BlushHoarder

Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Hello all, I am a college instructor and yield a deal of authority. However, I am very young looking. I also have a kind persona. This often (real or fabricated) causes me issues at work. I oftentimes feel like I am not taken seriously or am viewed as less as all of my coworkers have at least 15 years on me.

I realize that this issue is multifaceted and therefore not due to just one thing, but one thing I know I can do is work on my appearance.

Can you all share some techniques (make up, clothing, or otherwise) that you use or avoid when you are trying to convey a "take me seriously" look.

All thoughts are welcome!

kimchikween

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

I have the same problem.  I look a lot younger than I actually am and work in a male dominated industry with a lot of "good ol boy" clients who struggle with taking my advice because I look like their daughter's age.  Ultimately, over time, they learn that I know what I'm talking about but first impressions are important.  This is especially true when I'm am bidding on the work.  Something I've done is wear glasses - when I'm bidding for work or conducting interviews.  It's a little thing but I do look older.

All the advice about clothes and make-up are good, but a lot of it is how you present yourself (not clothes).  I've done coaching with women on how they talk. Check out the Ms. Career Girl site and search for "7 ways to earn more respect and influence as a young professional women".

Good luck!

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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Thank you for the website suggestion. I will check into it!

I completely agree that it is much more than clothes or makeup. But some things are easier to fix than others. I will certainly continue to work on all aspects.

I also appreciate your story. It is nice to relate to others :smileyhappy:

LCResz

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

I was in your shoes once, starting out as an adjunct, actually younger than a lot of the grad students I was instructing. I tried the buttoned down look, hair and makeup looking rather corporate, but that soon gave way to me dressing like all the other professors: jeans, nice shirts, hair in a ponytail, and just enough makeup to  cover up blemishes. In other words I didn't try to look like a "professor" I simply adopted the style of the rest of the faculty.

 

Students and faculty never commented on my look, they were simply impressed by my total command of the material I was teaching. In fact I used to love starting a class by sitting in the auditorium, looking like a student, and chit chatting with the other students, trying to see what they thought of the course and what they'd heard about the teacher. When the instructional hour came I would calmly stand up and introduce myself as their instructor and it would be a laugh-riot to see their reactions. It broke the ice, but then I would start in on the syllabus and my expectations of them as students and what they could expect of me as an instructor. 

 

Long story short, if you know your stuff and exude confidence and mastery of your material people will take you seriously, regardless of your "look." Then again I taught in the Bio dept, so my colleagues were usually in their labs when not teaching, thus looking done up was very out of place. Like I said, just look at the culture of your dept for guidance.

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Thanks for the story :smileyhappy:

I have done something similar.

I agree about mastery of the subject. Always working on that one.

 

I think my problem is more with colleagues than with students however.

LCResz

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

That's why I think you should follow their lead. Changing up your style to look a certain way may invite remarks, and though they may be said in good fun can still make you feel like an outsider. I know I felt awkward when I showed up to teach for the first time looking like a corporate raider and all the other professors were wearing jeans and rocking mad scientist hairdos. I felt soooo out of place and like I was trying too hard. When one of the chem professors asked if I was looking for the business school I knew I was going to stick to more "science dept" clothing From there on out.

unblownkisses

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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Oh my gosh, your first day routine... dying.

Londonlover101

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

swfupload_6752076911655263925.jpgtashalicious is right, especially if you work in a medical envouirment keep your nails short and clean, makeup minimal and hair back. ( I was trained in CPR and first aid along with medical career planning, even though I am interested in other professions as well :smileyhappy: )  for any other job I would suggest a tailored pencil skirt as it is appropriate and professional looking. (the blue one is available in black as well and costs 17.80 $ it is called the solid knee-length skirt)

The other pencil skirt is really cute too as its stylish yet the length is demure with just a littleswfupload_2100635094376436066.jpg of the inner black cutout at the bottom, this skirt is 15.80$ and is called the cutout striped knee length skirt and would look really cute with some black closed toe booties or pointed heels, both of these looks can be found at forever21.com in the skirts section :smileyhappy: I also really really really recommend buying a versatile black blazer that can be worn with almost any look and will definitely give the "take me seriously" vibe. this next look can also be found at forever21 for 32.80 and is called the open front cropped blazer, the model wears this in amore relaxed weekend look but with the sleeves down paired with either of these skirts and some pointed stilettos the look is completed.

 

for the makeup I would suggest no bold crazy colors but you can definitely wear a red lip if you want to add a more defined "posh" look to a darker outfit, don't go to heavy on the blush and keep the eye shadow light unless you are going for a bold smoky eye.

I hope this helps and good luck on your job, have a nice day! :smileyvery-happy:

 

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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I agree and am taking note of this. Pencil skirts, yes. It is sad cause I do love a fluffy skirt.

unblownkisses

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

This one is a bit obvious, but I noticed it hasn't been mentioned: avoid glittery/shimmery shades of anything. I had a college professor who wore what looked like urban decay shadows all the time and it was so intensely distracting... I personally think matte finishes looks more "serious" all the way around, while more radiant looks I associate with youthfulness.

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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Very good thought. No flashy colors or glitter. Thanks unblownkisses.

LauraLou13

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Kate Middleton is an excellent style inspiration. I would try to emulate some of her makeup and wardrobe choices. Additionally, I wouldn't dress casually or wear black eyeliner, gray is a good substitute. 

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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Very true. I should aim to dress like the Duchess :smileyhappy:

tashalicious

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

another tip, during hot weather days choose shorts that fall slightly below the knee, aka "city shorts".   When i worked in a hospital we had to keep jewelry to a minimum but that may not apply to your job.

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ChicDabbler

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Dress conservatively (but not old lady style or dated).

Speak clearly and firmly with confidence (but not arrogance or rashness).

Keep the make up neutral, enough for a flawless complexion but not so much it's cakey with racoon eyes. The specifics depend on the job I think, but in general lots of blush make people look young.

 

Also, just personal opinion and may or may not applicable to your situation. There's a difference between friends and collegues. I don't giggle and keep personal talk to a minimum (just mention it briefly if the topic comes up) and I think that helps keep up the professionalism.

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Excellent point about blush. I will aim to be more lighthanded and choose subtle shades. But as my name implies... I can't completely let it go :smileyhappy:

lylysa

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Opt for a fan or stippling brush if you don't have one already, it's a great way to still wear and apply brighter or bolder shades but it applies a much finer amount, giving your look a softer appearance!

lylysa

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Amen to that!

 

Raccoon eyes = Save it for Meeko

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maltipoo66

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

Hi!  I completely agree with lylysa.  Keeping your makeup subtle but still noticeable is the way to go-avoid using any bright shades or colors (like blue eyeliners or bright red lipstick).  I think a nice medium brown or taupe shadow on the lid gives a nice sophisticated look, with a natural or slightly deeper shade on your lips.  It's hard to suggest specific products without knowing your skin tone or eye color etc, but hopefully that'll steer you in the right direction.

BlushHoarder

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

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Thank you for giving me your thoughts

lylysa

Re: Advice Requested - A serious professional look

I think keeping your make up, clean and simplistic is the way to go in terms of working in a professional atmosphere or one where you are in a position that commands power and respect over others. As an instructor, it's important to be held in high regard by your students even if you are young. You worked your butt off to get where you are and obtain the knowledge you have and just because you have younger features shouldn't discredit any of that! 

 

Though there's no need to dress or purposely age yourself to look dated, keeping to a more timeless look ensures you're not conveying some "Oh my gawsh, look at me, I'm so super dee duper trendy and hawt!" look where you may appear less mature. (face palm, I don't think you would ever walk into class or be around your coworkers that way by the way :smileytongue:)

 

For clothing, staples to have in your wardrobe include crisp button downs in various sleeve lengths (short, long, and even cuffed or 3/4 sleeves) in various colors. A white shirt screams clean and elegant and work in every setting imaginable, but it's also nice to have shades like soft blue, navy, tan, emerald (Pantone Color of the Year!!!!), red, navy, soft pink, and so on (even some prints as long as they're not too busy or too bold). Flat front slacks, pencil skirts, basic pairs of solid black and nude pumps, a sheath dress, casual jacket, cardigan (great way to add a pop of color when paired with a basic tank), and trench coat or pea coat (for when the weather is right). 

 

The key is having clothes that FIT. Ill fitting clothes convey struggles of being able to properly shop, so having something that fits your body, not necessarily something that is tight, but falls and hits where it's suppose to (for example skirts, if you're a shorter gal, try to have it hit no more than right below the knee, anything longer and you cut your proportions down and your legs will look short), nothing is wrinkled or dowdy looking, items **bleep** you in where they're suppose to (if anything cuts in and causes bulges that's a no no), and being sure nothing rides up at a constant to where you have to constantly adjust and tug.

 

Make up, again, keep to a clean and simple look. Have your complexion even with your foundation/powder, avoid anything super loud (although if you do pick to add color, have it either be with a strong lip and simple eye, or a very subtle line of colored eye liner in a deeper tone...in other words, skip electric blue, but opt for a royal blue or navy), don't overload (skip having 5 colors of shadow or any overcomplicated lip look where you're applying  multiple products each time), and use neutrals and flattering shades for your complexion. Also, keep fragrance at a soft minimum, scents should be detected 8 inches away, not from 8 feet away :smileytongue:. Too much perfume is overwhelming and reminds me of girls in elementary/middle school who just discovered body spray and not self moderation! Haha!

 

Keep hair relatively simple as well. No need for crazy elegant and ornate up-dos, be sure hair always looks clean and kept, add some shine serum or spray to make a pony tail look extra sleek!

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  • 22 replies
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  • 10 in conversation
    • maltipoo66
    • lylysa
    • unblownkisses
    • ChicDabbler
    • LCResz
    • BlushHoarder
    • LauraLou13
    • tashalicious
    • kimchikween
    • Londonlover101
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