One of my clients is a corporate attorney who likes modeling his wardrobe on outfits worn by Matt Damon and Tom Cruise. You might think that this is a mistake since they wore some pretty casual outfits in their most popular films. But I encourage him to do it because it helps us talk about fashion in a fun way, and having fun with your wardrobe is sometimes just as important as getting the look right.
Most men think of a makeover as something that only applies to women, but this is a serious mistake. A-list actors, high-profile politicians, professional athletes, and millionaire artists regularly get makeovers. When the process is done properly, it’s both fun and highly effective. This article explains the way it works for a male attorney.
THE ESSENTIALS OF A MALE MAKEOVER
The first thing that happens is we take the client to a museum to show him how his contrast level (high, medium, or low) can be used to enhance his appearance. High-contrast men have dark hair and fair skin and can enhance their look by duplicating that high contrast in their outfits, for example with a navy blue suit and a white shirt. Contrast level is more important for casual Fridays and social situations. Male attorneys need to pay more attention to the most effective suit styles and colors.
Next, we sit down in the café over a cup of coffee and give the client a personal lookbook containing fifteen or twenty pages of examples of the suit colors and styles that have tested best for male attorneys working in his field. These styles and colors vary for trial attorneys, corporate attorneys, and attorneys working with different types of clients. This lookbook also illustrates the styles of neckties that are effective, and those that are ineffective. We also talk about footwear, accessories, and hairstyles. All the photographs and illustrations are based on research we have conducted with more than 18,000 people.
Once we have given the client an overview of what is going to be effective for him, we are ready to begin the actual transformation. This is where the fun really starts.
HAIRSTYLES FOR MALE ATTORNEYS
Next, we take him to our hairstylist for a consultation. Based on our research about what is the most effective style for a male attorney, the hairstylist will cut and, if necessary, color the client’s hair based on the different men hair types. This usually takes no more than an hour, whereas for female clients it can sometimes take upwards of six hours. Male clients are much easier to help when it comes to hair.
But there are some things that we can do to help a male attorney who is losing his hair or whose hair is turning gray. In some cases gray can actually be a plus for a man since it signals maturity and experience. Some young male clients may even elect to have gray added to their hair so that they can look more powerful.
The most important consideration for a male attorney is that the hair be controlled. Throughout his career, F. Lee Bailey, for example, always kept his hair neatly styled. Wilhelm Reich, a physician, came to the United States from Germany and wanted to have a hairstyle that would set him apart, so he told his barber to plaster it with pomade and make it stand up straight. This style is not appropriate for an attorney, however the use of a product to keep hair in place might be something to consider since your hair is one of the most important aspects of your overall image.
THE SUBLIMINAL POWER OF SUITS
Male attorneys are some of our best clients because they know the value of looking good. Many of them have been keeping wardrobe diaries for years, testing different suits and shirt styles to see how effective they were in court or with various clients. Our research helps them get to the right styles and colors much more quickly.
One of the things we underscore during a makeover or image consultation is that the way you look has a subliminal effect on other people. We know, for example, what certain suit styles will say to the mind of those you come in contact with. Armed with this data, we begin to shop.
Personal shopping with male attorneys can be fun since they get a chance to try on the styles we recommend. There is no pressure to buy. Often a client has the right clothes in his closet already; he might just not be wearing them. Other times he will make up deficits in his wardrobe during this personal shopping session. We go to some of the best stores on Madison Avenue and Fifth Avenue, but there is never any pressure from us to make him buy anything since we work for him, not for the stores.
THE BEST SHOES AND ACCESSORIES
Another important part of a male makeover involves helping the client pick the right shoes and accessories. We have covered these topics in the lookbook, but trying them on is important, too. Shoes need to be black and only cap-toe and wingtips test well for male attorneys. Accessories that we discuss include pens, wristwatches, eyeglasses, and attaché cases.
The typical male makeover lasts three days. We can compress it into two days or even one day if a client is pressed for time. If they live in New York or Los Angeles we can even do a closet analysis, if they wish, during which we offer suggestions about items they already own.
A male makeover is a good way to increase your effectiveness through enhancing your image. Some serious topics are covered during a makeover, but it can still be a fun experience, especially if you have a fashion icon you wish to emulate.