Why is it that some men can be hugely successful in business, amazing wheelers and dealers, yet manage to get the “look” completely wrong? Well you only have to compare the difference between the men’s and women’s fashion departments in your local stores, to see part of the problem. Women have an ever-changing, overwhelming range of fashion at their disposal – whatever their age, whatever their budget. To say men have a more limited choice is understating the obvious.
For casual wear, the problem is bad enough, but for business it can be a real struggle. When you wear business suits for work, day in day out, it is easy to get complacent. Or dare I say it, boring! And while suits are generally safe, they can be a breeding ground for dreadful mistakes.
The good news is you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune on your wardrobe. Two quality suits for work and a classic dinner suit will give you plenty of mileage with a small selection of the right accessories and shoes and a handful of great shirts.
Unless a man has a vast array of suits in his wardrobe, it is hard to wear something different every day. This is where fabulous shirts and accessories come in. A crisp white shirt, with a deep pink striped tie perhaps. Or a blue and white striped shirt with a solid tie in a darker shade of blue. And how about a red silk bow tie, to brighten up a dreary day. Confine the novelty ties to the Christmas party and avoid wearing pattern on pattern. A striped or patterned tie is best worn with a plain shirt, and vice versa.
Confused? My tip is that you study the female executives in your office. See what works and what doesn’t in a business environment. Tailored suits, elegant jewellery and designer leather goods? Or floaty dresses, with chunky necklaces and clompy shoes? Don’t worry I am not advocating cross-dressing, but the women executives who dress to impress realise that – in office fashion at least – it is all about style over substance. This is a great lesson to take on board.
Always wear a leather belt, one which matches your shoes. If your suit is black, blue or charcoal, then brown shoes are a definite no-no. Save your brown shoes for smart casual wear. However, always, always make sure that your shoes are clean.
In my humble opinion, jewellery should be simple and understated. A fabulous watch, a thin gold chain, perhaps, and no more than one ring on each hand. However – depending on the environment you work in – I have to say, I am a bit of a sucker for a single ear stud. But that is the only piercing I want to see thank you. If you want more studs, confine yourself to cufflinks. The ultimate in men’s fashion accessories, a stylish pair of cufflinks finish off a man’s outfit, whether in the office or at a formal dinner.
A sports bag is definitely not the way to carry your business papers – or your lunch – especially if you visited the gym on your way to work! A leather brief case or messenger bag will hold all your papers, and often your laptop and sandwiches too! And even more importantly, it will create the right impression. With just a little investment and effort, you can turn a less than exciting business outfit into something special…no matter what rung on the corporate ladder you are standing on.