Even if your mother dressed you funny, Nancy Ames Thompson will appraise your life-style, organize your wardrobe, and show a working woman how to achieve power and security through smart dressing.
For $35 an hour.
"When a woman walks into a room, a man will always take a few seconds to look at her - she should use that time to establish herself professionally through her appearance," says Thompson, 33, who came to Washington two years ago after working for Vogue and Glamour magazines.
She is part of a growing corps of good taste professionals who are writing books, lecturing corporations, and charging for advice on how to make it in style. Author Robert Ringer advises you look out for Number One, Michael "Power" Korda suggests marrying someone with expensive tastes and if you're a woman, carrying a suitcase to the office every Friday even if you don't plan to go away for the weekend.
Thompson directs her message toward the dressing habits of professional women.
Recent books by men on the subject draw a sneer from Thompson. Forget about wearing a maroon fedora with a feather, as John Molloy recommends in The Women's Dress For Success Book. Keep the handbag and ignore Korda's advice to the contrary.
"No florals, no fancy ruffles," Thompson commands. "Stick with really good leather. If you carry a briefcase, it should always be leather. Never wear a skirt above the knee. Always wear a jacket. Strictly tailored clothes; you don't want anybody to ever make a comment about your body in the office."