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Updated: Jun 12, 2019

Contemporary approach to Business Etiquette including dress code requirements is evolving with a day. The world is not frozen. Rules are transforming. However it does not mean they stop being important in business communications.

Our greetings to everyone!

To continue a series of recent posts on a DRESS CODE topic, we offer you the opinions of real people in business from various countries:

A (f): “If you show up in a suit and tie to some of the North American offices, you would be laughed at (not to your face, just likely by your manager/partner when discussing you with others on the leadership team). There are a few offices, particularly in the middle east, where business formal may be required daily, but these are the exception and not the rule.”

B (m): “You wear whatever the client wears. In financial services, you would be in a suit and tie if all the clients are in business formal. 90% of clients are business casual. Some clients may even be casual. There was one client that was a sports/athletic retail company that everyone wanted to get on because you could wear the client’s product to work (think: athleisure to work on the daily). On Friday’s in the office, jeans and a button-up/blouse are more than acceptable "

W (m): “If you are asking for an interview with one of the audit companies, standard business formal applies. If it’s your first day at work, business casual is OK (slacks and a button-up for men, dress/skirt/slacks and a blouse for women). After that you can ask your team/manager what the client’s dress code is, and then mimic the rest of your team after day one "

A (m): “Big 3 consultants in London, NY or Asia dress at least as formally as their clients. At Big 3 offices in London, the shirts are nowadays a little stripier than expected, so maybe the system is loosening up gradually!”

S (f): “If you are a consultant who has a client meeting on-site with a formal client later that day, you would know what the attire is – dressed up”

A (f): “The dress is more formal/generally better (as is true of London vs. anywhere in the States). You would not see that many people in full on suits, but several men with suit jackets but no tie, or something similar that made them seem a step more formal than most offices”

P (m): “Suit jackets with no tie — that’s what is meant now when you say a suit! The tie isn’t exactly dying, but it’s no longer considered essential (in London) to have a tie in order to ‘be in a suit’. For a while I still wore a tie to meet clients for the first time… then I stopped even doing that. Sales and legal staff still seem to wear them, though, and they are still common in insurance”

P (m): “Actually, a funny thing is, while suits are still universal in my work (banking, London / NY / Asia) the actual definition of a ‘suit’ seems to be degrading gradually. There is a kind of ‘deniable suit’ outfit that is come into existence over the last 10 years: shirt that “could” possibly be a suit shirt, pants that “probably” belong to a suit, and the “implication” that your jacket is somewhere nearby! “

A (f): “For women, business formal/business casual line is very, very blurry. For women it seems that clothing type matters less (which seems to be the distinction for men), and what matters more is:

  1. Color choice — bright blouses/skirts/dresses seem less formal than a black skirt/pants + white blouse. In the public sector (in close contact with the financial sector), almost everyone wear black/gray/navy. You really stand out if you wear other colors.

  2. Layers tend to look more formal — a cardigan can take the place of a suit jacket and still look formal, and

  3. Heel height — high heels are more formal than flats.

I have heard it argued that you need to be in a dress w/ a jacket / suit skirt to be “business formal” as a woman, but I think a woman in black slacks, heels and a nice cardigan will look much more formal than someone in a brighter dress/suit with a jacket in flats. Also, for the record, I’m not saying it is politically correct / fair that it is perceived this way… just that it seems to be”

We at LSCE try to keep to contemporary approach in Business Etiquette including dress code requirements. The world is not frozen. Rules are transforming every day. However it does not mean they stop being important in business communications.

Would you have your personal opinion on DRESS CODE applications, please share it in the comments or by sending a message.

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