Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Make up for Professional Women?

I was reading an article about indicators of the struggling economy, and below is a quote from it:

"You’ve got that recession look in your eye. Total eye-makeup sales at supermarkets and drugstores were up 8.5% in the one-year period that ended on March 22. In that period, more than $260 million was spent on eye makeup – in particular, eyeliner was up 9% and mascara almost 13%, the industry says.

The leading lipstick indicator – the past trend that lipstick sales rose in economic downturns as consumers settled for inexpensive luxuries – is not holding up. Lipstick sales are down 11%. But eye makeup has replaced lipstick as the indicator, devotees of this theory say."


This gets me to think - what are the implications of make up in the professional world? Or even more specifically, what are the implications for the various types of make up (i.e. eye make up vs. lipstick?). In the book I read, "Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers," Lois P. Frankel discusses the implications of wearing make up, as well as wearing much make up. Both of those, she says, are harmful to a woman's image as a professional and therefore impede on her chances of moving up the ladder.

On the one hand, make-up seems to emphasize a woman's femininity. On the other hand, it makes her more noticeable. Naturally more petite than men, women are often in the shadows. With slight help of an eyeliner or a lipstick, certain features stand out a little more, in a subtle fashion. Normally, I don't wear much make-up, but when I do, it is a little eyeliner, and a little lipstick. So what are the different effects of eye make-up and lipstick? I think a red lipstick indicates confidence and power. Bright lips draw attention to a woman's spoken words. On the other hand, eye make-up emphasizes the eyes. Eyes, the windows to the soul, can indicate a more submissive role of listening and looking, or of "paying attention" but also of an empowering act of making eye-contact, depending on the person's demeanor.

Yet, for some reason, lipstick stands out to me as a confidence indicator. Bright lipstick. I would wear a bright lipstick in court, but perhaps eye-make up is ideal for creating a warm, comforting, and trusting relationship with a sensitive client.