Your style defines who you are as a person and speaks a lot about your character, personality, and what you place importance on. Often how one appears is how others will ultimately perceive that individual without any afterthought at all. With this in mind how you walk, talk, dress, and present yourself is extremely important in your professional community. This is why it is important to carry yourself well at all times either on or off the clock. Most companies now have written into their orientation manuals something to the effect of, "Carry yourself with a high sense of integrity whenever possible even when off the clock." In the sensitive age we are in right now, everyone knows that we are perceiving an age in a time where what we see is our truth and it stops right there.
With that being the case, our style is completely important. Business individuals typically have the dubious distinction to upholding the trendiest of fashions when it comes to an array of business formal and informal attire. They set the standard for what is acceptable in those fields and normally is saved in several boards and pins on Pinterest. From full 3-Piece suits to the casual blazer and khakis. However, that style works for some but not for others. In this article, we are going to explore the WHY behind the business "dress code" and unwrap the reasoning behind the style.
What a Suite says about your Confidence:
A GREAT suite speaks volumes. Either in an interview or just on the street. Having a well-fit suit isn't something left to old 50s and 60s movies anymore. The truly powerful in our countries know that a well put together suite will emote confidence and exude self-confidence in the wearer. In my other article, "Dressing right: How to Change your Self Image" I explored the psychological effects this has on people. But it goes without saying, you want to make the right first impression for anyone you meet to start with how you dress.
This goes beyond business, remember when you went to homecoming, prom, Susan-B-Anthony dances, Sadie Hawkins, etc. These functions were almost always accompanied by high schoolers wearing a suite. Some more tactfully put together than others, but a suit nonetheless.
Blazer and Sports Coat:
As far as casual dress is concerned now, the sports coat has returned to the forefront of fashion sense and replaced the vest in many cases. Now I love a well-tailored vest, but it does not carry the same weight in Networking events, or business events that it did in the past. Almost ironically, a vest relegates you to the style of an old man or teacher rather than the strong, entrepreneur you are trying to ensure others see you as.
This brings us to the next piece of clothing we need to heavily look at and that's the blazer or Sports Coat. Both of these have their place but let's explore the differences between them in more detail.
"The blazer is a step lower than the suit jacket...but unlike the suit, a blazer is not made with a matching pair of trousers. As such they are great to wear for sporting events and weekend events. It is recommended that you wear a blazer any time a suit is not appropriate but you still need to dress up. Another detail that sets blazers apart from the suit jacket is its buttons. Blazers will have gold, silver or mother of pearl buttons."
The sports Coat on the other hand "derives its name from its original intent and was originally the attire worn by a sporting man. A sports jacket should always fit loose enough to allow for layering underneath. Looking back on its original purpose, the sports jacket was meant to function as sporting attire for a gentleman. This accounts for the jacket’s more rugged appearance as well as for some of its style details. Pleats, arm patches, and ticket pockets are all details found on a sports jacket that are meant to serve various functions. They will usually come with a sports lapel which can be closed completely to protect the chest and neck area."
Your Bag, Man Purse, or Briefcase:
Honestly, this is a topic I wish was better understood and that is what is appropriate to wear to an event and what purses, bags, laptop bags, etc are appropriate for the occasion. Sometimes, guys, even a money clip would be more appropriate than a wallet depending on the situation and style of your dress. Ladies, sometimes your giant purse isn't what's best. Sometimes a smaller purse makes more sense for the function you are attending.
Where I think we fail a bit here is in understanding the need for things to be on our person. We have a long list of personal effects that require us to bring a bag in the first place. And it's here that we will start to unravel this mystery.
These events are meant to be social events and you honestly shouldn't be wearing anything bulky or heavy because of the sheer number of people there. This event you need to think and travel small and light. Small bag for ladies and honestly a bag or laptop bag is not even necessary for gentlemen to wear. depending on the suit you need to choose between a slim wallet or a money clip. If you are in an event where you can be more casual and khakis and a blazer is more appropriate, your regular sized wallet and cell phone in your pocket (NOT on a clip) would be better. Because you want to come across as confident, you don't want "stuff" to hold you down.
These are meant to be casual and really you can dress for the occasion. I would only advise here that if you want to dress to impress have one bag that stands out from a typical and cheap made a brand. Invest in a leather bag that is durable. We all know we have those cheap polyester laptop bags that we look at as "practical" and bring them everywhere we go. But honestly, it looks like you are going to work rather than an event. Invest in a great leather bag it can be inexpensive! There are lots of options available where these don't cost you over $200 anymore.
The reasons this is important is because you want to exude the confidence in others and these bags are normally great conversation starters and people will ask you where you got it, etc. This helps ease the flow of conversation and start the flow of meaning. This keeps the conversation light in the beginning and keeps those of us who are shy in the beginning to have to come up with something to start a conversation.
Glasses and Accessories:
Accessories are the icing on the case and the exquisite decor that make the final touches matter. However, even if everything else is perfect, the wrong toppings will make the whole cake look awful. This is why these items need to be chosen with care. Both men and women have a ton of options when it comes to these products and with so many options its hard to pinpoint what is important. This is where sound judgment needs to be at it's best.
First off don't overdo it. Keep it simple! Men, if we are wearing glasses, make sure to have a case of something to put them in when you aren't wearing them that isn't bulky or obtuse. Nothing is more annoying than glasses just placed around the neck. Honestly, it looks tacky. If you choose to keep them on your head, make sure that they aren't super scratched up. You want to make sure that you take great care in showing others you cherish and take care of your items. Scratched up glasses like a cracked phone just means you aren't willing to take care of your things or you are clumsy. And even if you are the latter (I am in that category myself!) you really don't want others to know that until it comes up in a casual setting.
Ladies, I won't even pretend to understand all the precise steps you take in getting ready for events, nor will I cover them here. My wife explains to me the precision each step is in the process to get ready for an event and it makes my head swirl. Unlike us guys, your attention to outward appearance and detail is astounding. So I will be skipping that here, lest I say something that is definitely NOT correct.
I LOVE pocket watches and I think it is a shame they aren't used as often as they are intended. The styles out their vary and a lot go into selecting one.
Because this is a topic that deserves a strong answer here are several articles to read up on this topic. Take your time reading through these articles and build a case for yourself on the importance of this accessory. It's a lost art to tactfully wear one of these, but the confidence booster, and the "WOW" factor is easily a strong connector for others you meet.