Under retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn – who President-elect Donald Trump tapped to be national security adviser – women in the Defense Intelligence Agency were told to wear makeup and skirts and to not wear flat shoes.
During Flynn’s leadership over the Defense Intelligence Agency, a January 2013 presentation dubbed “Dress for Success” was given that called for women to avoid the “Plain Jane” look, The Daily Beast reported, citing the presentation obtained by MuckRock through a Freedom of Information request in 2013.
“Makeup helps women look more attractive,” the slideshow presentation affirmed.
“Coordinated makeup communicates that you are moving assertively toward identified goals,” read tips from the presentation, along with “too much makeup distracts from a professional look,” and “wear just enough to accentuate your features.”
The DIA gender-specific presentation told women they could wear “low to moderate heels,” “no flats,” and to wear “no stocking with sandals/open-toe shoes.”
In choosing clothing, employees were told to “avoid clothing that is too big/too small” and to “consider your body type” and “accentuate the positive/disguise the negative.”
Women were also told to “add color with accessories” like bags, scarf’s or jewelry, while men were told to stick to darker colors for suits.
The fashion presentation instructed women that the “conservative approach” is “always best” and no clothing should “stand out as flamboyant, gaudy, attention-drawing.”
On an “impact scale” a “single-breasted skirted suit, long sleeves blouse” was listed at the top while “jeans with knit top and sneakers” was ranked at the bottom.
The presentation was shown to employees one week after women were cleared for combat duty, according to MuckRock.
Flynn, a three-star Army general, ran the agency from 2012 to 2014.
He has been a close adviser to Trump throughout the presidential campaign and has worked with him on national security issues during the transition period.
Following the controversial presentation, Flynn was quick to denounce it.
“Neither the agency nor I condone this briefing and I only hope the intention to execute this task was pure of heart and intended to help … but even smart people do dumb things sometimes,” Flynn said in a memo to DIA employees, according to MuckRock.
The memo continued, “That said, no one is going to be taken to the wood shed over this. They’ll require some counseling (to be sure) on what it means to think before you act. I trust that this is what happened in this case. Enough said.”