If you take care of yourself, invest in your appearance, you send a major message to the world: “I am in the game, and I call the shots.” In the office, it’s hard to look like a Parisian model – but it doesn’t matter that you can’t exude power and confidence. Your workmates are your audience, in a way. You present yourself as the boss, and you quickly gain their trust and confidence. The real powerful women don’t slavishly follow fashion advice, they use them to their advantage. They are their weapons, and my mentor Corinne said that her immaculate makeup is her “war paint”.
Corinne has been a major executive of a massive French-German engineering company. She doesn’t have to convince anyone that she’s an experienced manager, she has the papers and the resume for that! But she needs to appear more impressive in her work life. Hence her “war paint”, which luckily isn’t particularly flashy. She doesn’t do dramatic – a light coat of mascara (and does she work nights), and a little neutral shadow to the eyes, perhaps dome bronzer or blush on her cheeks. She does use some lipstick – sometimes bright red to attract attention.
She always looks like she just stepped off the assembly line. Grooming is paramount – and in many ways, consistent grooming is more important than fashion. Good oral hygiene and healthy skin can’t be replaced by a new purse or suit jacket! Corinne minimizes this time – she grew her hair short, wore jumpsuits for women, and maintained reasonably short fingernails, but she still focuses on her look first and on her dress second.
Not unlike current global leaders like Hillary Clinton, Corinne has adopted the signature style that not only makes her recognizable and communicates consistency – but also sends a message “I can afford to create my own identity.” HRC wears pantsuits and Corinne favors wholesale jumpsuits for women… but Corinne personalises her suit with a variety of flowy, colorful silk scarves. She accessorizes, a lot. She doesn’t show off her jewelry, but adds some bracelets, or recently started wearing glasses with the golden rim.
And finally, Corinne is all about attitude. She dresses not for her workers, but mostly for herself, to feel like the boss she is. And she exercises – and not just to be sexy. That’s actually how we met, although I’d love Corinne to be my boss. She works out not just to look good, but also to make her body better, and improve her brain which always needs oxygen.