Business Attire

A couple days ago, I heard from a New York Times video that dress-down Friday has gone. “Evidence” shows that people in the City want to dress up. Today’s CNN News video features an interview with a young entrepreneur (tailor) in Hong Kong who loves “old-fashioned” suits. These two stories reinforce the idea that “old-fashion” business attire still works and will continue to work well in the professional work.

I require that students in my class wear business attire for interviews, tours, and class presentations. Once in a while, I hear students saying that they do not have money for a business dress. I will not force any student to buy expensive clothes with his/her money for meals or rents, but I feel that everyone should have at least one or two formal dresses for special occasions. Here, having a formal dress does not mean that a person needs to have custom-made dresses from high-end tailor stores either. Often, people can find good quality business dresses in department or retail stores with very affordable price. They can even save more when the clothes are on sale.

If a student can only afford one formal dress and will probably keep this dress for the next several years, I would suggest him/her to stay away from low-cuts and any trendy designs but take the following suggestions:

For both male and female:
  • Go with a dark color suit or dress --- a black, grey, or dark blue are very neutral colors that will work in many formal occasions, literally from weddings to funerals.
  • Have at least one white dress shirt --- pink, yellow, or blue works fine for a certain occasions or to some people. White is the only color that will never go wrong.
  • Have a pair of black dress shoes --- black shoes can go with many dark color dresses.
For male:
  • Have several ties (or handkerchiefs) with a variety of colors --- If he does not have multiple suits and shirts for different occasions, he can still have different looks by changing his ties and handkerchiefs.
For female:
  • Have several pins and some bright-color scarves --- She may wear the same dark-color suit or dress from time to time; scarves, pins, and makeup can make her very versatile.
I believe it is important to dress up for special occasions. If a person cannot even put himself/herself together for a special event, how much would you trust this person when you need him/her to put things together for you? How important does business attire mean to you? How does a person’s dress and demeanor affect his/her credentials and your opinions of this person?

Relevant discussions:
Tattoos and professionalism
Tattoos and piercing at work



References:
Picture was downloaded from eHow.com.

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