Press Kit Text Dump

PRESS KIT (TextDump)

The following is a raw text dump of the Polished Press Kit for search engine visibility purposes (to make finding this information easier).  

Click here to view the full PDF.

Company History

Unique to the world of luxury services Polished Social Image Consultants is on the forefront of the image consultant industry both in the U.S. and abroad. Pol- ished offers a lavish menu of services to help clients refine their business skills, finesse their social grace, improve their etiquette, update their look, redecorate their home or plan a Polished Event. “I start by as- sessing a client’s lifestyle, profession, social calendar, perceived needs and desired outcome. I also look at how they carry themselves, their personal appearance and their comfort level in their own skin. Very often, there is dissonance between the person before me and the person they want to be. From this point we begin to Polish,” says Samantha von Sperling, Founder and Director of Polished Social Image Consultants.

Here at Polished we have a unique approach to life style enhancement by combin- ing classic know-how and modern perspective. The personal needs of our clients are met with sensitivity and an emphasis of individuality. We utilize our professional training and innovative techniques when consulting with clients in order to enhance the positive attributes that already exist within each individual. Our personalized approach ensures the utmost discretion and comfort, and focuses on making last- ing lifestyle changes as opposed to quick fixes. However, fast, efficient emergency intervention is always an option for our clients who find themselves in a bind.

From the Board Room to the BallroomTM, Polished Social Image Consultants provides results that Bring out the Best in You.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants


Samantha von Sperling is the country’s pre- mier Image Consultant, whose hundreds of clients include international corporations and private clients from around the globe. Mrs. von Sperling’s talent and insight is sought after from gear-head to socialite, diplomat to CEO, wall-flower to starlet, and wedding couples to divorcees. Publications and TV programs seek Mrs. von Sperling’s expertise in image refine- ment, style and wardrobe improvement, per- sonal shopping, etiquette, ballroom and Latin dance, make-up, speech and diction.

Mrs. von Sperling’s 7-year old Polished Social

Image Consultants is renowned as the country’s only full-spectrum image consulting firm helping clients with every aspect of their

identity from aesthetic improvements to social finesse.

Samantha von Sperling is a classically trained dancer and earned her BS in Educational Theatre from NYU’s SEHNAP with a concentration in speech communications and public relations. Samantha was raised in a sophisticated family where entertaining international guests was de rigueur; refined manners, elegant dress, grooming, proper posture, the art of conversation, and ballroom dancing are second nature to her.

From the Board Room to the BallroomTM, Samantha von Sperling will Bring Out The Best In You. 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Polished MakeoverTM

• Portray the client in the best light possible through the consideration of personality, lifestyle, profes- sion, social calendar and physical characteristics.

• Refine makeup, hair and wardrobe to best reflect the client.

• If desired, provide services with celebrity specialists in hair, dentistry, dermatology, plastic surgery, etc.

Polished StyleTM

• Develop signature style with color, silhouette and accessory guidelines.

• Provide wardrobe management complete with closet organizing and editing, outfit strategies and seasonal updates.

Polished ShoppingTM

• Complete VIP service: Organized, effective and successful shopping trips made possible through access to shopping venues not open to the public and other special shopping services.

• Personal shopping as well as gift shopping for oth- ers, including corporate gift solutions.

Polished FaceTM

• Makeup consultation provides insight into ideal products and application, complete with face- charts containing instructions and application tech- nique.

• In addition, cosmetic kits are reviewed, edited and finally updated during expert cosmetic shopping trips that are made possible through years of expe- rience and industry insider knowledge.

• Makeup services are provided for weddings, inter- views, dates and other special events

Polished EtiquetteTM

• Provides coaching for all areas of etiquette ranging from formal dining to international business.

Polished CareerTM

• Perfect resume and cover letter as well as interview strategies to help ensure a great first impression. • Facilitate wardrobe planning and advanced net-

working skills.

Polished BachelorTM

• Serious romantic coaching for the single man or woman, including: Dating skills, flirting, etiquette and strategies to meet better quality people more effectively.

• Plan dates with style and confidence and provide ideas for refining the bachelor pad.

Polished ProposalTM

•Help to orchestrate the perfect proposal moment, from location and wording to shopping for the per- fect ring.

• From idea to reality, Polished has the solution to add the “wow factor” to your proposal.

Polished WeddingTM

• Consulting with couples to help organize, simplify and assist in the wedding planning process, while navigating and avoiding the pitfalls and delicate situations that can occur.

• Services range from makeup and etiquette to dance instruction and shopping for the perfect wedding attire and other needs, including: Gowns, tuxedos, honeymoon wardrobes, and wedding party gifts.

Polished DanceTM

• Offer lessons in ballroom, Latin dances and modern social club-style dancing.

Polished PlanningTM

• Assist in planning social calendar events and cor- porate events.

• Provide planning services for parties ranging from 2 to 200.

POLISHED social image consultants

Service Outline

— All services can be tailored for private coaching or corporate groups. — —This is only a partial list. Customized packages are always available. —

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Polished MakeoverTM

POLISHED social image consultants

If you’ve ever dreamed of a total revamp as seen on makeover reality shows but did not want to go on television, Polished MakeoverTM, directed by Samantha von Sperling, is a fully customized solution for you. Any or all of the services Polished Social Image Consultants offers, including access to celebrity specialists in den- tistry, dermatology, plastic surgery, fitness and aesthetics, are available to you.

Polished StyleTM

Each of us has our own unique style; perhaps you have yet to discover yours. Pol- ished Social Image Consultants can assist you in finding your signature style. This includes color, silhouette and accessory guidelines harmonious with your physical traits, personality and lifestyle. Polished will even go through your closet with you to decipher what should stay and what must go, organizing your wardrobe and giving you tips to live by. Learn how to maximize closet space and arrange your wardrobe for maximum fashion permutations.

Polished ShoppingTM

Polished Social Image Consultants understands your image goals, your needs and your budget. At Polished we know the stores and what they carry. We have excel- lent relationships with vendors and designers, and you will be treated like a star on your shopping trip. We will have things already selected for you to try upon arriv- ing at the stores and will do the running around to find your style in your size. We do not work on sales commission and therefore can be perfectly honest with you when selecting articles of clothing. We can help you find gifts for other people and can shop for you when you don’t have the time to do it yourself.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Polished FaceTM

Whether you need advice on what cosmetic products work best for you, or you have questions about what the most suitable makeup colors are for your skin tone, Polished full-service makeup artistry is at your service. If you have a wedding, special event, interview or date coming up and want to look

your absolute best Polished FaceTM can help. Polished Social Image Consultants can teach you how to wear your make-up for a natural look every day, add glamour for evening or give you a completely new look. The Polished FaceTM-chart can be provided to every client for a “color-by-number” instructional reference.

Polished EtiquetteTM

Avoid a Fork Faux-Pas with private etiquette lessons. Polished will make you feel at ease in any circumstance. Etiquette is more than saying, “Please” or “Thank you,” and more important than what knife and fork to use. Polished will coach you in the different codes of etiquette in dining, business, gift giving, dating, netiquette and international business.

Polished CareerTM

Polished CareerTM will help you land your dream job. We will work with you on your resume and cover letter to ensure that you make a great first impression and prepare you physically and mentally for your interview. Polished CareerTM interview strategies and wardrobe planning will help you put your best face forward.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Polished BachelorTM

Polished Social Image Consultants is the answer to every bachelor’s fears and needs. Polished BachelorTM is your Cyrano de Bergerac for gaining confidence, finessing the bachelor pad, finding a girlfriend, planning dates and other special occassions.

Polished ProposalTM

We will calm your proposal jitters and help guide you through the most important decision of your life. From idea to reality, the Polished ProposalTM will be the ultimate romantic surprise. From choosing the location and wording to finding the ambiance and ring, Polished has made many engagements incredibly passion- ate.

Polished WeddingTM

Congratulations! Your wedding is not just any other day, therefore you should look, feel, and be treated like a celebrity throughout the entire event. Your wed- ding is one day; your wedding photos are forever. To help ensure you look your most elegant on your wedding day, Polished WeddingTM will teach you to dance with your future life partner, shop with you for the perfect dress and all your shop- ping needs, make you up and style your hair on the big day. Wedding etiquette consultations are also available.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Polished DanceTM

Even two left feet can learn to catch the rhythm gracefully with exciting one-on- one private instruction. Polished DanceTM is a fun, safe, and exciting way to learn how to dance be it for recreation, wedding preparation, confidence building or simply a new social skill. Polished Social Image Consultants offers private ballroom and Latin dance instruction for both singles and couples. Ballroom and Latin danc- es are enjoyed both socially and competitively all over the world. Join the party!

Polished PlanningTM

Plan your next great event! Polished PlanningTM will assist in all events from your social calendar to your wedding day or corporate event. Whether it’s an intimate evening for two or two hundred, a fabulous bridal shower, or a dinner party with your co-workers Polished PlanningTM will help create the image and set the tone for the occasion.


Polished offers seminar events for corporate clients. Each seminar is tailored to the need of the client, and sessions are designed to be fun as well educational.

All services can be tailored for private coaching or corporate groups. This is only a partial list. Customized packages are always available.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Press Coverage

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY



FOX NBC NBC WWOR- TV My9 News Fine Living Network WFMZ-TV 69

CBS ABC (WABC, NY) RTL (Holland) WWOR- TV My9 News CBS NBC (WNBC, NY) Fine Living Network Fuji TV (Japan) ESPN Oxygen ABC TLC CCTV ZDF/SAT1 (Germany) ABC FOX PBS TLC BNN ETV WFXT-TV 25 FOX AMC Martha Stewart Living Radio Bloomberg KCAA 1050 / WPMD

Sirius Stars 102 Sirius Maxim 108 NPR Webmaster Radio

Fox and Friends Today In New York Reel Talk Inside Edition What’s Your Time Worth? 69 News

Nightly News Morning News Evening News Ten O’Clock News The Early Show Today in New York What’s Your Time Worth Nightly News

NBA Pre-Game Show Girlfriend S.O.S Rachael Ray Honey, We’re Killing the Kids Enough About You Magazine


Renovate My Family

Survivor’s Guide to High School

A Makeover Story

Temple Street News

The Ladies Room

News at 10 with Namuua Delaney

Gotta Dance

Moring Living (recurring guest)

Bloomberg News (recurring guest)

The Many Moods of Vince Daniels

Regular, “A Manner’s Moment” with Samantha von Sperling Judith Regan Show Covino & Rich Show (recurring guest) Marketplace Job Files

Ms. Write – Live at SES

POLISHED social image consultants

Television & Radio

BBC Radio

5 Live This is only a partial list.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Press Highlights

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Press Highlights

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Press Highlights

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

On a tuesday afternOOn at saks fifth avenue, robanne schul- man and Laura estrada gleefully weave through the aisles discuss- ing outfits and weekend plans. They appear to be friends on a lunchtime shopping break from work, except that Schulman, a personal shopper, is working.

“you could wear this with nice slacks or even jeans,” she says, hold- ing up a cropped leather jacket by Vince in the packed dressing room where Estrada tries one outfit after another. Schulman has assembled a mix of outfits that will carry Estrada well into the holiday season.

When she slips into Capri pants and a gray blouse by theory, estrada shimmies with delight, but a turquoise shirt earns less enthusiasm.

“Do I look pregnant?” Estrada asks.

“You don’t look prego,” Schulman says, “but I know you, and you won’t wear it.”

schulman’s job is to make the work of shopping easier for her clients in the manner of a tactful best friend with impeccable taste. But the ser- vice comes at a cost, and increasing-

ly, busy professional women are will- ing to pay for a shopper’s expertise in exchange for a worry-free wardrobe and extra time to spend on family and career.

“time is number one with me,” says estrada, a mother of two who juggles responsibilities in a family-owned business with building her own busi- ness as an executive regional vice president and independent consultant for Arbonne International. Working with schulman has made her balanc- ing act a bit easier. “Children throw a wrench in the shopping,” she says.

Personal shoppers do everything from buying clothing and gifts to run- ning errands. Some see their busi- ness double during the holidays, when stressed-out clients seek an escape from crowded stores. Still, hiring a personal shopper may not be the first thing that comes to mind for a woman hoping to balance life and work.

“Before I worked with an image consultant, I probably thought the same way as other people: ‘What are you paying for?”’ says Dana Jewell, an attorney for General Mills Inc. in Minneapolis. “It’s

like anything else. Why try to be a specialist in every single thing when you can tap into the creativity of oth- ers?”

Jewell quickly reaped the benefits of the service. “I feel like I’m portray- ing the image I want to portray, and that makes me feel more powerful and assertive,” she says. Now, in ad- dition to getting dressed faster, Jew- ell says she is more confident and communicates better at work – all for about $90 per hour in fees and an ini- tial $2,000 budget.

With professionals viewing shop- ping as simply another task to out- source, the recent personal shopping boom is not surprising. According to the Association of Image Consultants International, 59 percent of its U.S. members list personal shopping as a specialty. National membership has increased 72 percent in the last two years.

“[Celebrity] confessions and make- over reality shows have really brought the consciousness to dinner tables across America,” says Colleen Abrie, a personal stylist and image consul- tant in the San Francisco Bay area.

(continued next page)

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

(continued from previous page)

If it all sounds a little too Jackie Kennedy, don’t be fooled. There is a personal shopper to cater to each taste and budget. But be forewarned: during the holidays there may be additional charges. Samantha von Sperling, a new york-based image consultant who shops for confidential high-profile clients, tacks a premium onto her base fee of $300 per hour if clients ask for holiday help at the last minute. She usually receives holiday gift lists by September. “Holidays are a stampede,” von Sperling says.

the onset of the holiday season is what initially drove Kelly Loeffler to seek a personal shopper. “Seasons would change and I would be caught at the beginning of winter without appropriate clothes to travel and do business,” says Loeffler, who works a 70- to 80-hour week as vice president of corporate communications for a fi- nancial services firm. With one to two business trips per week, she needed someone to help her organize a trav- el-worthy wardrobe. A department store employee put her in touch with schulman, who charges $500 for an

initial closet consultation. These days their meetings consist of schulman’s zipping a car full of clothes to Loef- fler’s home for fittings. This year, Lo- effler plans to enlist Schulman’s help with gifts too, taking advantage of the unique finds that Schulman scoops up on buying trips to New York. The time saved “has helped me focus on things that I think are important,” Loeffler says, “like participating on a charitable board or spending time with friends or family.”

When trusting someone to build your wardrobe or buy gifts, the most important thing, women say, is to find a shopper who understands your per- sonality and your life.

Timberly Whitfield, the New York- based host of the Hallmark Channel’s new Morning, knows the downside of not having the right shopper. She liked one shopper, but the woman’s predi- lection for Target and TJ Maxx didn’t fit Whitfield’s image. Whitfield and yet another shopper just didn’t click per- sonally. Then Laura Solin showed up with a stylish mix of clothing from An- thropologic, Theory and Nanette Le- pore. Now, before speaking engage- ments, weddings or parties, they hit

the stores and in 15 minutes or less, solin scans the racks and loads the dressing room. “What could take me days on my own, she does in a mat- ter of hours,” says Whitfield. In return, Whitfield spends

her spare time doing activities her 5year-old daughter wants to do in- stead of dragging her on shopping excursions.

Back at Saks, one hour and several new outfits later, Schulman has filled in the gaps in Estrada’s wardrobe. Before racing off to a meeting, Es- trada remembers that she also needs a dress and shoes for a weekend event. Quick as a blink, Schulman summons a sales associate, who re- turns with the perfect Prada sandals. schulman then assures estrada she will keep hunting for a dress. With a wave goodbye and a promise to meet up later, Estrada exits the store.

And Schulman goes back to work.

Pink Magazine november/december 2007 “Dress to Impress” by Nedra rhoNe Pages 44 and 45

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Engagement Goes Sour, But Both Love the Ring

By Special to the Sun

October 18, 2007

A man who proposed to his girlfriend last December now wants the 3.2-carat diamond engagement ring back after the engagement turned sour last month, according to a lawsuit filed in state Supreme Court this week.

At the time of the engagement, the couple agreed that Dean Kuehnen Jr. would receive the ring back should the marriage not take place, but to date Andria Castellano is still holding on to the $38,800 ring, the suit says.

The situation and its proper resolution is sticky, an etiquette consultant, Samantha von Sperling, said. “If you are the woman and you broke it off, it is the noble thing to give the ring back,” Ms. Von Sperling, president of Polished Social Image Consultants, said. But, she added, “if the guy breaks up with you, the noble thing is to let her keep the ring.”

Over the years, judges have set forth similar judgments: whoever breaks the engagement loses the ring.

An attorney for Mr. Kuehnen, Lara Ott, would not comment on how the engagement ended, saying it was “not relevant to the cause of action.”

Attempts to contact Ms. Castellano for comment were unsuccessful.

According to the suit, Ms. Castellano has told Mr. Kuehnen that she still has the ring but has “threatened to third parties” to sell or dispose of it.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

2theadvocate > Features > Food

POLISHED social image consultants

Table Talk for Oct. 18, 2007

Salsa recipe just perfect for holidays By TOMMY C. SIMMONS

Advocate food editor

Published: Oct 18, 2007

For so long now, I’ve been in the summer foods mode – cold salads for lunch and appetiz- ers and cheese for dinner. Even with the recent cooler spell, I’m still thinking about lighter fare in fall.

For a church luncheon earlier this month, I made a couple of cold rice salads and a Grape Salsa. I don’t think anyone missed having a hot casserole, and we all agreed that the Grape Salsa recipe has terrific holiday potential. It could be made with red and green grapes for Christmas or purple and green grapes with yellow bell pepper for Mardi Gras. It’s a versatile cold dip recipe and could even be served as a sauce for an assertive fish, such as fresh tuna.

Be a welcome guest

Two image experts, Samantha von Sperling and Dori Rootenberg, offer suggestions on how to be a welcome guest at parties.

•Arrrive on time, especially for more formal affairs. For more casual parties, arrive within 30 minutes of the start time.

•For informal parties held at someone’s home, always offer your assistance. Pass a round of hors d’oeuvres just to let hosts know you are willing to help out.

•Bring a small gift to the hosts, a kitchen tool, bottle of sea salt or, may I suggest, a jar of Grape Salsa.

•A hand-written thank-you note is nice afterward, but even more friendly and equally ap- preciated is a simple phone call the next day thanking the host for including you in the festivities.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Here I was: broke, skittish, unsatisfied, and desperate to change. So I did. For one day.

You can do a lot trying to change your life. Parchute from a plane at 13,000 feet. Scale the heights of Mount Everest. Retreat into contemplation in a Tibetan mon- astery. Take a Tex-Mex cooking class. Me, I was standing in the dark in the cheapest hotel room

I could find in New York City, fumbling for the light switch.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004


(Spirit 1 of 5 – continued on next page)

The fluorescent light came on to a bug-zapper hum, revealing Spartan, cramped accommodations. Through the window I could see the razor wire fence that circled the hotel.

You might, with little sympathy, say this is one of those “quarter-life crisis” stories, in which our young hero first measures himself against the George Clooney Index and comes up woefully short. Our endearing beta male then decides it’s time for an upgrade.

a pioneer in the “borrowed luxury”

I was bored with my black-and white life and wanted to try on a Technicol- or dream. After a four-hour pilgrim- age by bus, I’d come to New York to rent myself a new life.

charge of $49, members can schedule an appointment with their favorite pooch for at least two days a month.

But it’d take more than bor- rowed puppy love to upgrade my

That was me. I was bored with my black-and white life and wanted to try on a Technicolor dream. I wanted the lifestyle of the rich and famous. Or infamous. I wasn’t fussy. I only knew that I was ready for a change. After a four-hour pilgrimage by bus, I’d come to New York to rent myself a new life.

I wasn’t alone, either. I was one of millions of Americans foregoing the responsibilities of ownership for the freedom of the rental life. “People are more interested in collecting experi- ences than in collecting possessions,” says Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute, a ratings and busi- ness intelligence firm. And the trend is on the rise. Luxury consumers in 2005 spent an average of $22,746 on “life-changing experiences,”

almost twice as much as the previous year, according to Unity Marketing.

life. I needed a radical overhaul. Be- fore the day was over, I’d be someone else. Someone better.

My friends – the ones who label me “skittish,” as though I were a nervous housecat – couldn’t understand why I needed an upgrade. They were com- fortable people, set in their lives, and I could never adequately explain my restlessness.

“What, exactly, are you doing?” they’d ask me.

“I’m going to New York City and renting an entire lifestyle. High-class clothes, watch, and car. Then I’m go- ing to see what happens. I will have a sizable expense account.”

Naturally, the trend away from ownership has opened up the rental economy, and businesses have rushed right in. Los Angeles- based art retailer Ghettogloss rents works by such celebrities as author and director Clive Barker, musi- cian Mark Mothersbaugh, and actor Benicio del Toro, among others. Bag Borrow or Steal, a three-year- old company generally considered

market, loans high-end accessories


via mail. The company recently raised

$15 million in venture capital to

expand its product offerings. Perhaps

social image consultants

more tellingly, it’s spawned a host of imitators. Even Fido is up for grabs. FlexPetz, a new company based out of Wilmington, Delaware, offers “a shared dog ownership concept” for consumers who want the benefits of canine companionship without the responsibility of possession. For a starter fee of $250 and a monthly

My friends couldn’t understand why I needed an upgrade. They were com- fortable people, set in their lives, and I could never adequately explain my restlessness.

But would that be enough to temporarily buy my way into a new life? With my rented clothes, car, and watch, would people treat me differently? Could I convince them to see me as the superstar I’ve always known myself to be? More important, could I convince myself?

(Spirit 2 of 5 – continued on next page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY


Somehow I’d failed to communi- cate the seriousness of the question. After a moment, my friends would respond, “It sounds like you’re get- ting paid to play dress-up, with free drinks. Can I come?”

They had a point: Twelve hours wasn’t much time for a complete personality revamp, and without the suavity to match my new lifestyle ac- cessories, I’d just be a sheep in wolf’s clothing. I might look the debonair gentleman, but I wouldn’t feel it.

So once in New York City, I made my first stop Polished Social Image Consultants. Samantha von Sperling, Polished’s founder and director, had graciously agreed to help transform me into a man of wealth and taste.

Thanks to a misreading of the sub- way map, I arrived 20 minutes late, dressed

in jeans and a leather jacket despite the 70-plus-degree heat. In a mis- guided attempt to recover lost time, I’d sprinted the last mile to her studio. My hair was matted, and sweat shone on my forehead.

Damp spots blossomed on my Tshirt – kelly green, with the slogan, “Got Your Tickets to the Gun Show?” pointing to my .22-caliber biceps.

Despite my disheveled appearance, von Sperling welcomed me into her minimalist studio. The five-foot-three Betty Boop look-alike knows how

to turn heads. It’s all about confi- dence, she said, and “people smell confidence.” Sure, but I’d heard that before. My innate skittishness, the free-floating anxiety fundamental to my character, had its own odor. It was the reek of flop sweat, of thwarted ambitions; von Sperling had picked up on it as soon as I shook her hand. As I did so, she said, I was looking everywhere but at her. I was probably checking for fire exits.

I’d have to fake my way into aimportant but wasn’t sure why.

confident persona. Since we had so

social image consultants

little time, von Sperling suggested weI dove in anyway, trying on ev-

work from the outside-in, what she called “the jumpstart approach.” Start by looking the part and the rest will follow. “Put the body in the stance, get the man in the suit,” she said. “Suddenly he becomes a little more confident.” Clothes make the man. I could handle that. I’d worn clothes before.

erything. The refrain, “Do you have anything smaller?” started getting repetitive even to my ears. I was beginning to think I’d need to add a paunch to my list of rentals.

Eventually, Lindner guided me to a Dolce and Gabbana blazer. “This is a little flashy,” she said. Black silk

It’s all about confidence, von Sperling said. But I’d heard that before. The free-floating anxiety fundamental to my character had its own odor.

Or so I thought. I was “swimming” in my medium T-shirt, according to von Sperling. The diagnosis of “too sartorially incompetent to even choose his T-shirt” was an ego-blow, but I took it in the name of personal growth. I’d committed the cardinal sin of fashion: failing to flaunt my assets and minimize my faults. But I could find forgiveness. As von Sperling pointed out, I had more to work with than I’d realized. “You have beautiful eyes. You’re slim. You’re tall,” she said. “You didn’t fare too badly in the gene pool at all.” I promised to quote her on that.

So I had potential, but I’d need professional help before I’d be ready for my close-up. I’d set up an appoint- ment with

Neva Lindner, a professional stylist and founder of Wardrobe NYC, a high-end wardrobe rental salon. She counts as clients Sharon Stone’s styl- ist and Rachel Hunter. The costume designer for The Sopranos has raided her closet. Lindner works out of two studios, one in SoHo and the other in L.A., featuring closet after closet of designer clothes: Yves St. Laurent, Pierre Hardy, Marc Jacobs, Versace, Armani. To my ears, it might as well be the Latin mass. I knew they were

with a subtle paisley pattern, I dubbed it “the Monochrome Acid Trip.” It was flashy, and I saw no reason not to take it. My rented plumage ought to be flashy; if you get the chance to live like a rock star, you don’t want to be a bland one. I figured I’d go for “deca- dent Eurotrash” and began practicing my haughty sneer.

Just to be safe, I chose a backup outfit, a vintage Yves St. Laurent jacket and pants set in light blue. I matched it with a white shirt favored by Hayden Christansen. Yes, the Hayden Christansen. It seems Anakin Skywalker likes the look of French cuffs.

My look was almost complete. To accessorize, I rented an Omega Seamaster James Bond watch from Watch My Wrist. An elegantly under- stated piece of Swiss engineering, the Seamaster is designed for a sophisti- cated gentleman. And it’s designed for a gentleman’s body, meaning that I had remove three links for it to fit my dainty, child-like wrists. I was wear- ing two months salary on my arm; this fact made me, you might say, somewhat skittish.

Polished Social Image Consultants’ von Sperling had barely contained

(Spirit 3 of 5 – continued on next page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY


her revulsion at my $13 haircut and used her pull to get me an appoint- ment with James Hernandez. The superstar coiffeur doesn’t advertise. In his semi-hidden studio he surveyed the ‘do-saster with calm stoicism of

a paramedic. The style didn’t fit my head.

“Look how it hangs down here in the back!” Hernandez said, shak- ing his head. “And let’s trim up that beard. We’ll make it work, make it look good,” he grinned, stroking his own stubble. With 45 minutes of careful attention, he turned my shaggy mop into a textbook example of rogu- ish dishevelment.

Once we’d established my look, it was time for a rechristening. “Jesse Hicks,” Samantha told me, was an “endearing” name. Endearing is what you bring home to meet your parents. Tonight I was going to be something else. Something dangerous. Some- thing, as von Sperling put it, “mucho macho.”

So I became a “Brad.” Short and to the point, with no messing around. Adding a super-masculine last name, I became “Brad Briggs, International Diamond Thief and Raconteur.” Brad Briggs was the kind of man who makes supermodels giggle shyly behind their hands.

Knowing that role would take a wee bit more coaching, I looked for more advice. From Robert Green, author of The 48 Laws of Power (Penguin),

I learned the need to control my emotions and to keep the endgame in mind. After all, that worked for Sun Tzu and Machiavelli. From Allan Pease, co-author of The Definitive Book of Body Language (Bantam), I realized that I needed to mimic the posture of conversation partners and not to jabber like Woody Allen. Check and check. Brad Briggs was ready.

Outside the hotel awaited my

chariot: an Aston Martin V12 Van-“2006,” I answered. I could tell he

quish, illegally parked, its tungstenwanted to touch it. Maybe rest his

social image consultants

finish gleaming like quicksilver in thecheek against the curvaceous fender.

sun. As I climbed in, I checked my watch, the Omega Seamaster I hadn’t figured out how to set. Even if it was twenty minutes fast, I was still late for my dinner date for three at Amalia,

a midtown restaurant evoking Old European decadence. I pressed the large red button in the center of the console, helpfully labeled “Ignition.”

I had his respect, momentarily; this slick, Big City power-broker was asking about my car. Of course, it was just the car he was impressed by, not the man inside. I knew that, and looked forward to leaving my sleek metal cocoon.

A father pointed at the Aston

Giving a congenital lead foot like Jesse Hicks an Aston Martin would be like giving a small child a firearm, but Brad Briggs slipped behind the wheel with confidence.

Twelve cylinders came to life with a distinguished, aristocratic growl.

Giving a congenital lead foot like Jesse Hicks an Aston Martin would be like giving a small child a firearm, but Brad

Briggs slipped behind the wheel with poise and confidence – directly into the turtles-in-molasses crawl of New York City rush hour. The Vanquish idled like Hannibal Lecter pacing in his cage.

The drive was Brad Briggs’ first public appearance, a chance to see how people would react to my new persona. I already felt more confident. I was ready to test my new image on my two friends, Kelly and Catherine. But as my 6 o’clock dinner reserva- tion came and went, I took special pleasure in the gawking passersby. A bike messenger yelled out “Sick car!” looking back as he nearly collided with a taxi. A man in a suit and tie paused his cell phone conversation to ask, “Is that the DB9?”

“No, it’s the Vanquish. V12.”

“Really, what year?” he asked as he bent down to inspect it.

Martin and leaned down to his young son, who grinned. I imagine he said something like, “Son, that’s a car you won’t see anywhere. And that’s a car you won’t see anywhere, turning into a dead end because the driver doesn’t know where he’s going.” Turning down a blind alley was a Jesse Hicks move; Brad Briggs made all his wrong turns intentionally. The people on the street didn’t seem to grasp the distinction.

I arrived an hour-and-a-half late. European time, I rationalized.

By promising free drinks and a classy dinner, I was able to secure the temporary company of Kelly and Catherine, a flaxen-haired goddess and a ravenlocked vixen, respec- tively. Both students in their early 20s, they’d taken my advice to heart: “dress code = sexiest version of your- self.” Kelly was bright and glittery, Catherine dark and mysterious-perfect arm candy for the new, better me.

But as I approached, the two fixed me with a joint look of cool dis- dain. They’d been drinking, and the bartender had been hitting on them. “We’ve been here long enough that we know more about each other than either of us knows about you,” Kelly

(Spirit 4 of 5 – continued on next page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004646.644.4300



I tried to temper their annoyance, with only relative success. Still, Brad Briggs could talk his way out of anything, and if all else failed he’d simply pick up the tab. Cringing in- side, I signed the check and led them to our table.

Amalia’s low-key, high-class atmosphere- that of a “dilapidated Prague mansion,” according to the press release-seemed a fitting place to make my debut. As we dined on sir- loin steak and mushrooms, Catherine commented on our waitress, a Jessica Simpson lookalike, saying, “Everyone here looks like a celebrity. It’s a little creepy.” She was right. One waiter looked like a B-grade David Bowie.

dinner we headed to the top of theity makeover and rented glamour, no

social image consultants

floor-to-ceiling windows.

But the doorman refused us, citing a private party. Kelly did her thing, re- vealing an impressive length of thigh and politely asking if we might be allowed in to find our friend, “Mar- cie.” Eventually he relented. Clearly my company had more of an effect on him than had my carefully chosen wardrobe.

Inside we found an austere, retro- modern décor teeming with hipsters. Behind them, the view of Times Square exploded so brightly it obliter- ated all detail.

me with a red carpet and popping flashbulbs. I’d spent all this time mak- ing myself fabulous … and no one had noticed.

In a way, though, I had become one of them. Not by copying their look or aping the self-confidence that

seemed to come naturally to them. The revelation, when it came, was a little like the ending of The Wizard of Oz. I didn’t need those ruby slippers- the car, the watch, the wardrobe- to go home. I’d been home all along, among people trying just as hard to impress me as I was them. We were all kindred spirits, self-conscious and playing dress-up for each other.

That’s how we’d all come together in this penthouse bar with overpriced drinks and a spectacular view. That’s what we were paying for, after all: the view of ourselves. For the price of admission- the price I’d paid for my rented persona, the time I’d put into becoming Brad Briggs-I got to watch other people, watch them watching me. We could play our roles until, like in a movie, we all disappeared, back out into the dark night from which

The refrain, ‘Do you have anything smaller?’ started getting repetitive even to my ears. I was beginning to think I’d need to add a paunch to my list of rentals.

The ambitious, chatty businessman seated behind me had the notquite- placeable face of a character actor. We’d slipped through the looking glass.

Meanwhile, Kelly convinced Jes- sica Simpson to bring us a $100 bottle of wine. We toasted, at her sugges- tion, to “adults at play.”

New York is a vertical city, and the real adults were at play far above us. The actual test of my new persona- Brad Briggs’ baptism by fire-would be in scaling those Olympian heights. Could I gain entrance to their world? And would that make me one of them?

i figured it was best to risk ev- erything on the first try. I’d either succeed or fail spectacularly, falling to earth like a flaming Icarus. Either way, something would happen. After

Polished Social Image Consul- tants’ von Sperling had told me that New York, like its West Coast doppelgänger, Los Angeles, was a city of conflicted dreamers. Though they worked hard and played hard, somewhere deep inside they nursed a feeling of primal dissatisfaction with themselves. I knew that feeling, and now I was among them. They swirled around me with studied indifference, gazing down on Times Square with what they hoped was a look of ennui. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one fak- ing it.

nearby Dream Hotel. There we foundone had yet recognized my extraordi-

Ava Lounge, a cozy rooftop bar withnary uniqueness. No one had greeted

New York is a vertical city, and the real adults were at play far above us. Could I gain entrance to their world? And would that make me one of them?

At first, the “cooler-than-thou” atmosphere felt oppressive. But as we sat on gold couches, drinking by candlelight and admiring the mono- chrome erotica on the walls, I began to feel at home. Despite my personal-

we’d come.simply pick up the tab. Cringing inside, I signed the check and led them to our table.

Jesse Hicks is a writer based in Pennsylvania.

(Spirit 5 of 5)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

How can my fiancé and I

save on the bar tab without looking cheap?

Start by cuttiNg back oN

the options. To prevent guests from noticing, vary the types of drinks and liquor you do offer. David Wondrich, au- thor of Killer Cocktails and con- sultant to 5 ninth restaurant in NYC, suggests selecting three specialty drinks: one that’s “girly,” such as a fruity daiquiri; another that’s masculine, like a Manhattan, made with whiskey; and a third that’s in between, such as a champagne cocktail (made with a dry sparkling wine, which is less costly). Also pro- vide a red and a white wine, and only two types of beer. Have the cocktails premixed in pitchers so you can save on bartender fees—all they’ll have: to do is shake and serve—and buy larger bottles of liquor, which are a better value. A final trick, Wondrich says, is to have the cocktails passed as guests en- ter the room. “More times than not,” he notes, “they’ll happily accept a drink from the tray and won’t even realize there’s a lim- ited bar.” –Betsy GoldBerG

A B-list guest just figured out she’s a B. What do I say?

you Should approach thiS

situation the same way you

would when you uninten- tionally hurt someone’s feelings, advises Elayne Savage, Ph.D., communication coach and au- thor of Don’t Take It Personally!

The Art of Dealing with Rejec- tion. “Explain your actions and apologize for hurting her feel- ings,” says Savage. “Although you might be tempted to try to sugarcoat the situation by tell- ing a little untruth, anything less than an honest response from you only makes the situation worse.” Your friend might still walk away offended, but keep reminding yourself that you tried your best to right the situation, notes Savage. “Try to look at it as you would any other neces- sary regret, and move on.”

collar is too high, there will be a roll in the jacket directly un- der the collar. Shortening and lowering the collar will fix these problems, respectively, notes Rykken. For the length of the jacket, have your fiancé put his hands down by his sides. The jacket’s length shouldn’t extend past his thumbs. And finally, the sleeves should reveal only ap- proximately one half inch of his shirt cuffs. When it comes to the length of the pants, Rykken says, “look for a slight break on the shoe.” No floods, please!

And finally, think about whether the couple who receives the gift will enjoy it. “If you’re unsure, don’t give it to them,” stresses Whitmore. Otherwise, it might end up on the regift circuit again and the goal is to find this gift a good home – as long as it isn’t yours.

My future mother-in-law has bad taste. How do I en- sure she wears something

appropriate to my wedding?

your beSt bet iS to iNvite

her to go wedding-dress

shopping with you, since bridal salons often have dress- es that are perfect for moms, too. While you’re there, try to steer her toward an appropriate dress, suggests samantha von Sperling, director and owner of Polished Social Image Consul- tants in NYC. When you find a good one, pile on compliments like, “you would look great in that,” or “this dress would really show off your legs.” If she’s not interested om accompanying you on your shopping spree, “another idea would be to ‘treat’ her to a personal shopper who can help her pick out a dress,” says von Sperling. In fact, many big department stores offer this service for free. If your future mother-in-law won’t budge and insists on shopping alone, then know you tried your best and let it go. “Ultimately, what she chooses to wear is her problem, not yours,” von Sperling notes, “and her bad taste will not re- flect on you.”

POLISHED social image consultants


if he iS reNtiNg a tux, he’ll

need to find one that fits as

closely as possible since it’s likely the only alterations a store will do are adjustments to the length of the sleeves and pants, says Mark Rykken, prin- cipal and managing partner of the Alan Flusser Custom Shop in NYC. However, if he is buy- ing a tux off the rack, know the four key areas on the jacket that need to fit properly. “First, check the shoulder width to see if it looks visually proportionate to his physique,” says Rykken. If it’s too wide, your groom’s head will look too small and vice versa. this indicates that he needs to try a different size jacket. Next, the collar of the jacket should fit correctly around the neck. If the collar is too big, there will be a gap behind the neck and if the

Modern Bride – August/September 2007 – pp. 234 & 238

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Is there a way to regift a caught?

iN the rare iNStaNce that

you receive a present out- side your registy that can’t be returned, regifting can be an op- tion. However, before you send that unwanted present back out into the world, here’s what you should consider: For starters, don’t regift in the same social circles. “You need to make sure that the person receiving the gift doesn’t know the person who gave you the gift,” says Jacque- line Whitmore, etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School ol, Palm Beach, FL. Avoid this by keeping a log of all gifts, when you received them, and who gave them to you. Next, Whitmore emphasizes, you should pay close attention to the packaging the gift came in. Has all evidence of it being a recycled gift been removed?

How can my fiancé make sure his tuxedo is alteredpresent without getting

POLISHED social image consultants

Dream Trip or Too Difficult?

Associated Press – June 5, 2007


IDestination’ weddings ask guests for more commitment.

t wasn’t long ago that at-“Couples should give their tending a friend’s wed-guests at least three or four ding meant spending a months to plan by send-

Saturday night eating prime rib and dancing to cover ver- sions of “Louie Louie” and “Brown Eyed Girl.”

now, it might involve three days in Mexico or a long weekend in Maine. There could be scuba diving, cruises, square dancing or a marshmallow roast at a na- tional park.

With a growing number of couples opting to exchange vows far from where they and most of their guests live, saying “yes” to an invite has taken on a whole new meaning.

What’s a modern wedding guest to do? A primer:

Do you have to attend?

“People who are having a destination wedding abso- lutely expect certain people can’t attend the wedding for financial or schedule rea- sons,” says Carley Roney, co-founder of the wedding planning Web site TheK- But she advises against mentioning your fi- nances when you decline. “It’s such a guilt-tripping kind of thing,” she says. “Come up with a very appropriate reason, even if it has to be a white lie.”

ing out detailed save-the- date cards,” says Lei Lydle, founder of the atlanta-based, which publishes bridal Web sites in several U.S. cities.

Must you stay where the bride and groom sug- gest?

The couple will likely offer information on a range of accommodations, and they may have blocked rooms at several locations.

“In a situation where the bride and groom have not been so thoughtful,” says eti- quette expert Samantha von Sperling, founder and direc- tor of Polished social Image Consultants in New York, “go online and book your own accommodations and then you can call them and say, ‘I’m sorry but I couldn’t afford the place you picked, so I’ve found something else just down the road. But I promise I’ll be there and be on time.’”

Do you have to attend ev- ery planned event?

destination weddings of- ten involve a raft of events, including a cocktail party to welcome guests and a brunch the morning after the

ceremony. If you’re skipping something, let someone in the bridal party know so that no one waits or searches for you.

What if you’ve got kids?

If children are invited (with destinationweddings, they often are), your hosts may have some childcare planned. Ask whether kids are welcome at all the week- end’s events, then ask if babysitting is available dur- ing any that are grown-ups only. If nothing has been ar- ranged, you might contact the hotel where the wed- ding is happening or where you’re staying and inquire about babysitting services.

some guests, like new york- ers Michele Clarke-Ceres and her husband, rudy Ceres, see destination wed- dings as an opportunity for a

private getaway sans kids.

“We take advantage of tak- ing time away to just spend time alone,” she says.

Do you have to bring a gift?

“You can definitely scale back,” says Roney. “But un- less they specifically say, ‘The present is your pres- ence,’ you should buy a gift, even if it’s a $30 something off their registry. People who are in that age range where they are going to a wedding every weekend can chip in with a group of people and do a group gift.”

Amid all the travel plans and scheduling difficulties, re- member that “being invited to witness their union is an honor,” says von Sperling. “even if it is an inconve- nience.”

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Scent of a Woman ― Sold for a Man

To market cologne to men, makers experiment with more exotic blends; notes of Champagne, juniper berries

RBy Ray A. Smith hubarb. geraniuM. Orange blossom. That lineup might sound better suited to a farm- er’s market, but some of the biggest names in fragrance are gambling that these seemingly unmanly aromas are the future of men’s cologne.

Creating fragrances for men has always been a tricky business. Long averse to anything remotely femi- nine, many men prefer traditional woodsy or soapy scents, or better yet, nothing at all.

But a new generation of younger men has been fueling fragrance sales with a willingness to experiment with exotic ingredients. As the market gets more competitive, fragrance makers are becoming increasingly adventur- ous in their offerings.

The result: an olfactory free-for- all at the men’s cologne counter that features scents often more evocative of women’s perfumes than tradition- al male fragrances. A new Burberry scent has hints of mimosa and port wine. Key ingredients in John Varva- tos’s latest entry, Vintage, include crisp rhubarb, “artisanal” quince fruit paste and Albanian juniper berries. Kenneth Cole’s R.S.V.P. boasts notes that include “wet grass” and “soft cashmere.” And Tom Ford just start- ed selling scents in his men’s store called Tuscan Leather and Tobacco Vanille.

“You have to be careful,” says Richard Herpin, a perfumer with fra- grance and flavor company Firmen- ich, which has developed fragrances for Vera Wang and Bond No. 9. He describes the creative process as trial and error. “You don’t want to overdo

it because then you get into some- thing that’s not wearable for men.”

But makers aren’t simply trying to appeal to men. One advantage of fruitier, more floral scents is their po- tential for sales to women, some of whom have long preferred men’s co- logne over those designed especially for them. Meanwhile, new so-called unisex scents — Calvin Klein’s ck one was one of the first when it debuted in 1994 — are also launching.

Indeed, far from downplaying

their feminine side, some of the new men’s colognes flaunt it. Promotional materials for Viktor & Rolf’s Anti- dote, which is made with jasmine, call it a “dandy fragrance” for men who appreciate fine tailoring and sartorial wit. The name of Jean Paul Gaultier’s new cologne includes the French word for flower: It’s called

tiques, rose nearly 4% to about $5.86 billion, according to Euromonitor In- ternational. In the U.S., sales last year increased by nearly 3% to about $1.4 billion. While that’s far less than the $3.4 billion U.S. women’s market, makers still smell an opportunity.

More than 100 men’s colognes were launched last year, compared with 61 in 2005, setting a record, ac- cording to the Fragrance Foundation. In 2006, the fragrance with the high- est overall sales among new launches

in department stores and boutiques, according to market researcher NPD Group, was a men’s scent: Sean “Diddy” Combs’s Unforgivable. Mr. Combs’s cologne is heavy on citrus — Sicilian lemon, Moroccan tanger- ine and grapefruit — and has hints of sparkling Champagne, sage, cash- mere, sea moss and sandalwood.

The scents themselves are sub- stantially different from what many people expect men’s cologne to smell like. When reporters asked men and women to blind-test some of these new fragrances on a recent afternoon near Wall Street in New York, most people in both groups identified them as women’s perfumes rather than

men’s colognes. Some used words like “feminine” or “romantic” to de- scribe the aromas.

With that in mind, men might want to be careful about wearing the new- est scents to the office. “For work, keep it clean and serious,” says Sa- mantha von Sperling, an image con- sultant in New York. Anna Soo Wil- dermuth, a consultant in Elmhurst, Ill., suggests men apply any scents lightly for work and choose “a soapy smell, like Irish Spring.”

How far men are willing to go is still a question. Some makers, includ- ing Gucci and Nautica, are hedging their bets, mixing new ingredients with woodsy oils such as sandal- wood and myrrh. Giorgio Armani’s Attitude is sticking with woodsy and spicy ingredients, albeit rare ones. “We’re less interested in following a trend and more interested in creat- ing a classic,” says Serge Jureidini, president of designer fragrances for L’Oréal USA, which worked on Attitude. The bottle, shaped like a Zippo lighter, exudes old-school ma- chismo.

Bob Roberts, a 33-year-old com- puter-security engineer in Jessup, Md., who took a chance with one of the newer scents, says it took some getting used to. When he first sprayed on Christian Dior’s Dior Homme co- logne, his wife said it smelled too flowery, “like a women’s perfume.”

But after it settled in, the couple no longer smelled the iris and began to detect hints of cocoa and leather. Now, whenever Mr. Roberts sprays himself, he waits a half hour before getting too close to his wife.

Write to Ray A. Smith at

en’s colognes have their big- FM

under 35, African Americans and Latinos, according to Mintel In- ternational, a market research firm. Last year, global sales of premium men’s fragrances, those sold in de- partment stores and high-end bou-

leur du Male.

gest following among men

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

QBy CHrIs rovzar and GIna salamone

uit your crying, Paris. Thisher tough-gal mythology. But when prison stint may be yourlife gave Naomi Campbell lemons, last chance to change yourshe made lemonade. Snapped by image.eager photographers while perform-

The Hilton Hotels heiress sobbeding five days of community service

and treat her punishment with se- riousness and respect. She already has some best-selling books under her belt, but 45 days of lonely lock- up allows for plenty of time to work on more.

“While she’s in jail she should be outlining a book,” suggests von Sperling, “’How I Survived 45 Days in Jail,’ ‘How to Decorate a 10 by 10 Cell,’ ‘How This Experi- ence Made Me Tougher,’ ‘A New Prison Workout Routine.’”

Hilton’s sentence can only spark more public attention. “It actually gives her a little street cred,” says Robert Thompson, a popular-cul- ture professor from Syracuse Uni- versity.

He suggests hitting the celebrity news-show circuit.

“Any talk show will have her when she gets out of jail,” Thomp- son says. “She could use that as a way to launch her new image. Think of all the stuff she’ll have to talk about when she gets

out because that whole reversal of fortune is a good story.”

But charity work should be top on Hil- ton’s list – either be- coming a spokeswom- an for Mothers Against Drunk Driving or rais- ing money for its cause. “Especially if she keeps it car- and drunk driv- ing-related, she could really turn something unfortunate into some- thing very positive for her public image,” says von Sperling. “She and her celebrity friends could put on a bikini and wash cars. And the money would go to a charity like a hospital where they treat vic-

tims of car accidents.” But can the airhead heiress really

ever be taken seriously? “People are very willing to embrace a sin- cere turnaround,” Thompson says. “For her to be successful and cred- ible would really mean a change of lifestyle.”

“It would be great to see her sup- port Alcohol Interlock legislation in California,” said Misty Moyse of MADD. The Breathalyzer-like de- vices may prevent convicted drunk

drivers from getting behind the wheel after they’ve been drinking.

But when Paris makes her plans for after prison, you can be sure she’ll put Paris first.

“She hasn’t ever done anything purely benevolent in the past,” says Ian Drew, editor-at-large for Us Weekly. “This isn’t going to change her. If the opportunity arises, she may take it to that level. But Paris is going to do what’s best for Paris in the end.”

after a California judge slapped her with a 45-day jail sentence for a probation violation. But the lockup could be just what Hilton needs to shift her spoiled celebutante per- sona into reverse.

“She could really use this to her advantage,” says Samantha von Sperling, owner of Manhattan- based Polished Social Image Con- sultants. Hilton should hop on talk- circuit tours, book deals and charity work.

And if Paris needs inspiration, she need look no further than to the other leading ladies of this decade’s real-life crime dramas.

When rapper Lil Kim was jailed for perjury in 2005, she laid low. As a result, the incident merely added to

earlier this year after repeated con- victions for abusing employees, she grinned, literally, and bore it – wear- ing designer duds as she showed up to work, and flashing smiles for the cameras. Campbell even said she learned a lot from the experience. She is staying away from drugs and alcohol. Now, when people imag- ine the supermodel, they think of bouncing work boots rather than flying cell phones.

When Martha Stewart was re- leased from Alderson Federal Pris- on Camp in West Virginia in March 2005, she maintained her innocence, but talked frankly about the difficult conditions at the camp.

Hilton should take a page from Martha’s cookbook, say experts –

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Home>Careers>Career Features>Addressing Abhorrent Behavior

Addressing Abhorrent Behavior

by Beth Kwon | April 16 2007

Being smart and successful doesn’t mean you’re well-mannered. If you can’t distinguish a fish fork from a salad fork or find yourself inadvertently insulting clients and colleagues around the world, it’s time to hire your own Emily Post.

Three years ago, etiquette coach Gloria Starr had a mandate. A scruffy C.F.O. showed up at her door wearing an ill-fitting suit and big, tragically unfashionable glasses. He had piti- able table manners, thinking nothing of sneezing on his food, bringing his head down to his plate instead of rais- ing food to his mouth, chewing with his mouth open, and forming an un- couth ring of bones around his plate while eating fish. “I told him he would lose his job unless he improved,” says Starr, who whipped him into shape af- ter three days at her Executive Finish- ing School in Charlotte, North Caro- lina.

Starr is one of numerous coaches around the country who are helping executives who don’t want their crude manners to derail their careers. “Com- panies are no longer accepting average dress and etiquette,” says Starr, whose business is up 40 percent this year. In- dividuals who sign up for her modern- day finishing classes pay $3,500 for a weekend-long crash course. Compa- nies such as Merrill Lynch, Hewlett- Packard, and Toyota have also re- cruited her to bring refinement to their ranks.

Last fall, Gail Huneryager, a mar- keting manager at Grant Thornton, an accounting firm, hired Ann Hoover, founder of the Hoover Protocol & Eti- quette Centre in Oklahoma City, for a workshop for newer employees. “Our younger professionals are technically brilliant, but they don’t always have the soft skills,” Huneryager says.

Participants peppered Hoover with questions about how to shake hands and what to do with their napkins dur- ing a fancy meal. “Etiquette coach- ing is about learning how to outclass

Photo by: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

the competition,” says Hoover, who charges anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars for a session.

Some of the most common faux pas are surprisingly basic. “I get asked most frequently about how to use a knife and fork,” says Samantha von Sperling, director of Polished Social Image Consultants, in New York City. “I often see people holding a knife and fork like they’re weapons, and that dis- turbs me on a deep level.”

Von Sperling offers global etiquette skills, giving pointers on proper chop- stick use and explaining what not to do in the Middle East, where showing the soles of your shoes, for instance, is the equivalent of flipping a middle finger. She also delves deep into clients’ clos- ets, gently urging them to exchange middle-management gear like Banana Republic and Ann Taylor suits for brands more suitable for executives, such as Armani.

After a consultation with Starr, Mike Foster, C.E.O. of the Foster Institute,

a technology consulting company, fol- lowed her fundamental wardrobe tips, none of which had occurred to the self-proclaimed tech geek before. He dusted off the nicer suits in his clos- et and stored the khakis. The sharper look gave him confidence. “I feel bet- ter, and it helps me present myself better,” he says. While the return on investment isn’t exactly measurable, he says he has seen results even when traveling. He began getting upgrades to first class on flights and larger suites in hotels. He hopes the positive results will translate to his bottom line.

Manners, says Hoover, are about making people around you feel com- fortable. “You’d rather be with some- one who’s nice and charming than with someone who’s rude or boorish,” she says. “It’s common sense.” As for Starr’s slovenly C.F.O., he cleaned up well and kept his job. Starr checks in with him regularly; three years later, he’s still minding his manners.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Aired February 23, 2007 | See footage at

Do Manners Matter – Part III

Steak, fish, french fries — they’re all are common things on the restaurant menu. But these days, something else — rude- ness — seems too is making its way onto the menu. WFMZ’S Bo Koltnow con- tinues his series on manners. This time he takes a bite out of the Big Apple to see what’s acceptable…. and what isn’t. When eating out, it seems a lot of us have left our manners at the door.

>> 34-39 {what annoys you the most when eating out? People chewing with their mouths open.} 2:00 {Kids running around}

>> Shouting instead of taking, paying your cell phone more attention than who your eating with kids acting like they’re at recess. It’s easy to find a lack of table manners. {cue song}

>> To find out restaurant do’s and don’ts we headed to the eating out mecca of the U.S. New York City.

>> Samantha 14-18 {nobody has a clue all around across the board.}

>> Samantha von Sperling is a social image consul- tant. She offers a cache of services including improve- ments on personal style, speech and restaurant eti- quette. Her clients range from fortune 500 companies to regular Bo’s like myself. We spoke at “Le Perigord” a french Restaurant in uptown Manhattan. As you can see I got off to a good start.

>> Sam 21:49-53 {Is that too old fashion. No it’s a sign of respect.}

>> Which she says many don’t have. First indication, talking on a cell phone at the table.

>> Sam 1:50-56 {at least put on vibrate or on off.}

>> When not talking in a cell phone some say people are just to darn loud.

>> Bevin 1:05-14 {When speaking obnoxiously loud and ruining whole atmosphere with person you want to have the conversation with.}

>> Sam 3:41-48 {When were in doors speak in door voice unless orating speech which is different. But use indoor voice}

>> Conversation at the table seems to be going down- hill. I’ve been to several restaurants and heard swear- ing over my shoulder, even with kids around.

>> Sam 13:06-07 {people are crass, they are crass.}

>> But that doesn’t mean the conversation has to be stale.

>> Samantha 12:43-49 {still make vulgar jokes with out using 4 letter words}

>> Von Sperling admits situations play a role too. It’s ok to raise your voice in a crowded bar with a band playing but yelling should never be an option. Who pays the bill is always tricky but a common question to Von Sperling. For instance what do you do if some- one tries to skip out on the check?

>> Sam 11:12-21 wait to pay the check until the per- son comes back. Look at them and say how would you like to handle this.}

>> The rule is the person of higher means pay’s or if on the same level, the one who does the inviting treats. If you get stuck with the bill you can always pay it and don’t dine with the person again. Like any- thing else having good manners while eating out is not hard but you have to make a point to put it on the menu.

Bo Koltnow 69 News.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

A Highland Fling TDesigners push muted plaids for men

By Ray A. Smith

he ScotS are coming. Tartans, which date back to the 13th

century, got a makeover at some menswear shows during New York’s fashion week. In many cases, the designers used more muted

colors than the traditional reds and greens associated with everything from kilts and private-school uniforms to lum- berjack jackets and golf pants.

Perry Ellis showed a double-faced wool topcoat in gray and black plaid. John Varvatos featured more than a dozen shirts in dark-hued plaids such as prune, beetroot, nutmeg and seaweed. John Bartlett did suits in gray and brown plaids.

It’s all part of a broader trend of designers updating traditional men’s styles that have become tired over the years. Designer Phillip Lim says the plaid in his fall 2007 collection, which included a brown button-down shirt, “was inspired by iconic masculine figures in American society and plaid is a traditional fabric worn by them.” The co-designers of the Duckie Brown label, whose col- lection included a plaid double-breasted jacket, say they were inspired by a recent trip to Denver, where they saw a lot of people wearing the pattern.

Plaid, however, can be tough to match with other clothes. And it can make large men look even larger, though some designers dismiss that as a myth.

Small patterns and darker colors attract less attention than louder plaids, making them easier to wear. Saman- tha von Sperling, a New York image consultant, suggests sticking with “a small plaid, almost like a houndstooth, worn in muted colors” to avoid looking like you’re wear- ing a costume.

For the office, a subtle plaid shirt might work, but im- age consultants sug- gest making sure it’s made of dress-shirt material, rather than more-casual flannel. It can also be dressed up with a solid-col- ored tie that picks up on at least one color in the pattern. “Plaid in general tends to casualize things; it’s not a particularly crisp look,” says Drew Sisselman, an image consultant in Atlanta.

Sport coats and overcoats are tricki- er, because they are harder to balance with solid colors than shirts or pants. Ms. von Sperling likes the idea of plaid overcoats, as long as the colors are subtle — but she doesn’t recommend wearing them to the office.

[Photos – Getty Images] From top: John Bartlett suit, Perry Ellis coat

Write to Ray A. Smith at

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004646.644.4300

POLISHED social image consultants

Be My Valentine — Or Not

Valentine’s Day Grinch Says ‘Rejoice’ if You’re Alone


Feb. 10, 2007 — – Valentine’s Day is Wednesday — and if that’s news to you, then you probably fit into one of two distinct groups: Those who do have a valentine but have done nothing to plan for the day, or those who are alone.

In either case, Valentine’s Day can be a cringe-inducing holi- day, and the cringes are not limited to singletons.

Village Voice columnist and New York nightlife personality Michael Musto has a characteristically iconoclastic view of what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year.

“It’s an enforced day of romance, almost legislating a con- nection between a couple that should be there anyway,” he said. But “if you’re going to celebrate it, you might as well have fun.”

Professional help is available for almost anything these days, so it should be no surprise there is plenty of advice on how to have fun.

Samantha von Sperling is the owner of Polished Social Im- age Consultants in New York City, a firm offering everything from dance lessons to personal shopping. This Valentine’s Day, Sperling is gift-hunting for more than 20 clients, and she says that even though it may be the last minute, it’s still not too late to find that perfect something for someone special.

“You can make dinner reservations, you can buy spa pack- ages, you can actually call in sick from work and make a day ofit,”Sperlingsaid.“Youcantakeyourdateshopping,offer to buy her a dress, have her try things on. Maybe there is something that she’s always wanted.”

Sperling recommends planning an escape.

“It can be a picnic somewhere that you pack yourself … or a picnic of champagne and caviar by the fireplace on the living room floor,” she said.

Sperling says a shopping spree could also be a gift for a man, but only if he’s “a fashion-forward kind of metro-sexual.”

Otherwise, she advises more traditional macho fare, “like sporting events, steak houses, cigars.”

But what if your budget or your taste requires something simpler? Sperling says, don’t worry, the traditional flowers or chocolate are still appreciated.

“I don’t know of a woman who doesn’t like chocolate. It might sound a little hokey, but they are still good stand-bys,” she said.

Unless your valentine is Michael Musto.

“Avoid the whole chocolate and flowers routine,” Musto said. “It’s so rote, and it comes off as an obligation. It has no spark, no originality. … Get them their fantasy gift. Spend your fantasy night together as a couple; re-live the things that made you a couple to begin with.”

One thing both agree on: Creativity, more than money, is the key ingredient in the perfect Valentine’s Day.

“At the end of the day, I really don’t believe that the price tag is going to make a difference where true love is in- volved,” Sperling said. “If you use a little imagination, you can do something extraordinarily romantic on a shoestring budget.”

Andwhatarethosewithoutavalentinetodo?Mustohas some advice for them too.

“Rejoice that you don’t have to spend any extra money on stupid gifts,” he said. “Just spend it on yourself. Buy yourself flowers and chocolates.”

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY


through the world of business etiquette, a journalistic Eliza Doolittle looking for a little polishing. As a result, I have awak- ened at the crack of dawn to join Persaud and her fellow pharmacy students at Rut- gers University for a lecture by Barbara Pachter, a leading Biz Et expert who has written eight books on the subject, includ- ing her most recent, New Rules @ Work.

Like others in the etiquette game, Peter Post, a director of the Emily Post Institute, reports a big uptick in his busi- ness. “We’ve been growing by leaps and bounds in the last couple of years,” says Post, who gave 32 seminars in 2006, twice as many as the year before. The price for such one-day in-house corporate seminars ranges from $2,500 to $8,000. “There is a real desire on businesses’ part to rem- edy a problem that they’re seeing in their workforce. They have people coming in, or who are already in the workforce, who may have the job skills but who are em- barrassing these companies when they’re with clients.”

HEN I’M IN A RESTAURANT, I don’t know what to do,” confides Glorian Persaud, 20, a pharmacy student, with a defeated tone in her voice.

Now pay attention, class. Pachter, whose clients include Microsoft, Daim- lerChrysler and Merck, strides in with her tailored black pantsuit, black purse and black heels, looking serious. Are people suddenly ruder? she asks. The need for etiquette tune-ups has become direr as a result of changes in the business world, Pachter tells her students–more women,

“There are a million spoons.” I know what she means. Who hasn’t confronted a be- wildering array of silverware and goblets at a fancy eatery or corporate function? And let’s not even talk about eating in Europe. Well, that will be remedied soon enough. I am embarking on a journey

These are boom times in the Biz Et industry. Although businesses have be- come increasingly informal in dress and attitude over the past two decades, thanks in part to Silicon Valley, the greater corpo-

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

rate world hasn’t completely lost its desire for a bit of decorum and savoir faire. In fact, it insists on it, one reason that some law and financial firms have reverted to suits and ties for men. Etiquette isn’t easy for the generation that wears flip-flops on Fridays or closes billion-dollar deals in Denny’s, as YouTube and Google famous- ly did. So business schools and corpora- tions are hiring Biz Et experts like Pachter to groom their charges in matters ranging from fork selection to the proper way to address the CEO.


mer. Be careful about your grammar and word choice. Always proofread your mes- sages carefully. Avoid digital slang like bcz; emoticons like 🙂 are :/). If you’re not sure how formal to be, use an honorific like Mr. or Ms. until told to do otherwise.

moreinternationalcommerceandnewflame a recipient; let your grievances sim-

technologies like cell phones, BlackBerrys and e-mail.

Pachter briefs us on one of the burn- ing issues in Biz Et: Is it appropriate to say thank you with an e-mail? “I’ve lessened my stance on it, as long as it’s not for a gift,” she announces. “We’ve become such an immediate society. When you send a thank-you note, it could take three, four, five days to get there. People start thinking, Isn’t this person going to acknowledge it?” I lean forward as Pachter talks about what to eat at a business meal in a restaurant. “Or- der what’s easy to eat,” she advises. Forget about such splatter-prone fare as spaghetti, lobster or ribs unless you’re in a specialty restaurant and your dining partners will be ordering the same. Other rules, according to the experts: Wait until everyone has been served before you start. And whatever you do, don’t chew with your mouth open. Deal breaker.

Then Post, who has advised such com- panies as Verizon and Pfizer, wades into the fray around the hottest digital issue. He comes down on the side of paper thank-you notes. Rely on snail mail? Fine, send an e- mail and a card, he counsels. That strikes me as being as impractical as writing with a quill. Another sensitive subject: men help- ing women in business situations. Should a man hold a woman’s chair at the table? The car door? Is it too chivalrous, too sexist? The best policy for men, says Post, is to ask the woman what she prefers: “May I help you on with your coat?”

social image consultants

Careful eating is required because you are properly dressed for the occasion. Pachter shows me photographs the class members have submitted of themselves in casual and business garb. The second set of pictures looks like a catalog of ill-fitting suits and hopeful smiles. In order to appear more professional, many of the women have tied back their hair while the men have toned down wild coifs. It’s kind of sad, in a way, to see them begin their way along the corporate conveyor belt. Pachter expresses fondness for teaching college students: “They think this is great. They’re looking for jobs, and they’re beginning to believe that this matters.”

There are literally hundreds of rules for corporate behavior in his hefty tome The Etiquette Advantage in Business, which he holds up. I would turn into a robot if I fol- lowed all of this new advice. But as Post says goodbye, he delivers some tough love: “Your actions outside of work affect you at work, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t turn off at 5 p.m.”

By the time I arrive at Samantha von Sperling’s home office just off Wall Street a few days later, I am wondering how many bosses and co-workers I have inadver- tently offended. (And does one apologize by e-mail?) Von Sperling’s stylish loftlike apartment is white, white, white, almost as unsustainable as perfect manners. Natu- rally, Von Sperling is wearing black. She is gracious, earnest, with a clipped, formal tone. Formerly a dancer and makeup artist, Von Sperling felt a calling to etiquette five years ago. She explains, “I felt surrounded by people who were badly dressed and ill mannered, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I thought this was really a service that hu- manity needed.” Her firm, Polished Social Image Consultants, coaches executives for such companies as Prudential, Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. “The world needs a one-stop spit shine,” she says proudly. “That’s what I do.”

Her mission this evening is to teach me table manners for business meals. I sit at a place setting with an array of cutlery. The fish fork, I learn, is the one with ornate tines–smaller than the main-course fork– meant to debone fish. Here comes another list of rules for me to memorize: When you excuse yourself from the table midmeal, refold your napkin and put it on your chair. When you leave the table for good, put

A week later, I’m sitting in the audi- ence at the plush Penn Club in midtown Manhattan, waiting to hear Post, the great- grandson of Emily, the etiquette pioneer. Post is turned out in corporate splendor–a sharp, dark gray suit. His tone is impas- sioned, as urgent as a preacher’s. His mes- sage: Etiquette builds better relationships. Boiled down, he says, Biz Et has three aims: “Think before acting, make choices that build relationships, and do it sin- cerely.” The well-tailored young business crowd pays rapt attention. They are the Rutgers pharmacy students fast-forwarded five or 10 years.

Now we get down to brass tacks–e- mail etiquette, a constant Biz Et pet peeve. “E-mails are public communications,” cautions Post. “Murphy’s Law is going to get you every time. E-mails get out.” Ergo, don’t send private messages. Don’t

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004


eat it anyway. Says Von Sperling: “I’m not going to blow a million-dollar deal by of- fending my hostess. Just open wide and swallow.”

the Ketchum executives mentions, to great laughter, that a corporate client of hers just told her that his wife had ordered a double oven. Well, said Sabath, next time, first ask your client how his wife is enjoying the double oven, rather than “Did you get that contract signed.” That’s a signal to the oth- er person, says Sabath, “that nothing has

All this is just prelude to my last stop. I’m back with Barbara Pachter for a one-on-one coaching session a few weeks later at her stylish home office in Cherry Hill, N.J. If you are a voluntary visitor to Pachter’s studio, it means your employer cares enough about you and your future to plunk down more than $3,000 to smooth your rough edges. But if you appear via corporate command to what has been called charm school, you are probably in manners trouble. Sometimes bosses use Pachter to deliver embarrassing news, like the caution

Of course, Pachter is wearing black again. She sits me down and puts me through a series of questions, watching me all the while. I tell her about my train ride to nearby Philadelphia that morning and discover that I have just been evaluated on small talk. I pass. (I got into trouble for just that talent in high school.) She asks me about my background, my education. She evaluates my posture (Stand up straight- er!), my demeanor (there is a “slight cur- rent of negativity”), my conversational mannerisms (I put my hands on my face and forehead, a no-no). We are now in the Mom Zone, times 10. My gestures pass muster, except that I am told I am playing with my bracelet. “I get paid to pick. It’s a great job,” says Pachter. “We don’t expect people to be perfect. We expect them to be professional.”

Von Sperling teaches me formal Con- tinental-style dining, in which you don’t shift your fork to your right hand after cutting. “Most people don’t know how to hold the knife and fork correctly. It amazes me how few people actually know this,” she says as she demonstrates. “But what if someone says, ‘Lady, we’re Americans. Why do we need to ape the Europeans?’” I ask her. She looks bruised, and I wonder if she’s going to cry. “I don’t make up the rules. I just pass them along,” she says.

“I truly believe that without these rules, humanity is in for a tragic loss. Every single rule of etiquette, every single rule of protocol, every single rule having to do with any kind of social grace comes from one underlying rule, which was respect and hos- pitality for another person.” I am suddenly ashamed. I resolve to

The pickiest part is yet to come. Pachter evaluates my appearance from haircut to shoes. “The first question people need to ask themselves: Is my clothing ap- propriate–for my job, my profession, my company, my part of the country? What’s appropriate for a corporation in New York may be very different than that for a small office in the Southwest. You send a mes- sage through your clothing, and you want to know what that is.” Then the particulars: “Your glasses are fine. You could go to a slightly hipper style without being funky. Let me see your watch. What kind is it?” A Citizen. “It’s an O.K. watch, but if you want to move it up a notch, you have to move up your watch a notch.” My carrying case, admittedly plain, needs to go. Get a Coach bag, she advises. I need to upgrade my pen too: a Cross or a Montblanc would be nice.

come to a greater understand- ing of the fish fork.

My last seminar is in midtown at Ketchum, a global public relations agency. Ann Marie Sabath, the founder of At Ease Inc., a business-etiquette firm in New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio, that advises such corporations

as Procter & Gamble and American Express, is the lunchtime speaker.

Sabath, clad in black, works the room like a night- club performer, bringing three of the Ketchum execu- tives up for a mildly embar- rassing demonstration. Today’s lessons are about tricky social situations, the topic of her forthcoming book, One Minute Man- ners: Quick Solutions to the Most Awkward Situations You’ll Ever Face at Work. How do you introduce two people whose names you can’t remember, for example? Simply delegate, she says. Just ask, “Have the two of you met?”, and they’ll take over. If you need to introduce your boss and your cli- ent, whose name do you use first? The cli- ent’s, always.

crossed my mind except the last thing you mentioned.”

Name brands. Status symbols. Is that evil? Is that loathsome? Nope. We are talk- ing about getting ahead here. Pachter and her fellow practitioners are offering Biz Et as a path to move you up the business social ladder. At least it’s democratic. You don’t need an M.B.A. to behave like a busi- nessperson.

Sabath’s advice is practical, grounded in real business dilemmas. How do you develop instant rapport with someone?

For the final round, Pachter and I go to the Fountain, an elegant, chandeliered res- taurant at the Four Seasons Hotel in Philly. I’m daydreaming about the Coach bag I’m going to buy. I order fish, and I know exactly which fork to select. I’m a Biz Et grad, after all. Then as I continue my witty repartee, I lean on my bread dish, sending the butter knife clattering to the floor. We both burst out laughing.


your napkin, neatly folded, to the right ofAsk a question based on what the personto the female executive who was wearing a your plate. And if you don’t like the food,soscaiidatolyoiumthealagst teimecyounspsouke.lOtnae nof tsbra that was hopelessly wrong.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Stylists Interpret Messages of Senator Clinton’s Accoutrements

Deconstructing Hillary

Thursday, January 25, 2007, Page 2

A look at Senator Clinton’s presentation and the room from which she made her presidential announcement

1Power watch” conveys that being late for a crucial briefing isn’t an op- tion

“Presidential red” suit jacket is like 2the “presidential red” tie worn at im-

portant events.

ambiguous necklace might be a 3Christian cross, might not be a cross

at all: “a clever decision” Wedding ring says family values,

4loyalty, and forgivelness.

Milquetoast colored walls make 5for a plain, conservative, and sedate motif, highlighting the centerpiece

in red.

6 Bill and Chelsea embracing with smiles exudes normalcy.

7 “Waspy” and “Styleless” pillow matches the suit jacket.

8 Dog lamp: “Who doesn’t like dogs?”

Out of place cushioned bench 9makes the room feel less composed,

adding to the notion of authenticity.


Special to the Sun

Wearing a “presidential red” suit top and resting her back on a “waspy” pillow in an almost colorless room, Senator Clinton on Saturday announced her bid for presidency on

By choosing to embark on a presidential campaign using the Internet, Mrs. Clinton is bypassing traditional press filters and maintain total control of how her image is presented to the country, begging the ques- tion: What’s with the big gold watch?

“The power watch is a good move for her,” a stylist who has worked with am- bassadors and royal families, Samantha von Sperling, said. “In general, women don’t wear watches on television, but when you’re running for president, you better know what time it is.”

While Mrs. Clinton is well dressed in the video, she needs to work on her posture, according to Ms. von Sperling. By cross- ing an arm over her body on the sofa, Mrs. Clinton appears defensive, or like she is hiding something. “Its very irresponsible of her publicist or the camera man not to point it out,” Ms. von Sperling said.

The simple room in Mrs. Clinton’s Wash- ington, D.C., home where she announced her candidacy serves an important purpose, according to a successful New York interi-

or designer, Ann LeConey. The plain white walls, combined with a lack of accessories, make Mrs. Clinton and her red suit jacket the focus of the room.

‘The power watch is a good move for her.’

The red suit jacket sends a confident and fitting message to voters, according to Ms. von Sperling. “Presidents frequently wear dark suits and a red tie for important speeches,” she said. She also called slim- ming the black shirt Mrs. Clinton chose to wear.

In order to have a fighting chance at the presidency, Mrs. Clinton must walk a fine line with her image, experts say. Even while courting coastal Democrats for the primaries, she will likely have to soften her liberal image in Middle America. The jewelry Mrs. Clinton wore during her an- nouncement and the décor of the room il- lustrate Mrs. Clinton’s balancing act.

Her choice of necklace was a “cunning” and “clever” decision, according to Ms. von Sperling. The ambiguous pendant is difficult to see clearly in the video. It sits on her neck in the style of a Christian cross and is of a similar shape, but upon close

examination appears not be a cross at all. The safe and conservative interior design of the room doesn’t attach Mrs. Clinton to a stereotype, Ms. LeConey said. Yellow shades blend into milquetoast walls that

match a plain-colored couch. A bouquet of pink roses and red coloring

on the sofa pillow next Mrs. Clinton match her red blazer, and add a dab of color to the room. The sofa pillow is “waspy,” Ms. LeConey said, making it one of the few accessories in the room with personality. “The furniture looks like it should be in an Ethan Allen showroom,” she said.

Mrs. Clinton’s Web casts are innovative because they combine traditional news with advertising, the dean of the Annen- berg School of Communication at the Uni- versity of Pennsylvania, Michael Delli Car- pini, said. Mrs. Clinton is able to relay her message while avoiding what politicians consider a “hostile” press and broadcast industry.

Mrs. Clinton this week released two new videos on her Web site. Called “Let the Conversation Begin,” they are likely geared toward voters more familiar with the can- didate. The ambiance of the Capitol Hill studio where the video was filmed is more personal. Leather-bound books and fine curtains provide a backdrop for Mrs. Clin- ton, who is wearing calmer pastel colors.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Santé Magazine – January 2007, page 31

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Hair De-Frizzers Are Set To Appear In Nightclubs of New York City


Special to the Sun

January 12, 2007 Edition > Section: New York

It’s hard to know what goes on behind bathroom stalls in New York City nightclubs, but starting next month denizens of the night will have one more service they can purchase there — hair straightening.

Aimed at women and men who want to de-frizz their locks while out on the town, the machines are already popular at nightspots all across London and other cities in the United Kingdom.

The wall-mounted hair-straightening flat iron machines charge patrons a small fee for use. In England, the service costs a pound for 90 seconds; here in New York, businessmen are thinking of charging a dollar for 60 seconds. The machines here would accept bills.

Counting on the machine’s popularity across the Atlantic, an entrepreneur named David Ganulan has ordered $50,000 worth of the machines, which he is trying to market to clubs across the city and later in Miami.

Mr. Ganulan says he has already drummed up quite a bit of interest from bar and club owners in the city, but declined to give names. Along with two partners, he has created a company called New Vending Concepts.

The in-stall flat irons are the brainchild of two Scottish businessmen, neil Mackay and richard starrett, who this week won the Best Grooming Gear award in Wallpaper magazine’s international design awards.

The machine’s ceramic tongs were honored at the Hayward Gallery in London.

Despite the accolades, it is unclear how the irons will fare in the city.

The owner and director of Polished Social Image Consultants, Samantha von Sperling, who helps style many high-profile new yorkers, said that even though curly and wavy hairstyles are in this winter, the flat irons will be a hit at city clubs.

“after a night of clubbing when a woman’s hair has gone from wavy to frizzy, or just plain soaking wet, she would happily take a half way decent ironed look,” Ms. von Sperling said. “I’d rather look a year out of fashion than like a wet rat.”

The Beautiful Vending Company has already mounted about

Courtesy of the Beautiful Vending Company

Soon club-goers may be able to flatten their locks with bathroom flat iron machines.

700 machines in the United Kingdom. Currently the company is experiencing its most rapid growth to date, installing about 40 hair irons a week.

The manager of an Italian eatery in Murray Hill called Bistango Restaurant, Anthony Avellino, said he would consider installing a flat iron machine in his restaurant. “Being that I have three daughters who use straightening irons all the time,” Mr. Avellino said. “ I think it could be an added plus.” Others in the industry, however, aren’t so keen on the idea of placing hot ceramic tongs in the hands of customers who may be inebriated.

“It sounds dangerous,” a bartender at rogue restaurant and Bar in midtown, Jessica Freeborn, said, “I don’t know if America is ready for hair straighteners in bathrooms.”

Messrs. Mackay and Starrett came up with the concept of the vending machines while working as event marketers in Scotland. According to Mr. Mackay they saw a demand for beauty products at bars and clubs.

Their business philosophy is that a well-run and successful nightspot keeps female clients inside its doors, and with flat irons, fashionable women might stick around a while longer.

Club and bar owners can have the hair irons installed for free by New Vending Concepts. The establishment and Mr. Ganulin — who also created a company called Kettlebell Concepts that brought exercise techniques from Czarist Russia to America — split a portion of the profits, similar to the arrangement that bar owners have with internet juke box companies. As an additional revenue driver, there is space for marketers to place color ads behind the machines.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

By Betsy Rothstein

More than 500 members of Congress did not show up at former President Gerald Ford’s funeral ceremony in the Capitol rotunda last Saturday.

Senate Democratic Press Secretary:

“My bet is a lot of them had some super New Year’s Eve plans, like staying home and watching ‘Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s,’ and didn’t want to cut into the party time.”

Jack Quinn, lobbyist, president, Cas- sidy & Associates, former New York House Republican lawmaker: “I’ve experienced death in my family on Christmas Day some years ago. It’s a very difficult time, and I think members of the Congress were probably involved with their own families out of town, not in Washington. It’s a really difficult time to make travel changes. The second thing is President Ford has not served in the House or Senate for a long time. There are a lot of new members. There has been a huge turnover in the Congress. There were probably dozens and dozens of for- mer members who served with the former president who were there. I watched a lot of it on TV — very popular guy.”

unveiling a new statue at the entrance of the Ford House Building?”

Jessica Cutler, a.k.a. Washingtonienne; former aide to outgoing Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio): “Who knew that Ford was still alive?”

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, for- mer White House aide and former “Ap- prentice” star : “They should have all issued a joint press release that said, ‘We all had a pressing issue that kept us them from attending.’ Impertinence.”

House Republican Press Secretary:

“You can’t plan for a national tragedy like this, so I guess they couldn’t break their plans. He was a great president for the time. I can’t explain why no one from Congress showed up.”

Jonathan Grella, vice president of pub- lic affairs, Edelman Public Relations and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s (R-Texas) former press secretary:

bers, grew attached to Reagan because of his personality, his politics and his strong leadership over two full terms. Timing is everything, they say. Reagan was the right man at the right time, while Ford’s fortuitous ascension eventually fell victim to circumstances beyond his control. I’m confident that members and history will long appreciate Gerald Ford’s willingness to answer the call of a nation in need.”

Samantha von Sperling, Manhattan- based etiquette and image consultant: “Diplomatic protocol seems scarce on the Hill. It was in poor taste that 500 lawmak- ers did not attend President Ford’s me- morial services at the Capitol. For those lawmakers who were in office during President Ford’s administration, it was not only in poor taste but [showed] bad form and utter lack of respect.”

Jeff Gannon, political commentator, author and former White House cor- respondent: “That so many elected representatives of the American people would fail to honor a man who so honorably served his nation in times of war, peace, prosperity and cri- sis says a lot about the character of those ‘public servants,’ and none of it good.”

POLISHED social image consultants

The Hill, Captial Living, Thursday, January 04, 2007

What were they thinking?

“Members’ natural gravitational pull is toward home, especially during the holi- days, plus lingering post-election lethargy explains a good portion of the less-than- stellar showing. Also, fairly or unfairly, President Ford has not enjoyed the same enthusiastic and emotional support that President Reagan earned during and since his presidency. People, including mem- 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

C. Stewart Verdery, lobbyist, Monu- mental Policy Group: “Unless they were at the Rose Bowl watching the president’s beloved Wolver- ines, these members owe the former presi- dent an appropriate tribute — how about

To recommend an idea for “What were they thinking?” please contact Capital Living by phoning Betsy Rothstein at 202-628-8516 or send an e-mail to

POLISHED social image consultants

Minks, Private-Jet Time Get Gift-Wrapped as New Yorkers Splurge By Heather Burke December 20, 2006 NEW YORK — One New York wife is

getting a $50,000-plus diamond ring thanks to hubby’s Wall Street bonus. An executive is giving $1 million in private jet time so his family won’t have to fly commercial. And plenty of $7,000 mink coats and $20,000 neck- laces are being boxed up, too.

“I haven’t seen such excess displays of wealth and extravagance during the holidays since the 1980s,” said Samantha von Sperling, a New York- based image consultant and personal shopper.

“This is the most prosperous, most lavish, most extravagant season I’ve ever seen,” she said.

Expensive gifts are flying off the shelves as financial firms prepare to award bonuses to workers in New York City that are forecast to reach a record $24 billion.

That’s up 17 percent from last year’s $21 billion.

Rare canary diamonds

The resulting New York splurge is part of a national trend that may push up November and December sales as much as 6 percent at U.S. luxury stores open at least a year, according to the International Council of Shop- ping Centers.

For bankers, brokers, traders and oth- er clients too busy making money to spend it themselves, von Sperling is happy to help — for a fee starting at $250 an hour.

While most clients spend $5,000 to $20,000 on gifts, some shell out as much as $250,000, she said.

Furs and jewelry are popular gifts for Wall Street wives and girlfriends, and customers typically want some- thing exclusive, von Sperling said. The $50,000-plus ring soon to adorn that Wall Street wife’s hand features two canary diamonds, yellow stones that are among the rarest available, she said.

Tiffany’s profits soar

For a cosmetic dentist’s girlfriend and his three daughters, von Sperling se- lected $5,000 of jewelry from Coco Raynes, a designer who puts out one collection a year and doesn’t adver- tise, she said.

Tiffany & Co., the luxury jeweler, last month boosted its annual profit fore- cast, crediting holiday demand for merchandise such as $20,000 rings and necklaces in the store’s signature blue boxes.

Luxury consumers also are spending more on travel, dining and beauty services this year, because they often have all the material things they need, said Pam Danziger, founder of Unity Marketing, a firm that tracks spending among the wealthy. Popular presents include gift certificates for fancy res- taurants and spa days.

Amalfi Coast charter

One New York real estate magnate wants a charter for June or July off Italy’s Amalfi Coast for as many as a dozen of his family and friends, said

Jeffrey Beneville, head of business development at Camper & Nicholsons International, a Monaco-based yacht- ing company. Cost: about $175,000 a week — just for the vessel and crew.

“The extremely high-end luxury prod- uct is in incredibly high demand,” he said.

Marquis Jet Partners Inc. has sold more than 100 jet gift cards in the past month. That’s 50 percent more than last year, said Randy Brandoff, vice president. Marquis sells 25-hour chunks of flying time on NetJets Inc., the operator of private planes owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hatha- way Inc.

One Wall Street executive bought six $185,000 jet gift cards for his wife and five children, Brandoff said.

New York is the biggest market for Signature Days LLC, which books res- ervations for everything from wine tastings to scuba-diving lessons, said

Chris Widdess, vice president. The Chicago-based company expects this year’s revenue to surge 10-fold to as much as $4 million, Widdess said.

Wife rejects clothes, jewels

Von Sperling said she gets three calls a day for makeovers, spurred by the popularity of reality-television shows. Hair, makeup and a new wardrobe may cost $10,000 to $20,000 in New York, she says.

Andrew Kornstein, a plastic surgeon with a Fifth Avenue practice, said he gets about 20 requests a year for plas- tic surgery or Botox anti-wrinkle treat- ments as gifts. One woman told her husband to stop giving her clothing and jewels. She’s getting a $20,000 face lift, Kornstein said.

“If plastic surgery procedures are the meat, the Botox and other injectable treatments are like the marinade or the sauce,” Kornstein said.

Without batting an eye

Some fabled New York retailers are prospering.

Hammacher Schlemmer, the 158-year- old purveyor of gifts such as $13,000 hand-carved rocking horses, this year is offering Zoltar fortune-telling ma- chines similar to the one in the Tom Hanks movie “Big.”

So far it has sold nine of the $10,000 robotic seers, said manager Linda Drummond. Zoltar is the gift of choice for several hedge funds, she said.

New Yorkers who stop by the compa- ny’s East 57th Street store often have a sales associate help them jot down a gift list, spending thousands of dollars “without batting an eyelash,” Drum- mond said.

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi sees all the spending as a good thing.

“When Wall Street does well, New York City and New York state do well,” he said. “Wall Street bonuses are spent in the city and in surrounding suburbs on entertainment, real estate, auto- mobiles, and other consumer goods, all of which generates jobs and tax revenues.”

Bloomberg News, with AP contributing

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

MTA ropes in Grinch to teach courtesy By Chuck Bennett amnewyork staff Writer

December 20, 2006

There may be no A train to Whoville, but that’s not stopping the Grinch from telling subway riders to be kind.

New York City Transit partnered with Dr. Seuss’ beloved character The Grinch, who is currently appearing on Broadway, to remind riders to be “civilized” during the hectic holi- day shopping season.

“Hey! What’s all the shoving? Where were you raised? Try a little tenderness — You’ll be amazed. When the doors open up, Let the passengers through — Listen, If I can be civi- lized, Then so can you!” the Grinch admonish- es in one ad that is dotting subway stations.

The Grinch, after all, eventually learned the true meaning of Christmas and is the perfect spokesman to keep riders focused on civility during the often stressful season, TA execs say.

“We’re happy that the Grinch was able to take some time out from stealing Christmas,” quipped Lawrence Reuter, president of New York City Transit.

The ads went up last week and will come down early next year. In addition, to telling folks to move from the subway doors, two different bus ads remind people to offer their seats “to someone who’s really in need” and to take off their backpacks.

“We thought it was different and fun and I don’t think anyone will be offended by the messages. The Grinch is the Grinch,” said Paul Fleuranges, spokesman for New York City Transit.””They are messages we would like people to heed.”

Timothy Mason, who wrote the lyrics for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” pro- vided the three transit rhymes.

“The Grinch campaign is a great idea. It says gently and slightly tongue-in-cheek about what needs to be said,” said Samantha von Sperling, an etiquette expert and director of the downtown firm Social Image Consultants.

“People can be extra rude during the holidays. They’ve been in crowded stores, they are cold, tired, stressed out and financially drained from the holiday shopping. They’ve been pushed and prodded and oversold and over-jingled.”

Von Sperling agrees with the Grinch that rid- ers need to be generous with their seats.

“If you are a man, you stand for a woman, particularly pregnant women carrying holiday shopping,” she said. “You have no idea what I witnessed this week.”

The Grinch courtesy ads, the brainchild of Chantal St. Louis, New York City Transit’s pro- motions director, came at no cost the agency. Instead, the bottom of each ad has a plug for the musical with ticketing info.

Also, riders can get a free $10 MetroCard with the purchases of “How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical.” Just mention the code “Metro.”

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004646.644.4300

A Giving Frenzy: Expert Tips on Holiday Tipping

By Kristina Cowan

Amid Manhattan’s bustle and buzz of holiday shop- ping and spending, a young professional frets over the 20 people he needs to spend on-just in end-of- the-year tips. That’s not including gifts for family and friends, and has him feeling overwhelmed.

Samantha von Sperling, owner and director of Pol- ished Social Image Consultants, an image consult- ing firm based in New York, said such a scenario is not uncommon these days.

“If you are thirty-something and you add up the parking attendants in your garage and the staff in your building and your cleaning lady, your budget is going to be cleaned out, even before you’ve bought a sweater for your mother,” von Sperling said.

Several tipping experts including von Sperling say Americans are beleaguered by the number of tips they’re expected to dole out at the holidays. They suggest consumers squelch their anxiety with a one-two punch: make lists, then think creatively.

Von Sperling suggests making two lists, one for family, one for service-providers, and create bud- gets for both. Next, she says, abide by the lists.

“I think it’s a way of managing stress. To not just shop till you drop,” she said.

Leonard Green, a professor of psychology at Wash- ington University in St. Louis who has studied the psychology of tipping, agrees lists would make holi- day spending easier. But he said most people don’t make lists because they’re squeezed for time.

“In the short-run you’re too busy, but in the long- run you’re better off,” Green said.

Beyond lists, there are creative ways of stretching dollars, experts say.

For instance, von Sperling suggests investigating gifts such as wine on the Internet, where you can often find discounts. Or baking, decorating and wrapping a batch of cookies.

“A $5 tip that makes someone’s life easier is cheap. Do something more thoughtful, elegant and re-

fined. Turn that $5 investment into a more glorious presentation, something that has more meaning,” she said.

Consumers offered mixed reactions to the idea of creative tipping.

Danielle Musat, a music therapist who lives in Parma Heights, Ohio, said she prefers creativity.

“I’d rather have someone give me a thoughtful gift like specially made cookies or an ornament they made, rather than sticking $20 in a card,” Musat said. “If I was in New York and saw my bellman ev- ery day of the week, I’d have a connection with him and would want to give him something appropriate, and something from the heart.”

But Stephen McCullough, a consulting manager for a software company in Denver, sees it differently.

“It’s harder to come up with a gift than cash in an affluent society. I think I would be behind cash over gifts-cookies are nice, but cash is fungible,” Mc- Cullough said.

Carly Drum, managing director of Manhattan-based Drum Associates, a global executive search firm, said she supports the notion of creative tipping.

“People fortunately or unfortunately work longer hours now, so the thoughtfulness or more creative gifts have somewhat gone out the window,” Drum said. “I agree wholeheartedly that if they can cut down on expenses, they should do it. But just from a time perspective, they often can’t do it.”

Drum said consumers can also relieve some of their tipping angst by educating themselves about who stands to gain most from tips.

“You have to be informed as to who makes their real money on tips, it’s not people at Starbucks. Cab drivers make most of their money on tips,” she said. “You really have to be knowledgeable about the service and understand how that individual

or how that service-provider is compensated. You won’t know that all the time, but you usually have a pretty good idea.”


PayScale (

social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

December 12, 2006


CSO Magazine ( December 10, 2006

social image consultants

2007 Style Guide

Tips on how to look current and appropriate at work from Samantha von Sperling, founder of Polished Social Image Consultants.

Compiled by Katherine Walsh


Must-have suits

trouser trends skirt of choice dress shirt style


shirt/sweater length ties Belts

shoes accessories

Specialty items

What’s trendy but probably not appropriate for a professional setting

Classic black three-piece suit; for versatility, branch out with a gray suit, followed by a navy one

fitted; steer clear of baggy

Pleated or straight

Classic white, formal with a suit and pearls or casual with jeans

Cashmere, with almost anything; it’s chic and warm

Long, minidress length, just like in the ’80s


Over-the-sweater, solid color, but show some restraint: no metallics or animal prints

ankle boots with trousers; knee- length boots with skirts

Pearl stud earrings and necklace; diamond stud earrings; small briefcases

the right “little black dress” that can transition from the office to an evening event with a simple change of accessories

Leggings, just like in the ’80s

Classic black three-piece; it’s tried and true

Classic black na

Classic white, mostly formal with dark suit

Cashmere, casual with jeans; or business casual, just-less-than- a-suit over a shirt and tie

traditional, with shirt tucked in of course

Colorful to pop against white shirt and black suit


Black or brown, dress style

french cuff links; watch; small briefcases

Cartier watch, which von Sperling calls “the Rolls Royce of watches”

Velvet jackets (seriously)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Oprah Magazine, December 2006, O’s Guide to Really Excellent Behavior (continued on next page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants


O’s Guide to Really Excellent Behavior


What Do You Do if………………………………………………….296 a friend flirts with your husband? Your brother gets the table your mother promised you? From spills to spats, 13 experts show you how to get out of social mayhem.

Oprah Magazine, December 2006, O’s Guide to Really Excellent Behavior (continued on next page)

Meet Miss

(Ms., Mrs., Mr.)

A former fashion insider, competitive ballroom dancer, and freelance makeup artist, Samantha von Sperling combined her skills to open Polished Social Image Consultants in 2000.


Thirteen experts navigate lifes touchy, awkward, and most confounding social scenarios (page 293).

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Aah, the holidays! Gifts, cocktail parties, glasses raised, wine spilled, and families thrown together, often in very, very small rooms. Now’s the season when questions of right behavior baffle us the most. So we’ve gathered a crack team of experts to share advice on how to glide through any social through any social snafu – from which fork to use to the fine points of bedroom etiquette (fold the clothes? kill the lights?). These aren’t guidelines to measure people against – or bludgeon them with. They’re the ways we can signal welcome, compassion, and “No, really, you first.” After all, what are good manners but goodwill made visible? ►

POLISHED social image consultants

Oprah Magazine, December 2006, O’s Guide to Really Excellent Behavior (continued on next page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Oprah Magazine, December 2006, O’s Guide to Really Excellent Behavior (continued from previous page)

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Personal Shopper

Most Experienced

Polished Social Image Consultants 75 West Street Suite 8E 646-644-4300

Price: $250 per hour

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY


Debonair Magazine

social image consultantsMonday, November 06, 2006 By Matt Lynch


Home > nightlife

Don’t Get Served: Put Your Best Foot Forward

Posted: Monday, November 06, 2006 By: Matt Lynch

On Halloween night, while the rest of the city was busy throwing together last minute costumes and elbowing their way to the bar or through the Village parade, the mood was a bit less chaotic – if not as energetic – at dance Chelsea, a studio on 25th St. between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. A young man in a Dead Kennedys T-shirt and beat-up Chuck Taylors waltzed around the room with a girl sporting a wig that complimented her partner’s electric blue Mohawk.

The couple’s attire might have looked a little out of place, but they did not. Their gracefulness was proof of ballroom danc- ing’s cultural reemergence amongst a generation more comfortable with the mosh pit, club free-for-all or simple cross-armed indifference. formal dancing’s return to the limelight has been helped by a string of recent movies and reality tV shows, but the fact remains: women always dig a guy who can cut a rug.

“for a straight male, it’s a great way to meet women,” says Drew Brown, 27, an in- structor and student at dance Chelsea. “I went to an engi- neering school where there was something like a four-to- one guys to girls ratio. So I took a ballroom danc- ing class and it was four-to-one girls to guys, and I was like, wait a minute.”

For single men, knowing the right steps can pay off. There still aren’t a whole lot of guys comfortable busting out complex gyrations on the dance floor, let alone with the sort of typically refined dancing that often gets equated with their grandparents’ evening activities.

“We teach them to walk and then we teach them to dance,” Dance Chelsea owner Stanley McCalla says of his new pupils. “Dancing trans- forms the students. It gives them confidence, their posture is different.”

Beyond the prospect of meeting women and improving confidence, dancing has less goal-oriented benefits. Some men find learning to dance to be, well, fun.

“It’s a high, in a way,” says Michael Ba- carella, 30, a software engineer who was on a break in between lessons. “Especially swing, it’s like riding a roller coaster.” Bacarella had taken

classes with an ex-girlfriend a few years ago, and is now several months deep into his second tour of duty on the studio hardwood. He couldn’t name a motivation in taking lessons other than it just being something he always wanted to do. “Ithelps me to stay fit. I do go to the gym, but I don’t have to do any cardio.” McCalla estimates that an hour of dancing can burn up to 200 calo- ries, and says that he makes sure to work his clients that hard if desired.

This reporter couldn’t resist trying the work- out. So the next day, I decided to dive deeper into the mental aspect of dancing by attending

instructor Samantha von Sperling’s studio in a Financial District apartment. I listened as she explained the benefits of dance lessons for her male clients, most of who, she says, are be- tween 25 and 40 years old, and the type of man with an eye for self improvement.

“dance does two things,” she advised, with the authority of someone who has frequent- ly seen it do those two things. “One: it hones a man’s body language skills. Two: it develops his presence and his sense of command, com- mand of his body, command of his space, com- mand over somebody else.”

“What can I tell you?” she laughed. “Ball- room dancing is a sexist sport. There are rules. that’s the way it is, and if a man can’t lead, he will fail.”

Advocating dance as a complement to building a man’s image; von Sperling also runs a social image consulting business, as she de- fines it, “a one-stop self-improvement boutique.” Many of her clients are younger corporate types

who have reached the rung in the career ladder where they are expected to attend fundraisers and other events – where they are assured to find that dance floor taunting them to show their moves. She also does a fair amount of business with engaged couples preparing for their dread- ed (more often by the men) first dance.

But the art of dance isn’t only an outlet for weddings and business functions. In New York City, knowing how to dance can open the doors to some welcome alternatives to the bar and club scene. Both McCalla and von Sperling were able to rattle off a handful of places where

more traditional dancing can be sought out around the city. From old standbys like Lincoln Center’s Midsummer night swing and the rainbow room, to any number of salsa and Latin-themed clubs there’s room to dance for those seeking it out.

“Any excuse to get dressed and have drink served to me rather than thrown at me is a delightful experience,” says von Sperling. “don’t get me wrong, going to a club to bounce up and down for a few hours can be fun too, but its dif- ferent, you can hear yourself think. It’s a great advantage to the man.”

To illustrate her point, she wouldn’t let me leave without tak- ing an impromptu accelerated lesson in swing. While I was trying desperately to catch my rock steps on the right count and keep my shoulders at a posture that harkened back to getting my height measured every year on my birthday, I realized I wasn’t nearly as lost as I’d projected

I would be. Sure, every time I attempted a complicat-

ed maneuver that involved her spinning and me guiding her back to position, I was hopeless, but I wasn’t too bad with my feet and I was having a good time. I might have eventually “gotten” it.

This awkwardness reflects the experience of Michael Bacarella, the student from Dance Chelsea a night earlier. Although he’d been tak- ing lessons for a few months, he hadn’t yet been outside of the studio for what he called “social dancing.” Bacarella will some be ready to put on his boogie shoes, and try out that thrill ride with an attractive new acquaintance. “I was nervous at first, but amazingly, you can come pretty far in three months.”

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Mind over manners

Kid behaving badly? Class is in session. By Katharine Rust

You’re standing on a subway platform waiting for a train, when a boisterous group of middle-schoolers blow past and , without apology, almost send you tumbling. Or perhaps at one time or another, you’ve sat in a restaurant next to a tantrum-throwing child,

witnessed a playdate gone horribly wrong, or waited in vain to receive an unsent Bar Mitzvah thank-you note from your nephew. If these scenarios sound familiar, you might be convinced that kids are taking their behavior cues from Eloise at the Plaza (and you wouldn’t put it past some of them to pour water down a mail chute, either). It’s no wonder that kiddie charm schools have started popping up like zits on a teenager.

Samantha von Sperling, the owner and director of Polished, an image- consulting firm that offers private etiquette lessons to kids, believes there is an epidemic of ill-mannered children in the city these days, and holds hippies responsible. “We can trace it

back to the ‘60s,” she says. “If you’re a parent today, you most likely didn’t get the right behavioral information when you were young. Your parents were so busy protesting, and you were so busy on the computer at Harvard, that you didn’t even learn how to hold a knife and fork!” That may be true,

but today’s protocol classes go well

from dining basics and common courtesy tips to online etiquette (or “netiquette”). But unfortunately, getting rid of your child’s rudeness won’t come cheap in this town; the boot-camp-like sessions with von Sperling, for instance, will run you about $200 per hour.

At the Etiquette School of New York (the Manhattan branch of which just opened in October), manners and poise are taught to promote self-confidence. “Kids are so awkward for most of

their childhood,” says founder Patricia Fitzpatrick. “When they know what to do and how to behave, they’re more sure of themselves and it makes things easier for them.” Her school offers age- appropriate classes: Elementary Etiquette, for instance, cateers to kids in grades one through five, who learn the art of proper introductions, polite table manners and developing listening and conversation skills.

Apparently, it’s never too early to start training. “Parents should begin instilling etiquette in kids as young as age two,” von Sperling insists. “A child should be able to attend high tea at the Ritz by the age of five.” And, of course, thank you for it.


“Your parents

were so busy


you didn’t even

learn how to hold

a knife and fork!”

beyond what your parents taught you (or didn’t), or what you might teach your own kids (or not). Is it possible that parents are leading such frenetic and exhausting lives that they have no time to instill social skills? Von Sperling certainly thinks so.

Her company offers both group and private lessons that run the gamut

8 Time Out New York Kids November-December 2006

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Time Out New York Kids

November-December 2006 Page 8 – Out There Say good-buye to tantrums by enrolling your child in etiquette class… By Katharine Rust

By Betsy Rothstein

Former President Bill Clinton recently lost his temper during an interview with Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” in which Wallace questioned the former president about not having caught Osama bin Laden.

Joe Lockhart, former White House press secretary under Bill Clinton, founding partner with The Glover Park Group, a media relations firm: “Nine times out of 10 in politics it pays to stay above the fray and not stoop to the level of your accuser. This was the one in 10 that made sense. Sometimes a good verbal zinger can make the purveyors of partisan misinformation think twice be- fore their next serving.”

Democratic press secretary: “Just like George McFly standing up to Biff Tan- nen, Bill Clinton finally confronted his Republican bullies. He wasn’t going to be pushed around the playground any more. Off camera, apparently Clinton was heard telling Chris Wallace, ‘You mess with the Bill, you get the horns.’”

Republican press secretary: “[Clinton is thinking], ‘If I don’t rustle my feathers on this, I will never be a strong first lady.’”

Jonathan Grella, v.p. of public affairs, Edelman Public Relations; former press secretary to ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas): “My sense is that he tried to kill two networks with one tantrum. He felt defensive about the ABC docu-drama and probably figured he’d get some mile- age out of using Fox as his foil. He also is aware that, despite his stale status, his theatrics still drive coverage, not unlike Mrs. Spears-Federline.”

C. Stewart Verdery, lobbyist, Monu- ment Policy Group : “I hear that Presi- dent Clinton has never liked the Wallace family: Chris, Mike, Rusty, Rasheed and especially that cousin Gromit.”

Omarosa Manigault-Stalworth, former White House aide and former “Ap- prentice” star: “Outburst? That was not an outburst; that was passion!!

There is a difference. Howard Dean’s fa- mous yelp, that was an outburst. Clinton getting in Chris Wallace’s face — price- less!”

Samantha von Sperling, Manhattan- based etiquette and image consultant: “It was unfortunate that President Clinton lost his composure on national television. It is important to remain in control when doing interviews so that people continue to listen to the content of our thoughts rather then the tone of our voice. Howev- er, I admire his courage and unwavering conviction under scrutiny.”

Jessica Cutler, a.k.a. Washingtonienne; former aide to Sen. Mike DeWine (R- Ohio): “I wouldn’t call it an ‘outburst.’ It’s basic PR 101: Answer the [expletive] question. If he had been evasive or tried to talk his way around it, he would have drawn even more criticism. Better to be perceived as defensive than look as if he’s hiding something. That was the lesson we all took away from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”

Rick Fiori, political satirist: “First Tom Cruise jumping all over Oprah’s couch, and now this. There is that old Christian saying that goes: A smart man knows the Bible is not true, but it takes a wise

man to believe it. It’s the same thing with the Clinton legacy: a smart man knows most of it is not true, but it takes some- one special to believe it. And Clinton re- ally believes everything he says. Clinton’s attempt to defend his legacy is a lot like communism — on one level it sounds like a really good idea, but at the end of the day it’s just not very practical.”

Jack Quinn, president, Cassidy & As- sociates; former New York GOP House member: “Bill Clinton is thinking this is the last time that Rupert Murdoch tricks me into doing an interview with Fox ever again! He’s thinking: Chris Wallace and the rest of the these Fox News reporters are really foxy. I mean foxy as in cun- ning.”

David Magleby, dean of College of Fam- ily, Home and Social Sciences; political science professor, Brigham Young Uni- versity: “Time to fight back. I think his perception was Democrats generally and his administration specifically had been criticized on national security issues and it was time to fight back. So he was given a waist-high fastball and he swung at it.”

Michael Goldman, political science professor, Tufts University; radio per- sonality, Bloomberg Radio: “This was a contest between Fox and sly as a fox. As usual, the sly fox wins. I think [Clinton] knew exactly what he was doing. I think the whole thing was planned. It was bril- liantly done.”

To recommend an idea for “What were they thinking?” please contact Capital Living by phoning Betsy Rothstein at 202-628-8516 or send an e-mail to

POLISHED social image consultants

The Hill, Captial Living, Thursday, October 05, 2006

What were they thinking?

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

A Girl’s Guide to Retail Therapy by Amy Elliott, Robin Zingone Pub. Date: September 2006 ISBN: 0760783551

Attention Shoppers: Dressing-Room Drama

Heart Attack, page 51

Lamenting your ex has meant many pints of chocolate ice cream and, most likely, many nights of nonstop crying. As a result, you’re looking a little ragged. Don’t worry, it’s only temporary. In the meantime, remember that the unflattering lights and mir- rors in your average fitting room aren’t going to do you any favors. It’s best to avoid them altogether. Not going to happen? Follow these tips from Samantha von Sperling, director of Polished Social Image Consultants in New York City:

•On the day before your shopping trip, apply a light self-tanner or spray tan to prevent the pasty effect caused by those horrific flourescent fitting- room lights!

•Make sure you are groomed and coiffed – taking care of this in advance of the shopping spree will allow you to focus on the task at hand, instead of obsessing about your imperfections.

•On the day you go shopping, eat a light but protein-filled breakfast. Minus the carbs, you’ll look and feel less bloated.

•If there are mirrors outside of the dressing room, use those. They’re more flattering and make you fell less claustrophobic.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY


The hands-free, do-nothing, price-is-no-object guide to rearing a child from conception to college.

Perhaps you’ve been told that having a child is a 24-hour-a-day job. But it doesn’t have to be your job—not for a moment. Nannies have been around for centuries, but in New York—the leading edge of parental avoidance—it is now possible to outsource more-advanced child-rear-

ing functions as well, such as shopping for clothing, going on college visits, and even initiating those awk- ward talks about, well, you know. How much would it cost to replace yourself en- tirely for eighteen years— until your child’s driver drops him off at the dorm? Here’s a rough (indeed) analysis.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004

New York Magazine, September 25, 2006, pages 38-41

Compiled by Merry Zide, Ariel Brewster, Janelle Nanos, Nitasha Tiku, Wesley Wade, and Amy Zavatto.

POLISHED social image consultants


For $200 an hour, image consultant Samantha von Sperling can help your teen affect the illusion of proper parental supervision, through etiquette lessons, personal shopping, and style guidance. Total: $2,000 (ten hours)

Polished Social Image Consultants, 646-644-4300

POLISHED social image consultants

The Hill, Captial Living, Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Voters want their pols clean-shaven

By Betsy Rothstein

When a politician sets off on the campaign trail, he takes his convictions, morals, occasionally his wife, and sometimes to his detriment a thicket of facial hair.

Each year on vacation, Sen. Charles Schumer (D- N.Y.) gives his face a rest and grows a beard. But one year while he was still in the House, his face got an extra twodays’breakfromshaving;thelawmakerbroughthis hirsute holiday chops back to work.

He visited a senior center, and the occupants cir- culated a petition telling him to get rid of it. He hasn’t worn a beard to work since.

Men in Congress have varying opinions on facial hair. Some claim they would feel naked without it, that it’s part of who they are.

But political consultants, image consultants and etiquette experts say research shows that politicians who wear mustaches and beards don’t poll well. Voters don’t trust a candidate with facial hair. Think Adolf Hit- ler, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein and Genghis Khan.

On the other hand, not all hairy types are unap- pealing; think Abraham Lincoln, Tom Selleck, Burt Reynolds, the late Captain Kangaroo and Santa Claus.

Despite poll data and strong advice suggesting voters favor cleanshaven pols, at least 41 members of the House have whiskers of some sort.

But in the Senate, there is not a mustache or beard to be seen. Gov. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) had his grizzled beard as a senator, as did the late Paul Wellstone (D- Minn.). Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has worn a beard on occasion, but it hasn’t lasted.

“Perhaps he grew tired of razor burn,” said Harkin spokesman Tom Reynolds. “Shaving every day can in- deed be harsh on the skin.”

The cleanshaven Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) says the marked discrepancy between the two bodies is “a work of fate.” He might, he muses, grow a beard on a weeklong cattle ride — that is, far from the marble halls of Capitol Hill.

Sen.BarackObama(D-Ill.)sayshedoesn’thave the option of beard. “I can’t grow facial hair,” he says. “I get whiskers.”

In the House and the cleanshaven Senate com- bined, nine percent of men have mustaches or beards in their various forms, from goatee to nautical full set. There are 34 mustachioed Democrats compared with 7 Republicans. Eight Democrats have beards, including goatees, compared to only three similarly hirsute Re- publicans.

That means 17 percent of male Democrats have facial hair compared to just three percent of Republi-


Rep. Raúl Grijalva’s (D-Ariz.) mustache is spec- tacular, trailing down around his mouth and dipping into a perfect frown in brown, gray and caramel.

The congressman pretends to be self-conscious when asked about it, covers his mouth and mustache

with his hand and looks down at his feet. But it is clear that he is proud of his mustache.

He uses it as a campaign gimmick, handing out bumper stickers that depict it, with his name sandwiched be- tween exclamation points.

“People identify you with you and then they iden- tifyyouwiththemustache,asweirdasthatmaysound,” Grijalva says.

The last time the second-term congressman shaved it off was when he got married, and that was only be- cause his wife, Ramona, felt it was important for him to be clean-shaven when he said his vows.

He doesn’t mind that his opponent is 6 feet 9 inch- es and cleanshaven. He says he’s 5 feet 7 inches on a good day and is comfortable with his mustache. Advis- ers have told him to trim it so it doesn’t hang over his lip. Others insist he lose it, or at least control it, saying, “We’ve got to slick you down.”

To his opponent, Grijalva says, “In the words of the great Mohammad Ali, Tiiiiimmberrrr. The taller they are, the harder they fall sometimes.”

In his first race for Congress, Grijalva’s campaign slogan was, “Not just another pretty face.” The con- gressman says of his mustache: “It’s part of my face, so I’m comfortable with it.”

Fashion experts are confused on the issue. The New York Times in March reported that facial hair is making a comeback, citing the bushy beards of beau- tiful male models in New York Fashion Week. “Men both straight and gay, it appears, want to feel rough and manly,” the story reported.

Not so says Samantha von Sperling, a Manhattan etiquette and image consultant who has advised royal families, ambassadors and politicians.

“We are in a fashion season when facial hair is not at all fashionable,” says von Sperling. “The conser- vatives have the House. If you are trying to get a law passed, you are best to play the game and the game is toappeartobeasheep.Youwanttobealioninsheep’s clothing. You want to come across as clean, crisp and as polished as possible.”

Nonetheless, Jonathan Grella, former spokesman for ex-Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who is entirely bald and cleanshaven, says lawmakers can get away with having mustaches.

“My sense is that mustachioed pols have had them since the Selleck-Reynolds salad days, so their con- stituents are used to them. You just don’t see younger people sporting ‘staches these days, but we could be on the verge of a renaissance now that [U.N. Ambassador] John Bolton is making waves on a global scale.”

The late Winston Churchill was once told by a woman that she did not approve of his politics or his mustache, to which he replied, “Madam, you are not likely to come in contact with either.”

These days, the joke is more often on the wearer

of a mustache than by him. Last month, the Republi- can National Committee’s official website,, put Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean on its front page and gave him a mustache that Democrats complained was Hitleresque.

Rep. Mike Sodrel (R-Ind.) realizes that small chil- dren,includinghissevengranddaughters,likehisshort, thick, salt-and-pepper mustache more than grownups do, but he says it would be disingenuous to shave it off.

“I wrestled with the idea when I ran the first time, but I’m not very mysterious,” he says. “I am what I am. I understand politics is about perception but I felt I’d be phony to shave my mustache whenever I decide to run for political office.”

Experts insist mustaches make politicians seem mysterious. “People don’t trust candidates with facial hair and it comes down to the simple fact that people think they are hiding,” said Jeffrey Adler, a political consultant in Long Beach, Calif., who has run cam- paigns for 20 years.

“It’s the old body-language paradigm, that they are hiding behind the facial hair. There have been nu- merous studies. Again and again, voters tend to the pho- tos without facial hair. We always advise clients to lose the facial hair.”

Von Sperling, the etiquette expert, concurs: “They are playing a risky game. Though they can get away with it, it doesn’t lend the older men respect with young- er voters who say, ‘That old crony? He’s not going to represent me.’ The old crony with facial hair is going to appeal to other old cronies. If the old crony wants to appeal to everyone you go clean-cut.”

A voter once joked with Sodrel when he was in a parade that he’d vote for him if he shaved off his mus- tache. But the lawmaker holds out, despite being behind in the polls and expected to lose in November.

Rep. John Salazar (D-Colo.), who, in a USA To- day poll is 11 points ahead of his opponent, has had his mustachesincehewas19yearsold.It’sadarkgraythat matches the hair on his head, but it’s thin and spreads over a larger portion of skin between his mouth and nose.

The only time he shaved it was in Cancun on va- cation with his wife. She dared him to shave it; he went into the bathroom and came out clean. “I felt totally dif- ferent,” he says. “I felt naked.”

Voters told him to bring the hair back. The Du- rango Herald asked people on the street, should Salazar bring his mustache back? The results: 17 percent yes; 17 percent no. The rest? “Who the hell is John Salazar?” Salazar recalls.

The congressman even has a mustache philoso- phy: “Remember one thing. The man wears the clothes, the clothes don’t wear the man, and it’s what’s inside that counts.”

Cameron Joseph contributed to this report.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

A Reality Check For Men’s Fashion

How stores will translate latest runway looks for the regular guy WBy Ray A. Smith


wear drawstring tuxedo pants? How about rumpled sport coats? Roomy trou- sers with superwide legs?

The trends in men’s clothing that emerged from this past week’s New York fashion shows often appeared extreme on the runways. Elie Tahari, for example, showed a tuxedo shirt with faded khakis. Duckie Brown featured a fitted sport coat and baggy, full-length drawstring trousers. “We wanted the pants to feel almost like pajamas, that comfortable,” says Steven Cox, co-designer of Duckie Brown. A delib- erately rumpled cotton sport coat was shown with tailored linen pinstriped slacks at the John Varvatos show.

While some of the more outlandish looks clearly won’t cut it with many men, chances are most of the styles will appear in one form or another at retailers in the spring. In an ef- fort to reach a wider audience, stores will be toning down, adapting and otherwise trans- lating the season’s looks into what they think will sell. Often that means displaying the items differently than they appear on the runway or refashioning them in tamer versions. Macy’s, for example, will stock up on roomier pants, but they won’t be nearly as baggy as the ones the designers showed, says Jerry Balest, vice president of men’s fashion for Macy’s mer- chandising group.

Here are four key trends from this past week’s runways and how they will be trans- lated for regular guys.


The crisp, no-iron dress shirts populating most men’s closets may be outdated by spring. Designers showed a plethora of crumpled, frayed and washed-out shirts, jackets and pants this past week. Elie Tahari, for example, pre- sented a sport coat, jeans and a polo shirt that were garment dyed to give the clothing an un- even worn look. Phillip Lim showed a leather riding jacket washed to look faded and lived- in.

Several retailers say they would buy the looks and incorporate them into their own private labels, but most would tread

carefully. Macy’s, for example, will use the washed-out effect in its Club Room brand, a traditional casual label, as well as its American Rag brand aimed at young adults. Even so, the looks in Club Room will be tamer than those on the runway. “It’s tempered, not overly aged,” Mr. Balest explains of the Club Room inter- pretation. “There’s no rolled edges, or nicking in collars, it’s not ripped and repaired. It’s still finished.”

Likewise, Nordstrom may go with sub- tle interpretations of the rumpled trend, says Gregg Andrews, a fashion director at Nord- strom. But the J.C. Penney chain will take a pass on extreme wrinkling entirely, says Lana Cain, general merchandise manager of men’s and children’s at J.C. Penney.

To make the rumpled look more palat- able, stylists advise limiting it to one item. “Don’t wear more than two grungy items at a time,” says Samantha von Sperling, a stylist in New York.


After squeezing into flat-front, low-rise pants for the past few years, men might be re- lieved at the roominess of the new baggy pants shown on runways for spring — even those with drawstrings or elastic waistbands. But pairing them with fitted, tailored sport coats, the way designers did on the runways, may not be for everyone.

show some drawstring pants with dressier shirts, but “every mannequin won’t be wear- ing a drawstring pant and tailored sport coat,” Mr. Andrews says. The retailer might feature its drawstring pants with fitted shirts or finer knit pullovers. Macy’s, too, will feature baggy pants, but not as wide as those seen on the run- ways, Mr. Balest says.

Drew Sisselman, a wardrobe consultant in Atlanta, recommends pairing these pants with a sporty jacket that’s unstructured, such as those with little or no lining or shoulder pad- ding, and not investing in anything too billowy. “Most people, when they see a long drawstring, think sweatpants,” Mr. Sisselman says. “You don’t want that.”.


Men will be bombarded by gray, beige, khaki, olive and army green when they go to stores in the spring. Most guys find neutrals easy to understand because they go with almost everything and don’t attract attention. But men can get into trouble if they follow runway looks strictly and dress head-to-toe in the same neu- tral color.

Nordstrom will train its sales assistants to show men how to “team” neutral colors with other colors or with different shades of the same color. For example, “gray looks great when teamed with other shades of gray,” Nordstrom’s Mr. Andrews says. In addition, he says, the

(continued) 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Nordstrom, for example, plans to

REALITY CHECK: Only one rumpled or faded item per outfit.

REALITY CHECK: Look for short drawstrings and noth- ing excessively baggy.

POLISHED social image consultants

The Wall Street Journal Pursuits Weekend Edition, Page P11 (continued from previous page)

Previous Page

left: Baggy drawstring pants from Duckie Brown Right: Rumpled or faded look from John Varvatos

This Page

left: Neutral colors from John Bartlett Right: Mixing formal and informal from Donna Karan

retailer is moving colors like khaki and olive into more tailored clothing but showing men how to wear it with ca- sual knit and polo shirts on weekends. “Those colors tend to give tailored clothing a more casual attitude,” he ex-

plains. Still, “you don’t want to be too

matchy, matchy,” warns stylist Ms. von Sperling. “Head-to-toe beige cotton is not so interesting.” She suggests wearing dif- ferent textures of the same color, for ex-

ample a khaki cotton or linen shirt with a khaki- colored wool pant.


Moving one step further past the trend of sport coats mixed with nice jeans, the industry is now pushing men to combine other formal and informal elements. On the runways, the trend was extreme: Donna Karan showed men in hood- ies with sport coats. Dressy, tailored shorts were ubiquitous, shown with sport coats, dress shirts and ties.

The mix-and-match trend is a potential minefield for most men, retailers admit, and they’ll be careful how it’s displayed. For exam- ple, Macy’s will offer linen short-sleeve shirts with a tuxedo pleat in the front. “It’s us taking the tuxedo shirt and translating it to a more casual at- titude,” Mr. Balest says. Tuxedo shirts and pants worn out of context — with jeans, casual shirts or sneakers — have been big on the runways. But it’s hard to pull off for nonmodels.

J.C. Penney is weighing in on the trend, mixing sport coats and jeans as well as pinstriped suit jackets with V-neck shirts, says Ms. Cain. Penney’s also likes the idea of a fitted jacket lay- ered with a wind-resistant jacket and hoodie over jeans.

Stylists warn that men shouldn’t wear formal and informal pieces that contrast or fight each other. The hoodie with a suit or sport coat, for example, could work if it is made of a fine material like cashmere or if the suit or sport coat is of a dressier type. “Then it has a smart look to it,” says Anna Soo Wilder- muth, a stylist in Elmhurst, Ill. “Especially if it’s a neutral color, one that doesn’t stand out.”

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

REALITY CHECK: Mixing casual with formal pieces in the same outfit can work, but it’s risky.

REALITY CHECK: Neutrals are back – but don’t wear them head-to-toe.

DRIPPING DILEMMA: You’d like to curtail the moisture but are unsure what level of personal sweat management is okay. Fanning oneself? Fully mopping the brow with a bar napkin?

DON’T SWEAT IT: “This is a good time to bring back the fashion of hand fans,” suggests von Sperling. “They are elegant and fun and keep you from sweating. You do ultimately want to try to manage your sweat as best you can. If you know you have a sweating problem, then it is a good idea to carry around a handkerchief or fan so you aren’t using napkins from the table.”

DRIPPING DILEMMA You’re the yucky one and dripping wet. DON’T SWEAT IT: Issue preemptive sweat warning. “Tell the person, ‘I would

love to hug you, but I’m very sweaty,’” von Sperling says. “Try not to remark on how hot it is when you’re sweating profusely – people can see you are un- comfortably warm. Don’t make it less comfortable by making that remark. And never say, ‘I’m sweating like a pig.’ Pigs actually do not have sweat glands.”

DRIPPING DILEMMA: What is the protocol when you start getting hot and heavy when it’s actually hot and heavy? Sweating in the bedroom is a given, but dropping buckets while getting down isn’t always the sexiest!

DON’T SWEAT IT: “Once you’re na- ked and having sex, anything goes,” says von Sperling. “If you are in your own environment – the person is a guest in your home – then you can arrange things

like fans, A.C. or even have a hand tow- el handy to help control the situation. If you are in somebody else’s bedroom and you have never had sex with that person in very hot weather before, then joke about it beforehand. Say, ‘I’m warning you [wink, wink], I might work up quite a sweat.’ Ultimately, when things are hot and heavy, sweat happens!”

DRIPPING DILEMMA: You drip sweat on someone. DON’T SWEAT IT: “If you should sweat on somebody, simply say, I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to sweat on you,’ and offer them your handkerchief to mop off the droplet,” says von Sperling. “If someone is sweating, it’s not really their fault. They’re not trying to gross you out, so be a little humane about it.”

August 2, 2006, pages 31 and 32

As temperatures creep toward 100 and the humidity is thick as soup, maintaining your sense of dignity in the swelter is key. It’s time for sweatiquette.

There is no getting around the summer soak, but what is the protocol for public touching during the drippy months?

“Our tolerance for things like sweat and body odor is a little higher in the summer,” says etiquette expert Samantha von Sperling. “But not that much higher.”

DRIPPING DILEMMA: You’re confronted with a sweaty friend who wants to give you a bear hug after he’s ben percolating on a subway platform for 20 minutes. A normal greeting suddenly turns su- premely awkward as you see the drops glistening on his brow and dripping down his neck. Suddenly, fear grips you, as you are forced to encounter the beast in front of you. There is no way out.

DON’T SWEAT IT: “If somebody opens their arms to you and they’re all wet, if you refuse the hug you are the etiquette offender,” von Sperling says. But the alternative is the “forearm grab.” It’s like the hug equivalent of the air kiss. “You lock forearms, keep- ing your bodies away from each other,” von Sperling explains.

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY




Beyond the Basic T

July 29, 2006; Page P7

Limited-edition T-shirts by graphic designers are going mainstream

FBy Jamin Warren


by the fashion world’s enduring obsession with the plain white T-shirt, yet another twist on the phenomenon is under way:

T-shirts emblazoned with color and bold images made by graphic designers and art- school students.

The shirts, which have moved from the underground club scene to mainstream fashion, take advantage of technologies that have cut production costs and allow runs of a few hundred shirts at a time.

Their appeal has been twofold. They pair well with designer jeans and they tap into the urge of buyers who want to fit into a trend but also wear something unique. Be- cause the shirts’ makers churn small batches of multiple designs, wearers aren’t likely to run into the same shirt on someone else. Women are pairing the shirts with skirts in addition to jeans, while men are dressing them up with blazers. With prices starting at about $30, these shirts can often be the cheapest part of a hip outfit.

To promote his latest movie, actor Robin Williams went on MTV wearing a Lemar & Dauley shirt featuring children’s icon Mister Rogers. Actress Kate Bosworth recently appeared wearing a gray illustrated T-shirt from Los Angeles boutique Show Pony.

Because part of the appeal is a distinct- ly individual look, some fashion experts see a danger in the designs becoming too popu- lar. “It’s a double-edged sword,” says Frank Sinatra (no relation), co-founder of the 26- year-old streetwear brand Stussy. “Tees are a very important product segment, but they run the risk of killing your success. If you get too popular, you lose exclusivity.”

The graphic-T trend started through streetwear labels and in the club scene, with early adopters replacing button-down shirts with iconic T-shirts. It then spread further, coming full circle for many 30-somethings who grew up wearing the names of their fa- vorite bands on shirts.

Cottoning On to the Latest Look

When Brett Holcolmb, a 36-year-old Atlanta real estate investor, isn’t suited up

POLISHED social image consultants

Many small T-shirt designers keep overhead down by selling on the Internet. Below is a sampling of some limited-run designs in

the $30 to $40 price range that are available online and through some stores.

Rocksmith by Kilo Price: $30-$35 Available:At sites like www. and some stores

Comment: Company owner Erik Marino grew up on late 80s/early 90s pop culture and borrows from the cover of Milli Vanilli’s sophomore album for this “Running Man” shirt. About 300 were made, using a belt printer to roll patterns across the fabric for an “all over”effect. Netherlands.”

King Stampede Price: $40 Available: Through the Boundless NY store or at site Comment: Only 300 of the “A Todo Vapor” shirts were made by this Brooklyn company. The photo-print design is a nod to Brazilian Tropicalia tunes. “We try to translate the feeling you get from music into visuals,” says creative director Pete Leonard.

for work he wears one of his 60 T-shirts. His current favorite: the Epidemik Coali- tion line from three local design-school students. These shirts, often paired with his designer jeans, express his creativ- ity, says Mr. Holcomb. “It’s style with a pToint.”

Experimental Jetset Price: $35 Available:At site Comment: This Dutch design trio uses text instead of images, in this case playing with the name of the french cinema movement for this “new Wave” silk-screen cotton shirt. Their work is influenced by late modernism, which

they call “the folk art of the Netherlands.”

HESE GRAPHIC SHIRTS fea- ture images of everything from the work of 1980s graffiti artist Jean-

Michel Basquiat, to wordplay to political figures. Some designers mix materials, adding embroidery or vinyl patches to tra- ditional screen-printed designs. And many are printed on blank shirts from makers like American Apparel and Alternative Apparel, which are being cut slimmer and made of lighter-weight cotton, so they re- semble more expensive shirts.

Stylists say that anyone can pull off this look with jeans. “Graphic tees give the T-shirt concept a higher, more modern edge,” says Stacy London, a stylist and

host of TLC’s “What Not To Wear.” For men, she advises layering a T-shirt with a blazer. For women and men, Samantha von Sperling, a New York fashion con- sultant, recommends echoing the colors in the shirt with another item in the outfit such as sneakers or a belt.

Smaller T-shirt brands have grown in popularity in the past few years, according to NPD Group, a market-research firm. T- shirt sales at larger, designer brands such as Donna Karan and Tommy Hilfiger fell more than 12% from March 2003 to this past April. Private labels and brands with limited distribution have grown a com- bined 20% over the same period. It isn’t only providing an opportunity for design- ers but for artists looking to show their work to a broader audience.

Nima Nabavi, the 28-year-old founder of Digital Gravel, estimates that 15 T-shirt designers contact him each week, hoping he’ll carry their lines. The

company, which stocks more than 1,000 designs at its warehouse in City of Com- merce, Calif., saw sales double last year to $5 million.

Threadless, which focuses primarily on unknown artists, lets the public choose the best designs on its Web site. Winning artists get $2,000, and Threadless controls production and distribution of the shirts. The company expects sales to hit $20 mil- lion this year, up from $6.2 million last year.

Charlie Trefry, a T-shirt designer and former art director at Burton, a maker of snowboards and outdoor wear, hired designer Josh Smith in 2004 after seeing some of his winning submissions on the Threadless site. It’s “a valuable pond to fish in for the hottest new artists looking to get exposure,” Mr. Trefry says.

Staple Design Price: From $26 Available:At sites like Comment: After the passing of “Maxwell Smart” star Don Adams last September, Staple design created this homage, called “Air Maxwell.” Says owner Jeff Ng of the graphic: “Who was the first person to put a shoe to his head?” About 600 of these four-color silk- screen shirts were made.

Email us at 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

July 12-18, 2006 / Vol. LXXIX, No.28, Lifestyle, page 22

The Celtic complexion

New York based image con- sultant Samantha von Sperling has some top color advice for Irish skin:

“Lucky for the Irish, this season there is a lot of khaki green and purple, which are great colors for the classic Irish complexion,” von Sper- ling said.

“There are a lot of burgun- dies, burnt oranges and burnt caramels in the Paris collec- tions, which look great on glowing, freckly skin. I would avoid bright or blue-based reds, but burgundy, burnt reds, rusty and blood colors work well. Nars has a yellow-based red lip- stick called Red Lizard, which is perfect for freckly skin with

Samantha von Sperling

red hair. I’ve put that on an Irish beauty and it can be beautiful.”

for a personal consultation with Samantha, call Polished Social Image Consultants at (646) 644-4300.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

My Day – Samantha von Sperling, Image Consultant

She’s “Queer Eye,” “What Not to Wear,” “Dr. Phil” and every HGTV makeover show all wrapped into one. Image consultant Samantha Von Sperling brings her fine pedigree to the successful but socially clueless.

How did you become an image consultant? I’ve been doing it my whole life. It started when I was five.

How’s that? Admittedly, I had a very privileged childhood. I’m the daughter of a rather famous designer, Coco Raynes. She’s an industrial graphic designer. Instead of an after-school program, I grew up in her design studio. I grew up listening to my mother explain why one shade of lime green was superior to another. I spent my whole childhood and adolescence having lunch with presidents and heads of industries. My early education was about what to say, what not to say, what to wear and how to be- have. That was more important than if I could read ot not. I used to come home with failed spelling tests and my mother would say,” Don’t worry about it, darling. One day you’ll have a secretary.”

What is the first thing you notice about your new clients? I look at somebody and I know, intuitively, in 10 seconds, what the problem is. Poor manners and bad grooming are usually the most glaring offenses. My clients across the board lend to be extreme- ly educated people

How is a rule of etiquette created? A rule of etiquette is created with an underlying mission of showing respect, hospitality and diplo- macy.

What are the most overlooked rules of etiquette? Opening doors for women and poor table manners. Chewing with your mouth open, not holding your knife and fork correctly.

What are the rules for text messaging? Text messaging is inappropriate to use when you’re trying to avoid speaking to someone. It’s also inappropriate when it requires more than a yes or no answer. When it’s faster to discuss something on the phone, just call them.

What on earth is happening to Britney Spears right now? She’s hurling on the inside. Her life is a rness right now. I think she’s afraid for her children. Her life is in turmoil, she’s afraid for her career. I think she’s acting out because she never has come with the skill set or background or education to have the composure to deal with some of the things she has to deal with, which, to be fair, most of us don’t have to deal with

Do you think the picture of her naked on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar improved her image at all? That cover was a cheap, tawdry imitation of the original of Demi Moore. Instead of looking like the glowing, pure-of-heart earth mother, she looks like a cheap showgirl. Gaudy necklace, lots of black makeup. However, to be fair, we need to evolve our thinking a little bit about family dynamics. Showgirls can be mommies, too.


1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Hampton Resident Magazine – June 06, 2006 – page 24

By Courtney Reed

Summer in the Hamptons of- fers exclusive parties, exquisite din- ing and extreme heat. Residents who want to look their best with- out feeling their worst can test these predictions for what’s going to be hot this summer – while still keep- ing your cool.

Big, floppy straw hats paired with sizeable sunglasses will not only be fashionable this summer, but also provide shade to protect our delicate faces from the sun, ac- cording to Polished Social Image Consultant founder Samantha von Sperling. She suggests choosing hats fit for today’s stars that are “elegant and dramatic.” Match big necklaces and chunky bracelets with your oversized hat and glasses, she says.

White linen trousers are all the rage this summer, says von Sperling. You can pair trousers with inexpen- sive, reliable flip-flops or wedges. She also recommends trying Stuart Weitzman’s sandals adorned with crystals for a more glamorous look. Antonia Short of New York Image Consultant foresees sandals as “su- per-strappy – the more the merrier is the theme this year, so don’t go for half measures there.”

For those seeking a sexier style, von Sperling explains that while peasant-skirts are no longer trendy, this summer will showcase a “wink to the can-can” with mid-calf or knee-length skirts featuring tons of layers. These comfortable and light skirts are perfect for battling the hu- midity. Add a spaghetti-strap tank

top in the summer’s hottest colors such as bright green, pink, lavender and turquoise while avoiding black or gray, says von Sperling. Short adds that “antique creams, brilliant whites, pearls, nudes and almond tones make up the creamy palette of the season, with white giving black a real run for its money.”

Von Sperling advises anyone seeking a more sophisticated en- semble for the summer to make an appointment with up-and-coming designer Michael Simone of Mione Designs for “fabulous and elegant couture dresses.” Short describes necessary evening-wear for the summer to include “chiffons, lace and silks. Soft and glimmering, the look is feminine, subtle and any- thing but simple.”

Let’s not forget the men. We’ll be seeing white dinner jackets that can be casual or formal depend- ing on the material of the jacket and pants, says von Sperling. For a more relaxed look, linen or cotton jackets can be matched with jeans and a colorful shirt such as aqua or burnt-orange. For the “Cary Grant, beyond fabulous” evening flair, complement a silk jacket with white linen pants, says von Sperling.

POLISHED social image consultants

Comfort And Style Looking Hot While Staying Cool

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

VOL.122 No. 32WEDNESDAY, MAY 31, 2006

Pages 1 and 4


‘Today’ Is Couric’s Last; Tomorrow, Her New Look


Staff Reporter of the Sun

While Katie Couric, signing off this morning after 15 years on NEC’s “Today” show, will resurface on network news in September, her impressive collection of strappy sandals, formfitting tops, and shiny makeup may be gone for good.

New York stylists surmise that the popular 49-year-old newswoman will tone down her wardrobe and makeup to cultivate a more serious image in line with her new gig as anchor of the “CBS Evening News.” Ms. Couric may trade her bolder outfits and hairstyles for tailored suits, classic pumps, pearl jewelry, stay-in-place hair, and matte makeup, observers say.

“She can’t deliver international news in a sweater set,” a director of the marketing and consulting firm Just Ask a Woman, Jennifer Drechsler, said.

Ms. Couric’s “Today” wardrobe isn’t appropriate for the person filling a job once held by legendary newsman Walter Cronkite, a New York-based image consultant, Samantha von

ON ‘TODAY’ Katie Couric signs off today.

‘She Can’t Deliver International News In a Sweater Set’

Sperling, said. “The morning news is a fluffier role,” she said. “You can be more fashion-forward; you can wear pink frosted lip gloss. In her new role, she needs to make a stronger statement. She’ll probably need to look a little more conservative, a little more structured around the edges so as not to distract from the actual delivery of the news.”

Still, Ms. Couric is not about to sport boxy or dowdy suits, Ms. von Sperling, the owner Polished Social Image Consultants, said. “She has great legs, and I don’t think this is the last time we’re going to see them” she said. “There’s nothing wrong with wearing skirt suits, as long as she’s no longer pairing them with open-toe stilettos. America doesn’t want her to morph into this hard, serious creature – it wouldn’t be believable.”

She estimates that Ms. Couric will need to purchase at least 10 designer suits, and matching shoes, which could cost more than $30,000. Not that those brand-name outfits would set her back much, even if she didn’t have a wardrobe allowance. At CBS, Ms. Couric will reportedly take home some $15 million a year.

While Ms. Couric may be commanding a salary on par with or higher than her male counterparts, women broadcasters face more pressure to keep up appearances, Ms. von Sperling said. “Here is the unspoken rule: Anchormen are allowed to get that wise, distinguished, salt-and-pepper gray,” she said, referring to the just-named anchor of World News Tonight, Charles Gibson. “For anchorwomen, that’s not the case. Katie Couric will be dying her hair until she no longer wants to be an anchorwoman. Katie’s a very smart cookie, and I’m sure she was aware of that when she took the job.”

Aging in the spotlight is no easy feat, but customized skin care and workout regimens can make it easier, the beauty and fashion director of the lifestyles magazine More, Lois Joy Johnson, said. Ms. Couric has appeared on the cover of More, a Ladies’ Home Journal spin-off for women in their 40s and 50s. “Most women over 40 in the public eye know that good skincare, a toned body, a few highlights, and a good night’s sleep can do more than all the makeup in Sephora,” Ms. Johnson said, naming a cosmetics mega-store. “I’ll bet Katie’s got a great dermatologist, a great colorist and hairstylist on her speed-dial, but the fashion aspect is all her own.”

Updating Ms. Couric’s look will be “a

collective effort,” likely comprising wardrobe specialists, hair stylists, and makeup artists, a New York makeup artist, Jessica Liebeskind, said.

Ms. Liebeskind, who has made up “Today Show” guests on about a dozen occasions, recommends that Ms. Couric wear makeup that matches her natural coloring, and limit the use of shimmery shadows and blushes.

Not that Ms. Couric’s career hinges on her makeup application, she said. “Katie’s really evolved so beautifully over the years,” Ms. Liebeskind, whose celebrity clients include runway model Heidi Klum and a “Sopranos” actress, Lorraine Bracco, said. “As she transitions into the next stage of her career, I think viewers will continue to embrace her for the talented broadcaster she is – whether or not she chooses more conservative style of makeup. She’ll always be ‘America’s Sweetheart.’”

Ms. Drechsler of Just Ask A Woman said she is optimistic that Ms. Couric, who will be the first woman to be a solo evening news anchor, will help change some of the received ideas about what women in broadcast journalism. “Maybe she’ll be the first woman to go gray on the evening news,” she said. “If Katie was brave enough to get a colonoscopy on camera, then she’s brave enough to get a wrinkle on television.”

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Details Magazine – May 2006 – pages 78 – 80 (continued on next page) 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

GENTLEMEN, I WANT YOU TO READ THE FOLLOWING NAMES to yourselves in a private room. Tell your girl- friend you brought work home from the office so she won’t disturb you for a few minutes. Get comfortable. Dim the lights.

Now picture these women, and let their imag- es wash over you: Hillary Clinton. Condoleezza Rice. Martha Stewart. Margaret Thatcher. Queen Elizabeth. OprahWinfrey.

Okay, now check yourself. Who’s got wood?

Nobody? I don’t understand. Aren’t these some of the most powerful women alive? Isn’t power, in Henry Kissinger’s immortal phrase, the ultimate aphrodisiac? So why aren’t you feeling it?

None of these women are hideously disfig- ured. They’re all sort of okay-looking, actually, with the exception of the queen, and she was born the year Germany was admitted to the League of Nations, so you’d expect a little wear and tear. And God knows that men who look like the Ore King but who happen to own a Fortune 500 com- pany have no trouble finding young ladies to bear their children. If you’re the kind of guy who sends shock waves through the stock market every time you clear your throat, Slavic models fresh out of high school will chain themselves to your mat- tress. And while politics maybe show business for ugly people, that doesn’t mean that the misshapen lumps of flesh prowling Capitol Hill have trouble getting a date. Strom Thurmond and Newt Gin- grich both carried on affairs with much younger women, and you can go online right now and buy a thong printed with an image of Karl Rove, that bubbling cauldron of eros, inside a big pink heart.

Yet you’re not exactly salivating at the pros- pect of these female warriors. You’re threatened, obviously. You’re afraid that you and Martha will be going at it on top of a duvet filled with the down of heirloom geese she raised herself when she’ll suddenly roll over and sniff, “You just don’t fit in.” Or that you’ll forget Oprah’s birthday and she’ll make you go on her show and grovel for forgiveness before an audience howling for your blood. Or that Condi will drop a bunker buster on your ass if she doesn’t like the restaurant you pick for your anniversary dinner. The woman’s gone to war with entire countries for less.

The fact is that despite all that’s changed in the past few decades, Kissinger’s law still doesn’t apply to everybody. Sure, power can work as a pheromone in gay circles, but straight men often seem to be immune. “It’s interesting, because even though money and power enhance a man’s ego, many men feel diminished by those things if they are accoutrements of the woman they are dating,” says Arianna Huffington, empress of the Huffington Post. She’s been thinking about such

issues lately as she finishes writing a book of ad-

Details Magazine – May 2006 – pages 78 – 80 (continued from previous page)


contends that American women are especially confused about this. “In France, an educated pro- fessional woman is allowed to be powerful and economically sound without having to give up her identity as a woman,” she says. “We’re about 30, 40 years behind other parts of the world.”

There is comfort here for men. Maybe you’re not a closet chauvinist with an ego as thin as a cobweb just because you don’t want to do Mar- tha. It’s not your fault – it’s hers! She doesn’t want you to get aroused, because she’s afraid all the blood will drain from your brain and you won’t notice what a totally kickass mogul she is.

Fear, in fact, seems to be a recurring theme in the way powerful women present themselves. Female politicians are afraid to look too alluring

lest they come across as slutty and louche (read: liberal and unelectable). Female executives are afraid they’ll be sent out for coffee while the boys divvy up the spoils. And fear is never appealing. No matter how strong you are, you seem weak if you’re not at ease with your own power. Exhibit A here, as for so many other lessons in Getting It All Wrong, is Hillary.

“My problem with Hillary Clinton is her inau- thenticity,” Huffington says. “Exuding a sense of self-confidence is incredibly attractive, and with Hillary Clinton I get the exact opposite. There’s always the sense of looking over her shoulder to see how she’s going to be perceived. To me that is the most unalluring thing in a woman – when you radiate calculation instead of boldness. Men who in fact are not particularly attractive can ra- diate confidence. And the same thing can go for women.”

Which is why von Sperling takes heart in what she perceives as an emerging worldwide trend: independent women who keep boy toys. “As women break through certain boundaries, they are starting to create their own rules,” she says. “It used to be reserved just for older wealthy women to keep a younger man. Now the choices are broader.”

As soon as she says this, I know that von Sper- ling has hit on the very thing that’s been missing from the lives of our powerful women: If Condi and Martha and Oprah truly want to be taken seri- ously, what they need is a male Monica.

Beret optional. ■

vice for women called On Becoming Fearless.

social image consultants

“Some men definitely don’t want to deal with someone who is completely independent.” Yet Huffington insists that not every man slinks away like a whipped dog when he meets a strong, self- possessed woman. “It’s by no means universal,” she says. “It maybe the big dividing line among men. There are many guys I’ve been fortunate to know who find it a positive attribute.”

One such man is Michael De Luca, former head of production at New Line Cinema. “What I find sexy about women in Hollywood who have achieved positions of power or influence is that most of them are incredibly passionate about the movies,” De Luca says. “Passion is what I find

really attractive. I think I had one lunch and one meeting with [studio head] Sherry Lansing. She radiated love for the business and the art form – I found that intoxicating.” De Luca goes on to name Amy Pascal, Donna Langley, Mary Parent, and Stacey Snider as film-industry brokers he finds charismatic. True, he works, has worked, or might someday work with all these women. On the other hand, they’re also objectively pretty hot. Maybe women in Hollywood, despite all you hear about glass ceilings and paycheck differentials, have parity when it comes to being attractive and powerful at the same time.

A difficult trick, that, although not for a man. A guy can look sexy without appearing to try to look sexy. Any genre of menswear you can name comes in a sexy version. We’ve got sexy and re- laxed, sexy and athletic, sexy and literary, sexy and formal, sexy and firefighter, sexy and Ivy League, sexy and commander-in-chief. Where does a woman buy a dress that says sexy and for- mer First Lady with lots of baggage and probably running for commander-in-chief?

According to Samantha von Sperling, an im- age consultant in New York and Boston who of- ten leads grooming seminars for corporate clients, many working women still worry that they won’t be taken seriously if they’re sexy-and-anything. “I spend an awful lot of time telling women to put heels back on,” von Sperling says. “There are women who think that because they went to Har- vard, lipstick is going to make them dumb. And it won’t. People assume that if you look put together then your mind is put together too.” Von Sperling

Pete Wells, Details, May 2006 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

“When I see a parent struggling with a 7-year-old’s social behavior … it’s too late! The parent has dropped the ball.”

By Alison Hogan

Samantha von Sperling, NY etiquette/image consultant

It’s there in the fellow subway traveler a few inches away who coughs in your direction with- out covering his mouth, in the woman on the bus speaking loudly into her cell phone for the entire ride uptown, and in the group of high school girls laughing and gossiping loudly and making every- one’s heads turn. It’s there in the guy who breezes through the heavy door, leaving it to swing back in your direction, and in the woman who says nothing in recognition as you politely hold the door open for her. Then there’s the bar mitzvah you’re planning; the caterer is calling, and you’re still waiting for 20 people to RSVP. Or the birthday gift you’ve sent to your husband’s cousin in Arizona; you never do find out if it arrived because no thank-you note has appeared in your mailbox.

nosedive? “It’s the result of TV, videogames, and two parents working,” believes Westchester mom Melissa Leonard, who is also a professional eti- quette expert. “Our society puts more emphasis on making kids happy than on giving them the skills they will need later on in life.”

because their primary teachers – their parents – are of the generation that did not learn good manners from their parents. “If parents don’t have the skills, they can’t teach their children. And you cannot pos- sibly blame this on MTV videos,” she maintains.

So what if your kid doesn’t say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ every time? Isn’t it more important to get her on an academic track early, to encourage hard work and education in order for her to emerge ready to compete in an increasingly global world?

We all encounter such bad behavior in our daily lives. Indeed, common courtesy doesn’t seem to be so common anymore – because the perpetrators are missing the vital link: They never learned the proper ways to behave at the most important time – when they were children.

Not according to a recent national survey of pre- school teachers, 80 percent of whom believe parents are overemphasizing scholastic skills over social de- velopment. Says family therapist and parent educa- tor Sheri Glucoft Wong: “The survey demonstrates that parents can have a more important influence on their young children’s eventual school success by supporting basic social and character development, and by providing them with opportunities to play and learn in cooperation with others.”

DuringarecentbriefdelayattheairportinDen- ver while an oxygen tank arrived for one of the pas- sengers,anothertraveler“beganscreaminghewould miss his connection, and asking why this lady was so important,” reported The New York Times. The reporter acknowledged similar bad travel behavior but put it down to post 9/11 long lines and intrusive security checks causing increased traveler stress. What about simply a lack of consideration?

Manhattan-based etiquette expert and image consultant Samantha von Sperling, director of Pol- ished[SocialImageConsultants],agreeswithmost of this. Many parents are at work, she says, and theirchildrenarebeingcaredforbysomeoneelse,a caregiver who might be lacking a degree of “polish” (including a teen sitter who, similar to her charges, has not been schooled in manners). Those children are not, by and large, being prepared to function well in the grownup world that, like it or not, does require certain levels of social skills. But von Sper- ling believes the decline has been happening since the 1950s, when American society changed, and that today’s kids are not learning correct behaviorpages 7, 8, 9, 68 (continued on next page)

While Polished’s von Sperling believes “it is the responsibility of every single adult in contact with a young person” to pass on good manners and civil behavior, today’s teachers report they cannot make this kind of education a priority.

Why the lack of manners?

BigAppleParent – May 2006 –

Why have modern manners taken such a noted

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

What’s the big deal?

Behavior lacking in manners continues to erode. Witness the recent trend in restaurants, where wait- ers clear away plates even though one diner in the group might still be eating. Witness, too, the ex- cuses being made for manner-less behavior. When a 12-year-old recently stuck a wad of gum on a Helen Frankenthaler painting, worth $1.5 million, hanging at the Detroit Institute of Arts, the gum left a chemi- cal residue the size of a quarter. The excuse made to the Associated Press by the director of the boy’s school: “He is only 12 and I don’t think he under- stood the ramifications of what he did…”

Dr. Pier Massimo Forni, professor and co- founder of the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins, and author of Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct, is in agreement. “It’s crucial that children learn to connect civility with strength and determination rather than weakness. It is up to the adults in their lives to show them the competi- tive advantages of being known as trustworthy, con- siderate and kind,” he believes, adding: “Nice guys finish first if they are also smart and poised. We are attracted by this kind of person. We are attracted by someone who is a good listener. We trust this person andwewanttoassociatewiththisperson.”


“We do have a responsibility and I think all teach- ers try, but I really feel it is up to the parents to be-

BigAppleParent – May 2006 – www.parentsknow.comKimD’Amato,ownerofPriti,anorganicspainthe Refusingaplaydate

pages 7, 8, 9, 68 (continued from previous page)

EastVillage,isshockedbythebadlanguagesheover- SvS:Therearetwowaystohandlethis.Youcanal- come the main enforcers,” says Jackie Lichtenstein, hears from kids on the street. D’Amato, who grew up ways make another arrangement for you child at that who teaches at P.S. 232 in Howard Beach, Australia, has noticed that kids as young as 12 cursetime. Or, you have to sometimes be kind. Explain to

“WedohavearesponsibilityandIthinkallteach- lo udly h

believes that by a certain age, it might actually be too

SvS: A parent has to instill in a child: “I will listen to you, but not if you interrupt me.” Then you can’t give in! (Unless it’s a real emergency, of course!)

late. “A kid of 8 or 9 who doesn’t have basic manners Writing a thank-you note for something you don’t like or skills will lose out to kids who have manners and SvS: It’s the same as writing a thank-you for some- know how to show respect.”thing you do like! You include some detail about the


Startingearlyinthemannersdepartmentistheonly gift;youfindsomeredeemingquality.Ifgrandmother


SvS:Ifthere’samotheryoujustcan’tgetalongwith, you could volunteer to take both the children on an outingorplaydate.Or,ifyouhavetosocializewith the other mother, try and make the time spent together less taxing. Suggest going to a children’s play, or the library, or to a Disney movie – an activity where the time is not spent just talking. Try to find a common groundforthesakeofyourchildren.Canyoutalkto the mom about her hobbies or interests, so you can try and connect and the children will be able to maintain their friendship?

waytoassureyourchildwillberespectfulduringthose sendsasweaterthechilddoesn’tlike,heorshecanstill difficult “do-for-me” teen years, believes Leonard.say something like: ‘Thank you for the blue sweater –

VonSperlingagrees.“Parentsoftenwaittoolong,” blueismyfavoritecolor!’Ifit’satoythatthechildis

she says. “I’ll have parents calling me, saying, ‘My not interested in, he or she can still say: ‘Thank you

children have no manners. I don’t know what to do. so much for the thoughtful gift. It was so kind of you

They don’t listen to me!’ “Children should be taught to send me something for my birthday.’ Up till around

during those formative years when they’re listening age 13, parents really need to be involved in the writ- andlearningtoformspeech.Infancyisnottooearly.If ingofthank-younotes.Afterthat,thechildshouldbe

the parents are speaking politely all the time at home, responsible for writing on their own. the child will grow up with that standard.

“By age 3, a child should be totally capable – and Pre-teens or teens who don’t want to attend family events expected-tosay‘please’and‘thankyou’.WhenIsee SvS:Thisisaneducationindiplomacy.Weallhaveto

aparentstrugglingwitha7-year-old’ssocialbehavior- dothingsinthisworldthatwedon’tlike.Butkidsneed


it’s too late! The parent has dropped the ball.”to know that family is important, whether we like them

SvS: You can leave without them, once. They have to knowthatyoumeanwhatyousay.

LyssStern,founderoftheNewYorkCitysocializ- ornot.Now,ifyouhaveabusy,overscheduled17-year- ingandnetworkingorganization,DivalyssciousMoms, oldwhoisotherwisepoliteandneedstheweekendto

says that, as a former teacher, she knows how important work on an important school assignment, that’s when

We overprotect our children in this country. If you wanttocreateacapableadult,youhavetoletthem crossthestreetbythemselvesatsomepoint.Youhave to let them learn to handle themselves in the world. Remember: If you hold a child to high expectations, that’s what you’ll get!

Judy Antell contibuted to this article

BigAppleParent – May 2006 –

itistoteachmannersataveryyoungage.Sheinsists theparentmaybeabletosayokay.Buttosay,“No,I’m thather2-year-oldson,Jackson,says‘please’and‘thank notgoingtomycousin’sweddingbecauseIdon’tlike

you’. Stern reports seeing a 5-year-old in a restaurant re- her” – that’s not acceptable. cently, spitting juice through a straw at his mother. The mother, who was on her cell phone, “did not bat an eye.” Kissing forceful relative Sternsaysthatifhersonmisbehavesatarestaurant,she SvS:Again,thisispartoflife-withfamily.Tellyour immediately takes him outside. As she notes, “Children child to stand there and take it.

can never learn manners early enough!”

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004646.644.4300

ere, and

adds t


“It is

only in A

ers try, but I really feel it is up to the parents to become you hear kids being so rude.”like in everyone, that what might not be important the main enforcers,” says Jackie Lichtenstein, whosocial image consultantsto us could very well be important to the other child.

teaches at P.S. 232 in Howard Beach, Queens.Setting examples Ironically, Jon Goldman, an English teacher at Bea-“Parents have to set a good example,” stresses Me-

There is value in learning to broaden one’s social hori- zons. Plan the playdate so it doesn’t involve too much interaction.

SvS:Theparentshouldoffertoreplacetheitem,be- causetheparentisresponsiblefortheirchild’sactions. What worries me is this kind of thing happening in the first place. Of course, there are accidents – and some peopledon’tunderstandthattheyneedtoputawaythe Ming vase when a child visits!

SvS: Children need to learn not to do this. Even a small childof4or5canunderstandcertainnuancesofwhat is acceptable, what is social and what is anti-social – if it’sexplainedtothem.Weunderestimateboththein- tellect and sensitivity level of small children, I think.

SvS: It needs to be explained to a child that it’s impo- lite to stare at people, period – before they come across a disabled person. Of course, it could still happen, as childrenarecurious.Inthatcase,theparentneedsto explain that people are the same, despite disabilities.

conHighSchool,andfatherofa5-year-old,pointsout lissaLeonard.“Whenkidsareveryyoung,makesure that it is often parents, who should be teaching man- they say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ for everything you nerstotheirchildren,whoarethemselvesoutofline. givethem.”Eveniftheycan’tspeakyet,Leonardsug- “Ihaveseenparentsthreatenkidsinfrontofusduring geststheymakesomesortofgrunttoindicatethanks. conferences,andI’vehadtokeepafewparentsfrom “Andiftheydon’t,don’tgivethethingtothemuntil whacking their kids,” he reports.they do,” she says.


“Our culture has always been one of independenceThank-you notes serve as a good model, even for andfreespeech,andasthatevolved,welostourau- theveryyoung.InLeonard’sfamily,herdaughters, thoritarian approach to parenting,” believes Manhat- ages 4 and 5, participate in the process: “I write the tanpsychologistDr.AnneM.Donnelly.“That’snot note,butIhavethemsigntheirnamesanddrawapic- necessarily bad; we want to raise independent think- ture,” she says.

If your child says something indiscreet or hurtful to someone

ers. But the pendulum has swung pretty far, and now,It helps to surround yourself with people who have beingindependentsometimestranslatesintonotre- similarvaluesandtosetruleswhenyourkidsgotoplay specting your elders or any authority.dates, Leonard advises, saying, “I tell other parents or

“Manyofushavetriedtoteachourchildrenman- caregivers:‘MykidsarenotallowedtowatchX,Yand ners, but not in an authoritative way. So manners today Z.’” Afterwards, ask the adults if your kids behaved. do not have the same meaning. We have lost – or given“Once you’ve established a firm foundation with up-theconceptof‘lady’and‘gentleman’.Wedon’t young children,” she concludes, “you just add on define people that way. Instead, today’s kids present more guidelines as they get older.”


themselves through brands. What you wear says more about you than how you behave.”SOME EVERYDAY SITUATIONS

Courtesy begins at homeone and group classes and seminars. We posed some

“Manners have to start in the home. And you have common situations to the director of Polished Social to start early,” stresses etiquette expert Leonard, who Image Consultants, NYC:

When kids try to interrupt while you’re on the phone



a that your child that it’s important to find something you

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY 10004

POLISHED social image consultants

When Meredith finally met her dog’s vet on the April 2 episode of Grey’s Anatomy, she – and female viewers everywhere — swooned. Turns out the hunk is former boy star Chris O’Donnell, 25. My, how he’s grown! The episode was the first of eight in which Chris is set to

appear after a cooled-down movie career and the failed 2005 sitcom Head Cases.

Smart move? Absolutely, says celebrity- image consultant samantha von Sperling, “It’s a great

opportunity for him, “ she says. “He’s being associated with an all-star cast on a really hot show with super- high visibility.” We’re hooked!

Life & Style Weekly, April 24th, 2006, page 40

POLISHED social image consultants

Transcription by Polished Social Image Consultants Announcer: How do I look? Am I projecting OK? It’s Friday, time for the “Job Files”.

Samantha von Sperling: My name is Samantha von Sperling, and I’m an image consultant. I offer etiquette lessons, social skills, interview skills … the dining etiquette class is really every possible dining scenario … for example, asparagus is to be eaten with your fingers … this is very, very intimate work. It’s something that you have to feel passionately about. It’s not superficial. And when you can help somebody reach a new place in their life and you help somebody help land a job … that is a tremendous feeling.

Announcer: Today’s “Job File” was produced by Lindsay Thomas. The “Marketplace Morning Report” is produced and distributed by American Public Media.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Condie Sweats For The Cameras

Associated Press – March 02, 2006

Written By Ben Feller (c)MMVI

Never let them see you sweat? Yeah, right.

Condoleezza Rice, the nation’s top diplomat, is appearing in a three-part TV interview in which she rides a bike, works on her abs, pumps iron and talks about her weight.

Public figures usually don’t go public when they work on their figures, though when they do, it can help humanize their images. President Bush is sometimes photographed trying to stay fit on his bike, and President Clinton took some high-profile jogs.

But secretaries of state, a job most people associate with the stiff, inscrutable language of diplomacy? Three days on TV in the gym?

It’s hard to picture her predecessors Colin Powell or Madeleine Albright doing the same. How about Warren Christopher? Alex- ander Haig? Not likely.

Samantha von Sperling, a New York-based image consultant whose customers include politicians, was skeptical. She admires Rice, but finds this all to be a bit “Oprah-esque.”

“It just strikes me as, what’s the point?” she said. “Why do I need to see her in Spandex? It has nothing to do with the quality of her mind. And if she were a man, they wouldn’t have asked her to do the story.”

Others argued that given the nation’s weight problem, some role modeling couldn’t hurt.

“It’s enormously encouraging to other folks who have very busy lives,” said Alicia Moag-Stahlberg, executive director of Action for Healthy Kids, a coalition of more than 40 health and educa- tion agencies.

She lauded Rice for opening up her exercise routine to the public, adding: “It does take someone who has good humility to show all sides of themselves.”

For a Bush administration that tries so hard to stay on message, this one is clear: If Rice makes time for exercise as one of the busi- est people in the world, so can most anyone.

“I really need to get in shape, so I should probably watch,” said E.J. Dionne Jr., a syndicated columnist and senior fellow at The Brookings Institution. He borrowed a line from his assistant

give a slogan to Rice’s regimen tough on terrorism, tough on fat.

The first segment aired Wednesday on Washington’s NBC affiliate. Now all the people working on their belt line inside the Beltway can see how the secretary of state does it.

Rice gets up at 4:30 a.m. She exercises every day, no mat- ter where in the world she is. The interview shows her in the State Department gym, sweating in ordinary workout clothes.

There’s nothing diplomatic about it, really. As her boss, President Bush, might say, it’s hard work.

At one point, Rice is on a mat, isolating her abdominal muscles, listening as her ex-Marine trainer tells her to find the right balance. Apparently, Rice knows all about that.

“When I’m on the road, I absolutely schedule time to get up in the morning and exercise first,” Rice said in the inter- view, fresh off a tiring trip to the Middle East.

So is this uplifting? Unbecoming? Either way, Rice may be playing to a converted audience. Wednesday’s segment aired at 5:45 a.m.

At that hour, only the deeply committed are exercising. At least now, there’s something healthy on TV to watch.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (right) works out Saturday at the State Department gym with WRC-TV anchor Barbara Harrison (Photo WRC-TV/AP)

“Why do I need to see her in Spandex? It has nothing to do with the quality of her mind.” Samantha von Sperling, image consultant

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Transcription by Polished Social Image Consultants

Sarah MacKay: This is Sarah MacKay, Ms. Write, reporting live from SES New York with Webmaster Radio dot FM. I’m here with Samantha von Sperling of I’m Live dot com. Hi Samantha, how are you doing?

Samantha von Sperling:Hello, hi, how are you?

Sarah MacKay: Good, good. Well, it seems like you have a very popular booth here today. So, tell us a little about I’m Live dot com. What exactly is it?

Samantha von Sperling: Well Sarah, what’s really fabulous about I’m Live is that I’m Live allows a user to subscribe and log on to I’m Live and speak to an expert in a variety of fields who could be located anywhere in the world. So, twenty four hours a day. For example, if you would want to speak to a doctor, you are not limited to a doctor in your neighborhood, or your city, or your doctor who says “I’m not available until three weeks from Sunday.” The doctor you speak to on I’m Live is probably the best – one of the best in the world in his field – he might be located in, I don’t know, Hong Kong let’s say, but he’ll speak to you in real time through the aid of a webcam. So you could speak to a banker in Switzerland, a car- diologist in france, an image consultant like me here in new york City, or a tree-landscape architect in Vermont. So the possibilities are really endless.

Sarah MacKay: That’s so neat. I never heard of anything like that. That’s awesome. And, so, you’re an image consultant for I’m Live dot com. So, what kind of questions do people generally logon and ask?

Samantha von Sperling: People ask me what color they should be wearing, or they’re doing a business week in Germany with their company and what are the business protocols and customs that they should be aware of, how should they dress for a certain oc- casion, what is the etiquette or protocol for a particular situation, presentation skills, etiquette questions, grooming questions, make- up/hair questions, shirt-tie combinations … a plethora of questions. So, I basically consult on things that either are aesthetic – or ap- pearance related – or things that have to do with social graces and communication skills.

Sarah MacKay: Great and I have to tell all our listeners, she looks fabulous.

Samantha von Sperling: Thank you! Sarah MacKay: So, you should take the advice to heart here. Now,

so, is there someone from each discipline online at all times?

Samantha von Sperling: No, I know that I’m only available at cer- tain days and certain times. But, there is an upside to that. The upside is to me, the expert, is that it might be an off-peak hour for me. Let’s say I choose to be available to I’m Live Monday evenings from six to nine, I might not have any clients in New York City at that time anyway, because I’ve already seen everybody, but in another time zone it could be prime time for people to want to speak to me. so I haven’t lost anything, I’ve only gained in the comfort of my own

office, and it’s the opportunity to be a part of an international com- munity of experts that is far more valid, I think, than just an adver- tisement. So it exposes me to a much larger market space.

Sarah MacKay: That’s so neat. So, the hours that you are online, is that posted for people that have come on and gotten your advice and really benefited from it? They can visit back at that time?

Samantha von Sperling:Absolutely.

Sarah MacKay: And, is there any charge for users?

Samantha von Sperling:Yes. From what I understand, because I’m a fairly new expert for I’m Live – I mean, they have just con- tracted me – for the user it is a per-minute arrangement.

Sarah MacKay: That’s so neat though. How valuable to be able to just hop online and to talk to experts all over the world. Now you have this fabulous giveaway, I believe. Is that yours over there?

Samantha von Sperling:I’m Live is giving away a Jeep. Isn’t that cool?

Sarah MacKay: That’s so cool. I’ve got to throw my business card in there.

Samantha von Sperling:Definitely, most definitely.

Sarah MacKay: And also, your booth here is so neat. It’s a really unique booth design. It seems like you’ve been busy the whole show, has it been good for you?

Samantha von Sperling: Yes, it’s been really busy, and I’ve gotten all kinds of questions from “What is the protocol for this particular country?”, or “I have an office that has multiple offices in differ- ent countries and we’re having communication problems. Can you solve them?” I don’t mean technology communication problems, I mean interpersonal skills. Somebody asked me how to propose to his girlfriend. Somebody asked me what to wear to a meeting, all kinds of questions. So yes, they’re giving away that car today, and I know that they had a designer actually build this booth. I think that the idea, if I’m not mistaken … well, to me, it says “Webcam lens”. Because everything is round and three dimensional and it connotes that we are not separated by a time zone or continent. It’s the same as if you were right in front of me.

Sarah MacKay: It’s so neat. It’s one of the neatest booths that I’ve seen at this show.

Samantha von Sperling: It’s been really, really busy. It’s been a great experience, a lot of fun. I’ve head a blast. I think one of the other, perhaps the best, benefits to the consumer is that you are not limited to, let’s say, the best person on the subject in your city, or state. You can speak to one of the top people in their industry in the world, a great advantage to the consumer.

Sarah MacKay: That’s amazing and it sounds like something that no one else is doing right now. So, we’ll have to tell all our listeners to hop by the I’m Live booth, take advantage of Samantha’s advice today, and you can also visit them online at

Samantha von Sperling: Thank you so much Sarah, thank you. Sarah MacKay: Thank you Samantha, my pleasure.

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

Perfecting the look, head to toe

Associated Press – December 29, 2005

Written By Vanessa Petit

More people are turning to image consultants to revamp their wardrobes — not to mention their diction and ballroom dancing skills, as Vanessa Petit explains.

Samantha von Sperling, director of New York-

based Polished Social Image Consultants. (AP Photo/HO)

If you’re going to meet the Queen of Denmark, you’d better have your act together.

When Clarissa Rodriguez found out she would be meeting Danish royalty, she was riddled with anxiety and trepidation, asking herself: What do I wear? How do I act?

“I wanted to be able to act natural, feel comfortable and appropriate across all borders and boundar- ies. It’s not everyday that you meet the Queen of Denmark,” said Clarissa Rodriguez, 40, who is from Boston and who makes a living as an organizing and productivity consultant for businesses and homes.

Even though Rodriguez’s job is to help clients to cut down the clutter and be more efficient, her own closets were bursting at the seams. And yet, she had nothing to wear.

“That’s when I made the decision to call Samantha,” said Rodriguez and added, “that’s when my journey of the recreation of my image began.”

Rodriguez got a house call from Samantha von Sper- ling, director of Polished Social Image, a consulting firm specializing in wardrobe, etiquette, ballroom dancing and diction.

Von Sperling, who met Rodriguez on a TV show in Boston, inspected her client’s closet and helped her trim the fat. Rodriguez kept some basic clothing and threw out the dated, worn-out items she’d had for decades.

Then came the fun part: They went on a $1,000 shopping spree — not including von Sperling’s fee — and spruced up Rodriguez’s wardrobe.

“Samantha has taught me so much about what looks good on me. She has given me a framework, introduced me to new colors and textures,” Rodri- guez explained. “When I leave the house I feel like a million bucks.”

And like many image consultants, von Sperling’s expertise extends well beyond her clients’ threads.

“I am interested in the social packaging,” said von Sperling, 34, who teaches dining etiquette, polite conversation, even seduction. “I never see a person’s social behavior and how they dress as separate entities. Everything you do and say says something about who you are and affects how you are perceived by other people.”

Her wisdom does not come cheap — it comes at $200 an hour.

Von Sperling works with clients from all walks of life. She works with men as well as women, and some- times helps out with weddings. She’ll even teach the basics to couples seeking dancing lessons.

“Now I’m in my holiday shopping phase,” explained von Sperling, whose clients often seek her assistance with their shopping lists.

In the late 1980s, department stores started offering personal shoppers for their clients, a concept that has evolved into image consulting and revamping entire wardrobes.

Jordana Szpiro sought out von Sperling because she wanted to find basic, comfortable work clothing. Szpiro, a podiatrist and felt she always had messy shopping experiences that left her with clothes she ultimately would not wear.

“Some people are just not good at stepping out of themselves and analyzing what works for them,” said Szpiro, who now wears skirts to work — some- thing she never would have considered before meeting von Sperling.

“It used to be that luxury was only for the classes. But it’s been reinterpreted down to the masses,” said Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing, which studies luxury retail trends. Pointing to shows like “What not to Wear,” she says more people want help keeping up with ever-changing styles.

Elena Castaneda, director of New York Image Con- sultants, says demand for her services has grown exponentially over the past couple of years.

“People are coming to terms with the idea of hiring someone to help them get dressed, and once they go through the process and find their sense of style, they can never turn back.”

The growing number of time-starved businessmen and women, soccer moms and college students has been very good for business at her company.

“Their time is an issue. They are overworked. They wake up and are brain-dead and they just stare at their closet and don’t know where to begin,” Castaneda said.

To help our her clients keep up with their wardrobes, she creates books of photos of the outfits they’ve purchased.

“They are 8 by 10 photos that they can flip through with everything that they bought,” she said. “It’s all contained in the photographs so they can have a sense of what goes with what. It’s a no-brainer. They wake up in the morning and their lives are saved.”

Castaneda charges $250 an hour, or $1800 a day. Her clients can spend anywhere from $3,000 to $50,000 on their new clothes, depending on the season and where they shop. (Fall and winter are more expensive than spring and summer, mostly because of the outerwear, Castaneda explains.)

“It’s very easy to fall into the 80/20 rule, where you use 20 percent of your clothing 80 percent of the time,” Castaneda said. “It’s a huge investment to change your whole wardrobe, but in the end, you are actually saving money.”

Castaneda, who works mostly with men, says her clients are often very hush-hush about seeking her out.

“Shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy are bringing image consultants and stylists out of the closet and more men into the game,” Castaneda said.

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Home > the Edge > Teen News

Getting her act together: `Survivor’s Guide’ comes to aid of

Arlington high schooler

By Tenley Woodman Monday, October 25, 2004

Meet the self-proclaimed teen queen of chaos, Sarah Manoli. As a junior at Arlington High School, the aspiring art major lugged around a 30 pound book bag, had ants in

her bedroom and survived on uncooked Ramen noodles with peanut butter.

That was then, this is now.

Manoli, 17, now a senior, was saved from her disorganization by the new local reality TV program “Surivor’s Guide to High School,” airing Wednesday at 9 p.m. on WGBH (Ch. 2).

“The thing that I liked about this show is that a lot of reality shows are superficial. This really helped me in ways that were actually meaningful,” Manoli said during a phone interview.

“I am very busy. I act, so I’m in the musical every year at school. I do welding, I was in the art all-state last year. I’m in the select singer group at my school.”

Manoli is so busy, she even forgot to take the SATs.

Like Bravo’s popular “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” a team of experts tackled five problem areas in Manoli’s life: Thabiti Brown, academic coach; John Kuntz, presentation coach; Tracy O’Connell, life coach; Clarissa Rodriguez, un-clutter coach; and Samantha Von Sperling, image coach.

Think of it as The Fab Five for teens.

In Wednesday night’s pilot episode, viewers will see Manoli getting whisked away from school in a yellow Cooper Mini to meet her team.

The task for the episode: prepare for Manoli’s sister’s college homecoming (with whom she shares a bedroom) and make time for Manoli’s friends.

“I thought it was so much fun. It was probably the most tiring thing I’ve ever done,” Manoli said.

In four days the team helped prepare Manoli for college interviews, create a better homework environment, organize her bookbag and bedroom, and throw a party for friends.

“I’m still a little messy but now I’m better about thinking about whether I need to keep things. I’m a pack rat,” she said.

( “Survivor’s Guide to High School” premieres Wednesday at 9 p.m. on WGBH (Ch. 2). )

© Copyright by the Boston Herald and Herald Interactive Advertising Systems, Inc. No portion of or its content may be reproduced without the owner’s written permission. Privacy Commitment

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

February 4-17, 2004, pages 22-23

– continued – 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

– continued – 1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

Elegant Wedding Magazine December 2003

Sharper Image

By C.L.V. What if you could find the perfect wedding gown without setting foot in a bridal boutique? With the help of Boston native Samantha von Sperling, you just might.

Von Sperling spent time following career paths from actress and makeup artist to model and dance instructor after graduating from New York University with degrees in edu- cation theater, speech communication and public relations. Now, she has turned her expertise into Polished, a social image consulting firm on Clarendon Street.

“Polished is the culmination of a lifetime’s work,” says von Sperling. Her services range from personal training and dance instruction to bridal makeup application, lessons in etiquette and personal shopping.

Working with a number of Boston’s fine boutiques — Priscilla of Boston, The Altered Bride, Boutique La Reine — as well as shops for brides on a budget, von Sperling won’t rest until her client is satisfied.

“I will get a person dressed at her budget, whether she is looking at Vera Wang, Filene’s or something in between,” says von Sperling. If needed, she also can outfit the entire bridal party, mother of the bride and even the groom.

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants


1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

“You exceeded my expectations at every step – from the obvious skill you exhibited in preparing potential outfits and throughout the day of personal shopping until you applied the final touches of makeup. Tab was blown away, which, I believe, is the true measure of your hard work. Forever we have an amazing story to tell about our engagement.”

Matthew, Polished Planningtm Client

“There were a lot of positive comments made to us about our first dance. Our fa- vorite is from the photographer who said it was one of the best first dances she’s seen.”

Tatiana and Michael, Clients

“Your time spent with me gave me the encouragement to believe deeply in my abilities. I’ve also learned to remember that the small things I can do are greatly remembered! I can’t wait for our next session.”

Cynthia, etiquette Client

“Bill and I certainly had found the rhythm of love, but were without the rhythm of dance…until we met Samantha!! In less than six months, Bill and I became comfort- able with the fox-trot, waltz and swing … which is no small accomplishment in that we literally had no working knowledge of ballroom dance before we began.”

Nuala and Bill, Clients

“She created a dance that was uniquely ours, that was memorable for ourselves and our guests. Everyone seemed surprised that we had the ability to dance like something they’d seen in black and white films.”

Anne and Dan, Clients

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

“Putting together an event such as the Cities Of America Pageant is something that requies hard work, dedication and a positive attitude, all of which you displayed throughout the entire week. I cannot begin to tell you what a pleasure and honor it was to have met and worked with you.”

Patricia Bratek, Pageant Coordinator – Cities of America

“Your presentation on la femme Francaise was absolutely delightful and added the perfect je ne sais quoi to the afternoon. Furthermore, attendees loved the oppor- tunity to learn more about the variety of services offered by Polished and receive expert advice on such wide ranges of issues.”

Noemi, Seminar Client – Alliance Francaise

“Samantha’s teaching skills are excellent. She is patient, enthusiastic and an ex- tremely easy person with whom to work. Samantha’s genuine love for her work expresses itself in the ways in which she encourages the students.”

Kristin lynch, Office of Student Activities – Fordham University

“Thank you so much for the image consultation generously donated to the Young Leadership Division of Combined Jewish Philanthropies. We greatly appreciate your participation in this worthy effort.”

J.B. and R.S. – Young leadership Division Raffle Committee

“The make-up you introduced me to is nothing short of miraculous. I’ve been prac- ticing its application and believe I’m beginning to gain some confidence with it. Your thoughtfulness in selecting products simple enough for me to master without sacrificing effectiveness is much appreciated.”

Dee – Makeup Consultation

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY

POLISHED social image consultants

1 West Street, Suite 3305, New York, NY