Natalie is wearing our Lewis Dress in Navy & Yellow, £198
We love an inspirational woman at Libby London. We spoke to the lovely Natalie James about her job as an Executive Grooming Specialist...
Describe your job in a few lines?
I'm a commercial makeup artist with a passion for (what I like to call) 'executive grooming'. Essentially, I help businesswomen strike the right balance when it comes to their makeup for work.
What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
Giving an hour-long lunchtime talk to an audience of 50 fabulous women at RBS in August of last year. It was such a buzz and validated what I'd suspected for a long time...that successful women are seeking a more intelligent conversation about their makeup. One that takes into account their role, their industry and their stage in life.
What piece of career advice would you give to your 20yr old self?
Trust your gut. If something doesn't feel right, trust it and try and gently explore what does (it took me ten years before I made the decision to go part time in advertising and explore makeup artistry). Also, working is not about making friends (it's not like uni). Longer-term friendships can develop from working relationships but you're there to play the game.
Whose style do you admire the most?
My friend Kate. She's always been brilliant at curating an outfit. I love the things she puts together. She's not a stylist (she's a lawyer!) but she has an in-built sense of style that just oozes without any kind of arrogance. It's beautiful.
What has been your worst office fashion faux pas?
Probably my chocolate brown tailored shorts. I loved the cut of them and wore them for years…but brown? Really?
Should office wear be fashionable or functional?
As with office makeup I think there is a real balance to be struck when it comes to how fashionable you can be within a work context. For example I believe it pays to take into account the following factors: your role, the market you operate in, your area of expertise, your office environment and your age. How functional an outfit needs to be will vary greatly. For me, dresses and tops I can move around in are key. Stepping out in a Libby London dress ticks both boxes. I feel comfortable but also in the knowledge my outfit has a slight edge. Perfect for when I'm networking or have meetings with clients.
If you had to choose working with all women or all men, which would it be?
What a great question! At a push, probably all men. I've worked in a female heavy office before and there was simply way too much oestrogen flying around (I can say that because I'm a woman). Women can be secretively competitive and snidey. Men, on the other hand, are straighter talking and are less interested in office gossip, which provides a great environment for just cracking on.
What’s your fantasy alternative job?
Lead in a West End musical. I love to sing and was fortunate enough to perform in two musicals whilst I was at university. There is nothing like singing your heart out on stage and hearing that applause. Best feeling ever. I'm sure the job itself would be knackering but totally worth it.