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IT execs have never claimed to be dedicated followers of fashion.

And to prove a point, the Financial Times enlisted the help of Ms Sherry Maysonave, a US image consultant, to offer her professional opinion on some of the IT industry's top names.

"There is a lot of confusion about casual dress codes, with people showing up for work in outfits they should walk their dogs in, said the Texas-based advisor to the rich and famous.

According to Maysonave, she'd like to make a few changes to some of the industry's big cheeses' attire.

She labels eBay CEO Meg Whitman "a headmistress", laying into Whitman's butch suits and war-bride hairdo. "It's not a very good image, to say the least. It might make her look competent, but she should do something with her hair.

"Also, the way she dresses is a bit manly - as if she is trying too hard to fit into a man's world - but she doesn't need to do that," she Maysonave.

As for Larry Ellison, head of software giant Oracle, his Armani suits and perma-tan are fine, but the facial topiary would have to go if Maysonave got her way. "His shadowy beard does little to inspire trust. Now that it has come to light that he hired private investigators to investigate Microsoft, Ellison would be wise to lose his beard.

"It raises suspicions about his integrity and win-at-all-costs methods. It makes you think 'What else is Ellison hiding?'"

Others in need of a make-over include Microsoft and Apple chiefs Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Gates looks too boring and like a "high school maths whizz," according to the grooming expert.

His old sparring partner Jobs fared even worse. "Steve Jobs has been one of the worst dressed CEOs ever," declared Maysonave.

But one IT exec did escape the Maysonave make-over. Carly Fiorina, beloved president of Hewlett-Packard, is "clearly one of the best dresses female CEOs," she gushed. "Her image is feminine, but it is also powerful and highly professional. She proves that women do not have to look like men to succeed, nor do they have to look frumpy of sexless."

As for Maysonave, she at least appears to practice what she preaches. Those fancying a quick peak at her power-dressing tips should "Ask Sherry" here. ®

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