Looks Speak Blog


Identity Crisis!

IDENTITY. Without one, there is no winning!

No identity, no win. That is why they call it an identity crisis!!!

The Brooklyn Nets are struggling. A 91 million dollar payroll, they miss more shots than they make and their stadium is filled with fans from the opposing team.

Success is built on image, positive images.


The New Yorker quotes Mike Fratello, the Brooklyn Nets’ commentator, “If you went down the roster and asked each player what’s the identity of this team, I don’t know if they’d all have a clear-cut answer.” WOW! Identifying, clearly defining who you are and your goals are critical steps in the LOOKS SPEAK, image building for success methodology.

If you do not define yourselves, others will. NEVER let anyone else define you! Define. Align. Succeed. Define who you are, what you stand for. Align your image with your goals. Success follows!

The Nets would benefit greatly from an image update! Who are they? The NJ Nets? No, that’s right, they play in Brooklyn. It is ironic the Nets find themselves lacking an identity. Years back, when they played in NY the first time (albeit Long Island) they were they were the guys with the red, white and blue basketball! They stood out.

Of course, games are not won on image alone. But without image it is hard to win at all. Worse yet, the head coach, Lionel Hollins gave his team an image, “We have established an identity. We don’t make shots.” DOUBLE WOW!

A leader must paint a believable, positive, encouraging picture!!! We move toward what we picture. No wonder Brook Lopez, of the Lopez-Williams-Johnson trilogy, was seen lazily going after a loose ball. He’s a team player. He listens to his coach. Coach paints the picture, Lopez and others move toward it. It’s failure, what’s the rush?

Hollins needs to bring the team together, paint the winning picture and block out the negative noise. They are the Brooklyn Nets for goodness sake, Brooklyn, the greatest city in the world!!!

Public Image is Poetry

An article by Alastair Gee in the January 14th issue of The New Yorker, Ode on a Stethoscope, immediately drew me in. Maybe it is because I have doctors and hospitals on the brain, or maybe it is my love of poetry. I prefer to think it’s the latter. Regardless, that is the thing about first impressions. It takes about seven seconds for a third party to form an impression. That impression creates impact. As it is with public impression, once my opinion was formed, I read on, expecting to be pleased, unconsciously looking for evidence to support my opinion.

When an opinion is formed in those seven or so seconds, the third party who formed their opinion is not looking for reasons to disprove their own worthy critique! This is one of the reasons first impressions are so important, those seconds typically decide your fate. Read on or pass. Hire or dismiss.

Back to Gee and the stethoscope, Gee notes, in the medical journal, Chest “alongside papers about transbronchial needle aspiration and nontuberculous mycobacteria disease, appeared four poems.” The idea of poems appearing in a Medical Journal does not fit one’s image of a medical journal. Dichotomy creates impact and piques interest. Sometimes, to get noticed you need to disturb your audience’s complacency. Not in an outrageous way that then earns you the label of troublemaker or crazy, but in a gentle yet nudging manner to wake the other person up! Think about that the next time you prepare for an important meeting, date or professional presentation. Ask yourself, “how can I disturb the audience’s complacency as to draw attention to me in a positive way and win the seven seconds?”

I certainly took notice of the poem by Doug Hester, retold by Gee, “the needle was in the wrong place,/just like me.” While medicine and the typical articles in JAMA, follows a very linear path, “introduction, methodology, results, conclusion”, poetry, Gee quotes Charlene Breedlove, the poetry editor at JAMA, “moves in the opposite direction-it moves to open the possibilities of language. It wants to explore unnoticed possibilities.”

Image work, personal branding, impression coaching, like poetry, explores unnoticed possibilities!!!! Putting the needle in the right place! Start exploring!

Steve Jobs Black Turtleneck.

WSJ interviewed Paul Winum, a senior partner at RHR International LLP. A personal brand Dr. Winum states is communicated and includes how you dress. “For example, Steve Job’s black turtleneck conveyed simple elegance-brand attributes that he wanted to convey about Apple as well as himself.”

As we enter a new year, this is the perfect time to revaluate, reassess and update your personal brand and your executive’s personal brand.  Align how the public describes you, that” snap description” of you, with the desired image needed to accomplish goals.

What is your black turtleneck?

Andy Warhol

“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”- Andy Warhol

Nothing stands still, we are either moving backward or forward, doing nothing allows others to define you. I like Warhol’s advice. I can change things, I define me, and then, O, right, I have no one to blame but myself!!

The Looks Speak methodology  is an ongoing process of reclaiming self. Time will change us, that is for sure, the aging process has not been cured yet! However,  Warhol is correct, “you actually have to change them yourself”. What will you reclaim next month, first day of the new year? TODAY IS GOOD!

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Looks Speak

Screenshot 2014-09-17 19.50.47

Here at Looks Speak I always say, Looks Speak, do they speak your intended message. Now even the Senate is talking Looks Speak!

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand tells People Magazine how her Looks Speak!

A recent People Magazine article quotes Gillibrand.  “ ‘If I look and feel good, I’m more positive and confident and people are more likely to listen to me, Gillibrand writes in her book. ‘If more people are listening, I have more power to fight effectively for what I believe in.’ ”

There now, it is a matter of public record!  Looks Speak and people listen! Outer appearance does steer outcome and accounts for one’s level of effectiveness.

Everyone knows, as the former Publisher of The Hill, I am non partisan, but I do agree with the Senator!  She must be reading the Looks Speak Blog!!

Positive Images


On Friday night I discovered my website had been hacked. Who in the world would want to hack an image firm? Perhaps they are looking for an image makeover! All they had to do was ask! Instead I was left with the challenge of a website do over.

The irony is, I have been toiling away at my desk for months trying to get the site to a state of perfect. I would obsess over changes to the site every morning from 5:30 AM- 7:30 AM, then again from 10PM-1AM. On Thursday morning, the day before my site was compromised, I sent an email to my friend and fellow image consultant in Brazil, telling her, I only had one more finishing touch and I could put the paintbrush down. And I meant it! I finally saw my ability to exhale on the horizon. I was just one sub nav bar away. Instead, I must have mistakenly interpreted my vision of exhale. There was exhale, that is true, but more like a primal scream!

So, another friend, turning all my motivational bravado back in my face, told me, this is a sign of something better. Better? What? Are you kidding me? I believe in signs, I believe I can read signs. However, how do I know this is a sign that signals a positive message? Then, the ah-hah moment! I got it! It is a sign. It is a test. But I am the test giver, the teacher that grades the test and the student who takes the test. It is up to me to define setback or set forward. Wherever I focus is where I will go!

I love my website, so I decided to take a giant step forward! Emerging are some big visual changes. And after all, I am in the business of visual presence! Keep your eye on this site. TheCapitolImageCounsel.com, or easier to type, imageCIC.com. All roads lead to CIC and the Looks Speak process.

Watch for a new logo, more me! It is clean, crisp, modern, professional and unique. I have taken the traditional look, which I love, and given it a hint of punch! Like wearing a crisp tailored dark suit with an unexpectedly modern shoe, smashing tie or red gloves and a red handbag. I love the Capitol, whenever I drive down North Capitol Street and see the dome, I still, after all these years, get chills. Thus, I love that my logo carries the dome as much as I love being part of the D.C. fabric. And now, when the new logo is unveiled, you will still see the Capitol I love so well, but you will see it in the most artistic rendition ever! Tradition with a twist! I am very excited! Thinking of hosting another party! (YOU WILL ALL BE INVITED!).

The new logo is just the beginning! The upset has turned into an artistic display of treasures! Lesson learned, read the signs as positive. Then go do the work! POSITIVE IMAGES SPEAK POSITIVE RESULTS. Now where have I heard that before? (In case you missed it, it has been sitting on my home page beneath the slider all this time!)

Summer Finds

Summer Shopping

I fully intended to report in today’s blog the wonderful bargains and must haves to complete your summer image. However, my trip to four different stores came up a bust! I was hoping to direct everyone to some great finds. Instead, let me share my top 5 picks for summer image. This week will be women, next week men. These are the items I recommend.

Looks Speak DMAE, Tom Ford, shift dress

1.Go light on eye makeup, stick with neutrals with just a dusting of pink or coral.

2. Lip gloss instead of lipstick

 If you are giving a presentation to large group, or appearing on TV or video, then tips 1 and 2 need modification. Heavy up a tad, play up eyes, nude lipstick with gloss on top.

3. Shift dress, buy a 100 of them, perfect on a warm day, dress up or down. Obviously only buy one or two. But they are great.

4.Tom Ford eyewear

5. A NUDE PUMP. There are 1,000 shades of nude. The idea is to match your skin town. A bare leg and nude shoe elongates the leg .

I promised 5, but here is a tip for photographs or just every day. Pat BarDavid gave me this hat tip: DMAE. Absolutely erases wrinkles!! Works so good I bought 6 jars! (I am gifting three to Pat!)

Dressing in Living Color!

Living in Color/Dressing in Color


Black. Head to toe Black. Varied fabrics, its black, toned down with more black. Black is easy. Everything comes in black and you can wear black boots or shoes, and presto, you are done! Dressed! Well, not exactly. Sometimes its perfect, sometimes, not so much (black).

The Little Black Dress. I will always love black, but I am branching out! Dressing in color. Think about it! Color is harder. Dressing in color involves the right value, the right intensity, the right match, and endless angst over the shoes. No blank canvas to dress up or down. Right? WRONG!

Admittedly, dressing with color done well is not for the meek. There is a science and system to selecting the colors which make you look young, healthy, refreshed verses those that dull, make you look tired, and pronounces the circles and discoloration under your eyes.  Some colors are perfect for power meetings, other colors for when you want to dial it down, be more approachable. And my red may or not be the red that is your red! (“This land is my land, this land is your land………..”)

Jeff Koons, play doh, Whitney Museum Looks Speak blogRemember the book Color Me Beautiful? The whole 80’s, getting your colors done thing. Back then you were told you were one of the four seasons. “You are an Autumn”, end of story and it was a life sentence!!!! (Remember my Autumn blog post? This is what I was eluding). No matter how much people mocked “getting your colors done”, secretly, most everyone wanted to know theirs!

Assessing your color in this day and age, when done correctly, by a trained professional, is accurate, precise, liberating, fun!!!. (Can you think of any great color analysts?? No??? Visit my website!) Today we borrow from the four seasons model because in fact it has some very good features, but we have systemized and expanded the range of testing.

All that to say, hey, have your colors done. Still wear black, still wear your favorite blouse, but be aware of the “rules” you are breaking (and not get caught!.). Get creative! Most of the talented abstract artists knew what “rules” they were breaking. The more they knew, the better their work!

Get color!


Let’s hear it for Autumn!! For all of you seasonal color analysts and enthusiasts (which I happen to be), I am not referring to the 1980s version of typecasting us to one of the four seasons. Besides, the science on that has expanded! The color wheel and how to wear black is a future blog!!!autumn fashion looks speak

So I repeat, let’s hear it for Autumn! Have you cleared your closets to make room for Autumn? A new coat is a must if you live in Washington D.C.! And, if you bought a new coat last year, or you simply love your coat, let’s talk. I have an idea for you!

In the winter, what happens as we run from car to office or car to events or dare I suggest, walk to our appointments? (Yes, I dare say it! More on that at another time too!). You may have a fabulous outfit beneath your coat, but mostly people see us in our coats!!! And, how about when we hand our coat to be checked at the hostess stand? Or, worse yet, when we pick up our coats from the hostess and our best client, date, peer, or what have you, sees you wrap yourself in that coat! Think, what does your coat say???? We will talk dressing strategy very soon, so come back to Looks Speak! Also on the near horizon, we speak podium presence. See you then!!!

Public Image

Have you ever heard a recording of your own voice only to say, “that is not me”? Well, it is you. There are more scientific ways to explain the phenomenon, but suffice to say, when we speak, we are hearing our voice coupled with vibrations passing through our skull.  The recording naturally does not include those latter vibrations. Thus, the recording is how everyone else hears us!public image looks speak

Our speaking voice is distorted to ourselves, as is our visual image.  What we see in the mirror is a distorted version of how we actually look to others.  We are looking at a mirror, thus a second generation as compared to looking directly at someone. When we look in the mirror, we are not looking at what everyone else sees, we are looking at a reflection of our image not the real thing! If that is not enough data to convince you how important it is to work with an image coach, how about this? To make an impact, hence really affect outcome, only 7% of what you are actually saying creates the impression and only 38% of how you sound creates impact.  So stop worrying about how you sound on a recoding device and get busy looking for an image coach because what really moves the needle, 55%, more than half of what creates an impression is dependent on how you look! I like to say your LOOKS SPEAK!!!!! Do they SPEAK your intended message?

Fear not! LOOK no further, that is what I am here for! And this Looks Speak blog!!!

As your image coach together we will identify the elements of your appearance that directly affects the way you think about yourself, which in turn determines how you act, which in turn determines how others react to you. How you look can be superficial, no doubt.  But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about achieving results, accomplishing goals.  An image coach makes it possible for you to feel secure about your appearance because your look has been crafted especially for who you are by an expert. You do not need to give your looks a second thought.  An image coach, assists in minimizing obsession on self. I am also not talking about you turning into someone you are not. The “Looks Speak” methodology works with you to create a look that is authentic and which commands respect, trust, authority, and meets your objectives in every single situation of your life.  Our perception of ourselves are distorted, hence we are least qualified to judge ourselves!! That is why even coaches use coaches!!


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