Today’s post is Part 2 to “Image consultant frequently asked professional dress questions.” Today I answer frequently asked questions about hair, make-up, nails, etc. for the very most successful, professional image.
Hang on tight!! Several of these points are pretty controversial. You might not really like my answers, but the fact of the matter is, I give advice—you always have the will to do what makes you happiest, what makes you feel like you!
As a Denver image consultant specializing in professional dress, I certainly have experience with all aspects of image. If you feel like you want some extra help with hair/make-up/skin care, I have some amazing professionals I can refer you to.
As I mentioned in the last professional image, FAQ post, always keep in mind that your goal of professional dress is to look attractive, memorable and polished, but nothing about your appearance should be distracting. You want to be listened to, taken seriously and known for your work.
Q. Do I have to wear make-up to look professional?
A. I don’t believe in make-up for the sake of make-up, but my short answer is “yes.” Make-up defines your features and helps draw attention to your face, where you want it…people paying attention to what you’re saying!
Recently, I was working with a client who is a corporate trainer and doesn’t like to wear make-up. When I explained to her that make-up helps others focus on her face, and helps with their learning, she was on board. She’s starting with a shade of lipstick that’s close to her lip color (but still stands out,) and is loving it.
Ah, but here’s the real proof and argument for wearing make-up in professional settings…
A study in the American Economic Review said women who wear make-up can earn more than 30 percent more in pay than non makeup wearing workers. I’m not saying it’s fair or even that I like it…”just the facts ma’am!”
Q. Can I wear bright, bold lipstick?
A. If these vivid lip colors complement your skin tone (usually darker skin,) it works and won’t be distracting. If you’re fair to medium, a less intense color, (but not blah or boring,) will complement you better and appear more professional. The choices are virtually endless. On the other hand, for fashion, entertainment, design, or other creative industries, bright colors can be the way to go.
Q. Do I absolutely have to stick with neutral nail polish?
A. Not necessarily! It depends on the setting.
I’ll use myself as an example. I often wear bright nail colors, but I turn down the volume when I have big meetings or a speaking engagement…especially the latter. I talk with my hands and if I have a bright color, my audience can be mesmerized by the “brightly colored bouncing balls, a.k.a. my nails!
On the same note, I can’t stand neutral or clear nails (for myself.) I’ve found less intense shades of pink or coral blend nicely with my skin tone, so that may be your answer as well. Either way, shorter nails sans designs are most professional.
Q. Should I wear perfume in a professional setting?
A. I love perfume! Unfortunately, I rarely get to wear it when I’m working. Since I work with women in fitting rooms and their closets, both typically small spaces, I never want to wear a scent that my client may find unpleasant or that she’s allergic to. (That’s just a bad day for her!)
If you are working closely with others or in tight quarters, you may want to skip perfume also. In any office, at the very least, the scent you wear should be used in moderation.
Q. What about going gray? Do you get less respect in the professional world if you don’t color your hair?
A. Here’s my opinion…gray hair is aging! We live in a youth obsessed culture, and there’s no way around the fact that you may be discriminated upon for letting your hair go gray.
I’m not alone in my opinion, according to celebrity hair colorist, Jo Hansford “anyone who has grey hair will always look better with help from a good colourist. Grey hair is ageing. It drains all the colour from your face, and softening that with creamy, honey tones is always going to be more flattering.”
Sure, coloring your hair is a pain, not to mention expensive, but when it comes to career goals and salary considerations, I think it’s worth it.
So…do I ever break rules with my make-up, nails, or hair color? Of course! And I love to help my clients break rules, too!
I’ve had fun with this controversial topic! It would be fantastic for us to start a dialogue below in the comments. Let us know what you think about these do’s and don’ts.