Bad nasal hair day? Guy Browning suggests this gem-filled guide to workplace grooming
Walking Tall; By Lesley Everett; McGraw Hill pounds 10.99
This is one of the most interesting business books I have ever read. The philosophy behind it is neatly summarised: 'You are the 'window display' of your business and you need to ensure that this entices customers closer to doing business with you.' Once you've got your head round that, you can relax and enjoy a book that is one gem after another.
Firstly, Lesley Everett recommends you audit your image. Is your watch design and strap looking a bit behind the times? Are you still wearing those navy tights? Do you have a hairstyle that hasn't changed for more than five years?
She may ask some searching questions, but you can rest easy in the knowledge that she has more than enough answers. For women, jackets should fit exactly without extending 2cms beyond the shoulder. For men, your trousers should break only once onto your shoes. Women's nails should be no more than half a centimetre longer than the finger.
Everett gently forces us to confront urgent personal issues, such as: do you polish your shoes when warm so that they absorb polish more effectively?
Do you hang your suit outside your wardrobe overnight to revive it? Do your regularly attend to excess nostril, ear and neck hair? The absolute authority of her image do's and don'ts always reassures: 'Merino wool and cashmere command the most casual power'; 'Bracelets can be a noisy distraction in a meeting'; 'Motif socks can label you an idiot and attention-seeking, so avoid, except at Christmas.'
She is at her best with women's image. 'Your overall aim is to attract the onlooker upward towards your face.' Naturally, there are some good tips on what to do with your face once the onlooker is there. For instance: 'To reduce the amount of lipstick sticking to your glass, discreetly lick the cup before drinking - you'll notice the lipstick stays on the lips instead.'
There's an excellent section on underwear: Visible Panty Lines, and how G-strings can be a useful management tool. She also recommends Ganz bodies and Barbara of Paris corsets for women who want to be taken seriously in business.
Overall, Everett delivers magnificently on her promise that 'Walking Tall will help you succeed at interviews, ascend the career ladder and increase business performance.' As she rightly concludes: 'When it comes to your image - reach for the moon, because if you miss, you'll still be one of the stars!'