By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
When deciding what to wear, play it safe by focusing on the dress code in your host country e.g. a global financial services firm may allow business casual in San Francisco, formal attire on most days at their Munich office and business formals in Tokyo, thus displaying lack of a uniform dress code in global business. However, business attire is an important first impression tool as it builds trust and conveys respect at a non-verbal level. When deciding what to wear, ask yourself “Can I wear this for a meeting with the host CEO, while delivering a presentation to the local team, when dining with an investor or while negotiating with a client?” If you’ve answered yes, you are dressed for success! Tips for dressing in international business:
- Attire: Indian women are well-appreciated in both saris (weather permitting) and western-style business suits.
- Dress conservatively: Dress to build business relationships, drawing attention to your merit and not your attire. High-necklines, well-tailored clothes, neutral colors, sensible shoes & minimal make-up/ jewelry all convey professionalism.
- Colors: Dark colors connote success & wealth and offer the added advantage of remaining wrinkle-free longer. Bold colors (red / orange/ yellow) are best avoided as they convey different things in different cultures.
- Accessories: Branded laptop bag, handbag, pen and wrist watch are must-haves.
- Winter wear: Invest in a classic knee-length black woolen overcoat and a pair of black closed shoes.
- Power of pearls: Universally popular, a string of white / off-white pearls are feminine, yet convey power.
- Indian accents: A pashmina shawl / stole or a traditional piece of jewelry is ideal for evenings.