Coffee Break: Acqua di Parmi

acqua di parmaI’m curious, ladies — what are your favorite summer scents? I took a break from wearing perfume years ago when my sons were babies, but I’m starting to get into scents again, and am on the hunt. In years past, my summer scent was the men’s cologne, Acqua di Parma; Nordstrom notes that it is “a composition born from sunny Sicilian fruits and a harmonious blend of floral essences such as lavender and damask rose that merge with woody notes of vetiver, sandalwood and patchouli.” (Not surprising, I guess, considering vetiver and sandalwood are two of my favorite scents — I definitely tend to prefer darker, deeper notes.) It’s $105-$173 at Nordstrom. Acqua di Parma ‘Colonia’ Eau de Cologne Natural Spray

Psst: Know your office (and your coworkers) — many readers have noted in the past that they haaaaate working with people wearing heavy perfume

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Psst: White House | Black Market has some great sales going on right now — take an extra 40% off already reduced prices with code 62787.

Wear Makeup, Increase Your Salary?

Wear Makeup, Increase Your Salary?“How a Little Lipstick Could Add Thousands To Your Paycheck” — that’s the title of a recent Fortune article reporting on a new study. Anyone else feeling a little stabby? We thought we’d take a closer look at the research and discuss it here. Some questions to consider at the outset: Do you agree that “good grooming” affects your salary and career success? Do you think there are other correlations at play (e.g., women who make more have more money to spend on grooming, or successful women are more organized to remember to schedule things like regular haircuts and drycleaning)? 

So, the study: Last week, Fortune reported on some research about the effects of looking “put together” at work. Two sociologists found a new way of crunching data from a study that looked at how people’s ratings on attractiveness and grooming compared to their income levels. “Grooming” in this case meant how “put together” they looked, which included makeup for women. Their analysis revealed that for women, “grooming was actually more important than looks when it came to earnings.” Men’s grooming affected their salaries to a lesser extent, while men’s and women’s salaries got the same boost from being considered attractive. The sociologists found that “[A] well-groomed woman of average attractiveness makes about $6,000 more annually than an average-looking, averagely-groomed woman. She also makes about $4,000 more than her better-looking, but less put-together coworker.” Researchers saw this as a positive, concluding, “[t]he big takeaway here is that people can capture most of the attractiveness premium [through putting effort into their appearance]… It’s not just what you’re born with.”

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Professional Hairstyles: Do Ponytails Count?

Professional Hairstyles - Ponytails at Work | CorporetteDo ponytails count as professional hairstyles? Which are the best ponytails for the office?  Do you think 50s/cheerleader ponytails are no-gos for the office, or is any neat, easy hairstyle inherently professional? 

Have you guys been watching AMC’s Better Call Saul? It’s the prequel story to Breaking Bad, chronicling the path that small-time con-man/lawyer Jimmy McGill took to become everyone’s favorite drug lawyer (later known as Saul Goodman). One of the story lines involves Jimmy working at his brother’s BigLaw-esque law firm, and one of his main friends is Kim Wexler, played by Rhea Seehorn. Kim’s story is similar to Jimmy’s — she started in the mailroom, went through law school later in life, and is now working as an associate — but unlike Jimmy she’s squeaky clean. Without giving away too many spoilers, it’s so inspiring to see her efforts to make partner, including a long montage where she calls every single person she knows to try to bring on her own client. In another scene, she does so well on her first court appearance that the opposing counsel tries to hire her. In general, she’s a rockstar lawyer. She dresses professionally, too — but something I’ve been pondering is her hair: her most frequent look is a ponytail. Not just the low, harried ponytail many of us throw our hair into when we’re working in our office and want to keep our hair out of our faces — hers is curled, and part of her all-day look.  And while it isn’t super-high, it isn’t super-low, either. (In general, I think a lower ponytail is vastly better for being taken seriously.) Part of her character is that she’s earnest and kind of new to this world of BigLaw — so is her hair supposed to convey that as well? (Ah, here’s a picture of her ponytail from the back, below. And apparently the same actress wore the same hairstyle on another show where she also played a lawyer, but I’m not familiar with that show.) Maybe I’m biased against ponytails that feel too pageant/cheerleader as professional hairstyles? 

professional hairstyles ponytails

In the past, we’ve collected easy office updos (which included some ponytail looks), as well as discussed how to style long hair for interviews, but let’s discuss ponytails, ladies — what makes them appropriate (or inappropriate?) for the office or other big meetings? Are there different rules for women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s? 

Some thoughts from poking around the Internet: The Muse gives ponytails an enthusiastic thumbs up for professional hairstyles, and Buzzfeed has this niceish twisted ponytail for work, which I like so much I’m adding it to our Work-Appropriate Hair board on Pinterest. [Read more…]

Beauty Wednesday: Serums, Sunscreen, and Retinoids

aging skincare tips serums sunscreens retinoidsLadies, what is your skin routine? At what age did you get serious about skincare? What are your favorite products, both over-the-counter and prescription, whether for anti-aging, anti-wrinkles, exfoliating, or something else? I’ve seen a lot of readers talking recently about serums, sunscreens, retinoids and more, so let’s discuss. I’m curious to hear what everyone else is doing, what products you like, and if you have any tips/tricks for applying — but here’s my own story:

After years of using only organic options while pregnant/nursing (based on something my first OB/GYN said to me), I was eager to get “the good stuff” when I finally had my body back to myself. As I often do, I turned to the commenting threads for advice and found an older thread where a reader had said that for a woman in her 30s, the main things you need are Vitamin C, sunscreen, and a retinoid. I liked the simplicity of this statement, as well as the chorus of agreement from other readers. I already had an organic, nursing-approved Vitamin C serum and have been using sunscreen daily since my teenage lifeguard years, so I thought, OK, to the dermatologist I go for a retinoid. (Just a quick science/vocab lesson, at least as I understand things: Retinol and retinoids are both Vitamin A. Retinols are available in over the counter (OTC) products; retinoids are available in prescriptions only. Retin-A is the brand name for one of the retinoids you can get.)

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Beauty Wednesday: 5 Multipurpose Makeup Items to Keep at Your Desk

Multipurpose Makeup | Corporette For those necessary makeup fixes and touch-ups at work, you can avoid keeping a whole Sephora store in your desk drawer by having one or two of these multipurpose makeup items on hand. We’ve rounded up five beauty products with two, three, or more uses — do you have any to add to the list?

  1. NARS ‘The Multiple’ Stick: You can use the cream-to-powder Multiple Stick for eyes, cheeks, and lips — for color, contouring, highlights, and more. It’s highly reviewed at Sephora — 4.4 out of 5 stars with more than 2,000 (!) reviews — and customers say it’s easy to apply and looks natural. It’s available in 10-12 shades (which I would list here if they were a bit more self-explanatory — Puerto Vallarta, anyone?) for $39 at Nordstrom and Sephora.
  2. Ilia Multi Stick: This handy makeup stick works well on your lips, cheeks, and eyes — it gives a sheer, natural look, and it’s easy to blend. Ilia Multi Sticks contain 100% natural dye as well as Vitamin E and shea butter. They’re available at Net-a-Porter in four colors for $34 with free 3-day shipping (and directly from Ilia Beauty in six colors; shipping is $5.95).
  3. Clinique Chubby Stick Moisturizing Lip Color Balm: While this fragrance-free product is meant for lips, it’s also a good bet for eyes and cheeks — and it never needs sharpening. (Here’s a how-to video if you’re looking for tips.) The Chubby Stick rates a 4.4 out of 5 from 2,000+ (!) reviews and was recently named to Allure’s “Best of Beauty” list. It’s available at Sephora in 16 sheer shades, from warm beige to berry pink to plum brown, for $17.
  4. Stila Convertible Color: Use this versatile product for sheer color on both lips and cheeks — it’s garnered a 4.4 out of 5 at Sephora from about 1,000 reviews, and reviewers say the product has a creamy texture that lends a natural look. It’s available at Sephora (six shades) and Nordstrom (nine shades) for $25.
  5. Vaseline: Yes, don’t forget the humble petroleum jelly! Use it as a lip balm (either right from a jar or by using Lip Therapy Advanced Healing) or as a primer under lipstick, tame your brows, highlight your cheekbones, moisturize dry cuticles, define your lashes if you’re going sans mascara, and more. Pick it up at your local grocery store, or at Amazon for $3 for 2.5 oz.

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Naked Nails, Nail Care… and Polish

naked-nails-professionalCan naked nails be a polished look?  Are unpolished, unmanicured nails unprofessional?  Reader A has an important question:

I have a reader question that I’d like advice on. I’m about to start my first job out of law school and would love to have a very low-maintenance nail routine (no color polish) that I can do at home. Mostly, I have terrible cuticles and I’d like to have a more polished appearance, but my job is not flexible about leaving during working hours and I’d rather spend my weekends with my kid. Manicures seem like a waste if I’m avoiding color polish. Can you or readers advise? Should I be trying to fit in weekly/monthly manicures as a requirement of working?

This one speaks to me as I also hate spending time on manicures — so I’m curious to hear what readers say here. As I’ve discussed before, there was about a month of my life (maaaaybe 6 weeks) right after I got engaged that I went for manicures weekly. Then: it got old. I don’t particularly enjoy them, I get bored if I can’t be reading during it (like one can with pedicures), and with the recent NYT exposé on nail salons I’ve just skipped the entire routine this summer. I have, in the past, advised readers to get a simple manicure (with clear or light pink or beige polish) for job interviews and possibly the first week of the job, on the assumption that you’re shaking a lot of people’s hands and you want to look as polished as possible.

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