Mayor, 70, Nods Little to Age
By MICHAEL HOWARD SAUL
Michael Rubens Bloomberg took the oath of office as New York City's 108th mayor when he was 59 years old. He turns 70 on Tuesday, and if he finishes his third term as expected next year, he would be the oldest serving mayor since the five boroughs were consolidated in 1898.
Mr. Bloomberg may get teased about his advanced years this Valentine's Day, but the mayor typically hasn't allowed his senior status to get him down. The billionaire likes to say tomorrow will always be his best day, and maybe it doesn't hurt that 25-year-old Lady Gaga kissed him smack on the lips this New Year's Eve.
Bloomberg Through the Years
Clockwise from top left: Getty Images; Associated Press (3); Getty Images (2); AFP/Getty Images; Getty Images (5)
In honor of Mr. Bloomberg's 70th birthday, The Wall Street Journal asked two image consultants to look at photographs of the mayor and evaluate whether time and the rigors of City Hall have accelerated his aging, as some believe the White House dramatically speeds up the aging of presidents.
Their conclusion: The mayor looks good.
"He hasn't really changed that much," said Laura Rubeli, a Las Vegas-based image consultant who is originally from New York.
"For a 70-year-old man, I think he looks fantastic. I really do. In my opinion, he looks fabulous."
Amanda Sanders, a New York-based image consultant, agreed: "It doesn't look like he's aged at all," she said.
Ms. Sanders said it is remarkable how little the mayor appears to have changed in the past decade, given how much older President Barack Obama looks after three years in office.
"Obama has aged. I don't know if that's stress related. Every time I see him, I'm thinking 'My! Has he been in office that long?'" Ms. Sanders said.
Unlike Mr. Obama, who is 50, Mr. Bloomberg already sported a head of gray hair when he took office. But the image consultants said the mayor had retained something harder to pinpoint.
"Michael Bloomberg looks very cool, sort of unscathed, unchanged," Ms. Sanders said.
Mayor Bloomberg, Then and Now
By the end of his third term, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will be the oldest serving mayor since the city was consolidated in 1898. As he turns 70, compare photos of the mayor taken nearly a decade apart.
Mr. Bloomberg has been watching his diet over the years, especially during his first term when photographs showed a growing mayoral paunch. The divorced father of two daughters has been with his girlfriend, Diana Taylor, 57, the former state banking commissioner, since before he was elected.
During an appearance Monday at a fashion-related event in Midtown Manhattan, he received high praise from designer Diane von Furstenberg. When a reporter asked if she had any fashion advice for the mayor, she said the mayor is "so hot—he doesn't need any."
Over the years, Mr. Bloomberg has maintained a normal public schedule on his birthday, going to events and making announcements. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to swear in judges in Manhattan and appear at a charity fund-raiser. Last year, he cut a birthday cake presented at a Brooklyn Brewery event, but he has otherwise celebrated privately.
Mr. Bloomberg has remained active and makes few noticeable accommodations for his age. Several years ago, he experimented with a hearing aide but he hasn't appeared to be wearing one recently. A City Hall spokesman didn't respond Monday to a request for comment.
When the mayor turned 65, he became eligible for a reduced-fare MetroCard, not that the billionaire mayor needs any discounts. And more than once, he's proudly displayed his AARP membership card.
Records of New York City mayors since 1898 reveal Mr. Bloomberg is neck and neck with former Mayor Abraham Beame to be the city's oldest serving mayor. Mr. Beame was 71 when his term ended in December 1977. If Mr. Bloomberg finishes out his term next year, he, too, will be 71, but since his birthday is in February and Mr. Beame's was in March, Mr. Bloomberg would be the city's oldest serving mayor in the final weeks of his third term.
Former Mayor Ed Koch, who was 65 when he left office and is 87 now, said the mayor is a spring chicken compared with him. "At age 70 in today's society, he would be perceived as middle-aged—and he should make the most of it," he said.
Mr. Bloomberg has said he plans to focus his attention on his philanthropic efforts after he leaves City Hall.
Bobbie Sackman, an advocate for senior citizens, described the mayor's record on the elderly as "mixed," noting severe budget cuts.
But she said she hopes the birthday reminds him that seniors need the city's help.
"His wealth will obviously make his aging process different than the average person's," Ms. Sackman said.
KEEP APPEARANCE BLUNDERS FROM RUINING YOUR CHANCES
By Joann S. Lubin
Two women who are over 50 years old recently
vied to be a senior vice president of a health-care company.
One contender's powdered face, bouffant hairdo and expensive
dress made her appear matronly. Her rival wore light makeup
and a tailored pantsuit, conveying youthful enthusiasm.
Guess who got picked: The woman dressed "like she was 40," recalls executive recruiter Patricia Cook. Appearance counts. How you look when you show up for a job interview can hurt -- or enhance -- your prospects. This hidden source of hiring bias affects older people the most. Attire, hairstyle, shoes and posture tell an employer whether "you're on your way up," says Ms. Cook, the owner of a Bronxville, N.Y., search boutique. "It has nothing to do with chronological age."
To uncover job hunters' worst appearance blunders, I canvassed recruiters, career coaches, business owners and image consultants. They cited many ways that your appearance can sabotage you even before your first handshake with a hiring manager. Among them, out-of-date styles. Your favorite "dress for success" suit fails to impress because you've worn it since the last century.
RitaSue Siegel, founder of RitaSue Siegel Resources, a New York firm that recruits senior design managers, sometimes asks an unfashionably dressed candidate, "When did you buy that suit?" If the answer is more than two years ago, she recommends donning "something a little fresher."<
Your spectacles may hark back to an earlier era, too. "Huge glasses frames represent a style that's out of date," drawing undue attention to someone past 40, says Fred Whelan, a partner at recruiters Whelan Stone in San Francisco. Slovenly appearance. Dirty fingernails, stained armpits, frayed cuffs, messy hair, unkempt beards and scuffed shoes broadcast carelessness and poor judgment.
"Sometimes, we get someone in front of us who doesn't dress the part," appearing disheveled on multiple fronts, says Anne Lim O'Brien, leader of the consumer-products global practice for recruiters Heidrick & Struggles International. "They don't go any further."
A few years ago, an overweight man sought a marketing position at CEO Perspective Group, a New York executive-advisory firm. He turned up wearing a shirt so snug that he couldn't close his middle button. "It was a very brief interview," remembers Dee Soder, the firm's managing partner, adding: "The things that shouldn't count often do." A too-casual look. A Stanford University student slipped on backless sandals when she interviewed last spring for a summer job as a hospital-laboratory research assistant. Her would-be supervisor told a reference that she feared the applicant wouldn't take her work seriously enough, citing her informal "flip-flops."
"I didn't know they weren't appropriate," the student admits. Because the reference touted her professionalism, she got the job. She wore plain black heels to the lab every day. Last year, Gary Goldstein, president of financial-services recruiter Whitney Group, was flabbergasted when an investment banker showed up sporting a Mickey Mouse tie. Mr. Goldstein urged the man to switch ties for job interviews, then decided against recommending him to the firm's clients. Don't despair. A critical self-assessment can correct or prevent such gaffes. Scrutinize yourself in front of a mirror. "Put on a crisp white shirt and smile," urges Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. "If your teeth are yellowed, have your teeth whitened."
About 35% of Ms. Castaneda'scustomers ask her to revamp their hair, makeup, wardrobe and accessories because they're keen to change employers. But the consultant doesn't come cheap. A 34-year-old program director at a Hartford, Conn., insurer paid Ms. Castaneda $1,200 for an image makeover just before she began job hunting this spring. "You have more confidence when you think you look good," the insurance manager explains. Among other things, the consultant critiqued her clothes as too baggy and helped her find well-fitted suits that make her seem taller. The young woman, dressed in her new outfits, went on three interviews -- and landed three offers. She will soon become senior director of business development for an information-technology concern.
There are less expensive ways to spiff up your appearance. Enlist help from a major retailer's personal shopper, a stylish colleague or an acquaintance who already works for a targeted employer.
You should also reach out to recruiters. Many are eager to advise you about how to package yourself and the proper interview attire for different corporate clients. The executive rejected by the health-care concern never quizzed Ms. Cook about how to dress for her interview there. If she had, the recruiter would have suggested wearing something casual to fit in with the company's fairly informal culture. Ms. Cook believes the woman's lack of curiosity about suitable attire made it easier for company officials "to pick someone who looked like them."
DRESSING FOR SUCCESS
Shopping for Career Clothes & Making Your Wardrobe Work
By Jennifer Saranow
When Ericka Goodman started last year as
a research analyst for a trendy New York magazine, she
didn't just get a new job. She also got a new look. The
24-year-old remembers her first day at the magazine. "Everyone
was dressed in party clothes." Or at least party clothes
compared with the business slacks and button-down blouse
Ericka arrived in, an outfit characteristic of the work
environment of her former employer, a business magazine.
By contrast, the look at the new office had an emphasis
on dressing uniquely and stylishly -- business casual but
with designer duds and vintage pieces mixed in.
Within a month, Ericka says she blossomed from the "whole Banana Republic thing." She nabbed Prada and Gucci shoes during a trip to Italy in March and picked up versatile pieces at vintage and discount stores in New York. "You kind of have to go with the [office] norm," Ericka says. Still, the transformation hasn't been cheap. Ericka estimates she spends about $200 a month on work clothes. That's on top of the two new suits and other wardrobe staples she bought to fit in at her first job.
"When you are starting out, you need to show that you are a team player on some level," says Elena Castaneda, a New York image consultant. "You need to have your work and your ability stand out more than your clothing."
Another common challenge of trying to blend in at work on a budget: figuring out how to make work clothes transition into after-work outfits. Ericka, for example, used to spend all of her clothing funds in college on going-out pieces like halter tops and sparkly clothing. "You have to buy something that you can wear in the office and out to a social event -- something adaptable," says Ericka. To be sure, there's a fine line between work and party clothes, and experts say a common mistake twentysomethings make is to cross it. Corsets under blazers and micro-mini skirts are a no-no, says image consultant Ms. Castaneda. Some twentysomethings find it important not just to fit in clothes wise with the general office look, but to dress like higher-ups. Natalie Tutterow, a 29-year-old second-year business-school student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., says she's always tried to dress like her bosses, often meaning suits with a few younger touches like trendy colored shirts underneath. At her first job, Natalie says her boss commented on how nice she dressed and gave her some advice that she's lived by since. "I was told a long time ago that you shouldn't dress as your peers dress. You should dress according to the job you want," says Natalie.
Of course, it's easy for Natalie to dress up considering she worked at a mall during high school and college. She got a 40% discount on career clothes.