Apparently there’s an unspoken rule among the ladies at Goldman Sachs that it’s not cool to wear a lot of make-up.
To look professional, it’s best to wear no visible make-up with your hair pulled back.
“Going into it, I thought you were supposed to [wear makeup],” a young woman at Goldman says, “I thought they’d want you to be all done up [in order to] look good.”
“I thought they’d wear their hair down too,” she says.
“But no one does.”
Most of the women basically don’t wear any make-up at all, she says. So she stopped. And they don’t wear their hair down either, it’s usually pulled back.
The same seems to be true at Morgan Stanley and UBS, if not at every firm on Wall Street.
In UBS’s 43-page long personal style guide, which the firm gave to its employees in France, it says:
“Light makeup consisting of foundation, mascara and discreet (red) lipstick … will enhance your personality.”
And, “studies have shown that properly cared-for hair and a stylish haircut increase an individual’s popularity.”
“Nail polish can’t be in bright colours: no green, blue, or black. No decorations.”
The UBS dress code guide is funny, but women on Wall Street take these rules seriously because it’s crucial for their careers. A woman who used to work at Morgan Stanley explains the importance this way, you’re instantly compartmentalized. You’re either a flirt or you’re there for business.
The women that are there for business make it apparent in everything they do, and they don’t ignore the importance of controlling the message they’re projecting via their appearance.
But because some of the ladies reading this are probably doing so with their hair down, make-up, and hot pink nailpolish on their fingers, just trying to look their best, here are the unspoken rules about make-up at Goldman Sachs.
Hair: Neat, and pulled back or at least out of your eyes. No crazy ‘dos.
Nails: Manicured red, pink, or nude. Trimmed short and round.
Make-up: Smooth, even-toned, fresh-looking skin. Mascara. No heavy eye-liner, ideally none. Light lipstick.