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Katy Goshtasbi

Living the Sweaty Life

For anyone who doesn’t know, I sweat . . . a lot. I sweat when it’s hot. I sweat when it’s cold. I have to be careful about my wardrobe choices otherwise it’s painfully obvious how much I sweat. I own almost no white or other light colored shirts because I know I’m going to stain them the first time I wear them. (Thank goodness I look good in jewel tones.) I also don’t own silk shirt or any other fabrics that stain easily. I don’t wear women’s cut shirts because the arm holes are cut too close to my armpits so it makes the sweat transfer even more efficient and obvious.

Sweat is Sexy by Dawn - Pink Chick from Flickr

Sweat is Sexy by Dawn – Pink Chick from Flickr

My situation has a fancy name – hyperhidrosis – and technically it’s a condition but I just accept it as a state of being. It’s something I live with and that I’m mindful of.

I’ve learned to keep my right hand in my pocket or pressed against my leg when I’m at networking events so my hand won’t be wet when I go to shake someone’s hand.  I know to keep the car’s A/C turned up too high to keep my sweating under control when I’m driving to a business meeting or an important event and to turn the vents in the car towards my hands on the steering wheel so my hands don’t get too slick while I’m driving. I often don’t put on my work shirt until right before I leave the house.

Looking back, I’ve had this for as long as I can remember. I sweat just walking between classes at school (and it wasn’t a big school). In gymnastics, one of my nervous habits was blowing on my hands. I never really had an answer when my teammates asked why I did that, but I’m pretty sure I was trying to keep my hands dry.

People with hyperhidrosis can get Botox in their armpits, but this is only a temporary fix. I can think of better ways to spend up to $3000/year. It’s cheaper to use a men’s unscented antiperspirant (it works better) and buy new shirts.

I got one suggestion on how to deal with hyperhidrosis in professional settings that made a lot of sense. Katy Goshtasbi  suggested I invest in some plain dri-fit shirts and wear them under my professional clothes. This is a great suggestion when I wear sweaters and oxford shirts, but it probably won’t work for other fashion tops. I have my eyes peeled for a close fitting men’s dri-fit shirt. Women’s shirts tend to have cap sleeves, which means the sleeves are not long enough to stop all the sweat. I learned that the hard way when I tried layering a simple white shirt under a dress shirt before an important interview. Thank goodness for jackets.

If you sweat like I do, just know that you’re not alone. I know others have it worse than me and I’m lucky that this is only a big deal if I let it be.

Walking on Tables: Reflections on Katy Goshtasbi

Last week the law school invited Katy Goshtasbi of Puris Image to speak about personal branding.  My friend said she had good information about how you should dress and act.  I was a little afraid that she was going to prescribe a cookie-cutter uniform that all lawyers need to adopt in order to be successful.  I was so glad I was wrong.

Katy Goshtasbi, Photo from Puris Image

My friends will vouch for me that I am not a typical girl, woman, chick, what’s the female equivalent of “guy?”  I’m a pretty rough-and-tumble person.  I prefer to be comfortable than to be pretty.  I will rarely torture myself with clothing that restricts my movement or shoes that pinch my toes.  At most, I do 5-minute make-up before walking out the door on a typical day.  I have been mistaken for a man.  For my 18th birthday, my sister bought me Victoria Secret lotion and said, “If you’re not going to dress like a girl, you can at least smell like one.”

Now it may seem like I don’t care about how I look, but that’s not true.  I am very particular about the clothes I buy.  When I’m in cute mode, I’m determined to be very cute.  However, you’ll never catch me dressing like a girly girl.  Even when I’m in a dress, it’s obvious that I’m not a girly girl.  Even when I’ve tried to be a girly girly, it doesn’t work.

I was overjoyed when one of Goshtasbi’s take away messages was “Be Yourself.”  Thank you!  I was so happy to hear that someone might get me and promote the fact that there’s more than one way to be portrayed as a successful professional.

I want to be the lawyer to the geeks and I’m glad that my potential clients are typically found in jeans, t-shirts, and hoodies.  Goshtasbi’s talk brought to my attention the fact that I had adopted my future client’s preferred wardrobe as my everyday uniform.  This may not be portraying my desired image of “sassy, smart, and strong.”  Goshtasbi inspired me to become reacquainted with my closet.

Goshtasbi said that she would give a free 40-minute phone consultation to the first 3 people who approached her at the end of her talk.  I wanted one of those slots, but I was sitting 3 rows back and 4 seats in from the aisle in a room with stadium seating with long tables instead of individual desks.  There was no way I could get to her if I went the traditional route.  Drastic measures were required to achieve my goal.  The second Goshtasbi was done talking, I climbed up on top of my table, and walked down the tables as if they were stepping stones to Goshtasbi podium. It was unconventional but it worked.  I can’t wait to talk with her next month during our session.

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