Dear Mr. Molloy

I am curious about the effect of bright orange in a logo. I know that some people are upset by the bright orange or yellow logos, but I wondered if there’s any research in this area.

Name withheld

I left the name of the writer of this letter off because I thought she might be asking about her company’s logo. Attaching her name could embarrass her and I never want to do that to anybody.

There is considerable research on the effect of logos. In most business offices, especially traditional business offices any logo that stands out and catches your attention can cause problems. It you are stuck with a company that has an attachment to a vibrant color, you can only use it in most business environments, if you tone it down. The best example I’ve seen was by a hi tech company whose executives wear slacks and business shirts. The business shirts displayed their logo, but it looked more like a monogram than a logo.

Bright orange and or bright yellow logos can be very effective if used in the right setting. If you are new company attempting to get the public to know you having a bright orange or bright yellow logo that is eye-catching can be very effective. To be most effective you must use those colors on everything the public sees. The best example of using it correctly is McDonald’s golden arches.

Dear Mr. Molloy;

I need to know everything about success.

J. k.

New York, N.Y.

Dear JK:

Your letter certainly is short and to the point. I can’t tell you everything about success but I can tell you the most important thing you should know. Those who have realistic goals and realistic plans to achieve those goals, even if they fail are likely to be successful in the long run. Keep planning and keep trying because that’s what successful people do.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

I am a development specialist at a software company and like most of my coworkers, I dress very casually. I’m good at my job and everybody knows it, so I should have a real shot at a management job that is opening up. The word is out that in the next couple of weeks, the managers are going to choose an executive from the research group of which I am a member.

I’ve been wearing slacks and dress shirts ever since I was put in charge of our largest clients new project. I’ve changed my look but not dramatically. I fit in with the other development specialists. My question is, should I wear a tie. I know that seems trivial, but the tie is part of the uniform of management. I am worried that people will think I’m being a phony. What should I do?


Boston, Massachusetts

Dear KG:

The message wearing a tie is most likely to send to the decision-makers is that you want to be considered for the management position. That’s the message that research shows you should send.

Several months ago I read a recent in-house study about the problems management faces when moving someone from technical to executive positions. One of the challenges is finding out which men and women really want to stop working as technicians and start working as managers. The executives in this company found their primary challenge was finding out which of the researchers really want to stop working as technicians and start being managers. Even some of those who say they are interested in becoming a manager because they want the money and prestige that come with a management slot are not happy when they become managers. To quote that study; “An unhappy manager is invariably a lousy manager, so make sure they really want it.”

So anything you can do including wearing a tie that announces that you want to be a manager will help you become a manager.

Good luck!

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An example of a letter I cannot answer , you must read to the end to find out why.

Dear Mr. Molloy:

I worked as a marketing specialist for 15 years and rose to the point where I ran the marketing department of a midsize company. 11 years ago my father who was raised in an orphanage and had only a ninth grade education, passed away. My mother for the first year ran the security company which he started and at that point she handed it over to his second-in-command. Six months later he passed away and my mother hired an expert to run the company because most employees were installers and really didn’t understand how to run a business. She picked a graduate of a local college who was a business major, not a bad choice on paper but in reality a terrible choice. When I took over two years ago he was paying himself $200,000 a year to run a company that lost $60,000 that year.

My mother called me and told me that she was hoping that I knew someone who could help her sell the company that was losing money. With the intention of doing just that I went through the company’s books. I wasn’t halfway through and I decided that selling the company was a very bad idea.

I didn’t quit my job when I first started, I worked on my vacation and on weekends with the hopes that I would make the company profitable and if my mother still wanted to sell it. When my father passed away the company was making $380,000 a year while plowing most of its profits into expansion I knew my father had to be somewhat successful, because I was raised in a nice house in a nice area in suburbia and had almost anything I wanted. He bought me a new Jeep my third year in high school and took me to Disney half a dozen times. But I never imagined that his business was that successful. When he passed away he had six locations and he was thinking of opening a seventh. By the time I took it over there were only four locations and three had lost major customers.

I quickly turned the company around and we once again have six locations and are planning on several more. Although we install and monitor security systems for private homes, our primary business is setting up rather sophisticated, customized systems for businesses. The reason I’m writing to you is I wonder how our people should dress when they are going to install and maintain systems. Having been a fan of yours I read somewhere that you said that when you went to the homes, you should put your people in uniforms that identify them instantly since many homeowners are frightened of strangers. I put them in navy blue uniforms with bright orange logos. We tried it in businesses but although it never lost us a customer that I know of several made negative comments about the bright orange logo.

I hope you can figure out how should I dress my employees who install and maintain our security systems in a variety of businesses with very different dress codes. Please keep in mind that some of my installation and maintenance people are computer experts who create programs that are not only designed to keep people from breaking in but hackers from breaking into or controlling the company. It is difficult to get those people to put on any type of uniform. It would help if you could keep that in mind while designing the ideal uniform.

I want only one uniform because it is a wonderful way of advertising our services.

Name and address withheld

Dear Sir:

No single uniform will be ideal for all your people or all your customers. You would need at least a dozen outfits to please everyone and a logo that was eye-catching, memorable and instantly identifies your company. I suggest you have an artist draw several logos each in several colors and test them.

When you send your people into any site you must consider three factors. First, the general look of the business, particularly how the people dress. Second, exactly what your person is going to be doing. If they’re going to be sitting at a computer typing there is no need for them to wear the uniform you described. They can wear slacks and a dress shirt with a small logo on it. Nothing ostentatious, they should fit into the general feel of the office. Remember companies that spent major dollars decorating their offices will reject anyone who interferes with them sending the message they wish to send. Third, with whom are they going to be dealing and how do those people dress.

The reason I chose this letter as an example of one that didn’t work is it doesn’t work in many ways. First, as interesting as his life story might be, it is not needed. The writer could have left out the first two paragraphs and everything but the first and last sentence of the third paragraph. 90% of the next two paragraphs contain all the information I need to give useful advice.

The final paragraph, which is one sentence precludes me from giving it even that advice by limiting what I can say. The writer asks several questions and then tells me what my answer must be. Making answering his questions difficult to say the least.

The reason I printed this letter and commented on it is one out of every five letters I receive are similar to this one. I thought seeing an example of what not to do would make it easier for readers to do it right. I’ve tried in the past to describe the type of letter I need if I am to be helpful. I suggest you ask specific questions and do so in as few words as possible. Do that and you substantially increase the chances that your letter will be answered.

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Dear Mr. Molloy:

I have been a fan of yours for years and have used your advice on dressing a negotiating team. It has worked so well for me that I developed one of the best negotiating teams in the world. That is why I do not believe that Donald Trump would be an effective negotiator. I’m wondering since this conclusion is primarily based on your scientific research, would you agree it is true. To answer the question of course you must know my background so I will summarize.

I worked as a corporate negotiator for almost 25 years and have gained the reputation as a tough opponent both here and abroad. I believe part of my success is due to your advice on how to package a negotiating team. I have of course as the lead negotiator dressed very conservatively and authoritatively. While my team members dress to suit their roles. My entire team attended your Dallas seminar on nonverbal negotiating skills and have been following your advice ever since. My second-in-command and my successor played the role of the weak link so well that we often start negotiations with a winning gambit/

The other very useful piece of your advice is to carefully observe the dress and body language of your opponents. I’ve noticed several things about those who sit across the table and represent their countries official or unofficial government controlled organizations. It is evident they are proud of who they are. Those representing the official organizations in the Far East, the Middle East, or Africa often wear their countries traditional garb. If you even mention” their native costumes it is often taken as an insult . That is why I dress like a traditional American businessman in an outfit that says the wearer has authority. That is why I do not believe that Donald Trump would be a great negotiator, he has more theatrical appearance than that of a serious business person. I believe this would diminish his nonverbal power. Do you agree?

Los Angeles, California
Dear KC:

As much as I’d like to agree with a man who is attempting to follow my instructions, I am forced to disagree. Donald Trump is certainly flamboyant, but at the same time he appears to be in every way a serious businessman, which would give him an edge in any negotiation. In addition, he dresses like an American aristocrat which gives him additional nonverbal power,

You have made the classic mistake made by amateurs. You have attributed too much power to image without having specific research to justify your position.. Before making such a statement, you shoud have researched Donald Trump. If you had information from a reliable third-party showing that Donald Trump’s effectiveness as a negotiator was diminished by his nonverbal signals in a specific instance that and only that would make your assertion valid. Anything less would not.


Dear Mr. Molloy;

I am an attorney who works for several public utilities. I spend most of my time drawing up and negotiating contracts with major suppliers, so I hardly ever go into a courtroom. The suppliers in most cases are multinational corporations and since I represent several utilities and subcontractors who do work for them, these multimillion dollar contracts are complicated. As a result, I spend thousands of hours every year sitting across the table from top corporate people.

The men who represent the giant corporations make considerably more than my negotiating team, who are mainly technical people from the utilities. The men representing the major corporations, probably because they earn more dress better and carry with them the aura of power and success. In the corporate world, they would out rank my people and it shows. I believe it gives their side an enormous advantage. I am going to meet with the executives at our next joint session. At that meeting, I am going to suggest that they give members of the negotiating teams substantial raises or at least a significant clothing allowance. If I could tell them you agree with me. They know who you are and it would be very helpful.


Atlanta, Georgia
Dear GF;

Research shows that the clothing a person wears has a socioeconomic value, which transfers to the wearer. I have demonstrated in a number of major research projects that when a man or a woman wears obviously expensive clothing or carries items which indicate they are wealthy, or at least upper-middle-class that they have more authority and credibility than someone dressed in obviously less expensive outfits. Often when I make this assertion the response will be no one will notice, a conservative suit is a conservative suit, is a conservative suit. My response is research shows that those who pay substantially more for their clothing will spot the difference immediately and respond to it. I believe your case is already proven.

You must also ask for two other things, first an allowance for leisure wear. The one mistake made by companies who dress up employees to perform specific functions, usually high ticket sales, is these meetings are often held at resorts and how their employees dress at their leisure will also have a major impact on their power and authority. Next insist that they read this blog. I will write in the near future of mistakes made by amateurs at resorts. Many of your more talented technical people come from blue collar backgrounds and need guidance in this area .

I hope this helps.

Good luck























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Over the past three weeks I’ve received a flurry of responses to my column claiming that when I advise people to follow the leader I am making a mistake. One writer said that in his company Apple , talent not uniformity was the key to success.

That is more true in some fields than others. For example, in the computer field his statement is more true than it is in banking. When you develop a new computer or write a new program the end product can be seen, evaluated and compared to other computers and programs. On the other hand, when a banker gives two one million-dollar loans, one to an applicant on welfare and the other to Donald Trump, one obviously is a good business decision while the other obviously is not. However, since banks have to give loans to be profitable they have to give loans when the ability of the lender to repay is in question. Bankers make decisions based on obvious factors; income, credit rating etc. but also on their judgment of the borrower. Much of the time whether a loan is good for the bank often can’t be determined for years. As result, bankers are not always promoted on what they accomplish but what they seem to accomplish.

Looking like a traditional businessman helps because looking, acting and dressing like those in charge announces to those making the decision that you’re already one of them. The men who run the United States, Russia, China and every other organization on earth past and present associate with and encourage and promote younger versions of themselves. That is why in business and as in life it is at least prudent and often wise to follow the leader.

While in the 21st century men look to presidents and premiers for leadership in most of recorded history they have looked to princes. The most commonly agreed on rule in dealing with the Prince was what ever the Prince did or said or wore, copy them. A classic example of the influence a Prince can have is George Bryan (Beau) Brummell. He was known as a good dresser, a poor gambler and a friend of the Prince Regent who would later be George IV of England. It was his friendship with the Prince that gave him real power. Once that relationship ended his influence disappeared like smoke. While he was still in the Prince’s good graces he talked the Prince into wearing a new style of men’s clothing. The three main characteristics of the new style were-impeccable tailoring, restrained colors and understated design. Once this style of dress was adopted by the Prince Regent it transformed the way all elegant men dressed in his day and ours. If you go into Brooks Brothers, Joseph Banks or any other conservative men’s clothing store you will find the ghosts of the two Georges influencing your choices.

America of course has no Princes but being an inventive and ingenious people we have invented our own. Most can be found in two places Hollywood and Washington DC. The vast majority of those we copy are wealthy and good-looking and we are naturally attracted to them. That is why in the 30s when in “It Happened One Night”Clark Gable took his shirt off and stood there bare chested the sale of undershirts fell almost 30%. An almost identical reaction took place 30 years later when Pres. John F. Kennedy attended an official function without a hat. As result, the sale of men’s hats which at the time were worn by most businessmen virtually stopped and their popularity has never returned. Kennedy’s going hat-less actually destroyed the hat industry.

The follow the leader rule not only works because we admire our leaders but because Pavlov was right. I used to speak 100 times a year to various groups throughout the country and still do occasionally. Often I start by having the audience close their eyes and imagine a vice president of a major corporation, a congressman and the secretary of the treasury is standing in the back of the room. The vast majority see a man 50-ish tall, trim with some touches of gray in his hair, wearing a dark suit, a white shirt, a traditional conservative tie with highly shined shoes, executive socks and upper-middle-class accessories. The reason they have this image is they have been conditioned by our environment to see powerful men wearing such garments. The next time the president gives the state of the union address look at how the audience is dressed. That is why when we showed pictures of men in a variety of outfits to farmers and coal miners in Pennsylvania and a group of schoolteachers from across the country and asked them to identify the lawyer they would like defending them if they got in trouble over 78% chose both the male and female wearing a traditional conservative suit. Like Pavlov’s dogs they gave the expected conditioned response. When we asked the same group to choose the person they thought was nicest only 18% after choosing the conservatively dressed man to represent them in court identified him as a nice person while 54% said he probably wasn’t very nice.

My advice to dress like those in power isn’t based solely on Pavlov’s experiment. Work on conditioned responses and in human beings has advanced far beyond predicting a simple response such as a dog salivating. The research that is most interesting is that on associative conditioned responses. If you take a picture of any product you wish to sell and put it in an obviously wealthy setting your audience will make the association between wealth and your product. I was in Detroit years ago when they were having the car show and went with two friends from GM. Both wanted to see the Chevy Impala because they were told the model presenting it was sexy and gorgeous. When we arrived she was about to leave for lunch and I ran into someone I met through a fashion writer at the Detroit Free Press. She was in her 40s, very good-looking, wearing a beautiful fur coat and nice jewelry. To quote one of my friends; “She reeked of class and money.” The minute he said that I wondered what would happen if she was selling the Impala. She immediately volunteered and started imitating the model only she was more articulate and a terrific sales woman. My buddies were amazed and we watched her for about 15 minutes, until one of the salesman came over and said; “Get her the hell out of there.” In 15 minutes he had three potential customers tell him that the car was overpriced while in the day and a half before not one person thought the Impala was overpriced. Her comment was. ‘I am expensive and so is anything I stand next to.”

While the follow the leader rule still applies the research on which it is based is very sophisticated today. That is why writing about dress for success is so tricky. There are exceptions to almost every rule including follow the leader.

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Every year at this time I receive a flurry of questions from parents throughout the country. They either want to know how their children should dress for school or whether they should vote for or against a dress code or uniform program that is being proposed. When I write on the subject the greatest number of responses I receive are condemnations of my narrow minded out of date view of dress. This is often from parents whose children are attending schools that are going to or at least thinking about putting in a dress code or even worse in their opinion putting the kids in uniforms.

Every year taxpayers throughout the country are asked to support spending programs to improve their local schools. The argument for such expenditure is usually that it will help the children learn because the environment does impact education. What they fail to realize is that clothing is a portable environment that affects not only the wearer but everyone with whom he or she interacts.

The very same people who propose to spend taxpayers money to improve the learning environment, in most cases would not consider instituting a dress code for teachers and students. Their arguments against it run the gamut but the most interesting one is, it would interfere with the freedom of students or teachers. Many claim that what you wear is your way of announcing to the world who you are and that students and teachers should be able to make any statement they wish. It’s a form of free speech and protected by the Constitution.

Years ago I ran a research project in which I compared two inner-city schools. In the first school the teachers dressed very casually and in the second the teachers wore more traditional attire, sport jackets for the men and similar attire for the women. The dress code in the second school was put in by the principal but I doubt with the teachers union he could do that today. Nevertheless, it was a very effective educational tool since the second school out performed the first in every academic area.

In two middle range suburban schools that had a dress code for the teachers but only one had a dress code for the students, the one with the dress code for students outperformed the other in academic achievement and college admissions.

I found these findings support the premise that what the students wore affected how well they performed academically. However, the study I conducted at that time in two schools in very affluent areas found that the dress of the students did not affect the academic performance or their college admissions. Since this did not support my original premise I decided to redo it today. Once again the students dress did not seem to impact how well they performed academically or how many went to college .

I was so surprised that I asked the teachers who were doing me a favor by collecting data in their schools to take pictures of the students on a typical day. There was definitely a difference between the school with a dress code and the one without. While approximately 80% of the students in the school without a dress code would have fit in at the dress code school, 20% definitely would not. Their dress ranged from avant-garde, kooky fashionable to sexy and/or sloppy. In hopes of reconciling my research with these new findings, I arranged to have a conference call with both teachers.

The teachers talked to each other before the conference call and agreed that the school with the dress code had higher academic standards than the school without a dress code. Although the students marks were virtually the same, their performance wasn’t necessarily the same. They went on to say that in both areas going to college was expected, if they didn’t go to a real college they went to “Anyone gets in U”. Sometimes in research, numbers do not tell the whole story.

While I recognize the unscientific nature of the study I think it does justify a major educational organization or the government conducting a study on the impact of dress codes on education. Only an organization with almost unlimited funds could do such a study on a national scale.

I will give them a head start by assuring them that teachers clothing does indeed affect the learning process.

When teaching at a prep school in Connecticut I ran a study in which I took two sets of teachers and varied their dress morning and afternoon. They changed from traditional suits, shirts and ties and black lace up shoes to sports jackets with open collar shirts and loafers. Which at the time and in that affluent school was quite casual but acceptable for a male teacher.

When we questioned the students about who they liked and with whom they worked best, 87% picked the sports coat teachers. However, when we measured the amount of time students spent on identical assignments. we found they worked harder and longer for the more traditional dressers. When we asked why, they said he was more demanding. What was even more significant was all students were given identical tests at the end of the semester, when the same teacher dressed more conservatively his students performed better.

So the next time the Board of Education asks you to dress up the school building, tell them that first you would like them to dress up the people who use it.

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Dear Readers:

As you know this blog was off-line for an extended period of time. During that time, we received a number of very intelligent and thought provoking letters. I intend to answer as many of them as possible. If you wrote to me you may find that I am answering your question without using your letter because we often received a number of questions that are almost identical. I think in most cases it will answer the questions you asked. If I do not please write to me again. Sooner or later I’ll get to everyone.

Today’s topic is buying a woman’s suit.

When a woman buys a suit she must pay attention to several areas.

The style of the suit which works best for the vast majority of women in executive positions is a traditional blazer type with a skirt or pants depending on a number of variables. The most important variable is what is worn in the office where you work by women in positions of authority, the name of the game remains follow the leader. Although a skirted suit still works best for most women Hillary Clinton has made the pantsuit an acceptable alternative. Women over 50 and those who are a bit heavier often favor pantsuits because they are more flattering.

Another important style element is the design and length of the jacket. While a short jacket creates authority problems for women, a long one, in addition to adding to her authority, covers a multitude of minor flaws. If the jacket is pinched at the waist to emphasize the wearers feminine form, it will make it more difficult for them to deal with men particularly male subordinates. A jacket that has lacy frills or feminine styling will have the same effect.

You must also pay attention to the construction of the jacket. Before you even put on a jacket in a store test the material by grabbing the sleeve in your hand and squeezing. If it falls out neatly you can try it on. If it remains wrinkled it is unsuitable for a hard day at the office. Any suit made of a material that wrinkles easily will have you looking like a mess at the end of the day.

Check the look of the material. Although you want it to be wrinkle resistant you don’t want to look cheap and whatever you do don’t buy anything that looks like polyester. You can buy polyester because today there are polyesters that have the rich conservative look of wool. If the material for any reason looks cheap, move on to another suit. Today even the kids right out of college wear material that looks rich since it is no longer costly to do so.

Women’s executive suits come in a wide variety of acceptable patterns. If you were raised at your father’s pinstriped knee, playing with your mother’s expensive attaché case or in a country club or expensive upper-middle-class socio-economic environment you probably know which patterns are acceptable. If you weren’t raised in a privileged environment I suggest you stick with the most traditional conservative patterns or buy solid colors until you think you know the game.

You must also check the patterns and see if they match at the seams. If they don’t match exactly pass on that suit which is another reason for not having extensive alterations done on a patterned suit.

Acceptable women’s suits also come in a wide variety of colors but the question is acceptable for whom. In addition to the traditional male colors all women can safely wear all shades of blue except pastel’s, most shades of red which for women can be a power color The colors a woman can wear depends on several variables, her power index,which is her natural power, age, her field, the company she works for, the culture of that company, where she is in the corporate hierarchy, to name just a few. This obviously is going to require at least a blog to explain and I will get to it later.

If you paid over $400 for your suit the buttons should be sewn by hand. In a less expensive suit the buttons probably will be attached by machine, which is fine as long as they are reinforced.

It is essential that you coordinate the lining with your suits color and fabric with the blouses that you are likely to wear with that suit. It’s simply easier if you avoid obvious contrast or clashing colors. There is nothing more disconcerting than a garish colored lining inside a woman’s business suit.

If the jacket doesn’t fit perfectly it creates a very unfortunate impression. This is particularly true if a woman is busty. Be aware some very expensive women’s suits including designer models leave little or no room for a woman’s breasts. Don’t put up with it, don’t buy those suits. The first requirement in the jacket is that it is comfortable. A woman’s jacket should fit snugly at the shoulders but there should be sufficient play so that she can move her arms comfortably.

The collar and lapels should always lie flat especially after alterations. Check if the suit had to be tailored around the collar to make sure there is no little bubble in the back just under the collar. That area should lie flat as well. In a good suit or sports jacket the lapels have a neat roll.

Finally, remember you have to sit in a suit whether it has a skirt or slacks. In the final fitting have a clerk bring you a chair so you can sit in front of the mirror because that is what most of your coworkers will see.

I hope that answers everyone’s questions regarding women’s suits.

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Mr. Molloy;

I read your last blog and I have only one question. How dare you give advice to those running for President of the United States. I am certain they are receiving the best advice available from professionals who have been studying and working in the political area for years. I know many of them are graduates of Ivy League schools so they are more intelligent than you. I think an apology is in order.





Dear NL:

I knew yours was not a friendly letter when I read your salutation. Dear Mr. Molloy would have been preferable. Yours is a version of the most common argument put forth by the fashion industry when I wrote Dress for Success. It works on the assumption that people in various professions are better at choosing their image that someone from the outside. I’ll list a few obvious exceptions.


1)Lawyers commonly wear medium to dark gray suits while pleading before juries with one or more blue-collar members. People from blue-collar backgrounds see those wearing traditional executive suits as authority figures they often dislike.

2)Talented engineers who are often brilliant people usually dress casually which makes it more difficult for them to move into management positions even in engineering departments where they should be in charge.

3)Young teachers often dress in a style similar to that of the students because they think it will help them communicate effectively. Research shows the opposite is true, teachers who dress like students have more discipline problems than teachers who dress like adults. In addition, teachers who dress formally are seen by students as strict task masters and most put more time and effort into the work they give them.

4) Politicians often hire friends, the sons and daughters of political contributors, would be politicians, professional political groupies or anyone with a degree from an Ivy League school to run their campaigns and actually think their image experts. Or even worse they become their own image expert because they are sure they know. A classic example is Richard Nixon who when he debated Kennedy didn’t wear makeup. Then of course there is Al Gore who let a self-appointed image expert put him in sweaters to convince the world he wasn’t boring when everyone knew he was. The more up to date example of such a mistake is the one being made by presidential candidate Carly Fiorina. She showed up for one of the most critical days in her life wearing a very expensive, very feminine non power suit when she had to know in advance all her opponents would be wearing power suits. My research proved conclusively that the public expects the president to be a power figure and will reject anyone who does not fulfill that expectation. She was brilliant and in spite of her non presidential image won her debate. But after her victory while those who did well in the debate were discussed as possible Republican party presidential candidates, she was being talked about as a future vice president. Women who rise to the heights of industry often start dressing conservatively but once they make it into the executive suite they dress expensively and fashionably. I don’t know if Carly Fiorina followed that path or dressed as she did because she worked in the very casual computer industry but that really doesn’t make any difference she did not look presidential. Someone probably pointed out her mistake but they attempted to correct it by putting her in an equally inappropriate suit . I hate to mention it but her makeup doesn’t work because I think she might be tough and brilliant and make a great president. The reason I hate to mention that with her track record she may listen to a make-up expert who will see to it that she can’t get elected dogcatcher.


Dear Mr. Molloy:


I work for a very conservative company and I’ve been following your advice and dressing conservatively. I think it’s paid off, since in the past three years I received two promotions.

My last promotion created the problem. My new direct supervisor is 49 and an atrocious dresser. He wears inappropriate shirts and the loudest weirdest ties you’ve ever seen. That would be all right, but he constantly kids me about my dress. I’m 26 and when I show up in my customary conservative outfits he refers to me as”the executive kid” and asks me if I can spare some time from my important schedule to do some work.

The kidding is good-natured, and in his first fitness report he gave me an excellent rating. I’ve been wondering if I should dress less conservatively.



Dear JD:

If your boss is 49 and only one step above you, he’s missed several rungs on the executive ladder. He probably knows he’s out of the running and his clothing is his way of saying, I don’t care. Unless you wish to make the same announcement, I suggest you continue to dress like a winner.

As I see it you do have a difficult situation but you’ll only make it worse by dressing inappropriately. Being put in the department run by a man who is going nowhere can be a dead end, particularly if the only logical step up is into his position. If you adopt that departments dress code, it might send out the unfortunate signal that you’re comfortable there and that you fit in.


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Dear Mr. Molloy:

I have always been very comfortable with casual attire however I understand as an accountant it is not in my best interest to dress casually when dealing with banks or the IRS . The reason I bring this up is I worked for 26 years for one of the largest accounting firms in the country and became a partner before I was bought out. I made enough to retire and play golf for the remainder of my life and that is exactly what I intended to do. I moved to South Carolina and played golf almost every day for two months and found while I enjoyed the first month by the end of the second month I was bored. At that point I decided to go back to work. I mention this because you should know something about my background and understand that I’m not working for money or striving for success. Been there done that.


My work uniform consists of suit pants worn with high-quality cotton wash and wear shirts which maintain a fresh crisp look for most of the day. With the last two suits I purchased I ordered two extra sets of pants. When working in the home office I wear tasseled loafers and of course I never wear a tie. Being a fan of yours I carefully researched the uniforms being worn by those in management at most high tech firms and my outfits are based on my findings.


The company I am working for was founded by three technical people, two electrical engineers and a computer programer whose dress sets the standard for the most casual office I’ve ever seen. On most days the senior engineer who is in his late 30s wears jeans and a golf shirt. His partners also wear jeans but they are not nearly as well-kept as the senior partner and they wear T-shirts often with sayings that would only be considered clever on a campus. 80% of the employees take fashion advice from the T-shirt wearers. As I look around today the most outlandish outfit I can see is worn by a young woman engineer. She is wearing fashionably ripped jeans with a tight T-shirt which emphasizes her breasts. I noticed four out of five men stare at her as they pass her cubicle. She is undoubtedly a major distraction and attraction.


The company in less than five years has grown at a 20% rate every year although the growth has slowed for the last two years which is to be expected since they have doubled the number of employees. The firm now employs 73 people about half high-tech specialists. There is no question the performance as a technical organization is exceptional. Between them they have three patents and are applying for four more. It is hard to argue with success but I feel obliged to do so and I think I would have more success if you would back me up.


Before the senior engineer left for four weeks, the three partners took me to lunch and suggested that I relax my dress to fit in with the team. They didn’t give me a chance to respond, they immediately got up and left telling me we would have another meeting when the senior engineer returned. I was outraged, I’ve saved this company over $2 million in a little over six months .


At the next meeting, I’m going to suggest they put in some minimal dress standards and that the three of them maintain a decent haircut and have a suit outfit hanging in a closet that they could put on when needed. I’ve taken them out with clients and bankers and that was counterproductive. Not only have they made it difficult for me to do my job I have seen the reaction of potential clients when they walked into the office. I mentioned this once before and their comment was you win some you lose some. I know they lose many more clients and jobs than they think. What is more I am certain that at the larger corporations the decision-makers are appalled at how unprofessional our office is. There is such a thing as business casual and I think that if they don’t catch on sooner or later they’ll be in over their heads no matter how clever they are. Can you back me up on this?


Name and address withheld



Dear Accountant:


You should start your argument with the fact that you made $2 million for the company in just six months. You assume they know this but don’t make that assumption many brilliant technical people pay no attention to anything outside their field.


I certainly can and will back up your position. There is no question the primary mistake made by new tech firms is they underestimate the importance of image. I’m willing to bet that one or more of these brilliant young techies come from unsophisticated backgrounds. I have found working with high-tech firms where the management refused to understand the impact or importance of image that is usually the case. In their backgrounds image did not have a a significant impact on the success of people they knew and as a result they fail to see its importance.


I found the argument that works best is they were wasting their technical talent by appearing to be irresponsible businesspeople. When I make this argument they always bring up Steve Jobs. However, he is an exception, not the rule. I point out that several times in his career he lost out at least partly due to his image he didn’t appear to be a serious business person. And even though he succeeded in the end, it was after a tremendous struggle. He would have been just as creative if he dressed more conventionally. If that doesn’t convince them I end the argument with three words, poor Bill Gates. When he started Microsoft he dressed casually but as he worked his way toward 40 billion he made the mistake of dressing more traditionally. Imagine how well he could have done if like them he wore T-shirts with cute little sayings.


Explain to the company’s three founders that the people making decisions on whether to use their firm will often have limited technical backgrounds and will not fully or immediately grasp the advantage of their technical skills. They will make their decisions in part based on their backgrounds which in most cases taught them that image is critical to success. That statement is based on over 30 years of research packaging people in technical fields. If they question my assertions and they probably will, have them write to me. I will answer their questions as a fellow techie with data based on years of research which they will understand and appreciate. 

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In theory I am running for president this week as a Republican. As a theoretical candidate I expect to enter the primaries and to take part in this week’s debate. It’s a reasonable expectation since the people at the bottom of the list have less than 1% of the vote and so do I. I do not expect to be invited to take part in the 5 o’clock pre-debate with the rest of the less than one percenter’s so I am going to have to make my case on this blog. Like the rest who are running for the Republican nomination I intend to put forth a series of arguments designed to draw attention to me or any of the candidates and away from Trump. If anyone wishes to steal my ideas and claim them as their own, be my guest.


Before starting you should know that my suggestions are not based on great intellect or insight but on undercover research. With the help of a Republican and a Democrat we enlisted insiders to research the opinions of most of those in their groups. In spite of the fact that I had conducted similar research in corporations it turned out to be a very difficult and expensive undertaking but the results were better than even I imagined.


My first attention-getting argument concerns the deal we just made with the mullahs in Iran. To understand why this is so foolish you must understand that the world does not think the way Americans think and to base foreign policy on that assumption is just plain stupid. When Jimmy Carter was president he told the Shah one way to get his backing was to stop paying off the mullahs. After all, the government paying ministers to control what they said would be wrong in a Southern Baptist world and he assumed it was wrong in the Mideast. Actually it was a very common practice in that part of the world. Almost all governments in the Middle East at that time had the mullahs on their payrolls. They didn’t want these very influential people preaching against them or their policies. Once the Iranian government stopped paying them many preached against the Shah and the Ayatollah Khomeini replaced his government with a theocracy. The next president to make this mistake was George Bush. He attempted to export democracy to the Middle East and if you read the papers when it was being tried, it seemed possible. During one of the elections, the uninformed media showed people raising their dyed fingers after voting, implying that they were just like Americans. In fact, if you questioned them most would probably tell you that they were not voting to support a Democratic Iraq but an Iraq in which their group the Shiites or Sunnis would do better. Most people who live in the Middle East believe that the Muslim faith and democracy are incompatible and they are probably right.


However, the biggest mistake our government has made is the latest deal we made with Iran. What most people including apparently most politicians do not realize is a very small group the most radical Muslim extremist took over the country when the Ayatollah Khomeini died. Without going into detail, I can tell you today they control most of the government of Iran and their version of Islam teaches it is their duty to bring about the end of the world. Most Americans think that’s crazy and I agree but they do believe that and their Muslim neighbors believe they are serious. The minute Iran made this deal, Isis who had achieved the reputation as the most radical group in Islam by chopping off heads, having children kill other children, burning people alive, and killing others in a variety of horrible ways said that they are working to bring about the end of the world. They realize that Iran with its ability to build atomic weapons is going to try to bring about the end of the world which will make them the J.V. of radical Islam. In their world committing mass suicide to end the world in the name of Allah is such an appealing idea that they thought they had to adopt it. Which means we have signed a suicide pact with an atomically armed nation bent on ending the world. Those who are in favor of this deal say our choice is to make the deal or to go to war. What they don’t realize is Iran is already at war with us, in fact as they signed a deal they were in the streets chanting death to America. If we allow this deal to go forward in 10 to 15 years they will have atomic weapons, the technology for long-range missiles and the life expectancy of anyone living near or in a major city in the United States will be very short. One of the apologists for this suicide pact was a Hollywood star who said they love their children the same way we do. What that fellow does not realize is loving their children means they will have them blown up so that they can get into heaven.


A second argument that Republican candidates can use to draw attention to themselves is to accuse the Democrats of conducting a war on poor children, particularly poor black children. Point out that the Democrats have controlled the larger cities with the help of black votes for over 60 years and have chosen to send the worst teachers to the poorest areas. Explain that the only way of improving their schools is to fire those teachers but that cannot be done unless we do away with tenure in poor schools. Tell them you want them to vote for Democrats but only for those who will support good schools in poor black school districts. Promise them you will show them how to organize the mothers in each school and how this will lead to better schools. In each area form a group called MOTHERS AGAINST PERMANENT POVERTY or MAPP. This will eventually improve schools in black areas and it will put the Democratic Party in a untenable position. They will have to choose between the majority of black mothers who want their children to get a good education and the teachers unions.


The argument that our research indicates works best with Hispanics is to tell them since they are relatively new to the country they have a choice. They can choose to be very successful like most Orientals, fairly successful like most whites, or unsuccessful like most blacks. Start by telling them you will send them a copy of a book or a disk of a book written by an oriental mother on how to get your children into the same school as Trump’s children. If they choose not to do this they could of course encourage their children to do well in school the way most white parents do. Finally, they can choose to become black which is what the Democratic Party wants and expects. It’s easy to do because the Democrats will offer them the money without work as they did to the Blacks right after World War II when their families were more stable than white families. You must add that most children don’t do as their parents say they do as their parents do. Warn them if they choose this last route you must expect their daughters to become pregnant, drop out of the high school and live in poverty. They also should expect their sons to quit school early and in many cases to spend their lives in and out of jail. This is a daring argument but believe it or not it works. Particularly if it’s delivered by an Hispanic.


Finally, point out that illegal immigration hurts those at the lower end of the socio-economic scale. But don’t use the word socio- economic that’s a problem with the Republicans often sound like high school or college debaters. Democrats on the other hand are very effective communicators and they can convince people to vote for them because they make emotional arguments. Emotional arguments change votes intellectual ones, seldom do. If you point out that undocumented aliens take jobs mainly from Hispanic American citizens because they work for less you’ll be believed. Almost everyone in the Hispanic community knows someone who has lost their job to an undocumented alien. You can then point out that this situation is going to become worse if you vote for Democrats because the Democratic Party sees undocumented aliens as Democratic voters and is determined to bring in millions more. Your solution to this problem must have three steps: first secure the border, second punish employers who fire American citizens and replace them with undocumented aliens, and third pay Hispanic families to return to their countries. Since it was unfair to bring Hispanics here promising jobs which the Democratic Party did and then prevent them from making a living, I would pay each family a reasonable amount to return home. I would pay for their transportation plus enough to get started on a new life. I know the reaction of many voters to this would be negative but actually it’s cheaper than spending money on healthcare, education and other government programs. This could only be done after the border was sealed.


Almost 2 years ago I stopped writing this blog because I was doing insider research on political issues for two politicians. At the time I had thousands of readers, today because I stopped writing this blog I have very few . The only way my suggestions will have any impact on this election is if after reading this blog you ask half a dozen friends to check it out. If you are willing to do that by Thursday thousands should have read this blog which will make watching the debate very interesting particularly if any of the candidates use one or more of my tactics.

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I think it is necessary to describe how I developed the information on changing voter patterns because that will enable you to realistically evaluate the data we present.  As I mentioned insider research is very difficult and very expensive.  I would like to tell you that I conceived of insider research but that’s not accurate, I literally ran across it by accident.  A branch of a major chain closed in the Republican office holder’s district.  Both he and his Democratic counterpart were interested in what impact that would have upon the voting patterns of the laid-off employees.  Fortunately, one of the employees was also a member of the Republicans election team. She not only worked for him during elections but spent one evening every week answering the telephone at his local office.


He invited this 50ish mother of three to join us for lunch and asked her what she knew about the way her fellow employees were likely to vote.  To his shock and surprise she said that many of them would vote Democratic because they did not wish to lose their unemployment checks which they believed the Republicans would stop.  Several Republicans had argued on TV that paying unemployment benefits for a long period of time discourage people from looking for work.  To understand what follows you must know that this was district where Republicans won by a large margin.


The minute she finished speaking we arranged to have lunch with her every month for the next six months.  The report she gave after three months surprised both the Republican and the Democrat. She said that almost all of the women who worked in the same store with her were now on disability.  When we asked how this happened she said it was very easy to do.  A majority of the recently laid-off women had never reported being injured on the job when they were working at the store but with the help of a local lawyer whom I assume was a Democrat all were put on disability.  This increased the number of women who in the past voted Republican but would now vote Democratic by almost 1/3 because someone had convinced them that their disability payments like their unemployment benefits would be cut off by the Republicans.


After just a few months both of these career politicians were convinced that insider research was the key to uncovering valid information about voting patterns and uncovered positions they could take or thing they could do to effect those patterns.  Each of them wanted to know what they could do to get voters to vote for them and both told me to get to work and find out. I immediately challenged their assumption that insider research would  uncover all they wanted to know and pointed out that the woman who reported to us was unique and not that easily replaced. She had worked for one of them and that person who knew her for years assured us she would report her findings accurately. Finding someone who would report honestly on the thinking of their friends, coworkers or associates would be very difficult.  The only way we could be assured that the report was honest is to have two people reporting.  What is more when we examined store closings in other areas we found that the women often had ongoing relationships after the store closed. The men had no such relationships and virtually disappeared while the women often arranged to go to the unemployment office or other meeting places at the same time.  One of their favorite activities after meeting informally was to go to lunch together.  While monitoring these meetings would be difficult it would not be impossible.  At the time I did not see how we could monitor the men who left and went in separate directions or other groups that did not meet regularly.


I thought they would give up on the idea but they didn’t. Instead they asked if I could examine the problem and see if it was possible to research the voting patterns of groups that did not meet regularly.  One of the reasons they asked us they saw that I had solved other problems that none of the so-called political experts had been able to solve. After studying the problem for about two months, I said I thought it was possible.  I told them it would require developing an entirely new set of research techniques and that would be costly but even more costly would be conducting the research itself.  To my surprise, both of them said do it. When I pointed out once again it would be costly they said without hesitation that they would underwrite the study.


Through trial and error in six months we came up with techniques for insider surveys with any group.  I was right it turned out to be a very expensive way of doing research. The reason it cost so much was two out of three insider surveys produced unverifiable data.  My rule as a researcher has always been unless I could verify data, I ignored it.  We started by researching  the following subjects; how Democrats could convince members of the white suburban middle class and the working poor to vote  Democratic, second how the Republicans could convince African-Americans to vote for Republicans and third how both Democrats and Republicans could persuade Hispanics to vote for them. We were able to conduct insider surveys with these groups and produce verifiable results. This of course was not only interesting, it was a game changer

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