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ADELOWO: New monthly column focuses on style, image and more

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adelowo-stylematters-sig.jpg“He looks so professional.” 

“She just looks like a leader.” 

Even before you deliver your prepared message, your physical presentation has a real impact on whether others will accept or reject your ideas. And, right now, Indianapolis—in the midst of its own important perception-management campaign—still has a ways to go.

Yes, we had a successful Super Bowl and, yes, the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association has been renamed Visit Indy. (According to Visit Indy President and CEO Leonard Hoops, the new name is more “edgy, hip, trendy, fun, hospitable and endearing.”) We’re getting good ink across the country and people are paying attention.

But there’s more work to do. For all of us. Every one of us participates in our city’s bid to be known for more than corn and racing. It’s up to us to present a compelling image that maintains our good-natured appeal while expressing just how forward-thinking we truly are.

Which brings me to the purpose of this new, monthly column. Knowing that we all play a role in establishing Indianapolis as a world-class city, I want this column to be a practical one that helps make modern fashion and image awareness work for all of us.

To be viewed as talented and credible in almost any setting here or across the country, oversized suits, unflattering dresses and disheveled hair simply won’t do. It’s time for us to do more than show up wearing something comfortable. Our community and business leaders must make sure they are polished, presentable, and well-styled ambassadors. We’ve come too far as a city to let poor appearance and lackluster fashion get in the way of reaching our goals.

Now, I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that people don’t like change. As a certified image consultant who works with both men and women, I’ve found that most people want to be perceived in a positive light. They typically are aware that models in magazines, actors in movies, or travelers from other cities present a more polished image. But, the mere thought of initiating their own transformation is scary. It’s much easier to leave things as is, scuffed shoes and all, than to work on an authentic yet polished image.

Plus there’s a very real risk of being ridiculed for daring to try something new.

Notice this is a conversation about image and not just style. Image includes style, but it also considers your personality, your goals, your body type, your work space and other factors that influence your appearance and how others experience you.

In upcoming columns, I’ll address a range of topics, including:

• tips for business professionals for adapting their appearance for different audiences.

• fashion trends worth incorporating into your style.

• style challenges for human resources professionals and business owners.

• advice on what to wear (and what not to wear) to various business functions and outings.

• social graces and how they affect perceptions of professionalism.

Whether the goal is to gain new outside investment, land the next Super Bowl, or to make words like, “edgy, hip, trendy, fun, hospitable and endearing” real, our Hoosier hospitality has to go beyond a smile and a handshake. Image matters.

So come on, tuck in those shirts, straighten that hem, and polish those shoes. Because, Indy, we’ve got places to go.

(And, no, I don’t intend to try to make over Indianapolis in New York’s image. That wouldn’t be genuine.)•

__________

Adelowo is the founder of ImageCube LLC (www.imagecubellc.com), and a certified image consultant of the Association of Image Consultants International. She can be reached at sadelowo@ibj.com.

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  1. So much for Eric Holder's conversation about race. If white people have got something to say, they get sued over it. Bottom line: white people have un-freer speech than others as a consequence of the misnamed "Civil rights laws."

  2. I agree, having seen three shows, that I was less than wowed. Disappointing!!

  3. Start drilling, start fracking, and start using our own energy. Other states have enriched their citizens and nearly elminated unemployment by using these resources that are on private land. If you are against the 'low prices' of discount stores, the best way to allow shoppers more choice is to empower them with better earnings. NOT through manipulated gov mandated min wage hikes, but better jobs and higher competitive pay. This would be direct result of using our own energy resources, yet Obama knows that Americans who arent dependent of gov welfare are much less likely to vote Dem, so he looks for ways to ensure America's decline and keep its citizens dependent of gov.

  4. Say It Loud, I'm Black and Ashamed: It's too bad that with certain "black" entertainment events, it seems violence and thuggery follows and the collateral damage that it leaves behinds continues to be a strain on the city in terms of people getting hurt, killed or becoming victims of crimes and/or stretching city resources. I remember shopping in the Meadows area years ago until violence and crime ended make most of the business pack you and leave as did with Lafayette Square and Washington Square. Over the past 10 to 12 years, I remember going to the Indiana Black Expo Soul Picnic in Washington Park. Violence, gang fights and homicides ended that. My great grandmother still bears the scares on her leg from when she was trampled by a group of thugs running from gun fire from a rival gang. With hundreds of police offices downtown still multiple shootings, people getting shot downtown during Black Expo. A number of people getting shots or murdered at black clubs around the city like Club Six on the west side, The Industry downtown, Jamal Tinsley's shot out in front of the Conrad, multiple fights and shootings at the skating rinks, shootings at Circle Center Mall and shooting and robberies and car jackings at Lafayette Mall. Shootings and gang violence and the State Fair. I can go on and on and on. Now Broad Ripple. (Shaking head side to side) Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Ashamed.

  5. Ballard Administration. Too funny. This is the least fiscally responsive administration I have ever seen. One thing this article failed to mention, is that the Hoosier State line delivers rail cars to the Amtrak Beech Grove maintenance facility for refurbishment. That's an economic development issue. And the jobs there are high-paying. That alone is worth the City's investment.

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