Dressing for Business!


As the saying goes, the first impression is always the best impression. And what people usually see first is our clothes. Different businesses and professions have different dress codes. However, there are staple colors of every business wardrobe. They are Navy Blue, Charcoal gray, Black, Khaki and White. Regardless of how formal or casual or whether male or female, these are the colors to start with. This is not to say that business dressing is all about drab colors. The idea is not to choose a color that speaks louder than the spoken word!

Let’s first take a look at a few executive wardrobe suggestions for women. Blouses with pants and skirts are the popular choice here. The best way to determine if a piece of clothing is suitable for the business environment is to sit down in it facing a mirror. If you are concerned about the view in any way then it isn’t appropriate. Any clothing made of transparent material is inappropriate. High-quality cotton or a micro fiber blend are good choices because of the climate here. The ethnic ‘salwar kameez’ is a popular choice with Asian women. However, bright colors and those with excessive decorative work must be avoided. The ‘dupatta’ must be pinned up appropriately so as to allow the arms to move freely. Shoes must be comfortable, functional, and clean. Shoe heels may be as high as an inch and a half or two inches, but much higher than that looks unprofessional. Never wear white shoes, slippers or worn out, scuffed shoes for work. These are serious faux pas! Jewellery must be kept simple and understated. Necklace shapes must be matched to the collar of your garment. Avoid chunky, dangly earrings and bangles as these can be distracting and also a hindrance to work. Limit rings to no more than one on each hand! Avoid extremes of nail length and polish color and do not overpower your appearance with heavy perfume. Needless to say, jeans are NOT business wear! Women wearing ‘Abayas’ should ensure that they are wrinkle free and clean; free of stale fragrances. Head scarves should be pinned firmly in place and allow for comfortable hand movement.

Men do not have as many options as women. Long sleeve white or light blue shirts with point collars (since they look good both with and without a tie) are popular business choices. Socks must be the color of trousers and should be mid-calf in length. Do not wear light colored socks with a dark pant/suit. White socks are unacceptable in business. A pant’s cuffs must always brush the top of the shoes. Ties should be coordinated with the suit/shirt and the tip should rest at the top of the belt’s buckle. A properly fitted business suit should be comfortably loose but not baggy, the jacket extending to the end of your curled fingers when your arms are relaxed. The bottom button of a business suit always remains unbuttoned. The other buttons should be buttoned whilst standing and unbuttoned whilst sitting.

Men wearing traditional dress should ensure that their clothing is well pressed and spotlessly clean. The sleeves of the ‘Dishdasha’ should not be so long as to inhibit efficient movement of hands.

These are just the basics. Clothes are truly important in business as they are a professional representation of yourself and your organization. Also, it is said that if you dress with your next position in mind, you are more likely to get there!



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