How often did you think about what to wear when dressing up a “business casual” invitation to a company event or congress? Or have you pondered at evening invitations what is meant by “festive evening wear”? Have you ever started a broadcast with colleagues and department assistants because of this? Wouldn’t it have been nice if the inviting person had expressed himself clearly?
The experts Anke Quittschau and Christina Tabernig from the dm training institute are correct! bring light into the darkness of the dress code. You have created an overview of the most important dress codes in business with Do’s and Don’ts:
occasion: Business trip
tip: It’s about a business day that is spent outside of your own business premises and / or with external partners / customers. A dark suit (mostly dark gray, anthracite or dark blue) with a shirt, tie and simple shoes is expected.
That is not how it works: Jeans or other casual clothing.
Occasions: daily business in high management levels, business events
tip: A (three-part) dark suit with vest, shirt, tie and smooth leather shoes is expected. Simple cufflinks are welcome accessories, the suit should be dark gray, anthracite or dark blue and may have a pinstripe. The suit can also be black at an evening event. Classic elegance is expected here.
That is not how it works: Bright suits, turtlenecks, no tie, button-down shirt.
- Stylish business attire …
… is a high art. Read our suggestions to avoid the biggest pitfalls.
- The high-quality jacket
You can recognize a high-quality business jacket by the fact that it has a pocket for a business card on the inside, lower left. In addition, the more expensive jacket has four instead of three buttons on the sleeves.
- The jacket sits properly …
… if the collar of the jacket is placed around the neck below the shirt collar so that the shirt collar protrudes about one and a half centimeters. There must be no folds under the collar, otherwise the jacket will look too tight or too wide.
- Shirt sleeved?
The sleeve of the jacket is one and a half centimeters shorter than the shirt sleeve and extends to the bone of the wrist.
- Look serious
The correct suit for the job has a dark shade.
- The detail makes the difference
A shark collar looks much fancier than the good old Kent collar.
- Simply impossible …
… are button-down shirts on the management floor or at business events.
- Details, part 2
A tie is a statement. Therefore tie them properly, with the top shirt button being closed.
- Checked or striped?
If you prefer patterned shirts, opt for an understated design or classic stripes on the tie.
- From head to toe
Nothing will ruin your outfit faster than an unstylish or neglected shoe. You are always right with the classics (Oxfords and Brogues).
- Color combinations
You don’t wear brown belts or brown shoes with black suits. At least not as a German. Italians also manage this combi chic.
- Less is more.
Always choose a solid color shirt for a pinstripe suit.
- Another no-go …
…. are bare men’s calves! This is only possible with sports! Make sure that the socks do not show any skin even when the legs are turned over. Play it safe with knee highs.
- A man is a man …
… Jewelry is therefore still not accepted in the business environment. Here, men should limit themselves to a maximum of one or two rings and a wristwatch.
- Sometimes it is casual
At business lunches or after-work drinks, the tie can sometimes be missing.
- Fallen on it?
Business casual as a dress code suggests a casual look, but only to a reasonable extent: Jeans are absolutely taboo, as are shorts or open shoes.
- For advanced
Business casual, part 2: polo shirts, colored shirts and / or fine knitted pullovers in combination with cotton or corduroy pants are stylish.
Occasions: daily business in middle and higher management levels, business events
tip: A two- or three-piece dark suit with a shirt, tie and smooth leather shoes is expected. In addition to the usual dark colors, the suit can also be gray, brown or cognac. However, you should color-match the shoes and the belt, especially with brown suits. Pinstripes, colored ties and shirts in pastel shades with fine stripes or grid checks are allowed. Pay attention to a subtle combination, otherwise the look will quickly appear overloaded.
The rule is: Never wear more than two patterns at the same time.
That is not how it works: Sweaters, unbuttoned shirts, button-down shirt, no tie, unkempt shoes, light socks.
Occasions: Everyday business with contact to the executive floor, business trip
tip: This dress code sounds more casual than it is, as it contains a mixture of the classic outfits mentioned above. The expected level of elegance should not be underestimated: during the day the man definitely wears a dark suit, shirt and tie.
That is not how it works: After-work look with a relaxed tie, rolled-up sleeves and a jacket thrown over your shoulder. Semi-formal or “semi formal” does not mean “semi” formal!
Occasions: Events after the office, casual business event, internal meetings without board room
Pro tip: Business casual is not to be confused with casual or casual Friday. The definition for this dress code is: suit with shirt without tie. A combination of a jacket and trousers without a tie would also be possible. A button-down shirt instead of a business shirt is possible here.
gaffe: no jeans, boat shoes or too colorful clothes. The word “business” still indicates the context in which you are.
Occasions: Brunch, sightseeing as part of a business trip, internal meeting outside the office
tip: This dress code suggests a casual look, but only to an appropriate extent: Jeans, shorts and open shoes are absolutely taboo. Polo shirts, colored shirts and / or fine knitted pullovers in combination with cotton or corduroy trousers are stylish.
That is not how it works: Sports clothing is not desired. Save your shorts for a beach holiday.
- Thanks God it’s Friday!
Also on Friday you should stick to the principle: what is worn in the office should also look like an office. So if it absolutely has to be jeans, please one without holes.
- The beha
vior experts …
… Christina Tabernig (left) and Anke Quittschau from Correct! give a small style guide for casual Friday.
- It doesn’t always have to be a blazer …
… to a trouser suit or costume. Blouse with colored, dark jeans (preferably in a regular cut with a straight leg, a pair of slim jeans looks too sexy) or trousers are sufficient. A thin cardigan can also be worn with the blouse.
- Women and shoes …
Always a wide field! Loafers or ballerinas are fine on Fridays, unless there is an important appointment with a customer or boss.
- Always classic
The style remains classic, bare skin and deep necklines should also be avoided on Friday.
- Tie, no thanks
Men can do without the tie on Friday. However, wear a button-down shirt so that the collar does not look crooked out of the jacket.
- Warning, no-go!
T-shirts and outdoor clothing are a no-go. In the business environment, a shirt collar is mandatory.
- Creative scope
Casual suits made of linen or cotton are possible.
- Welcome to the weekend!
Do not wear sneakers or flip-flops. Both belong to the free time.
- Even more clothing tips …
… for men can be found here:
- How does a woman manage the balancing act between serious and fashionable?
What skirt length can business women wear? What insights are allowed in business? This article answers these questions:
- A good polo shirt …
… to chinos is possible.
Occasions: Business lunch or after-work drink
tip: This dress code actually means what it sounds like: come the way you are (after office hours), leave your suit on and take off your tie, no need to change. If you come directly from home, you should not fall into the trap and show up in jeans. A correct (business) look is expected, shirt and flannel pants are the basics.
That is not how it works: Casual clothing such as jeans and a T-shirt.