The Expert Guide To Grooming For The Office
1. Know Your Audience
Grooming, says Spillane, is “generational”. That is, what’s appropriate in the workplace varies depending on how old you are, and who you work with. In fact, it’s not just about the way you look, says Ms Spillane, but the effect it will have upon those around you. “Millennials should consider who they need to influence,” she says. “If the boss is your dad’s age, sculpted eyebrows will worry him along with wearing a scent that lasts longer than you do in the room.” Older men, meanwhile, can employ grooming to maintain a more youthful appearance, but should keep it subtle. “Gen X: pay attention before it seems like a mid-life crisis when you all of a sudden start sporting highlights and exposing your ankles,” says Ms Spillane. “Boomers, meanwhile, need to focus mainly on unruly hair issues: sprouting from the ears, nose, across the brow through the collar. There are options. Borrow a millennial and find a friendly de-fuzz salon.
2. Decide: To Beard Or Not To Beard?
Historically, facial hair has been a no-no in work environments, however enthusiastically it’s embraced at your local Shoreditch-equivalent at the weekend. But, says Spillane: “The clock is ticking on men (mainly) who have issues with facial hair. Many a CEO would never hire a man with a beard. But those who worry about it these days have a sell-by date on their foreheads.” What’s more, she adds, “A beard is always preferable to a weak chin. Transformational in all good ways. But be honest (get feedback) if yours is flattering, effective, etc. Stubble is too confusing. [It looks like you] can’t make up your mind. If in doubt, go on holiday, try it out, get some feedback. When you return, then learn how to care for it.”
3. Be Hands-On
Good grooming isn’t just about your face – most work situations involve a fair amount of gesticulating and hand-shaking. So you should look after your extremities. “Hands are critical in business,” says Spillane. “If you are Mr DIY on the weekends, you must spend time on Sunday night soaking the dirt, trimming the cuticles and softening any rough patches. Best to have a manicure and then learn how to do it yourself.”
4. Avoid These Pitfalls
Though the world of work has undoubtedly loosened up, there are still some danger areas when it comes to grooming, says Ms Spillane. “Over-done brows are ridiculous,” she says. Also, haircuts of the trendier variety tend to fall flat. “I have to draw a line at the Peaky Blinders-look in business. Too silly for words.”
Illustration by Joe McKendry