A bearded look not good for business

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Tafadzwa Zimoyo  Business Closet
After a rather cold winter, temperatures have been rising rapidly. September  and October are generally the hottest months in Zimbabwe but as you know the weather is unpredictable and unreliable.

Whatever the prevailing temperatures, we still have to come to work. Some might be tempted to dress down at the office and reveal more skin than they should, especially women while men have their ongoing debate of a clean shave or a beard.

Do we all know what not to wear at work?

Let’s start off with how long your skirt should be when you got work. Don’t forget to avoid being labelled a prostitute or porn-star at work. Dress appropriately. I remember, a few months back, that issue was topical on TLC’s — What Not to Wear, co-hosted by Clinton Kelly. His golden words were, “resist the temptation”.

“When it comes to your career, the image you’re projecting at work makes a difference in how far you’re going to get in the company. Don’t use excuses like: ‘It’s hot outside,’ to not dress appropriately,” he said.

Kelly, who regularly advises major corporations on workplace attire, later offered the following sartorial dos and don’ts for the hot weather months. One caveat: Individual offices may skew more casually or more formally (law and accounting firms). But one rule fits all professions, “If you don’t look like management material, you’ll never get into a management position,” he said.

Women: Do wear sleeveless shirts, if your office has a relaxed dress code while men can try putting on a shirt without sleeves but make sure you then don’t raise another issue of ‘hairy-flaunt.

Women: Do feel comfortable in an open-necked blouse or top that shows some of your de-colletage.

“If you start to see a lot of soft tissue, that’s not good,” said Kelly.

Don’t unbutton more than three buttons unless you are on cleavage parade.

Men: Do unbutton one or two of your top buttons and consider a layering t-shirt or vest, which helps wick away perspiration. Don’t display a lot of chest hair.

Women: Do wear tailored skirts that reach the top of your knee.

“You shouldn’t wear the same kind of shorts or skirts you would wear to your kids’ soccer practice, no matter how hot it is at work,” he said.

Don’t put on skirts that leave your mid-thigh uncovered. Lastly for men, don’t convince yourself shorts are acceptable at work, especially on casual Friday, reason again “hair issue”.

I won’t dwell much on that. However, don’t think about showing off your toned abs with a crop top, nor should you risk anyone making a crack about your behind thus if you prefer low-rider jeans. It’s just tacky to show your underwear out of the back of your jeans, at work. Women should leave your legs bare, if you have on a skirt or shorts.

“Society has gotten to the point where it’s a woman’s right not to wear pantyhose,” said one local stylist, Trish Carmen.

It is true, that never under estimate the power of a good outfit on a bad day at work. Now, back to the topical issue on social media about men- ‘beard gang’ which has trended world-wide. Let me throw the towel. I am not a fan of beard, not that it’s dirty but somehow to me it’s a no.

Well, while some employers may take a liking to such beard bonding in the workplace, others demand a clean-shaven culture.

So at work, what does your facial hair say about you?

Some experts said there is something you can learn about a person’s personality and career based on their facial hair. The survey doesn’t mention anything about beards that are worn for cultural or religious reasons, so let’s assume I am talking about facial hair that’s grown merely as a fashion choice.

I later found that wordsmiths, such as authors, editors, lawyers, doctors, stock brokers and journalists are surprisingly well-groomed, with 80 percent opting to be clean shaven. The more senior position you hold the less facial hair you should sport. The vast majority of chief executive officers, millionaires and billionaires are clean-shaven.

There seems to be a correlation between moving higher up in corporate seniority and having less facial hair. How many CEOs do you know with handle bar moustaches?

Einstein with his famous moustache was a bit of a facial hair anomaly. It turns out that 63 percent of men with the highest IQs choose to go clean-shaven.

Most academics are similarly groomed.

So who wears beard to work then?

According to a survey again, top entrepreneurs are three times as likely to grow stubble as their more cooperate counter parts, and they are twice as likely to grow a beard. Similarly, men who work in the Internet and technology fields are more likely to forego shaving regularly and sport a stubbly look.

(Looking around the office, I can attest to this.)

Famous actors also like to experiment with facial hair. 80 percent of the top grossing actors of the past year either have been regularly photographed with a beard or stubble. Athletes follow suit, rarely shaving and most often appearing with some amount of facial hair.

And as for the rest of us, those folks that were referred to by “Remington post” as “the every man”?

Skilled labourers and office workers can go either way. The study found that just over half of us choose to shave every day. By the way, I’ve heard hiring managers complain about young men turning up for interviews with several days’ worth of stubble on their faces.

For some people this is simply fashion, it’s rugged and manly. Other people, however, see it as sloppy and a lack of proper grooming.

For a job interview, to be safe, I’d advise going one way or the other — grow out a (well-groomed) beard or be clean shaven. You can revert to the stubble look once you’re on the job and have passed out the culture of the workplace.

I hope you can deduce and take a pick which is appropriate for you.

  •  Feedback: tafadzwa.zimoyo@zimpapers.co.zw and facebook, instagram, twitter on Tafadzwa Zimoyo TheBoss.

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