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Business Meeting Dress for Success


Dressing for success at a business meeting is just as important to an entry level employee as it is to a company’s Chief Executive Officer. Nonverbal messages are often remembered more than verbal ones, and a person’s attire constantly sends nonverbal messages to others. Therefore, the way you are dressed may make a large difference in the meeting’s outcome.

Factors to Consider

When choosing attire for a business meeting, it’s important to consider whom and why you are meeting. Additionally, the time of day and location must be thought about. Moreover, the image or message you want to project during the meeting must be reflected upon. Various colors, styles, and the way clothes fit may send the wrong message or project the wrong image.

Basically, attire can establish trust or distrust. It can give the impression of being detail-oriented, or sloppy and unmethodical. Attire may reveal a person’s self-esteem, self-respect, and level of confidence. In addition, clothing may project a person’s organizational skills, soundness of judgment, creativity, and reliability.

Traditional Attire

In the past, most business personnel didn’t have too many options as to what was appropriate business attire. It was standard practice worldwide for dark business suits with ties to be worn. The few women in such positions that required attending business meetings also wore dark suits.

Current Business Dress Codes

By current business dress codes, several options are available concerning appropriate attire. The business meeting could range anywhere from extremely casual to ultra formal. It can take place anywhere, at anytime, including in a virtual reality setting. Thus, it’s important to know how to appropriately dress for each type of occasion, according to time of day, location, and purpose of meeting. In each of these situations, it’s important to know how the other person expects you to dress for the occasion.

When in doubt, it’s best to revert to the more conservative and traditional dark suit and tie. For women, a dark suit with skirt is best, although pants are acceptable. Whichever business dress code you choose to adhere to, be sure the clothes fit you well. The attire should be clean, neatly pressed, and in excellent condition. All attire and accessories should be made of top quality material. The entire ensemble, including shoes, belts, and accessories must match, and shouldn’t be too ostentatious.



Sabath, Ann Marie
Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy
Franklin Lakes

Dress for Success – MIT Careers Office

Ramsey, Lydia
Manners That Sell: Adding the Polish That Builds Profits
Rancho Santa Fe: Pelican Publishing, 2008. Print.

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