How to Get Executive Presence

Olivia Pope has executive presence.TOO SEXY FOR WORK
Good rule of thumb: Your skirt is too short when your hands reach farther than your hemline while standing. Other office no-no's: cleavage, bra straps, panty lines, and sheer tops. When in doubt, channel Scandal's Olivia Pope (right) - the poster girl of chic professionalism.

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HEAVY MAKEUP
Save the kohl-rimmed eyes, red lips, and bright eyeshadow for after-hours. Another big gaffe: wearing no makeup at all. In general, natural hues work best.

ILL-FITTING CLOTHES
If your blouse strains to stay closed or your trouser pockets pucker, your clothes are too tight. Make finding the right size a priority, especially if you've recently lost or gained weight, or are just back from maternity leave.

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VISIBLE ROOTS
If your hair is highlighted or colored, be sure to stay on top of touch-ups. Nothing sabotages a killer suit like two inches or regrowth.

"LOOK AT ME" NAILS
Loud reds, funky designs, and Rihanna-esque talons don't inspire confidence - and won't win you plum projects. Color is fine, just keep it muted. And no chips!

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Real women appearance tips:

"I was mentoring a woman who was 30 but looked 22. She couldn't get to the next level, so I told her, 'Get a haircut. You look like a kid, and people don't trust a kid to do a grown-up's job.' The next time I saw her, she looked amazing [with a new hairstyle]. And guess what? She got that promotion." -Vice president, global consulting firm

"Early in their career, I tell women to go to a department store and get a personal shopper to find out what works for their body type. So many women get that wrong, and as a result, men get distracted by their mistakes." -Vice president, financial services firm

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