When is the last time you freaked out in the closet? Was it just today? Or is it an everyday occurrence?
I’ve been working with several clients who have been doing just that. One recently realized that she wanted to look fashionable, but that her clothes were not. Another client had a closet full of clothes but couldn’t figure out how to create outfits. One more client has been preparing for a trip and is feeling lots of pressure because she realizes that her existing stylish clothes won’t all work for the type of vacation she’s taking, and she’s got just two weeks to get it all pulled together. They have each freaked out in the closet.
When was the last time you looked at the clothing in your closet and said, “these are some awesome clothes?!” It’s a terrible feeling to open your closet door day after day to a wardrobe to look at every morning that you feel disconnected from. Time and again, clients tell me just how often they feel frozen when looking at their clothes to dress in the morning, to go out at night, as well as for special occasions. This arresting feeling is not a promising way to begin any day of work, of leisure, or an exciting night out.
A little known rule in the 62-page manual issued by the city of New York to its cabdrivers is getting an update and is causing a bit of an uproar. Subject to a $25 penalty, cabbies must now “present a professional appearance.” A “below the fold” front-page story about this ran in last Friday’s New York Times and deserves a closer review.
When thinking of updating your online photo, the obvious temptation is to pick up your own camera and snap a picture without much thought or planning. Just point, click, and shoot. But as the subject matter, your goal is to have a picture that best represents your personal brand and image. Solid planning goes a long way toward helping you get that visual message across to others.
Trevor’s comment to my last blog post about President Obama’s opting to occasionally omit a jacket from his Oval Office attire got me thinking. My response is worthy of a blog entry rather than a comment reply. Here it is:
The United States presidential brand is a visual declaration to the rest of the world that we are a country built on principles, and sustained by traditions. As our nation’s top representative figurehead, the president non-verbally shows people around the world that our country is ready and prepared. As the military’s Commander-in-Chief, the president is far more than a figurehead; he is the leader the troops look to for their orders.
The presidency should absolutely be perceived as business as usual by the citizenry and by the military because the office transcends any one leader. Style can and will be conveyed through policy and politics. But one protocol other than policy and politics that should remain unchanged is the time-honored tradition of dressing appropriately in the Oval Office and being photographed and videoed that way at all times.
Politicians long have respected the need to look appropriate and professional in order to have credibility with their constituents. Of the hundreds of Washington, D.C. representatives and senators, one never sees any of them appearing on their respective chamber floors without being properly attired. This is where they appear in public. Even at their offices, they are presentable and media ready. In California, when state representatives and senators could not get a budget passed, they slept in suits in chambers, giving the impression they were dedicated to getting the job done.
The president – the leader of our country and ostensibly of the free world – is expected to do at least as well as state politicians in conveying credibility. There’s a time for a politician to remove a coat, usually while out on the campaign. But the elections are over (thank goodness) and it’s time to get down to business and lead our country, which he is doing. And all I’m saying is he should lead our citizenry and our military while wearing a jacket because this is what political leaders and presidents do. Surely he can still appear accessible while instilling confidence in his politics and policies and while honoring this presidential protocol. The brand is bigger than the man.
Designing your image is the secret science to your success.
Joseph Rosenfeld helps professional men and corporate workgroups create effective visual brands. Visit JosephRosenfeld.com for details.