I basically have a general store in my office (maybe side effects from playing Oregon Trail?). But really if you need something–aspirin, a protein bar, makeup wipes, whatever–I likely have it. I just like being prepared. And this preparation has been a lifesaver for me when I’ve had “surprise” situations that required that I look better than normal. Let me clarify, I aim to always look professional at work, but it’s legal aid. We’re tres lax when it comes to a dress code. I love it, but that also means that if I just pop up to a networking event or need to run to court, I may not always look the part. So, it has been vital for me to have these last minute quick fixes so that I actually “look” like an attorney and people don’t think you’re just some party crasher. Or pro se litigant lol.
I could list out like twenty items that I have that are necessary for me, but everyone is different! Take what works, the goal is to make sure you have your own back so that if something happens that requires a quick change, you got you!
The two things you want to have is a fresh face and fresh clothes. With that in mind, I keep items that I can apply to help brighten up my eyes. I have dark under eye circles that require a second (mega)dose of concealer and mascara/curler because I have nubs for lashes. But maybe you just need a little more mascara or eye drops because your eyes are dry from staring into screens all day. Whatever you need to help you look alert and awake. I’m a lipstick fiend so you already know I have at least five lip products. At minimum, you should have lip balm so that dry lips aren’t distracting when people are taking to you.
That’s it! Products that brighten my eyes and add a little color to my face, make a difference in my evening appearance.
Clothes, of course, are just as important. Some things to keep on hand are detergent pens/wipes for any lunch/coffee stains and nail polish remover (in pad forms). Before I used a steady gel top nail coat, I had crazy chips by the end of the week. So of course if I had an event, I’d likely just remove the color all together rather than go to court or somewhere looking like I was trying to bring back grunge. And if you wear stockings (which I don’t and never plan to), think about keep clear nail polish around as that stops runs in their tracks. Finally, I keep perfume samples at work because my hair picks up scent like you wouldn’t believe so one spritz takes care of any scent emergency.
Also, gum or mints. Obvi.
Simple enough, right? Why do I focus on this? Because as attorneys of color, it’s important that we’re aware of the image we put out for others and cultivate an image that increases our executive presence. You want to look put together, capable, and credible. So as you prepare your office, you may not become a general store like me, but make sure you’re prepared so that when you need to look your best, you do.