An unidentified employee at the Defense Intelligence Agency prepared a briefing on "How to Dress for Success." Among the advice given to the mixed-gender crowd was "Don't be a Plain Jane;" this just a week after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta gave women clearance to become G.I. Janes.
DIA public affairs officer Susan Strednansky offered official regrets in which she admitted, "it exists, and it's bad."
Employees were told "makeup makes you more attractive," and that "a sweater with a skirt is better than a sweater with slacks." In a confusing bit of advice, the presenter recommended that employees not be afraid of color, but also warned that "brunettes have more leeway with vibrant colors than blondes or redheads."
Strednansky stressed to U.S. News Weekly that the presentation was informal and organized by an employee. "It's not directive. It is not mandatory. It is just, 'Hey, here are some suggestions.'"
DIA director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn wrote a letter to employees in which he called the presentation "highly offensive." He also said that "even smart people do dumb things sometimes. That said, no one is going to be taken to the wood shed over this."