photos by William Cane)

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

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

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