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Corporate dressing: dos and don'ts

Published:Monday | March 29, 2010 | 12:00 AM
A lot of men are guilty of letting their undershirt show, but this is definitely unacceptable.
A man purse or messenger bag thrown across the shoulder with your work attire is a big no-no.
For the office you should look professional. This Perry Ellis navy blue flat-front pants gives a slimming look, and when paired with a slim-fitting striped shirt and pink tie, it speaks volumes. If you are taking a bag, then try this leather work bag.
Men at the executive level are expected to wear a fitted suit, and this Liz Claiborne grey with purple pinstripe, paired with a purple striped shirt and tie worn by Donovan McCarty, makes a bold statement.
The mirror never lies; check everything. - Winston Sill/Freelance Photographer
Owner of Male Ego, Donovan McCarty, looks quite fetching in a trendy business-casual outfit; a BCGC green printed slim-fit shirt with a Perry Ellis grey flat-front pants, complemented by a skinny tie, which is a trendy yet suitable office wear.
If your office allows jeans on a Friday, try getting dark-coloured jeans like this dark wash Guess, paired with a Nautica short-sleeved buttoned-down shirt complemented by a leather slip-on or laced-up work shoe.
This purple polka-dotted BCGC slim-fit shirt paired with Eddie Domani flat-front pants is ideal for an executive dress-down-Friday wear.
When it comes to accessories for the office, understated is the way to go.
Sleeves rolled up are not an acceptable look for the office.

Keisha Shakespeare-Blackmore, Staff Reporter

While women seem to have a good grasp on what constitutes proper office attire, some of their counterparts need some guidance.

What men should note when dressing for work is, the need to project a professional, competent image, regardless of employment level or career path. The image projected says a lot about a man, so consider that when putting together an outfit for the office.

These days, many offices might be a bit more relaxed with their dress code. However, relaxed does not mean casual. Traditionally, office wear for men was formal, consisting of the conservative suit and tie, but in recent times there has been a shift in the fashion trend. With many designers now focusing on men's fashion, the way has been paved for more cool and comfortable clothing, with which the modern man can associate.

Haute couture men's wear collection consists primarily of casual business suit, where tie is optional. You may either go for short sleeves or be more chic with patterned shirts. Pin stripes are a big hit and paired with a well-tailored pants, you are guaranteed to look great. Remember, flat front pants are designed to make the average man look good and reduce bulk around the hip area. Investing in a pair or two would be a wise move.

The bottom line is, when dressing, make sure that whatever you wear suits you. Don't get lured by the designer labels but ensure proper fit. Never compromise on quality. The choice of fabric is vital. Choose high quality fabrics so you will get more out of it and, of course, will definitely look better.

When most men receive an invitation to a business lunch or function, dressing for the occasion leaves some of them confused. Here are some helpful suggestions.

1. Business Suit

Though business attire in the 21st century has become more relaxed, a matching two- or three-piece suit in black, grey, or dark blue, consisting of a jacket, tailored pants, with a white or light solid-coloured cuffed shirt and conservative tie, are still considered proper for many business environments. It is also considered proper interview attire for nearly all types of work.

2. Executive Business Attire

Men at the executive level are usually expected to wear a suit with a buttoned-down shirt and tie at the office. This is also expected when they attend business-related functions outside the office, such as conferences and meetings with clients, as well as business-related social functions. Younger executives may venture outside the traditional confines of grey, blue and black suits and business separates in favour of patterns, as well as patterned shirts and ties.

3. Business Casual

In recent times, the concept of business casual has spread throughout office settings. However, there are no clear guidelines for business casual, and some employees interpret this to mean they can wear whatever they want, including very casual clothing suitable for a day out. But business-casual attire for men has come to be defined by clothing such as khaki pants or neat, dark-coloured jeans (if office allows) with a buttoned-down or office-branded shirt, ideal for 'dress down' Fridays.

4. Business Accessories

In addition to business attire, men should be aware of the accessories they choose. Shoes should match or coordinate with the outfit and be very clean. Lace-up shoes or slip-on leather shoes are acceptable. Open-toe shoes are not acceptable office attire, even in a business environment. This also applies to canvas sneakers and deck shoes unless the occasion is very informal and held outdoors. When it comes to jewellery, it should be understated, with not too many pieces worn at once. A wristwatch or pocket watch, class ring and or wedding band, and a single neck chain (worn beneath the shirt with the shirt buttoned) are the maximum pieces of jewellery most men should wear to work.

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