Austin Lane Crothers, former Governor of Maryl...

Austin Lane Crothers, former Governor of Maryland in the United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I only have two fashion rules:

(1) Plaid (I suppose camouflage, as well) matches everything.

(2) Umbrellas are for hippies.

This is probably why I’m a law firm consultant, and not a fashion consultant. Fortunately, Emmi Sorokin is a fashion stylist, who works out of Boston’s Back Bay to help her clients fine-tune their professional image. Emmi has recently published ‘The Business Casual Survival Guide: 30 Looks for Men’. Many of the looks she features are designed for attorneys. Her book offers full-color photos of suggested outfits, complete with instructions on what work activities to wear them for, including added visuals that provide further options for dressing up or down, or for ‘edging up’ any outfit. Emmi’s four-part ‘The Style 4Mula’ is a solution for selecting the perfect look for any occasion, that focuses on the four major elements of a good look: fit, feel, top layer and accessories. Emmi writes in an authentic, straightforward fashion, and charges her client success stories, revealed in the book, with her unique wit and humor. You can find out more about Emmi, and learn more about how you can work with her, at emmisorokin.com.

She has been kind enough to provide us with two excerpts from her new book, ‘The Business Casual Survival Guide: 30 Looks for Men’, which is available now on Amazon.

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The Impact of Personal Presentation on Quality of Life: Malcolm Gladwell and the Case of the Dubious Hairstyle

Chances are you’ve heard of Malcolm Gladwell — bestselling author, thought leader, and dubious hairstyle survivor. But not as well-known is why he wrote his book Blink, an incredible read on the power of first impressions.

When Gladwell first reached the success of having a bestseller with The Tipping Point, he decided that he could relax a little, and he made one choice that, according to him, significantly altered his life in some alarming ways. What was that, you ask? Kill his neighbor? Beat a puppy and post it on YouTube? Nope, he grew his hair out all wild and curly. I’d show you the before and after pics, but in this crazy world we live in there are copyright laws, so you can either google it or trust me. With the new hairstyle, Gladwell started getting speeding tickets, which had never happened before in all his years of driving in New York City. He was even apprehended on the sidewalk under the erroneous suspicion of being a rapist. When Gladwell noticed that the police sketch depicted a criminal who happened to have curly hair but was also much younger, taller, and heavier than him, his eyes were opened to the power that first impressions can have on the quality of our lives, and he set out to write Blink.

The book explores how first impressions are made (what science calls rapid cognition (LINK)), and how within moments of first viewing someone, we have made some pretty complex decisions about his or her social status, trustworthiness, and likeability. This process is evolutionary and involuntarily automatic. In the days of the early Homo sapiens, you needed to be able to tell right away whether the thing coming towards you out of the corner of your eye was a friend or a foe. If it took your ancestors five minutes to make these decisions, you wouldn’t be here to tell about it. Today, with more information bombarding us every day, we rely on first impressions more heavily than ever, and the ones you leave can have profound effects on your life. They impact how much salary you can get away with asking for, how willing people are to follow along with what you say, and everything in between. Psychological research abounds regarding the enormous role that clothing and grooming have in forming these first impressions. Here’s where it gets really juicy, though. It’s not just that clothing impacts how others view us; it impacts how we view ourselves.

In 2012, two researchers from Northwestern University, Hajo Adam and Adam Galinsky, published their research to support this notion. Specifically, after testing the attention to detail of subjects who were wearing what they thought was a doctor’s lab coat versus those who thought they were wearing a painter’s jacket, the performance of the former group was superior even though they were wearing the same white jacket. In other words, the simple act of wearing clothing that makes you feel confident can change your life, because your clothing influences how you feel about yourself and the work you do. The act of putting on the team jersey, race suit, or surgeon scrubs gets your game mode on and primes your mental pump for success.

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The 4 Myths of Dressing Well

It’s not just that shopping is a Sharknado of overwhelming options and uncertainty that keeps good men trapped in their dorky shadow selves. There are also some core beliefs that consciously or subconsciously stand squarely in the way of taking style and confidence to the next level with ease.

Myth #1. You’ve gotta dress fancier/flashier/not like yourself. BS. Say it with me, dressing well does not mean dressing up. You don’t need fancy clothes. You need great-fitting, quality basics that make you feel like a rock star every day.

Myth #2. It’s gonna be uncomfortable. Au contraire mon frère. Being completely comfortable is a huge part of good style. This isn’t women’s fashion, so we’ll be having no suffering for beauty thank you.

Myth #3. It’s gonna be expensive. Chances are you’ve been spending your money in the wrong places. Yes, quality costs more, but it’s way better to spend a bit more on a few well-made, versatile pieces that you’ll love rotating through than it is to have a closet full of clothes you got on sale with nothing you really want to wear.

Myth #4. It’s hard/too much effort. It takes no more effort to put on great-fitting, comfortable shirts and denim than it does to put on their dumpy counterparts. I’m going to show you the simple formula behind good style.

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