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How to be Taken Seriously

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Recently I heard a story from a friend about how she was having trouble getting coworkers to listen to her. She’s pretty advanced in her career even though she’s in her early 30′s and hasn’t been in her current position very long so, here are a few ways we women – especially younger women – can be taken seriously at our jobs.

There’s an old saying that “perception is reality” so if you shop in the junior’s section and wear heavy makeup you may not be able to get ahead. Supervisors may think that you’re stuck in your teens so you may not get the opportunities to advance or more job responsibilities because you “look too young”. Looking young is great, but looking too young is not.

Fashion magazines or gossip magazines may show actresses and models darting around town with their tops unbuttoned a little too far, or a skirt that shows a little too much leg and they can get away with it. We can’t. Sad but true. If you aren’t exactly sure what to wear or where to go, look to stylish women like Michelle Obama and Kate Middleton for fashion cues. They have to wear more modest clothing and are covered up in the right places. Pencil skirts, button down shirts, neatly tailored blazers, sharp and crisp pants, sweaters, and a couple of dresses according to Donna Karan is all you need. Same with the shoes. Mary Janes, loafers, ballet flats and a low heeled pump are all acceptable. Apparently the spike heeled boots and four inch platforms have no place in the work place.

Big Victoria’s Secret model hair and super wavy beach waves seem to be the hair trend, but keep that to date night, spring break and the weekend. Hair should be a normal color and cut and styled in a manner that’s professional. Keep it clean, brushed and under control. Same goes for hair in rainbow colors. I had a boss that said she didn’t mind my bleach blond and actually said she wished she could pull that off, but I still felt like it should be a color found in nature, and no, rainbow colors didn’t count. Christina Aguilera can do the tip dip neon pink. We can’t.

When it comes to makeup, Amy Winehouse eyeliner and Marilyn Monroe red lipstick doesn’t work. According to author Sherry Maysonave who literally wrote the book on how to dress for success says that women who wear heavy makeup “are perceived as having low self-esteem.” Unsure of what to wear? Try eyeshadow in a neutral color like grey, brown, or an opalescent shade, coupled with a few coats of mascara and some gloss or a subtle shade of lipstick should do the trick.

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