The Secret To Success: Good Grooming

ABC’s “Pan Am” TV show isn’t just bringing the airline back, it’s also bringing workplace-sexy back.

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| September 30th, 2011

That doesn't mean we expect you to run out and drop crazy amounts of money on a whole new wardrobe and weekly hair appointments (a common occurence in the '60s). Really all it takes is a few extra seconds in the morning to swipe on red lipstick.

MORE: Emma Stone on Her Character's Hair in "The Help"

From ancient times to the ‘60s to today, one trick of the trade has transcended time and taste—makeup. According to research by Dr. Richard Russell, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Gettysburg College, when a woman gives contrast to her face by darkening her eyes and lips with makeup, she instantly becomes more attractive to both men and women no matter their sexual orientation.

But beauty isnt just skin deep. A little makeup can give you that "I've got my act together" swagger. One study found that makeup helps women feel in control and gives us a confidence we can feel and others can see. Those flight attendants of yesteryear held their heads high because they knew they were looking good.

MORE: Why Makeup Works

And the assumption that placing a lot of value on your appearance makes you a vain bimbo simply isn’t true. According to the same study, women who most frequently used makeup “were somewhat more profeminist and egalitarian, suggesting a counter stereotypic relationship.”

Catherine Hakim, a professor of sociology at the London School of Economics and the author of “Erotic Capital: The Power Of Attraction In The Boardroom And The Bedroom,” has made it her mission to convince women that they don’t have to feel guilty or pathetic for appreciating their sex appeal and using it to their advantage at the office. After all, the research shows men have no compunction using theirs to get ahead.

In a recent interview in Slate, she argued, “Having erotic capital isn't something you sort of turn on and turn off like turning on a tap or faucet, in the same way that intelligence isn't something you either switch on or switch off. It's there as part of the sort of person you are: in your style, in the way you talk to people, in the way you dress every day, in the hairstyle you wear every day. And it's really a change of perspective that I'm recommending, that women should know that all of this has value.”

Former Pan Am stewardess Marilyn Cozzi can attest to the power of a well-groomed woman. She began her 8-year-long career as a Pan Am flight attendant back in 1965. In addition to going through the usual safety and job training, then 22-year-old Marilyn was also given company issued clothing, even down to her undergarments and DuBarry makeup, which she was taught to use in preening lessons that lasted nearly a week. “One day was nothing but putting the makeup on,” Cozzi remembers. “You were required to look perfect.”

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