Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Strictly Business

Dress codes can be tricky. When it comes to dressing up for specific occasions many people make the mistake of dressing up too much. I hate the saying, "It's better to be overdressed than underdressed". I would hate to be the only guy in a 3 piece suit at a bar as much as I would hate to be the only guy in sandals at a wedding. My point is, that it isn't just a matter of "Formal v. Informal" , "Tie or no tie" and "Dress shirt or T shirt".

In what I like to think of as a "Dress Code Continuum" there lies "Black Tie" on one end and "Casual" on the other. In between these two extremes are distinct dress codes that are separated by distinct elements. Here are some general rules that my tailor, Joseph gave me:

-"Business Casual" means don't wear a tie
- The coat of a 2 piece suit cannot be doubled as a sports coat/blazer
-Bring your dress shoes to the tailor when altering dress pants
- When wearing a tie, the point should fall towards the center of your belt buckle
- Suit pants with tapered legs are more for parties or social events rather than the work place
- always button the middle button of a 3 button coat or the top button of a 2 button coat. Never button the last button.
-It's better to have a better fit than a better brand
-Casual means jeans are allowed (but only dark washes)

It is important to fall within the constrains of the appropriate dress code for many reasons. 1) Being dressed inappropriately can be embarrassing 2) Ignoring the dress code of a party might offend the host and therefore be disrespectful 3) Dressing appropriately shows you are mature, pay attention to details and professional in the work place

In general, it is best to follow dress codes out of respect and to make sure you are comfortable in a situation. Of course these rules only meant to be strictly followed for things like the workplace and large social functions. When you are with friends family you can use your best judgement on what is appropriate attire.

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