From Sweats To Suits

You've earned your academic credentials. Now learn how to dress for professional success.

regard to makeup for the office, less is definitely best. To keep her face shine-free, Goodman wears a little face powder along with some lipstick. Brownlee, too, keeps it simple, with eyebrow pencil and a dab of brown lipstick. “My makeup routine takes 40 seconds, tops,” she says proudly. Save more dramatic looks-smoky eyes, boldly colored lips-for after-work functions.

Good grooming is just as important for men. Bell sports a bald head and a clean-shaven face to the office, while Ma’at shapes up his hair twice a week and wears a beard. Keep in mind that facial hair isn’t accepted in some corporate settings. But if your environment permits it, “be sure to keep it neatly trimmed,” advises Bryan. And don’t think that nail care is only the concern of women. Men’s nails should also be kept clean, short and filed. “Not only will you look good, but you’ll feel more confident,” says Ma’at, who gets professional manicures regularly.

Hair should be simple and neat, and you should stick with office protocol when it comes to styling. That means checking with human resources to see if locks and braids, for example, are permissible. Whether you prefer a relaxed style or a natural cut, you’ll find that hairstyles requiring low maintenance are the best way to go. “I like short styles,” says Brownlee, who sports a pixie cut. They’re easy to care for and require minimal styling time. Long hair is also a good option; it can quickly be pulled back into a bun or an up-do.

By now, you should have a handle on why it’s important to have a great professional image all your own. While it’s true that “how you feel inside is the most important thing,” says Ma’at, Bell sums it up best: “Always look sharp, because you never know whom you’ll meet.”

With dynamite skills and a professional style to match, you’ll be headed for the big time before you know it.

TIPS

  • Stick with classic pieces. Load up on separates.
  • Find your own tailor, dry cleaner and a jewelry repair person you can trust
  • When it comes to makeup, less is best
  • When in doubt, don’t wear it. Stick with office dress code.
  • Visit the barberregularly. Manicures aren’t just for women.
  • Pick shoes that are comfortable and stylish
  • Great skin is always your best accessory
  • Stick to an easy, low maintenance hairdo
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