Conselle's “Boot Camp for Image Professionals”
AMERICA GOING DOWN THE TUBE IN A T-SHIRT?
PROVO, UTAH—Judith Rasband predicted the recent decline of the U.S. economy in 1995, with her controversial article “America’s Going Down The Tube In A T Shirt.” Rasband, educator and president of the Conselle Institute of Image Management, attributes much of the current decline in Corporate America’s productivity to the “dress-down” trend that began in the 60s and moved into high gear in the 90s.
Image, believes Rasband, matters so much that she has developed a professional image management curriculum. To date, the Institute has certified 40 image professionals through its intensive-study program, dubbed “boot camp for image professionals” by Elisa Dworak, a recent attendee from Chicago.
The14-day educational training program is based upon internationally accepted standards and principals for professional dress and image. It provides accurate, proven concepts, strategies and techniques for the image professional through interactive image management exercises and a 15-month mentorship to define and explore the communications and attitudes conveyed by the clothes we wear.
Participants in the program may qualify for independent studies credit at most colleges and universities. Professionals most recently certified as image management consultants include Mary Ellen Shuman, New York; Karen Ormsby, Houston; Sandra Moore, Portland, Oregon; Hsueh Lee, Malaysia; and Rachele Dee, Denver.
“Your values determine what you choose to wear. The way you look also affects the way you think, the way you feel, the way you act or conduct yourself, and the way others respond to you,” says Rasband. Apparently, this phenomenon has not gone unnoticed by Corporate America, which has begun to rethink the “dressing-down” trend. Many managers report that it’s not uncommon to see crumpled khakis or bare midriffs in the workplace.
“A major problem with the casual trend is that it grew from trial-and-error, often with no clear corporate policy as to what was acceptable or unacceptable. Casual has deteriorated to slovenly, and that doesn't bode well for productivity,” says Rasband. She contends that if you repeatedly come to work dressed to go “clubbing,” it's not long before you begin behaving the way you came dressed.
USA Today reported that, in a survey of 1,000 companies by Jackson Lewis (White Plains, NY), employers cited increases in absenteeism and tardiness after instituting casual dress, and a rise in flirtatious behavior. Now, many companies are attempting to articulate new dress codes in an effort to establish equilibrium.
“As professionals, we're able to show executive teams, so many of whom have expressed their dismay, that appropriate doesn't have to be dull and lifeless. We can, in fact, assist managers in developing a written corporate policy and a methodology that wins employee support and actually makes dressing appropriately fun and individualistic,” says Rasband.
Founded in 1982, the Conselle Institute assists individuals and corporations in defining and managing their image through appropriate dress based upon a demonstrated link between manner of dress, how people behave, and their measure of success.
Educator and Institute president Judith Rasband is a published author and distinguished lecturer. A recognized expert in the social, psychological, and artistic aspects of dress and image, she holds an advanced degree, and her texts are used at colleges and universities nationwide, including New York's Fashion Institute of Technology.
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