This morning, The New York Times revealed a trade secret that many of us in the business world already know: Tiaras are the best accessories for a day at the office. This may be shocking to some, but those of us who've gotten ahead in the past year know that ornate headwear is a major reason why it happened. And, since the cat's out of the bag, we might as well let you in on how to choose the best one for your own power play.
Before you even get to the actual choosing of the tiara, there are several rules you must agree to:
First, you must commit to wearing your tiara at all times in the office. Here at Jezebel HQ, tiaras are required at all times. Even when we're pooping and even if we're working remotely. Take your tiara off and you're basically relinquishing all power; take it off in the bathroom, and you're basically asking to get fired. Tiaras aren't a game and you're going to get burned if you treat them as such.
Second, you must choose your own tiara and you must pay for it yourself. What you need to understand (and please pay attention to this) is that your tiara is your power glitter; it's your statement piece. Your tiara should say "Don't fuck with me" but also "I am approachable and open to having a professional conversation about my advancement in this company." It's not merely an object, but an important weapon in your work arsenal. Like Katniss and her bow, you must build a relationship with your tiara and you must learn its importance by making the sacrifice to pay for it yourself. Whether it's $5,000 or $50,000, purchasing it on your own is an important step in your empowerment journey. (Please email me if you'd like personalized suggestions on how to save up for your Tiara. My first tip is to cut down on non-essential items such as food and toiletries. No one's going to pay attention to your smell when your crown's on, anyway.)
Third, you must never apologize for your tiara. Never. Don't make jokes about it, don't make disparaging remarks about yourself wearing it and don't take it off because you feel stupid. The tiara is your right and it needs to be respected, both by the outside world and by you, its wielder. That's right, "wielder." It may not be a scepter, but when the tiara's on, you're harnessing its power, not merely wearing it.
With that said, let's discuss how to choose the perfect tiara for you. Remember, cost is no object to empowerment and tiaras can be worn by a person of any age, race or gender. In fact, it's surprising that tiaras are not yet required attire at most places of business, but that will likely change.
And remember this when you're choosing: It's about the journey, not the destination. The sky's the limit and your tiara should reflect that you're eager, driven and upwardly mobile. In short, it should be perfect for any position.
Are you familiar with the names Ivory & Co. and Olivier Laudus? Do you know the difference between a v-band and a bun ring? Can you confidently say whether ivory or sterling silver go best with subtly highlighted auburn hair? No ? Well then you've got a lot of work to do. You can't show up to work in just any old thing you found at Goodwill (or worse, Claire's) and expect others to respect you. No, you must be knowledgeable about your tiara and the tiaras of others.
Now that headpieces are being more and more accepted in the workplace, a cheap, poorly-made tiara tells the world the same thing a coffee-stained blazer does: You're not ready for the big time. Just last week, features editor Jia Tolentino walked into the office wearing a double-headband (spoiler alert: not a tiara) that she was trying to pass off as a signature piece from Ivory & Co. Of course those of us who aren't Ann Arbor townies (Jia's last place of residence) knew immediately that it was really a "BONAMART® TM Silver NEW ARRIVAL Double Rhinestone Crystal Handcraft Girl Women Bow-knot Hair Hairband Hair Band Headband Accessories" which one can buy as a $3.99 add-on item on Amazon and we were almost so embarrassed for her that we didn't bring it up. Almost.
Let's get this out of the way: If you can buy your tiara online then it's garbage and, by extension, you're garbage. Do you think you're garbage? If not, you'd better lace up those walking shoes and start trekking to every jewelry store in a fifty mile vicinity. Avoid Kay, Zale's, Jared and whatever other bullshit you see on TV. Remember, those tiaras are not one-of-a-kind, and do you really want to convey the message that you're a reasonably-priced alternative to the real thing? No, no you do not. That said, please remember to never buy the first tiara you see. Ever. Or the second. The right tiara will be waiting for you (trust), but it's going to take a lot of trying on to find it. Tip: Make sure to condition your hair well with Argan Oil before you try on headpieces. This will make the process of trying on jewelry much easier and more efficient.
While shopping, you should remind yourself that salespeople are never to be trusted. Even in fine jewelry shops, the employees are often paid on commission and aren't just there for the love of the game. It is in their best interest to remind you that you look fabulous no matter what you wear, but they're not the one with a performance review coming up next Monday, now are they? They're not the ones who might be performing career suicide by walking into the door wearing a tiara encrusted with Swarovski elements rather than actual crystals. Their opinion doesn't matter. Only what you feel does.
This is likely the most important step of all. Your head adornment is not meant to just be beautiful. It should be attractive, yes, but you're not shopping for a wedding and you're not here to look innocent, virginal or pure as snow. You're here to get down to business (and defeat the huns — haha, a little joke!) and show off your acumen. Your tiara should say this. When thinking about your message, ask yourself the following questions:
- Who am I?
- How did I get here?
- Where do I want to go?
- What is my five-year-plan?
- Do I deserve to work at a company that provides free lunch daily as opposed to weekly?
I suggest you actually take some time to sit down and think about these topics, perhaps even write your responses (Tip: Writing things down makes them real!) before you make your final selection. There is one thing that all staffers at Jezebel agree on*: You can have as many tiaras as you want — "3-5 is usually fine," says Kelly Faircloth, who started the trend in this office after an email from InStyle — but you must have a main tiara. This is the tiara that sets the tone for your entire "work self" and should reflect an aura of both quiet dignity and fierce competition. And a tiara that says that? It's going to take a lot of soul-searching before you can choose it.
Here's a quick test to see if you're ready to make a decision:
Based only on feelings and fragments of a full photo, which of the following tiaras says "I'm here to kick ass and get a raise" to you?
If your answer is anything but "these hideous things?" then you need to sit down and search your soul for better answers. None of these things are getting you a promotion. They are also from Etsy, and what did we discuss about buying things online? That's right, you are not garbage. Say it! Say it out loud!
I remember purchasing my own tiara like it was yesterday. I was at Gump's, looking at their fine collection of ornate headwear when I couldn't decide between Tiffany and Olivier Laudus. Fortunately, I live in a modern world. I immediately took pictures of both and sent them to former EIC Jessica Coen, who promptly responded (after three hours; I waited in the store) with "You wear any of those to work and you're going back to having your pitches ignored." And you know what? She was right! So I went over to Shreve & Co. and bought myself an original Fred Leighton (from the only store that sells them on the west coast). Because I deserved it.
Asking a mentor is important because friends, while outwardly happy about your success, can also be conniving backstabbers. Think about it, if you and your best gal were going for the same job, would you genuinely help them choose a power accessory? I think not! If you must bring a friend along, you may subtly test them by showing them a selection of tiaras (with at least two being hideous). If they choose one of the ugly ones, they don't have your best interests at heart in and out of the boardroom.
And never, ever apologize. Your colleagues can smell weakness like it's blood in the water. If you're not going to wear it confidently, you don't deserve to wear a tiara at all. I can't help you anymore than that. Your strength must come from the inside! Don't just wear the tiara — be the tiara!
Step 6: Care for your tiara as you would a small child (or another status object that is important to you — an iPad, say).
Your tiara does a lot for you and the least you can do is treat it like it deserves to be. Remember to polish your tiara daily (Ask Kelly about the time Madeleine came in with her jewels just a tiny bit tarnished; it was a bloodbath) and leave it to rest on a silken (or velvet) pillow. Bach can be played in the room in which you house your pride and joy, but it's not required. And remember to spend time with your tiara even outside of the workplace. The more you put into your relationship with it, the more you get back.
That's all the help I can give you. If you're not ready to put a tiara on yet, that's fine. But when you are, this guide should serve as a helpful reminded to make your experience (and your career) all it can be. I believe you can achieve all you want — do you?
*Not including Jia, who once lost a cell phone in a toilet, which precludes her from ever deserving a daily free lunch; or Tracy Moore, who once pooped herself while giving birth — inexcusable because she was not wearing a tiara at the time.
Lead image via Shutterstock; Tiara images via Etsy