Presence-Men

Harvey Weinstein Looks Finished

It’s a fait accompli that famed and disgraced Harvey Weinstein is finished. Surrendering himself to law enforcement authorities last week, in a much anticipated #MeToo moment, Harvey Weinstein looks finished, too. It’s an indelible moment where a picture is worth a thousand words. [I don’t know how long this post will end up, since I’m just sitting down to write it.] And yet, if I reduced it to just one word, it’s that he’s finished. Done. Cooked. Roasted.

Weinstein has a long legal road against him. All of us who have endured the literal and physical manhandling by men [and women] await justice to prevail. A study of Weinstein’s appearance suggests that he knows his fate. I’m also going to offer a suggestion that no one want to hear about, except for maybe Weinstein himself. This look, with Weinstein in civilian clothing, may be more compelling than an orange jumpsuit. It could already herald his campaign towards redemption. But, in the meantime, Harvey Weinstein looks finished.

The orange jumpsuit merely says guilty criminal, a look mandated by the criminal justice system. He wore a navy sport coat, light blue V-neck wool-silk knit, white shirt, shluffy jeans, and unpolished loafers. And I think that what Weinstein wore is very telling.

First, let’s talk about the colors. I believe that he wore basic navy to nonverbally beg of the judge to trust him. Even an alleged criminal must demonstrate trust before receiving the privilege of a G.P.S. tracking device and home detention. Light blue symbolizes patience, calm, and quiet. In a way, it’s a color that says so much without saying anything at all. And that was just the point. There was no plan that he would have spoken there, and he didn’t know how long it would last, either. So, the color symbolized that he remained calm, cool, and collected, while also signifying to the judge that he’s cooperative.

Next, let’s review the clothes. The sport coat was very low energy. Despite my typical argument that jackets are all about making authoritative statements about their wearers, Weinstein looked powerless in his. Rumpled looking and worn unbuttoned, the sport coat revealed more of his clothing and body beneath. Interestingly, the sport coat didn’t have the commanding presence of his look the way the V-neck knit sweater did. It was very thin, revealing the also-rumpled look of the white shirt beneath. Not fitted to his body, the knit looked wrinkly, and revealed a man out of shape.

I need to pause for a moment to say that this comment is not at all intended to fat-shame. People are exactly however they are. But, we can’t help but notice his body here. I think we should actually pause to look at him because he has done this very thing to countless women. The difference is that he sexualized women and made unwanted, forced advances on them.

Back to what he wore, the next item to notice is the pair of denim jeans. I describe the fit as not just ill-fitted, but shluffy. They are so long that they puddle at the ankles. Against my advice, some of my high-powered clients wear jeans like this hanging out at home out of public view. I do understand, it’s a way to turn the power way, way down. But, to brandish that look in public, Harvey Weinstein looks finished, defeated, and out of power. Even his dirty, spotted, unpolished driving moccasins show a lack of personal attention. Undoubtedly, he had to have a lot more on his mind. Though it does seem he put thought into what books to bring along.

Seeing how Harvey Weinstein looks finished, the colors and clothes look like a tacit acknowledgement that he knows he is. The overall message is a silent mea culpa, a form of non-verbal surrender. Maybe the weight of public pressure and opinion have affected him. It could also be his months-long treatment for sexual addiction. The bottom line is this: he harmed, hurt, and likely ruined the lives of many women, sexually assaulting them. No outfit could ever make us forget what he did.

You also don’t want to ever show up looking finished and washed up. The problem is, many people with important responsibilities go through life as if they are out of power. This has more to do with not knowing how to show up than anything else. So, use this example as a demonstration of what not to do. But, to show up using your individual strengths and gifts, why not learn from a top pro? Dressing in shluffy and disheveled clothing renders the wearer powerless. In this instance, it may be just the right look for Weinstein. But, it’s not the right look for anyone who actually is upstanding and successful. Think about that.