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September 2012

Why wearing makup to the office means professional success

Looking competent and professional is incredibly important. Although that might mean putting on the glitter eyeliner, it doesn't have to mean bare-faced beauty. Studies have shown that women who wear make-up to work are more likely to get promoted. The trick is finding a look that enhances your natural beauty.

Research suggests that wearing the right amount of makeup is perhaps the most important part of the attractiveness package. In fact, researchers found that a fair amount of primping can actually boost earning potential. "The key may be to appear as if you've put in some effort but didn't go overboard," says Don Osborn, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Bellarmine University, in Kentucky.

There is an assumption that a woman who is fastidious about her appearance will be equally fastidious about her work. Makeup for work doesn't have to be complicated or time consuming, but be sure to use the best quality makeup products you can afford. Quality products will both wear better and be better to your skin.

Make Up: Workplace Ground Rules

Here are a couple of ground rules for a workplace safe look:

  • Keep your brows neat and groomed. Perfect brows scream professional and show your attention to detail.
  • Stick with medium neutral colors, and you can't usually go wrong.
  • You can never blend too much - nothing looks less professional than makeup lines!
  • Oily Skin Makeup Tip: Keep blotter sheets and small mirror in your bag and touch up your face throughout the day.
  • It has to stand the test of time; you don’t want to have to keep retouching your look when you have to dash from meeting to meeting.
  • Whether it's pulled back or left down, hair should be healthy, unfussy, and worn in a neat, uncomplicated style that you feel comfortable in — nothing looks as good on you as confidence.

Makeup don’ts

  1. Not wearing enough makeup or going bare-faced to work.
  2. Wearing ‘heavy’ and overly trendy makeup.
  3. Constantly re-applying makeup at your desk.
  4. Wearing too much fragrance.
  5. Wearing too much mascara that flakes off.
  6. Wearing shimmer, sparkle, or frost eye shadow.
  7. Heavy, black eyeliner.
  8. Bright lipstick and lining lips with a dark liner. Makeup should not be distracting.
  9. Using too much bronzer and blush.
  10. Wearing too much lipstick.

"An attractive woman is comfortable in her own skin. She is confident, has a positive attitude, and looks stylish and polished from her hair to her makeup to her clothes," says self-esteem and relationship expert Catherine Cardinal, Ph.D., author of A Cure for the Common Life: The Cardinal Rules of Self-Esteem

A necktie can immediately reveal pieces of a man’s personality. As one of the few expressions of creativity and personality allowed to men, a tie has a lot of responsibility. "It can convey a feeling, a situation, and above all the elegance of the wearer, since his choice of a tie is an expression of his inner self," says Jean-Claude Colban, director of Charvet, the distinguished tie shop in Paris, in the preface to The Book of Ties by Francois Chaille.

"(Wearing a tie) means that you value looking professional and businesslike — that you hold yourself to a higher standard than just wearing the normal clothes,” said Matt Schmoldt, creator of “A man can wear a white shirt and trousers and still look a little casual, but when he puts that tie on, he definitely looks professional and snazzy."

While the simple act of wearing a tie can say a lot about a person, there are three aspects of a tie that can speak volumes about who one is:

  • The color
  • The tying technique/ knot
  • The fabric pattern

Meaning of a Tie Pattern

  • Striped ties; classic conservative and generally safe
  • Paisley; "free spirit" or individualistic image
  • Polka dots; friendly and light-hearted.
  • Plaid; reflect the multiple dimensions of the wearer
  • Graphic ties; show your interests.
  • Solid ties not only portray versatility and boldness, but they are also considered a safe wardrobe staple

Feedback from recent training

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“Hey @derekbbanga, I used your techniques for a presentation yesterday! The tips work! :) Started with a story & kept powerpoint full of pictures and less words” Achieng Akena via twitter


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In this month’s newsletter we focus on two aspects of the personal brand, both of which can make or break the brand. We also answer some of your business etiquette questions. As always I hope you find these tips useful and continue to let us know your thoughts.

With best regards,
Derek Bbanga.


Public Image has a unique approach to building individual and corporate achievement. Business etiquette, creating a positive image though posture and dress, soft skills, communication proficiency, personal branding and networking expertise are key elements in the Public Image approach to developing professional skills.
Projecting a positive image for business will give you an edge in today's competitive market.


Your business etiquette questions answered

Q: I just started working at this company. I was using the men’s room when the CEO walked in to use the facilities himself. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to act?

A: The first rule of the men’s room is let others (CEO or no CEO) handle their business in peace. The men’s room ideally should be a place of respite from the madding world outside of the office. So avoid lengthy conversations on the sales meeting figures or the colour of Dan’s new tie. A cursory nod, acknowledgement or brief greeting will suffice. You should let the CEO finish his pit stop and say a quick good morning while you are both washing hands. You do wash your hands afterwards don’t you!

Q: Derek, I am going for a business meeting with a potential client at a Chinese restaurant and I have no idea how to use chops sticks. Help!

A: Don’t panic, even though they do say when in Rome do as the Romans do. Most Chinese restaurants will give you conventional silverware to use and it’s better to stick with what you know than to struggle picking one grain of rice at a time. Do yourself a favour however and practice on your own and impress your client next time with your chop stick dexterity.

Q: Hi, I am a senior manager for this multinational company and the bosses from the head office in Europe were visiting. In the process of hugging and pecking as I was greeting them, my lipstick rubbed off on the Vice President’s collar just before he was going in to the meeting. I was mortified – what should I have done? Anne

A: Well, in the first place I would have avoided kissing as a way of greeting. The approved skin on skin contact in a professional setting is the handshake. If you know that Hans will insist on pecks then prepare in advance and either don’t wear lipstick that day or blot it off before you meet him. Either that or hang out with society types and learn the art of air kissing. Lipstick is made up of pigments, oils, waxes, and emollients meaning it is infernally difficult to remove without resorting to removing the shirt and washing it or using other products. This I presume being impossible under the circumstances, I would have apologised profusely to Hans and made arrangements then and there to buy or procure him another shirt.


TIE colours and their meanings

Green necktie: sense for harmony and stability
Yellow necktie: communicates a position of authority, positivity and optimism
Orange necktie: enthusiasm
Red necktie: express passion and authority.
Black necktie: traditional and respectable.
Brown necktie: communicate stability and practical
White necktie: innocence and clarity
Blue necktie: peace, honesty and honour.
Pink: confident, gentle and friendly

TIE KNOT and its meaning

Zipper and clip on ties ; youthful or lazy
"Schoolboy knot," the four-in-hand knot is often the first one learned and most commonly used.
Windsor knot; sense of power
Half-Windsor knot; more professional than four-in-hand knot



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