Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

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notmyhand
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Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by notmyhand » Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am

Hello all! 29 year old petite female, recently promoted to director level at our small company, in a sector that is 80% older men. I happen to be blessed with youthful looks (look to be about 19-20 and get carded regularly). I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?

Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!

Thank you!

Jags4186
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Jags4186 » Tue May 21, 2019 7:07 am

I’m so happy I’m a guy.

dknightd
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dknightd » Tue May 21, 2019 7:12 am

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!

Thank you!
Congratulations! You got the job you wanted. So now dress for the job you want next. Sorry, I have no advise on how to do this. Perhaps do it slowly, the way you dress seems to be working ;)

goldensam
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by goldensam » Tue May 21, 2019 7:23 am

Congratulations! I am interested in reading the responses.

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Shackleton
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Shackleton » Tue May 21, 2019 7:25 am

I actually have had to manage my image but for opposite reasons - as a 6'1" size 6 woman with large natural endowment and a very young looking face (got carded when I was 40!), it was hard to be taken seriously and to get people to believe I wasn't just a "pretty face". I'm also in a male dominated field (IT) and pretty much at the top of the ladder as an enterprise architect. So I need people to listen to what I'm saying, not just ask me out on a date (it happens!). Fortunately, I've never lacked confidence and now that I'm older (I'm now over 50 but people still think I'm late 30's-early 40's) I have to manage my look so I'm not "intimidating". (I've actually heard that twice in the last few weeks!)

More relevant to yourself - I worked with an awesome woman that was only 4'11" (probably 90 lbs) but that was a firecracker. She ALWAYS wore 4 inch heels or platform shoes that were very good quality and not cheap like a teenager would wear. She dressed very professionally, spoke with confidence, was always right there with her facts or "Let me get that information for you" if she didn't know, and always followed up. I always assumed that was just her personality, but it might also have been a way to counteract people's assumptions.

Shoes - One thing my mother taught me (and the same will apply to you), is that when you are as tall I am, people always look at your shoes because they want to see if I'm wearing heels to be that tall. For petite people, it is to see "how short would they be without those heels..." So make certain you are wearing good shoes.

Hair - A little bit of blond highlights wouldn't worry me, but if you are platinum or really light, then changing to some high and lowlights might be a good idea. I personally think a medium shoulder length is about as long as most women should go with their hair. Very few women really look good with hair down to their mid-back or longer (without a personal hair stylist).

Makeup - I've always gone with minimal makeup, again to avoid the "pretty face, not intelligent enough" problem. Plus I'm just a little lazy there, and don't need a lot. Mascara and a light lipstick work for me. But for a client facing position, a little more may be needed to ensure you look like you are "there to do business". No help on specifics, but I'm sure you can find youtube videos that might help.
“Superhuman effort isn't worth a damn unless it achieves results.” ~Ernest Shackleton

cherijoh
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by cherijoh » Tue May 21, 2019 7:54 am

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Hello all! 29 year old petite female, recently promoted to director level at our small company, in a sector that is 80% older men. I happen to be blessed with youthful looks (look to be about 19-20 and get carded regularly). I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?

Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!

Thank you!
I sympathize with your dilemma as I had the same issues when I was your age (although I wasn't a director or anything close). Your haircut could definitely be contributing to your youthful appearance - especially if it is the same look you've had since HS or university. IMO, a professional cut and makeover could improve your self-confidence and give you a more professional look.

Do you have a local deparment store that offers professional shopping services? If I were you I'd try and pick up some classic pieces to start building your professional wardrobe rather than going for a larger quanity of cheap clothing. Avoid anything that is too trendy. Also be willing to pay for quality alterations - you definitely want to avoid the "dressed up in big sister/mom's clothing" look.

Since you are petite, you might do well if you can find a sample or trunk sale. Another option might be an outlet of a high end retailer like Saks Off 5th.

Nowizard
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Nowizard » Tue May 21, 2019 7:56 am

This is a tough one, and I suspect it at least partially depends on where you live, the business you are in and the culture of your company. Unfortunately, the culture in terms of image can vary for men and women. Somewhere, there is a line between looking professional and, for women, looking overly attractive which might lead to difficulty. Unfortunately, there will always be some jealousy directed at those who are leaders regardless of how they got there. An overly attractive appearance could be one of the sources of snarky comment directed toward women.
In our family, for example, my spouse and the spouse of one son are both trim, attractive and wear little make-up (Or did before retirement in the case of my spouse). Both attract attention for being attractive, but more with comments focusing on looking "professional" than just attractive. That relates to being good at their jobs, in my opinion. The younger is an Ivy League graduate. Another relative of the same age, also an Ivy League MBA, dresses to the hilt with manicured fingers, beautifully applied make-up and could, quite literally, be a model. Both do very well in their respective positions. One lives in California, the other in Tennessee, areas with different cultures.
That being said, I suspect there are some guidelines for you to follow but observation and discussion with other women may be the key to determining how to proceed. It may be important, unfortunately, to do some of this quietly since being perceived as trying to present an image that does not feel natural can also invoke criticism. Even writing some of this feels uncomfortable in today's world. I'm an older, retired man with a perspective of someone who did not face what you do, and who did not really care what others thought other than of the work product, a luxury many women (and men) don't have today when most anything is subject to comment.

Tim

mak1277
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by mak1277 » Tue May 21, 2019 7:58 am

Not a woman, but I did spend a significant amount of time in a profession where I was always the youngest person in the room for meetings (e.g., making presentations to F500 boards in my mid- to late-20s). More than anything, the key (in my mind) is that when you speak you need to speak with authority. Be prepared and know your stuff and that will give you confidence. There's nothing more obvious than someone who doesn't know what they're talking about (at any age).

campy2010
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by campy2010 » Tue May 21, 2019 8:14 am

Female professional here. I don't think you need to age yourself to fit in with men, BUT in general I think keeping it classy rather than trendy helps. Also, don't be afraid to let your work speak for itself. What you wear, your makeup, your hair is really for you and your confidence, not for your male co-workers or anyone else.

That said, a couple of tips:
-Keep hair cut and styled. It doesn't have to be short just avoid the ragged 6 months between haircuts look. Same comment about the highlights, subtle highlights are fine, bold highlights are probably a no.
-Make up. Enjoy your youth and not needing much makeup. As women age, we tend to wear more make up. Really, there is no need for a professional. There are a million how-to videos on YouTube. I've improved my ability to put on make up considerably after watching just a few. Buy a few brushes and some basic eye shadow palettes, eye liners. Also, good skin care goes a long way, like moisturizer with SPF to your face AND neck.
-Clothes. This is where you should be you. If you're not into fashion then just keep in basic and professional. If you like fashion the mix in a few trendier items. I buy most of my professional clothes at Banana Republic from the petite sale racks. My office is cold and I like jackets so I mix in nicer jackets. There are lots of sites and forums like on reddit dedicated to female fashion advice (one is r/femalefashionadvice) and how to develop a fashion style that you like that fits your professional and personal life.

Finally, my general advice is don't go overboard trying to "look the part". Just keep up the good work - that what people really notice. Congrats on the promotion!

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Dottie57 » Tue May 21, 2019 8:48 am

I worked at megacorp for 20+ years. All women directors wore professional suits on a daily basis. Not necessarily fashion forward but of good cut and well made. The most important was how professionally they handled themselves. Those who were rattled easily were gone shortly. Directors need to anticipate problems, be able to discuss them well and have solutions in hand. Of course none of this is in a vacuum so listen to those under you .

Congratulations.

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8foot7
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by 8foot7 » Tue May 21, 2019 9:26 am

It won't matter how you dress if your work, your speech, your handling and your performance don't reflect your intelligence and capabilities. You obviously have many of these skills down-pat already to be promoted to director.

Contrary to the instinct that caused you to post here, though, I would suggest that you spend 80% of the energy you're thinking about your image with doubling down on being accurate, proactive, knowledgeable, and responsive, and maybe 20% on some new clothes or shoes.

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dm200
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 21, 2019 9:37 am

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:07 am
I’m so happy I’m a guy.
:happy

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samsoes
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by samsoes » Tue May 21, 2019 9:48 am

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 9:37 am
Jags4186 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:07 am
I’m so happy I’m a guy.
:happy
Me too, but this got me wondering how a blonde highlight would look across the the remaining fringe of (greying) hair that surrounds my exposed scalp.

Thoughts?
"Happiness Is Not My Companion" - Gen. Gouverneur K. Warren. | (Avatar is the statue of Gen. Warren atop Little Round Top @ Gettysburg National Military Park.)

Coltrane75
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Coltrane75 » Tue May 21, 2019 9:53 am

Some things to consider:
1. Wearing a blazer
2. Dark colors
3. Slicked back hair
4. Speak without voice fry, raised-question intonations or the use of ums
5. Wear pants
6. Don't smile as much; be serious as default.
7. Don't engage in small friendly chit-chat much with higher ups anymore than they do man-to-man. They get too chatty, rein it back to business.

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dm200
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:18 am

No expertise (or personal experience), but I think the OPs concerns are well founded.

Just hope they don't ask her to serve the coffee! BUT - be prepared if they do! 8-)

In observing some young women that seem to be in similar circumstances, what I notice is that some of them make their presence known by their words and actions. One that I know, in particular, is an attorney and is very short and slim -- BUT she is a very aggressive "tiger" in her actions in her job and in meetings, etc.

fposte
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by fposte » Tue May 21, 2019 10:23 am

Tailoring makes a huge difference, but don't limit yourself to stores that offer in-house tailoring (a lot of times they'll just send out anyway). Check whatever the usual suspects are in your neck of the woods for recommendations and start developing a relationship with an independent tailor. In some places recommendations for wedding alterations will be a way to get there, because that involves a lot of alteration and people are particular about wedding alterations. As a petite, you'll likely need hemlines/sleeve length taken up, but be aware also, with jackets, that tailoring can usually remove that upper back poof that short-waisted women get. It would also behoove you to get comfortable with buying online, since petite lines are pretty limited in brick and mortar locations these days and it's harder/pricier to tailor up a regular size than a petite size if you have the option of the latter. Whether you buy brick and mortar or online, your first move is not to put it in your closet but to take it to the tailor to see what can be done with it, and if it's not worth it, the item gets returned.

Don't take everything it says as gospel, but Corporette can be a good place for tips. Also, Justine LeConte's YouTube channel has some good tips, like this video on how to recognize good vs. poor quality in clothes. (You don't have to buy top quality everything but less can definitely be more, and a superfine merino wool is miles better than acrylic or polyester.) Jewelry and/or scarves can be a way to add a put-together authority to an outfit--there are scarf tutorials all over, but I like the depth available on the MaiTai collection site.

For behavior, read the classic Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office. You don't have to be a jerk, but you also don't want to be a doormat.

Odds are you're already finding a good track on all of this and that's why you have the job, so don't feel obliged to completely redo yourself, either.

rj342
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by rj342 » Tue May 21, 2019 10:34 am

Guy here.

Avoid up talking.
Avoid vocal fry.
You might work on a "stern voice" in case that's ever needed, striving to avoid the shrill harridan sound.
Avoid the fake blonde look at all costs. Subtle enhancement fine. And it is possible to tweak blah brunette hair with a hint of red (never purple!) or a richer brown, rather than blonde. Darker can work too, just be leery of an equally fake looking shoe polish/punk black.
Avoid excess makeup, and in that I don't just mean "not glam", I mean not too much, period -- no mask look from heavy base.

Further afield, just off the top of my head -- in the realm you're in you might find some slight bias against taking blondes seriously. Something I have joked about before, the "dumb blond" stereotype may exist in part because of the dumber non-blonde girls who go starlet blonde thinking they may have it easier (at a shallow level).
Just guessing here... not playing the fake "smart glasses" gambit, but if you do normally wear contacts (not having lasik for whatever reason) you might just mix it up and once in a while and wear the glasses.
Last edited by rj342 on Tue May 21, 2019 10:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

Hikes_With_Dogs
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Hikes_With_Dogs » Tue May 21, 2019 10:35 am

mak1277 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:58 am
Not a woman, but I did spend a significant amount of time in a profession where I was always the youngest person in the room for meetings (e.g., making presentations to F500 boards in my mid- to late-20s). More than anything, the key (in my mind) is that when you speak you need to speak with authority. Be prepared and know your stuff and that will give you confidence. There's nothing more obvious than someone who doesn't know what they're talking about (at any age).

Congrats! I agree with a lot of this. Sounds like you have good ideas on your physical appearance. I agree with shoulder length/lowlights, etc. I always wear minimal make up as well. I suggest getting one nice blazer and then mix and match pants and blouses. If you wear a dress, wear it with a blazer, too. I prefer Banana Republic and Nordstrom for clothing in this realm.

More important as alluded to above- make sure you have the delivery to match. If you have a naturally high pitched voice, try lowering just a little (no fry though!!) Speak carefully and with authority. No "ums" and no giggling. Not that you would, I have just seen women erode themselves in meetings by (unfortunately) just being themselves. No "irregardless". Make sure your diction and delivery is as perfect as you can make it.

I think it's ok to be friendly and inviting to garner trust among your team; but when in a meeting you should be down to business. Great job and best of luck!

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue May 21, 2019 10:42 am

Coltrane75 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 9:53 am
Some things to consider:
1. Wearing a blazer
2. Dark colors
3. Slicked back hair
4. Speak without voice fry, raised-question intonations or the use of ums
5. Wear pants
6. Don't smile as much; be serious as default.
7. Don't engage in small friendly chit-chat much with higher ups anymore than they do man-to-man. They get too chatty, rein it back to business.
As the husband of a very successful woman and the father of a son whose GF has these concerns, I have to say:
1. It’s 2019 for crying out loud
2. Shame on whoever makes this an issue
3. Good luck, OP.

FWIW, my wife has never worn makeup, going from youthful natural to older natural. She does wear gel nail polish, as it continues to look good over a couple of weeks.

DW wore heels for a while, but we regard them as misogynist tools of woman torture now, and she is perfectly happy in her iirc Clark’s or Eco’s. Go well with a suit, IMO.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

megabad
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by megabad » Tue May 21, 2019 10:51 am

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Not a female, but I have a bunch of very strong successful women in my life and family.

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
This may not be popular but the power colors seem to apply to women and men. If you are somebody, you wear dark colors (blacks, blues, and grays). Nothing too out there. This to me is the biggest difference between the CEO and the entry level person right out of college.
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
I don't notice this much, but most of the women at work that are high up and have long hair put there hair up somehow. I would say that the steroetype regrading bleach blonde hair may still persist (unfortunately), but other than that I can't remember much about hair colors. If the color is mild (blond or brunette) I probably don't notice. My own views on hair will cloud my judgement of the women that are close to me in my personal life so I can't speak to them directly. Honestly, I would just make sure you are happy with whatever you decide here because in my anecdotal experience, a bad hair cut/coloring is not a confidence booster.
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
I have spent countless hours waiting at Nordstrom Rack waiting for a special someone to find the perfect dress (she never wore suits) but she did the dress/jacket professional look thing I guess. I think she just took them to the real Nordstrom store (not Rack) to have them tailored, but I am not sure. I have never been a big spender though (ie. not classy fashion wise), so maybe others have better suggestions there.
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?
From my personal observation, personal outings with me (date night) are at about a 10/10 makeup complexity wise. Going for a morning jog is about a 2/10. Work is right in the middle at like a 7/10. Basically it seems like she tones it down a few notches. Sorry not a makeup expert. I am male and I can really only compare the differences in women in my personal life. I know that when we go to Nordstrom Rack, we always stop by Sephora too.

Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!
No debate. I am a man and I get it. It is a little sad that this is a consideration, but everybody (man and woman) wants to look the part when the get a new job as the boss.

Thank you!

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Sandi_k » Tue May 21, 2019 11:27 am

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Hello all! 29 year old petite female, recently promoted to director level at our small company, in a sector that is 80% older men. I happen to be blessed with youthful looks (look to be about 19-20 and get carded regularly). I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.
Congratulations on the promotion! I agree that it becomes time to be conscious of your "brand", and it's good that you're thinking this. I was also promoted to a lead job, in an industry where almost all the leadership is older and male. Things I did:

- Yes to darker colors. And no jeans!
- Get hair cut and styled every 8-10 weeks.A little darker with high- and low-lights is right on.
- Learn how to interject (not interrupt) at group meetings. Watch how others do it. In my career, many women add their voice with uncertainty, asking questions instead of making statements, and flattering the convener/highest authority person there. I have a hard time with that, and was once told (by my boss) that I shouldn't be so declarative in my answers. :oops:
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
I am a brunette, and wear glasses. That helped. Pulling my hair back (instead of wearing it loose) was another thing that made people think I was older. And I made sure my wardrobe had a lot of jackets. Formal suits are not Done at my office - but jackets convey authority in a subtle way that I have found useful over the years.

I also limit scoop, button-down or V-neck blouses. I have a bigger bustline, and stooping over desks or copiers means gappage that I don't need or want at work. So I wear a lot of pull on shirts with no buttons, no deep scoops. I don't like thinking about my clothes once I'm at work.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
Yes. If you want to keep it longer than top of your shoulder blades, I'd find a style where it's partially pulled back. Nothing that requires you push your hair back or handle your hair a lot - hair touching is seen as flirtatious behavior in almost every mammalian species, so avoid it. You don't have to cut it - just get it out of your way at work.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
Macy's. They have FREE personal shoppers at the larger ones. I also like Chico's, Coldwater Creek for basics, Ann Taylor, Talbot's, and Banana Republic.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?
I do. Concealer dabbed on at eye and around nose, blended well. Powder foundation, applied with brush. Gel eyeliner (I wear glasses, so my eyes disappear if I don't do something to outline them). Light lipstick and chapstick. No eyeshadow, no mascara raccoon-eyes, and no blush. I can apply my makeup in under 5 minutes.

I would set up a session at Sephora and ask for a neutral work face makeover. Or at Nordstrom's. The brand Bobbi Brown is very neutral and workplace-friendly. MAC has great products, but they're tilted towards FULL FACE makeup, which doesn't fit my style. So that's the product line I use, but in a very understated way.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!
My last tip: get some lovely jewelry - a nice watch, pearl and/or diamond studs, a few small necklaces. And get your manicure done once a month. Learn to do it yourself, if so inclined. But nice-looking hands, neat hair and makeup, with decent clothes and shoes will be a great package for the next promotion or leadership role.

Best of luck!

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Presintense » Tue May 21, 2019 11:40 am

May I suggest subtle changes over time in light of the fact that it was your current image that got you the promotion? Hopefully steady professional development matched by a fitting image evolution will accompany you to the promotion after this one! Congratulations!
Performance = Potential - Distraction

deikel
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by deikel » Tue May 21, 2019 11:59 am

You have been promoted to Director level as you were before, so I don't see why you should change much at all.

What I find highly off putting is actually when people put up an obvious show and overdo it (clothes, cars, make up, perfume, jeweler) - equally annoying with men and women, almost always a sign of insecurity that needs to be covered up.

The only specific item I see with women is the voice, if you are petite and non smoker you might be at risk of also having a higher pitch voice which increases even more when under stress, excited or angry - this is something that can be worked on though.

To put it another way: If I see a sales guy driving up in a Porsche wearing Armani and a Rolex on a worked-out body, then my first thought is not 'wow how successful is that guy' my first thought is 'shit, the product is overpriced and I would pay for all this crap when I buy the product' and 'he has too much time on his hand to go to the gym all day'.

You are getting taken serious when you talk shop and have your stuff down, not how you look as long as you don't deviate to the trash side too much. In fact I would argue that you have the advantage of maybe stealthing it a bit since your counterpart might underestimate you - this can be used to your advantage. Nothing more fun then to flatten some male egos in a negotiation

I am in a technical/science field, so YMMV
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:23 pm

deikel wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 11:59 am
You have been promoted to Director level as you were before, so I don't see why you should change much at all.
What I find highly off putting is actually when people put up an obvious show and overdo it (clothes, cars, make up, perfume, jeweler) - equally annoying with men and women, almost always a sign of insecurity that needs to be covered up.

The only specific item I see with women is the voice, if you are petite and non smoker you might be at risk of also having a higher pitch voice which increases even more when under stress, excited or angry - this is something that can be worked on though.

To put it another way: If I see a sales guy driving up in a Porsche wearing Armani and a Rolex on a worked-out body, then my first thought is not 'wow how successful is that guy' my first thought is 'shit, the product is overpriced and I would pay for all this crap when I buy the product' and 'he has too much time on his hand to go to the gym all day'.

You are getting taken serious when you talk shop and have your stuff down, not how you look as long as you don't deviate to the trash side too much. In fact I would argue that you have the advantage of maybe stealthing it a bit since your counterpart might underestimate you - this can be used to your advantage. Nothing more fun then to flatten some male egos in a negotiation

I am in a technical/science field, so YMMV
I would not suggest taking up smoking :oops:

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Iridium » Tue May 21, 2019 12:25 pm

Guy here, but I have had similar thoughts/questions (though at 31 I am still an individual contributor).
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.
I hope this thread gives you great advice that will give you a confidence boost. However, the best confidence comes from within. I am not sure how much I believe in the existence of 'natural charisma' but I am certain that the most important forms of charisma are a skill that can be learned. Some folks happen, through imitation or luck, to be charismatic without being taught. Most are not that lucky. I will not claim to be an expert at being charismatic, but I do think a good first step is attending a local Toastmasters club. I thought I was a pretty confident speaker before, but the club really helped get me to another level.

As far as being taken seriously, a couple of thoughts:

1) People will generally subconsciously respond to what you do. If you are serious and formal, most people will generally up their level of formality without even realizing it. Appearance is one aspect, but body language, slowing down the voice, being selective with swearing, avoiding verbalizing contractions and colloquialisms, asking thoughtful follow-up questions to objections, taking alternate ideas seriously, and depending on the locality, tossing in the occasional sir or ma'am can all set a more serious and formal tone.

2) Learn where the audience is coming from. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt like I was banging my head against the wall trying to get some crucial idea adopted, then found out long afterward that there was some big picture reason why my idea was not the most urgent issue facing my audience or that the audience had good reason to be uncomfortable with the idea, but as it was a 'gut feeling' couldn't really articulate it. I have little doubt you have experienced similar. If you find that clients are responding to some of your colleagues better, it may be worthwhile to meet with those colleagues one-on-one for a post-mortem of the idea. There may be some context you'll learn that will help present your ideas better in the future. At worst, your colleagues will learn you have good ideas and can lend some of their credibility to the idea in meetings with customers.
Last edited by Iridium on Tue May 21, 2019 1:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by bungalow10 » Tue May 21, 2019 12:49 pm

Here is what works for me as an executive in a Fortune 500 that is almost entirely men, working in operations... (I'm 40, naturally blond, short and a size 2).

1. I don't do long hair. Long blond hair at my company = HR or admin. I keep it chin length and still youthful. No dye (but I have a great natural color). I get mine cut every five weeks religiously.
2. I keep makeup minimal to non existent. I do have eyelash extensions, they keep me from looking tired (flaky mascara) at the end of day and when traveling.
3. I never wear heels, but I wear good shoes. Good leather, sometimes leather soles. Heels = look at me
4. No cleavage, ever (not that I have much, but I keep the collar bones covered mostly too).

I never take notes in meetings. I always sit at the table even in crowded rooms.
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Watty » Tue May 21, 2019 1:19 pm

There was some mention of jewelry. In many ways one of the biggest pieces of jewelry that people have these days is their cell phone. Be sure that it is in a professional looking case and has appropriate ringtones.
Shackleton wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:25 am
So I need people to listen to what I'm saying, not just ask me out on a date (it happens!).
Retired guy here, and I worked in non-management technical jobs so my situation was a lot different.

I have no doubt that you were inappropriately asked out on date but that reminded me of another related problem that the OP has likely already run into.

When I was working there would be occasions when I would do something like go out to lunch with coworkers often on the spur of the moment. Unless I knew them well I was alway reluctant to ask my female coworkers if they wanted to go out to lunch unless we were going out as a group. This was because I was concerned that it might come off like I was hitting on them. With male coworkers that was no problem even if I barely knew them and it was a good way to network. I knew that not asking female coworkers to go out to lunch was not right either since that was sort of excluding them from the "old boys network".

I never really figured that one out.

Anyway I wanted to point out to the OP that some of guys she deals with may be a bit confused in how to treat her and she may need to take the lead in doing some things like arranging business lunches.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Bungo » Tue May 21, 2019 1:21 pm

So glad I live in California and work in tech. I could wear pajamas to work and no one would bat an eye.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Tue May 21, 2019 1:31 pm

Bungo wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 1:21 pm
So glad I live in California and work in tech. I could wear pajamas to work and no one would bat an eye.
It’s not just in CA. It’s probably more industry related than location related.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by H-Town » Tue May 21, 2019 1:35 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Hello all! 29 year old petite female, recently promoted to director level at our small company, in a sector that is 80% older men. I happen to be blessed with youthful looks (look to be about 19-20 and get carded regularly). I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?

Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!

Thank you!
As much as I wanted to say don't let the promotion to director level change you, I understand there's double standard and unwritten (and unfair) rules when it comes to women in the position of power. My take is that it's not always black and white. Try to be you the best you can, but if you have to do what you gotta do to blend into the C-suite crowd, just do the bare minimum on that front.

I'm a guy and I always get away with cheap suit and clothing. I'm not seeing the women at my level getting away with it.

Xrayman69
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Xrayman69 » Tue May 21, 2019 1:53 pm

Congrats on the promotion.

Your talents were obviously not overlooked. As result the group of individuals that will be reviewing you know who you are and what you do. The people who would “overlook” you at meetings or events and may now be a subordinate remain in that position likely for a reason.

It’s the Goldie locks principle... not too hot or too cold, just right. I have no idea what that would look like for your position or team. Keep up principles of strong leaders which means excellent open communications for those that might “overlook” you in your new position.

Keep up the excellent work and progress.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by msk » Tue May 21, 2019 2:11 pm

Over the years I had a number of lady department heads reporting to me in a Fortune 10. You got the promotion on merit. Don't worry about the rest. The following make men often uncomfortable so best avoided:
Showing cleavage profusely
Short skirts showing thighs as if attending a cocktail party
Slashed skirts. Never did figure out what the lady was trying to prove.

Most men never look at shoes but overly ambitious high heels are just silly. Never understood why women do not simply wear trousers to the office...

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by deikel » Tue May 21, 2019 2:29 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 12:23 pm
deikel wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 11:59 am
You have been promoted to Director level as you were before, so I don't see why you should change much at all.
What I find highly off putting is actually when people put up an obvious show and overdo it (clothes, cars, make up, perfume, jeweler) - equally annoying with men and women, almost always a sign of insecurity that needs to be covered up.

The only specific item I see with women is the voice, if you are petite and non smoker you might be at risk of also having a higher pitch voice which increases even more when under stress, excited or angry - this is something that can be worked on though.

To put it another way: If I see a sales guy driving up in a Porsche wearing Armani and a Rolex on a worked-out body, then my first thought is not 'wow how successful is that guy' my first thought is 'shit, the product is overpriced and I would pay for all this crap when I buy the product' and 'he has too much time on his hand to go to the gym all day'.

You are getting taken serious when you talk shop and have your stuff down, not how you look as long as you don't deviate to the trash side too much. In fact I would argue that you have the advantage of maybe stealthing it a bit since your counterpart might underestimate you - this can be used to your advantage. Nothing more fun then to flatten some male egos in a negotiation

I am in a technical/science field, so YMMV
I would not suggest taking up smoking :oops:
I was thinking in the direction of breath exercises and 'speech therapy' or stage training but many whiskeys later the same result might be achieved...military will do that to you too...
Everything you read in this post is my personal opinion. If you disagree with this disclaimer, please un-read the text immediately and destroy any copy or remembrance of it.

Atilla
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Atilla » Tue May 21, 2019 3:23 pm

Wear glasses even if you don't need them. Never finish a sentence with your voice note going up.
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 21, 2019 3:34 pm

When in situations where alcohol is being consumed, be careful. The affects of alcohol are more for those with lower body weight.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by dm200 » Tue May 21, 2019 3:38 pm

Atilla wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:23 pm
Wear glasses even if you don't need them. .
Just like "Wonder Woman" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p14lY2PB1ko

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by runner540 » Tue May 21, 2019 3:47 pm

notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
Hello all! 29 year old petite female, recently promoted to director level at our small company, in a sector that is 80% older men. I happen to be blessed with youthful looks (look to be about 19-20 and get carded regularly). I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?

Please no debate on whether this is needed, just looking to add a little to my image and they always say you should dress for the job you want and I finally got the job I want!

Thank you!
Congrats!! We are similar age. Best resources are at corporette.com - lots of relevant discussions/articles

1. Good quality bag and shoes, and take care of them. Toss anything that looks at all worn or cheap, including jewelry. When hair and skin are looking good, I feel good. Also, good workouts - gives you energy and feel more confident.
Wear a structured piece every day: blazer, and/or tailored suit dress, or crisp blouse.
2. Not sure on this - try a new cut before a new color. Make sure it's very natural and matches your skin/brows.
3. Find your own tailor and shoe repair places so you can buy stuff anywhere. Theory @ Nordstrom. J. crew. https://corporette.com/category/fashion/suits/
4. Yes, basic makeup for an office setting, including neutral eyeshadow and mascara and lip color. Try Aveda Institute. Get brows shaped/groomed well.

PM me for more thoughts!

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by BuckyBadger » Tue May 21, 2019 3:53 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 3:34 pm
When in situations where alcohol is being consumed, be careful. The affects of alcohol are more for those with lower body weight.

Come on, you people. She's a competent capable person looking for advice on upper level appearance. She wouldn't have been promoted if she were a sloppy drunk who says irregardless with vocal fry and a question at the end of every sentence that's also full of ums and likes.

Maybe we can assume that she's already a professional and just give her the advice she's asking for?

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by GT99 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:04 pm

I get that attire/looks matter to some degree, but do those of you focused on those things truly think about some of these things when you're evaluating others? It's pretty eye-opening to me.

Length of hair? Minor hair changes don't even register on most men I know - I don't even notice them on my wife, and I'm much more likely to notice them on her than on my coworkers. Sure, dramatic changes in color or length will go noticed, but don't overthink this.

Keep it simple. Most of it's common sense. Don't be the woman I used to work with who regularly wore a T-shirt that said "I can't adult today." Ironically, she was very good at her job, but still - definite career limiting move. Don't dress like you're going clubbing, etc.

Be aware of your environment. My last two positions were both with super casual companies. When I first started at one, I was used to wearing a dress shirt and slacks. I was totally out of place wearing that, and quickly switched to jeans and polo. I was still better dressed than most. Even in super-casual environments, it's rare to see management wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

The "non-aesthetic" things are much more important. Leaders aren't a fly on the wall in meetings. Speak up. Ask questions - good people ask good, insightful questions. And answer questions - but don't be the obnoxious person who feels the need to answer every question even if it's not directed at you. Take ownership of things of things that people don't want to do. Deliver when you say you're going to deliver.

But don't waste hours worrying about what you're going to wear to work or what you're next hair style is going to be. The most successful people don't.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by runner540 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:11 pm

GT99 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:04 pm
I get that attire/looks matter to some degree, but do those of you focused on those things truly think about some of these things when you're evaluating others? It's pretty eye-opening to me.

Length of hair? Minor hair changes don't even register on most men I know - I don't even notice them on my wife, and I'm much more likely to notice them on her than on my coworkers. Sure, dramatic changes in color or length will go noticed, but don't overthink this.

Keep it simple. Most of it's common sense. Don't be the woman I used to work with who regularly wore a T-shirt that said "I can't adult today." Ironically, she was very good at her job, but still - definite career limiting move. Don't dress like you're going clubbing, etc.

Be aware of your environment. My last two positions were both with super casual companies. When I first started at one, I was used to wearing a dress shirt and slacks. I was totally out of place wearing that, and quickly switched to jeans and polo. I was still better dressed than most. Even in super-casual environments, it's rare to see management wearing shorts and a t-shirt.

The "non-aesthetic" things are much more important. Leaders aren't a fly on the wall in meetings. Speak up. Ask questions - good people ask good, insightful questions. And answer questions - but don't be the obnoxious person who feels the need to answer every question even if it's not directed at you. Take ownership of things of things that people don't want to do. Deliver when you say you're going to deliver.

But don't waste hours worrying about what you're going to wear to work or what you're next hair style is going to be. The most successful people don't.
OP asked for help, and to take it as a given that appearance matters.

That's great that you aren't focused on appearance but study after study shows that women in particular are held to impossible and conflicting standards at work on how to dress, how to talk and how to negotiate at work. Even by people who may not realize they're doing it.

mrc
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by mrc » Tue May 21, 2019 4:13 pm

Coltrane75 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 9:53 am
Some things to consider:
1. Wearing a blazer
2. Dark colors
3. Slicked back hair
4. Speak without voice fry, raised-question intonations or the use of ums
5. Wear pants
6. Don't smile as much; be serious as default.
7. Don't engage in small friendly chit-chat much with higher ups anymore than they do man-to-man. They get too chatty, rein it back to business.
Blazer + skirt (above the knee) or slacks. Modest neckline blouse. Nothing without the jacket, nothing sleeveless. Minimal jewelry. My wife, petite, attorney, always comments on the lack of taste in some of her cohorts and management. She dressed up a grade or two mostly because that's what made her comfortable as well.
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apple44
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by apple44 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:21 pm

Congratulations!!! There are not enough of us girls up there! To answer your questions:

1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?

For me, the promotion boosted my confidence. Truth is if I wasn't good enough, I wouldn't be promoted and I wouldn't be trusted to have more responsibility and to manage clients directly.

2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?

Blond hair in a traditional industry (i.e., my field) is still associated with "just a stupid blonde." I have dark hair so it's not a problem for me, but I often hear redheads and blondes talk about not being treated seriously. Even so, they didn't change their hair color. So I don't know, sometimes being a blonde helps I think, the same way being an attractive woman could help in certain circumstances.

3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?

Jacket/Blazer is very important. Investing in a great jacket is worth it. Comfortable high-heel shoes are also important. For clothing, you could go to stores like Ann Taylor, Banana Republic, Brooks Brothers to find affordable suits. You may also browse these websites that sell suits to C-Suite women. They are rather pricey but you'll get the idea:
https://suitkits.com/
https://www.ninamclemore.com/
Nina McLemore dressed Janet Yellen, the Fed's chairwoman. A number of people mentioned dark colors, such as black, dark blue and grey. I would argue that red, turquoise and bright blue are power colors for women. Don't hide in black. Don't try to fit in, because you can't! In a room of white old men (where I usually sit with), you'll stand out no matter what. So wear something beautiful and colorful and be confident and shine through it!

4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?

I wear makeup everyday. Very simple. Skincare routine first (moisturizer and sunblock), then makeup routine: foundation, eyeliner, eye shadow, eyebrows, mascara, blush, lipstick, that's it. It takes five minutes for me. When in a hurry, I'll do eyeliner, eyebrows and lipstick only and skip the others.

Good luck!!!

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by apple44 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:28 pm

haha, some people say Oh come on, people don't notice what you are wearing! Appearances are not important!
Congratulations you are living in an entirely different world than us girls! Or you are simply too naive. Sure a lot of people do not notice or comment on women's appearances, but many people do! Especially for women. I'm an attorney, and there's a profession called "court room stylist," which most of the time provide services to women defendants. Don't for a second think your appearance doesn't matter.

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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Meg77 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:30 pm

I love this question! I'm a youthful looking 35 year old female in a male dominated industry as well. I've learned a lot observing older female colleagues and also by talking to some open men in the field (husband, friends I don't work with who I feel were honest, etc.). It's really hard to find a balance between being attractive but not too sexy, personable but not too flirty, approachable but not too casual etc. Of course a LOT varies by region and industry as well. I'm in banking in Dallas, for reference. But even at my firm the investment professionals talk about how they tailor their look when attending conferences and meeting clients in very different parts of the country - suits and ties in NYC, chinos and vests in Silicon Valley, etc. In a way I feel like women can get away with a lot more because there's less of a 'uniform,' but the downside is that a lot more effort and decisions go into getting dressed. The upside is that I find it easier to stand out as many of my female colleagues go more and more casual (wearing flats daily, no makeup, etc.).
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
I started doing my hair. Not all the time, but a little bit of a curl or a flip out with a straight iron goes a long way. I've realized I can't get away with just letting my hair air dry anymore if I really want an easy way to look professional. This is a work in progress. Note that I wore nicer more tailored clothes from the time I started (age 22) though as well as designer or designer looking heeled shoes. A stepped up wardrobe is a very good place to start if you haven't done that already. Examples: a nude patent leather pump is essential and can be had for $120. Ditto black leather (patent in black can look cheap). They dress up any outfit easily and make you look more professional, especially if you're short/petite (I wear Rothy flats a lot around my own suite and to Starbucks and back, but I keep a few pair of nice heels under my desk for internal and client meetings). Black pants (a fitted capri works in warmer or more casual climates) and/or a black fitted skirt are an easy go to. Don't wear cheap cotton/rayon/nylon stretchy or thin tops; spring for a finer material.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
Absolutely. I've actually heard HR professionals discuss how to approach this with people. I remember one woman who was petite and had long (gorgeous) very blond hair. She blew it out every day, and it would have looked great on a swimsuit cover or at a pageant, but it was distracting at work. Even as a 22 year old I remember thinking it made her look and seem too young (she also had a very feminine voice). Years later I saw she'd cropped it closer to shoulder length (still longish though) and coincidentally she had been promoted even higher into management. This was Oklahoma too for the record where big blond hair is hardly unusual. I don't think you need to totally change the color unless you want to, but if it's too long and bouncy and also blond I do think it can take away from your credibility, unfairly of course.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
Try MM LeFleur. It's not cheap but I love some of their basic pieces and it can at least give you ideas. Ann Taylor has some reasonably priced things from what I hear, but beware the mom look. Lots of women at my work are trying Rent the Runway with good results. They pay a flat fee monthly and now wear $450 dresses and much nicer things than they'd buy themselves. Plus you can try trends and colors. The great thing even in finance now is that suits are rarely necessary. I finally gave away some of my old Hugo Boss and Theory suits because I never wore the boxy jackets anymore. It's a lot cheaper to buy a sheath dress and pair it with a structured cardigan style "jacket" or something that ties instead of buttons for meetings.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?
Makeup is key. Oddly, my dad told me in my late 20s that I needed to wear more makeup for work. He's always preached the opposite in general life, but he made a comment I always remembered about needing to wear it - not too much, but not too little either - to look professional. Now he's no expert, but I think he's right. I don't think you need a professional, but you could head to the Estee Lauder counter at a department store (or try a few others too) and tell them your situation and ask advice. Usually you can get a free make-up session including tips as long as you buy $X of product. Eyeliner and blush sounds a bit too light to me. Mascara and lipstick (even just a basic nude color) go a LONG way to making you look put together. I don't do foundation every day, but I at least do concealer under and on eyes and a brush of powder or bronzer. Then understated eye shadow (nude shimmer all over, darker brownish color on bottom of lids) and usually I use dark brown eye shadow as liner and put it on with a brush, rather than a pencil. Complete eye with basic mascara. Then I rotate between a nude and rose colored moisturizing lipstick. Not too matte, not too glossy.


A couple of other random notes. For better or worse, if your colleagues/mentors/bosses are much older men, then be aware that their standards of appearance may be different from yours. You can object to this, but it's probably reality and good to keep in mind. I once interviewed with some older southern white men for a job at Wells Fargo, and my friend who had worked there (she was a 50-something woman) embarrassingly suggested I wear a skirt suit instead of pants and consider panty hose. I went out and bought some. I wasn't offended - glad for the tip! It's a formal work place and they are formal old school men. It didn't mean I'd have to dress like that daily, but knowing that was their version of formal interview attire was what it was. Honestly I felt like a million bucks that day wearing my grey skirt suit with a silk blouse and panty hose and curled hair with a full face of makeup. I don't do it often, but I always feel more confident when I step it up like that. And people notice. By comparison when I roll in the office in flats and stretchy "slacks" and a cotton tee with my hair pulled back and little makeup on...well, I can still get away with it but lets just say I wouldn't want to be invited to a last minute client lunch on those days. And I ALWAYS want to be known as someone who can be invited along sight unseen to a last minute client lunch.
"An investment in knowledge pays the best interest." - Benjamin Franklin

quantAndHold
Posts: 3438
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by quantAndHold » Tue May 21, 2019 4:42 pm

Been there, done that. Interesting the number of guys trying to answer the question.

Anyway, congratulations! Nobody gets a promotion like that at 29 unless they are high potential and already good at what they do, so the first thing is to walk in the door knowing that you deserve to be in that position. No imposter syndrome allowed.

Since we don’t know what industry or location, none of us can really tell you how to dress, except for the usual advice to dress for the next level up. You want to be professional, whatever that means in your industry.

One thing that I found super helpful throughout my working career (I’m recently retired) was to have a female mentor. Someone at a level above me, who’s successfully navigated what I’m going through now, and can give advice on how to dress, how to take charge without alienating, and how to deal with the inevitable stuff that guys do without even realizing they’re doing it. Most executive women want to help other talented women succeed, so it’s worth cultivating those relationships.

runner540
Posts: 1078
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 5:43 pm

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by runner540 » Tue May 21, 2019 4:43 pm

Meg77 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 4:30 pm
I love this question! I'm a youthful looking 35 year old female in a male dominated industry as well. I've learned a lot observing older female colleagues and also by talking to some open men in the field (husband, friends I don't work with who I feel were honest, etc.). It's really hard to find a balance between being attractive but not too sexy, personable but not too flirty, approachable but not too casual etc. Of course a LOT varies by region and industry as well. I'm in banking in Dallas, for reference. But even at my firm the investment professionals talk about how they tailor their look when attending conferences and meeting clients in very different parts of the country - suits and ties in NYC, chinos and vests in Silicon Valley, etc. In a way I feel like women can get away with a lot more because there's less of a 'uniform,' but the downside is that a lot more effort and decisions go into getting dressed. The upside is that I find it easier to stand out as many of my female colleagues go more and more casual (wearing flats daily, no makeup, etc.).
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
1. For the ladies, what was one thing you did to your appearance that helped with your confidence and made people treat you more respectfully?
I started doing my hair. Not all the time, but a little bit of a curl or a flip out with a straight iron goes a long way. I've realized I can't get away with just letting my hair air dry anymore if I really want an easy way to look professional. This is a work in progress. Note that I wore nicer more tailored clothes from the time I started (age 22) though as well as designer or designer looking heeled shoes. A stepped up wardrobe is a very good place to start if you haven't done that already. Examples: a nude patent leather pump is essential and can be had for $120. Ditto black leather (patent in black can look cheap). They dress up any outfit easily and make you look more professional, especially if you're short/petite (I wear Rothy flats a lot around my own suite and to Starbucks and back, but I keep a few pair of nice heels under my desk for internal and client meetings). Black pants (a fitted capri works in warmer or more casual climates) and/or a black fitted skirt are an easy go to. Don't wear cheap cotton/rayon/nylon stretchy or thin tops; spring for a finer material.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
2. I currently highlight my hair blonde but considering cutting it a little shorter and going brunette. Do you think hair color and length make a difference when you are trying to obtain clients?
Absolutely. I've actually heard HR professionals discuss how to approach this with people. I remember one woman who was petite and had long (gorgeous) very blond hair. She blew it out every day, and it would have looked great on a swimsuit cover or at a pageant, but it was distracting at work. Even as a 22 year old I remember thinking it made her look and seem too young (she also had a very feminine voice). Years later I saw she'd cropped it closer to shoulder length (still longish though) and coincidentally she had been promoted even higher into management. This was Oklahoma too for the record where big blond hair is hardly unusual. I don't think you need to totally change the color unless you want to, but if it's too long and bouncy and also blond I do think it can take away from your credibility, unfairly of course.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
3. Any place for good women’s suits that will also taylor that don’t cost a fortune? Does a Men’s Warehouse type store for women exist?
Try MM LeFleur. It's not cheap but I love some of their basic pieces and it can at least give you ideas. Ann Taylor has some reasonably priced things from what I hear, but beware the mom look. Lots of women at my work are trying Rent the Runway with good results. They pay a flat fee monthly and now wear $450 dresses and much nicer things than they'd buy themselves. Plus you can try trends and colors. The great thing even in finance now is that suits are rarely necessary. I finally gave away some of my old Hugo Boss and Theory suits because I never wore the boxy jackets anymore. It's a lot cheaper to buy a sheath dress and pair it with a structured cardigan style "jacket" or something that ties instead of buttons for meetings.
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
4. For women in higher positions, do you wear makeup daily? What does your morning routine look like? I feel like I need to update my makeup regime as it currently is just eyeliner and blush. Is it worth paying a professional to help teach you makeup application?
Makeup is key. Oddly, my dad told me in my late 20s that I needed to wear more makeup for work. He's always preached the opposite in general life, but he made a comment I always remembered about needing to wear it - not too much, but not too little either - to look professional. Now he's no expert, but I think he's right. I don't think you need a professional, but you could head to the Estee Lauder counter at a department store (or try a few others too) and tell them your situation and ask advice. Usually you can get a free make-up session including tips as long as you buy $X of product. Eyeliner and blush sounds a bit too light to me. Mascara and lipstick (even just a basic nude color) go a LONG way to making you look put together. I don't do foundation every day, but I at least do concealer under and on eyes and a brush of powder or bronzer. Then understated eye shadow (nude shimmer all over, darker brownish color on bottom of lids) and usually I use dark brown eye shadow as liner and put it on with a brush, rather than a pencil. Complete eye with basic mascara. Then I rotate between a nude and rose colored moisturizing lipstick. Not too matte, not too glossy.


A couple of other random notes. For better or worse, if your colleagues/mentors/bosses are much older men, then be aware that their standards of appearance may be different from yours. You can object to this, but it's probably reality and good to keep in mind. I once interviewed with some older southern white men for a job at Wells Fargo, and my friend who had worked there (she was a 50-something woman) embarrassingly suggested I wear a skirt suit instead of pants and consider panty hose. I went out and bought some. I wasn't offended - glad for the tip! It's a formal work place and they are formal old school men. It didn't mean I'd have to dress like that daily, but knowing that was their version of formal interview attire was what it was. Honestly I felt like a million bucks that day wearing my grey skirt suit with a silk blouse and panty hose and curled hair with a full face of makeup. I don't do it often, but I always feel more confident when I step it up like that. And people notice. By comparison when I roll in the office in flats and stretchy "slacks" and a cotton tee with my hair pulled back and little makeup on...well, I can still get away with it but lets just say I wouldn't want to be invited to a last minute client lunch on those days. And I ALWAYS want to be known as someone who can be invited along sight unseen to a last minute client lunch.
+1 Spot on. Be ready for a client lunch at any time.

ILnative
Posts: 96
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2013 7:53 am

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by ILnative » Tue May 21, 2019 4:49 pm

Just a few thoughts - already lots of good comments here - my point of reference is as a 40 something woman in the accounting industry - including 15 years in public accounting.

Wear heels - not super high (I usually went with about 2-2.5") - but enough to give yourself a lift . - personal stature can be very important in interpersonal dealings. I am 5'8" and when I was in public accounting - I wore heels every day - brought me to eye level (or higher) with most men. Don't underestimate the importance of this.

Keep things simple and tidy in all realms - hair, make up, clothes, jewelry.

You didn't ask - but a few things about meetings. Be engaged - don't make the mistake of thinking you need to transcribe every meeting for yourself - only take notes when you absolutely have to - sitting and writing through a meeting makes you seem not engaged. Also - if someone wants notes taken for a meeting - do not volunteer to do this nor do it if asked - especially if the men in the room haven't been asked. This is looked upon as "housekeeping" or "secretarial" type work and will influence how you are viewed both in the meeting and in the future by those in attendance. Mel Robbins has a great video clip on this (and lots of other topics) - not sure if I can post it or not - but if you look it up on LinkedIn you should be able to find it. Along a similar vein - clean up after yourself after a meeting (coffee cups, etc.) but do not do that kind of housekeeping for others - I've seen too many women clean up a conference room after a meeting when it wasn't their job/responsibility and, once again, it colors how others view you.

Congrats on your promotion - my guess is you are already all over most of this - but kudos for asking!

stoptothink
Posts: 6506
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by stoptothink » Tue May 21, 2019 5:22 pm

Jags4186 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 7:07 am
I’m so happy I’m a guy.
+1. I know we'll get posters talking about how $500 shoes and tailored suits are necessary to not get negatively judged in the corporate world, but I'm a big company exec, and I've never been in an environment where this is the reality. I'm in good shape and my wife makes sure the hair is never unkempt, so as long as my clothes fit and are clean, IMO none of this really matters. I met with the athletic department of a major university today and I wore Banana Republic slacks, a company polo, and Clarks. Tomorrow I'll be on TV, same deal, different color pants and polo.

In my environment there are some very powerful females who don't dress to nines, but in general it's quite obvious that they care more than their male colleagues. Whether it really matters, who knows? Know your specific environment, they are all different.

User avatar
Tamarind
Posts: 1781
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Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by Tamarind » Tue May 21, 2019 6:04 pm

Iridium wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 12:25 pm
Guy here, but I have had similar thoughts/questions (though at 31 I am still an individual contributor).
notmyhand wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 6:53 am
I find myself overlooked at some meetings and events which was fine until now but I feel like I need to be taken a little more seriously going forward as I will be in front of clients even more than I currently am. It’s possible that my confidence is also lacking due to this and that may be part of the problem as I am not natural charismatic.
I hope this thread gives you great advice that will give you a confidence boost. However, the best confidence comes from within. I am not sure how much I believe in the existence of 'natural charisma' but I am certain that the most important forms of charisma are a skill that can be learned. Some folks happen, through imitation or luck, to be charismatic without being taught. Most are not that lucky. I will not claim to be an expert at being charismatic, but I do think a good first step is attending a local Toastmasters club. I thought I was a pretty confident speaker before, but the club really helped get me to another level.

As far as being taken seriously, a couple of thoughts:

1) People will generally subconsciously respond to what you do. If you are serious and formal, most people will generally up their level of formality without even realizing it. Appearance is one aspect, but body language, slowing down the voice, being selective with swearing, avoiding verbalizing contractions and colloquialisms, asking thoughtful follow-up questions to objections, taking alternate ideas seriously, and depending on the locality, tossing in the occasional sir or ma'am can all set a more serious and formal tone.

2) Learn where the audience is coming from. I cannot tell you how many times I have felt like I was banging my head against the wall trying to get some crucial idea adopted, then found out long afterward that there was some big picture reason why my idea was not the most urgent issue facing my audience or that the audience had good reason to be uncomfortable with the idea, but as it was a 'gut feeling' couldn't really articulate it. I have little doubt you have experienced similar. If you find that clients are responding to some of your colleagues better, it may be worthwhile to meet with those colleagues one-on-one for a post-mortem of the idea. There may be some context you'll learn that will help present your ideas better in the future. At worst, your colleagues will learn you have good ideas and can lend some of their credibility to the idea in meetings with customers.
This is excellent advice. Anyone who makes director at a younger age may find they have some trouble being listened to. Remember that doing what you have been doing got you here.

If you are not in tech industry, consider adding one custom suit to your rotation for the most important meetings rather than just getting one tailored. Can be worth it to have something in a "timeless" style that really fits you. I would also recommend this to men.

mayday23
Posts: 150
Joined: Mon Feb 10, 2014 10:29 am

Re: Recently promoted - how to match image with title?

Post by mayday23 » Tue May 21, 2019 6:55 pm

dm200 wrote:
Tue May 21, 2019 10:18 am
No expertise (or personal experience), but I think the OPs concerns are well founded.

Just hope they don't ask her to serve the coffee! BUT - be prepared if they do! 8-)

In observing some young women that seem to be in similar circumstances, what I notice is that some of them make their presence known by their words and actions. One that I know, in particular, is an attorney and is very short and slim -- BUT she is a very aggressive "tiger" in her actions in her job and in meetings, etc.
Boss: Can you get us some coffee?
OP/Lady: I'm good, thanks for asking

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