Keep the Cougar Caged at Work:Why Appearance Matters for Women over 40 in the Workplace

Hasn’t a woman’s appearance always been a factor for women in the workplace? Yes, that’s true and not only for women. But today’s job market is even tougher for a lot of women over 40 because of our society’s youth-oriented culture. Many established professionals are finding steep competition for their jobs from their younger colleagues who are starting their first career after graduating from college. There are also many more women who are competing for the same entry-level jobs as Generation Y since they are re-entering the job market after being a “stay at home” mom for many years.

For these reasons, it’s important to look as updated and current as possible with your appearance and wardrobe without looking or acting like a cougar in the workplace . But don’t go to any extremes in the other direction because nobody wants a frumpy old lady working in their office either if they are trying to communicate a message of professionalism and being on top of current industry trends.

Wardrobe Choices for Women over 40 in the Workplace

First, don’t make the mistake of trying to look younger than you are by shopping for career clothes at Forever 21. Nothing looks more pathetic or ridiculous than a woman who wears inappropriate outfits to work. Instead, shop where you can buy updated fashions that make sense for your age.

Avoid skirts that are above the knee and/or too tight. Blazers with a higher cut around your waist will help you look younger and take the eyes off “middle-aged spread” if that’s something that makes you feel self-conscious.

Your shoes should be classic but up to date as well. Keep up with the fashion magazines to make sure you are not wearing a shoe that’s got a pointy toe when a rounded toe is in style.

Skincare vs Makeup

Many women think the answer to lines and wrinkles is to plaster on as much makeup as they can to cover them up rather than using a skincare that will actually remove and erase those tell-tale signs of aging.

When it comes to your appearance, make sure that you’ve got an up to date hairstyle and that your makeup looks natural but gives you a sophisticated appearance. According to the author of the book, How Not to Look Old, by Charla Krupp, dark lipstick and colorful eye makeup makes women over 40 look older than they are so make sure you use neutral shades that blend with your natural coloring. I know, it sounds boring but you can save the red lips and glittery eyelids for a night on the town with the Cougar Club. When you’re in the office, make an effort to look polished and professional.

Finally, attending to your skin’s health is incredibly important to the youthful image you want to project to prospective employers and colleagues. It’s not necessary to have any plastic surgery procedures to enhance your skin’s appearance. In fact, I advise against it because it looks unnatural and many procedures are not very safe.

There are so many skin care regimens that are available now that actually do what they say they will do for you.  Some are very expensive but worth it because the right ingredients used in the right way can really and truly treat your wrinkles, sagging skin and tell-tale “age spots”. I am amazed at the new skin technology that makes it possible for your skin to actually create new collagen under the surface of your skin.

These tips are easy for any woman over 40 to implement so they can devote their energies to staying on top of the latest advances in their industry rather than worrying about how they look.

Do you have any tips to looking youthful without sacrificing your professionalism? Please share what works for you in the comments below.


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2 Responses to “Keep the Cougar Caged at Work:Why Appearance Matters for Women over 40 in the Workplace”

  • Bobbi Thompson

    Really? I’m going to be 43 in a couple of months and I wear skirts above my knees as well as the occasional hip hugging skirt.

    Maybe you should tell women not to wear tight pants that show every dimple in their thighs and low cut blouses as that is much more distracting and unprofessional than any skirt.

    Also, I wear colored eye shadow. I use subtle shades, but I don’t have to give up color because I am over 40. Perhaps you are confusing us with women over 50 (although I am sure they probably won’t be terribly flattered either).

    • caey

      Bobbi you are right.

      I wear eyeshadow colors but I do not wear anything neon. There are many women over 40 that I know that do wear crazy colors but that is just their personality. There are women over 40 who have beautiful figures. Also, why use the word “frumpy”? Anyone would look good in an up to date suit etc not just women over 40.

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