What's the limit for makeup and heels?

Just have two questions on two topics.

I am trying to upgrade my warderobe and makeup looks to be more business like but I'm a woman who does like to wear makeup every now and then.

Makeup at work: How much is too much? Is wearing eyeshadow, eyeliner okay? And moreover is lipstick a no? I don't want to give the wrong impression when on interviews or meeting business people so I would be curious to hear what kinds of things give the wrong impression when it comes to womens makeup.

Heels: Is wearing Christian Louboutins okay or is it too high fashion? And does it give the wrong impression to male coworkers?

Be interested to hear any views, that aren't taking the mick please! Cheers.

WSO Elite Modeling Package

  • 6 courses to mastery: Excel, Financial Statement, LBO, M&A, Valuation and DCF
  • Elite instructors from top BB investment banks and private equity megafunds
  • Includes Company DB + Video Library Access (1 year)

Comments (44)

Jul 30, 2010 - 7:51am

Having yet to start work myself, I don't have concrete experience to draw from (plus I don't know what type of firm you're working for). However, based on what I've read/talked to others about, Louboutins are definitely not okay. It might not give the wrong impression to male coworkers who don't know shoes, but it will definitely send the wrong message to other females in the office when they see those red soles. You could perhaps pull off Jimmy Choos, but even still those are a bit too high for work.

It really depends on what colors you put on your face. Purple/blue/green eyeshadow with incredible amounts of eyeliner? No. Bright red lipstick? No. The goal is too look natural and like you don't have makeup on your face. Pink, nude, taupe colors work well.

Jul 30, 2010 - 8:04am

I've never worn eyeshadow to work, but I wear eyeliner everyday. I mean unless you go over the top with black eyeliner so that you look like a goth, etc, you should be fine... For lips, I usually just use clear or really light colored lip gloss.

And I agree with cityatheart - don't wear Louboutins!

Jul 30, 2010 - 8:45am

Cityatheart is right. Natural looking makeup is fine. You obviously do not want to look vampy / sexpot-like / etc. Trust me when I say, guys notice everything and definitely gossip. The key is looking respectable and put together.

As for Louboutins..save those for when you're a bit more senior. I've seen more senior associates and VP women get away with them (mostly after they've established credibility).

Jul 30, 2010 - 11:01am

Thanks for all your replies, lots of astute points made.

@cityatheart: I\m talking in general about working in financial services, because I want to work for a financial services company in any regard and do entrepreneurial stuff on the side (so also what to wear on sales meetings etc).

I'm African so when I go for makeup, I tend to go for warmer autumnal colours when it comes to eyeshadow, so bronze, brown, dark green that type of thing but I am guessing bronze is completely inappropriate for work, so perhaps it is safe to bin that colour for work?

Thanks for bringing up the point about Louboutins putting off other women at work. I completely forget about what image that would send to them, and I would hate to alienate a potential colleague to chat to so Louboutins are a no-go.

@rachmaninoff3rd: Lipgloss is a good one, never thought of that either. Need to get it together lol!

@HerSerendipity: What heel length would suggest is appropriate? Less than 3 inches?

Cheers

Jul 30, 2010 - 12:27pm

You were hired to look pretty, so just make sure you do. All the details are a matter of preference.

All kidding aside, I would personally view an analyst rocking CL's at work to be pretty douchy... mainly because banking, especially at the junior level, is pretty conservative and wearing anything that is extravagantly expensive at such a junior level is obnoxious. Thats just my view. That doesn't mean I personally don't buy nice shit, I just don't wear stuff to work that makes it obvious how much it costs.

Array
  • 2
Learn More

300+ video lessons across 6 modeling courses taught by elite practitioners at the top investment banks and private equity funds -- Excel Modeling -- Financial Statement Modeling -- M&A Modeling -- LBO Modeling -- DCF and Valuation Modeling -- ALL INCLUDED + 2 Huge Bonuses.

Learn more
Jul 31, 2010 - 3:49am
Marcus_Halberstram:
You were hired to look pretty, so just make sure you do. All the details are a matter of preference.

All kidding aside, I would personally view an analyst rocking CL's at work to be pretty douchy... mainly because banking, especially at the junior level, is pretty conservative and wearing anything that is extravagantly expensive at such a junior level is obnoxious. Thats just my view. That doesn't mean I personally don't buy nice shit, I just don't wear stuff to work that makes it obvious how much it costs.

If junior level is conservative, the red soles will look out of place. I think the soles put people off more than the heel so definitely not going to wear it.

Jul 30, 2010 - 4:37pm

On my team I have two colleauges- both women (1 VP, 1 Analyst), and both sport CLs. Very Sexy and Very Sexy... It's as though you are asking, hey I am a guy, I have Gucci loafers - can I wear them? Of course you can. Your boss wants you to crush models and look great.

Jul 31, 2010 - 3:51am
Bulge:
On my team I have two colleauges- both women (1 VP, 1 Analyst), and both sport CLs. Very Sexy and Very Sexy... It's as though you are asking, hey I am a guy, I have Gucci loafers - can I wear them? Of course you can. Your boss wants you to crush models and look great.

Okay cool point taken

Jul 31, 2010 - 3:52am
HerSerendipity:
Penelope - generally, I'd like to say it depends on how tall you are. Shorter girls can sometimes get away with higher heels. I usually stick to 3in and under as I"m fairly tall

3 inches sounds about right. I mean, it's also about giving the impression that you don't think you are better than anyone else right? I know this sounds bonkers but I have always thought that some people get a bit intimidated by women who wear heels as if they are high maintenance. Could be my mind working overdrive though.

Jul 30, 2010 - 8:39pm

It depends what kind of CL you are wearing. Everything fancy, pink, above say 3" and that sort of thing is a no-go. However, CL also has a more classic line with lower heels, in simple black and that will definitely look put together.

I have been working in M&A for the last year. Always wearing eyeshadow, however, always very light (beige, browns) so that I look as natural as I can. Lipstick is ok as long as it again looks kind of natural and not "femme fatale".

Jul 31, 2010 - 3:55am
alli:
It depends what kind of CL you are wearing. Everything fancy, pink, above say 3" and that sort of thing is a no-go. However, CL also has a more classic line with lower heels, in simple black and that will definitely look put together.

I have been working in M&A for the last year. Always wearing eyeshadow, however, always very light (beige, browns) so that I look as natural as I can. Lipstick is ok as long as it again looks kind of natural and not "femme fatale".

Do you mind me asking what you do with your hair? I know these are light questions, but people can trip up on basics. Right now, I am wearing my natural and I have done since 2004. I don't wear weaves or relax my hair, and it has not been an issue in the charitable/public sector environments that I have worked in.

I am thinking of getting my hair braided for the corporate world though.

Best Response
Mar 20, 2011 - 2:14pm

Everything is about presentation. With makeup I would stick with neutrals, you want to look presentable and it's important to look like you have some makeup on without having too much makeup on. Urban Decay just released a naked palate that I'm in love with and can easily wear for business type events. The brand Too Face has a neutral palate and Chanel makes little eyeshadow palates with 4 different neutral shades. Lipstick is definitely okay just again, stick with neutrals... I think putting on absolutely no makeup is just as bad as putting on too much makeup on. If you look in the mirror and have to ask yourself, do I have too much makeup on? Chances are you have too much make up on.

With heels I recommend not wearing anything over 3 inches. Some girls consider 3 inches really high but I'm used to wearing 5 inches. I like sticking with brands such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:31am

Penelope:

Just have two questions on two topics.

Makeup at work: How much is too much? Is wearing eyeshadow, eyeliner okay? And moreover is lipstick a no? I don't want to give the wrong impression when on interviews or meeting business people so I would be curious to hear what kinds of things give the wrong impression when it comes to womens makeup.

Heels: Is wearing Christian Louboutins okay or is it too high fashion? And does it give the wrong impression to male coworkers?

Be interested to hear any views that aren't taking the mick, please!

"Any views that aren't taking the mick. Kitten heels okay".
Seems like somebody's trying hard to pull a mick [sic].

How else you're gonna stand out among your coworkers, kitten.

" Is wearing Christian Louboutins okay or is it too high fashion?"
Depends on how's asking. I'd say, this bitch is high on heels.

Whor-vana here wants to know how much make up she needs:
model, hairs, lips, nails, face, makeup

Winners bring a bigger bag than you do. I have a degree in meritocracy.
  • 3
  • 2
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:33am

Pray tell... hold back the makeup, high heels? (Originally Posted: 10/15/2006)

Alright, not wanting to stereotype, it's given that women in IB or CF for that matter are not generally attractive. However, if one was an attractive candidate, would you advise that instead of dressing to the nines and showing poise, should attractive female candidates just play it down, wear the most somber looking suit and keep the interviews "focused"?

  • 1
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:34am

Since when did "dressing to the nines and showing poise" and keeping the interviews "focused" become mutually exclusive?

Anyway, if by "to the nines" you mean slightly revealing and/or amply flattering to one's figure, then I would recommend something more conservative (much to the dismay, I'm sure, of my banker brethren out there). Once you land the position, taunting your co-workers with something they might not often experience is totally up to you.

I just think you might run the risk of others' skepticism during the interview (regardless, unfortunately, of your qualifications).

Or worse, they'll spend half the time looking you in the eye, and the other half looking at.......

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:35am

"taunting coworkers with something they might not often experience"... love it :-)

Alright, I did an "experiment" before. I wore power pant suits to most interviews. Except on one occasion where on the advice of a mentor I wore a skirt suit and played up the feminine charm. However, as I progressed thru an afternoon of interviews, the director who interviewed me last couldn't stop looking at my legs. I'm convinced I got THAT job offer because I wore a skirt!

I'm preparing for a 1/2 day of interviews on Wednesday and a full day on Friday and I'm sitting here reconsidering my wardrobe...

  • 1
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:36am

the way I see it, if you dress conservatively your wardrobe can't hurt you at all.

if you dress slutty you have a 50/50 of getting hurt/helped based on the interviewer.

And since you are interviewing with more than 1 person, do you really want to have half the people not want to hire you based on how you are dressed?

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:38am

Whatever it takes, I guess.

As a guy who has had the task/fortune of interviewing attractive females from time to time, I will admit that it can obviously cloud your judgment ("Well, she has no clue how to calculate a WACC, but you could crack walnuts on her a....").

And all you can hope for is to keep your wits about you when making a decision. Same as everything else in life.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:40am

Grey Luciano Barbera pantsuit it is... Now that the attire is chosen, any advice on how to manage the full-day interview?

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:42am

That I know!! Have you honestly interviewed folks that don't know that?!?

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:43am

When it's a full day of interviews, what really happens behind the scenes? Do interviewers compare notes between rounds? Does everybody get together in a huddle that night to gauge candidates? What can I honestly do to stand out? Is there anything that singles out one candidate from the rest?

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:46am

Yes, we've covered the wardrobe. Thanks to all you fine gentlemen :-)

Anyways, I'm used to the 1/2 day interviews and usually drained after a 3 hour barrage of questions.

Another thing is feedback from recent interviews is that while I'm poised and have excellent communication skills, I have "soft" technical skills. Which is frustrating to hear. Hence, the wardrobe question earlier... I feel that when I'm interviewing with men, most don't even challenge me with technical questions at a high level. Honestly!

So if I've been scheduled for a 45 minute interview with someone and 15 minutes into it I haven't been asked a technical question, I start to get concerned I've already been dismissed. So I've learned to take control of the remaining time I have with someone and ask "is there anything I can spotlight for you regarding my technical skills..." Even then, I'm still not challenged.

Anyways, I fear men simply perceive that an attractive, outspoken female can't cut it as an IBer. Wa wa wa.

  • 2
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:47am

Just to keep things in perspective, this week I'm being screened for an associate level position.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:49am

Sr. Consultant... lateral from CF, but would be considerd 1Y Associate.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:50am

Whether analyst or associate, the comments apply equally.

Also-- men (at least, the educated ones) don't necessarily perceive that attractive, outspoken females can't cut it as bankers. There are plenty of them out there to refute that.

And besides, smart and attractive are much better when paired together than when separated (whether female or male).

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:51am

I'll keep you guys posted on how my interviews go this week. I'm hoping something gives... 'cuz I'm at my wits end on what I can do differently to stand out.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:53am

well, typically when people want to stand out to employers, it's not on a superficial level like makeup and dress :)

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:54am

Yes, I want to make a positive impression on a competitive day of interviews. I want to reflect aptitude, confidence etc.

Ok, here's a scenario I'm always facing. If I'm entering a 1/2 day of interviews or a full day for that matter, if I even made it to the 2nd round let alone 3rd round, bottom line? There are no women!! So as I enter these interviews and when these men have been bantering with male candidates all day and then I show up... and if I'm even remotely attractive... then there's this "shift".

However, feedback that I'm "soft" on technical skills when I wasn't even asked a technical question - how can someone gauge that?? 'cuz unless I initiate it most of the time, the interviewers don't ask me many high level technical questions!!

Hence, I considered perhaps I should wear a matronly suit and no makeup and better be perceived as a "geek".

  • 2
Sep 9, 2013 - 12:58am

Sequi fugit sequi natus ut maiores omnis reiciendis. Quo suscipit similique quam explicabo quia aliquam impedit. Nulla nemo ullam molestiae id in. Doloremque magnam nam et enim ut impedit.

Sep 9, 2013 - 12:59am

Tempora ut officiis quod sit quo quo iusto rerum. Nesciunt ad consequatur neque sint.

Error qui quia quibusdam unde. Dignissimos in iusto fugit molestias ut molestiae praesentium. Dolore a corrupti eum sit qui non molestiae. Voluptate dignissimos ratione nulla. Provident ut minus et atque distinctio. Animi quam enim pariatur adipisci aliquam ut sit. Esse est dolores nostrum eius assumenda dolorem.

Sep 9, 2013 - 1:00am

Rerum necessitatibus aperiam possimus consectetur iure et quaerat. Et molestiae quia nemo corrupti sequi aliquid autem.

Quibusdam deleniti reprehenderit ea earum dignissimos eum aut laudantium. Debitis neque qui ut similique. Dicta dolores ducimus illum a tenetur nam qui ut. Consequatur id consectetur quos non harum repellendus. Quidem iste facere maxime non consequatur.

Quibusdam est vero alias doloribus eius. Sint aliquid blanditiis consequatur non iusto consequatur doloremque. Ut mollitia optio qui eos et non ipsam. Ut ducimus aut nihil vitae. Aut eius porro officia quis ad expedita quos. Aut est adipisci sunt blanditiis voluptates et. Error doloremque quis nihil.

Soluta vel nesciunt porro. Sint modi et dolores esse enim reprehenderit. Consequuntur et laudantium optio tempore voluptatem expedita dolorem dolore.

Start Discussion

Total Avg Compensation

September 2021 Investment Banking

  • Director/MD (10) $853
  • Vice President (38) $367
  • Associates (217) $232
  • 2nd Year Analyst (129) $151
  • 3rd+ Year Analyst (30) $147
  • Intern/Summer Associate (102) $144
  • 1st Year Analyst (475) $135
  • Intern/Summer Analyst (374) $82