Wardrobe

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

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.

 

 

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.

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.

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

Red Dress: The Look of Failure

We hired a forty-five-year-old woman to help us determine the effectiveness of the red dress. The test involved having her shop in Macy’s and Lord & Taylor in New York. First she wore the red dress and we interviewed people and asked them what they thought was her income, her profession, and whether she was someone they would hire to work for their company.

At the conclusion of this experiment, we put the woman in a white dress and repeated the questions with a second set of interviewees.

red dressThe results were startling and totally unexpected. We actually expected the red dress to receive the more favorable response. Many women told us that they thought the red dress would get a better response because “red is a sexy color.” But the red dress was the clear loser in this contest.

When people saw the woman in red, they almost always rated her income as lower than the same woman in the white dress. Sixteen percent said she was homeless when she wore the white dress.

The red dress also made people think she was employed in more menial occupations, such as housecleaner, waitress, store clerk, and even “unemployed.” By contrast, when she wore the white dress the woman was thought to be a doctor, an accountant, a nurse, and a writer.

Only 22 percent of people said they would hire the woman when she wore the red dress, while 65 percent said they would hire her when she wore the white dress — a difference of 43 percent.

Balzac in Dominican robe

Balzac in Dominican robe

The fact that a red dress tests poorly for business does not mean that all red dresses are ineffective for all people at all times. There are occasions — such as a party or a theatrical performance — when a red dress will work just fine.

Keep in mind, also, that Balzac, the great French novelist, wore a Dominican robe when he worked. His robe was white and he wore it because it made him feel comfortable and did not distract him from the task of putting words on paper.

The example of Balzac is instructive because it reminds us not to take the statistical results of our survey to mean that all uses of a particular garment (in this case, the red dress) are incorrect or ineffective. There may be times when a red dress, which tests poorly for business use, can be effective, especially if the garment is comfortable and allows the wearer to feel relaxed.

In Balzac’s case, the use of the Dominican robe allowed him to free his mind from the distractions of the world around him and create a totally new world peopled by the denizens of his imagination.

The point has been made, however, and we think quite conclusively, that in the professional arena a red dress marks a woman as a failure.

 

 

Ruffled Shirts for Male Guitarists

Prince in ruffled shirt

Prince in a ruffled shirt

A question often posed to us by rock musicians is, “What should I wear to be most successful onstage?” The answer to this question comes in two parts. First, we need to look at what a normal businessman or professionals wears. Second, we need to look at how the artist can riff on that look, or alter it to suit his needs.

The average businessman or professional wears a shirt and tie, and a suit. But there is no way an artist can wear this conservative garb and still maintain his artistic cachet. True, Jeff Koons and Yukio Mishima both like to wear suits. Mishima is actually dead, having committed traditional Japanese harakiri in 1970. But while alive he often wore a suit and looked like a banker rather than a novelist.

The male guitar player who wears a suit would look like a throwback to the 1960s, when bands like the Beatles, the Dave Clark Five, and Herman’s Hermits wore suits, especially on television appearances. Instead, rock musicians tend to vary the traditional look in one or more ways. Here we will examine how the use of a nonstandard shirt can add to the success of a male rock guitarist’s wardrobe.

The look of a ruffled shirt for male guitarists is one of the most sophisticated choices for a band member today. This is hard to understand unless you look beyond the obvious. The obvious reaction to the ruffled shirt is that it is a feminine touch and out of character for a male guitar player, especially one who wishes to present a macho image.

But the truth is that the subconscious of the audience, especially the girls in the audience, needs to be taken into account if we are to understand the significance of the ruffled shirt and its peculiar effectiveness for the male guitarist today.

romance book cover

Romance cover featuring ruffled shirt

At first I found it hard to understand the effectiveness of this style. But all you have to do is look at romance novels and you’ll see that many of them feature a hero who looks like a pirate, with long hair and a ruffled shirt! (See image.) It turns out that ruffled shirts are exciting to 40 percent of female readers, and the same response can be expected to occur when a male guitarist appears onstage in a shirt that has a ruffled front, neckline, or cuffs.

In the image above, Prince’s shirt has both a ruffled front and ruffled cuffs.

A male guitarist who wears such a shirt is sure to excite the members of the audience, both men and women. The shirt has a certain androgynous quality, and more importantly it harkens back to the days of the buccaneers, causing young women to spin unconscious fantasies of being carried away on a pirate ship and being ravished by a band of cutthroats.

This is the kind of unusual and unexpected research that Manhattan Makeovers discovers and presents to clients. We made this particular discovery about ruffled shirts as a result of requests from male guitarists, and we presented it to them. They tried the look and found it to be effective. We also interviewed members of the audience and discovered that this style is significantly more effective, as a general rule, than a plain white shirt for a member of a rock band.

Leather Jackets for Women

leather jacket

Hell’s Angels Jacket

Leather jackets have tested negatively in our surveys for business and professional use. This simply means that wearing a leather jacket is not going to help you if you’re an attorney, banker, or doctor. However, there is a significant exception for artists, as well as for social situations.

Before we get to the times when you can and should wear a leather jacket, let’s discuss two other leather issues: color and style. The only two colors that have tested well for leather are black and brown. This applies to belts, shoes, boots, and the like, not to jackets. Black leather jackets test poorly for all business uses. The reasons can be understood if we look at the history of leather jackets in America.

In 1966 Hunter S. Thompson published Hells’ Angels, a gonzo journalism report on the notorious motorcycle gang. The book also introduced a style of writing that Tom Wolfe calls New Journalism. Aside from the significant literary merits of the book, it focused the spotlight on a feared and dangerous group of people. The associations of the Hell’s Angels with black leather jackets goes a long way toward explaining why the black leather jacket is replete with negative connotations in the business and professional world and should never be worn if you wish to be taken seriously.

However, that very negativity is precisely what makes the leather jacket so effective for artists and for use on social occasions. Women, especially, can use the harsh masculine ideas associated with this style of jacket to their advantage. Especially if a jacket has visible metallic zippers or buttons, it will add cachet and excitement to an artist’s wardrobe or even to a professional’s weekend wear.

You will want to use discretion when wearing the leather jacket for social occasions. Keep in mind that it still makes some people defensive. For example, you would not want to wear it to a golf course if you are an attorney and are going to meet potential clients. If you’re a doctor, you would not want to wear it to a dinner date with the director of the new drug treatment facility that you were hoping to be hired by. Instead, wear more formal but weekend attire to those types of events and when meeting with those types of people.

But for a casual outing with your friends or a trip to the amusement park on a fall night, a leather jacket can give you the pizzazz and style that says you’re with the in crowd and that you’re living life to the max.