Business vs Formal Outfit – Annita Hannadja explains us the differences and how to make the right choice.
Formal by definition means something done in accordance with protocol or etiquette; suitable for constituting an official or important occasion. Some synonyms are: ceremonious, ritualistic, conventional, traditional, fixed, set, detached, unapproachable, remote, cool and distant, aloof, stiff, reserved, impersonal.
Working in a legal company, a bank or an accountancy firm, or any company that wants to keep a formal profile, we have to consider that things we wear working in that company should fit their profile. And so your outfits for the office should be formal.
A formal outfit is strict and simple.
Business-formal, is in many ways an easier dress code because it has clear expectations and there is a far less confusion surrounding it.
Business-formal always calls for a classic and traditional look. But do remember that every outfit should also be up-to-date, fresh and modern.
Classic and traditional doesn’t mean that you can dig out an old suit from the back of your wardrobe. And expect it to give the same positive message it did 15 years ago. Instead, it will give a negative impression of yourself.
Men expect to wear quality suits that are nicely fitted or tailored if necessary. Button-down shirts in neutral colours and co-ordinating ties. Shirts neatly tucked in and the belt and shoes should match. Trousers should fit comfortably and be the perfect length, while socks should match the colour of the trousers. Shoes should be good quality in traditional designs, always polished, with laces tied neatly. If you choose a pocket square then use the square fold. Otherwise, the only accessories on show should be an appropriate watch, a tie clip, and a wedding band.
Clothes and shoes should be of good quality, in neutral and conservative colours.
Women can wear business suits or business style dresses. When wearing skirts or dresses, tights should always be worn (no special designs like fishnets or bright colours). And the length should never be shorter than 1 inch above the knee. Dressy separates you can also choose but keep it professional – for example, a sheath dress worn with a smart blazer.
Wearing sleeveless blouses and tops underneath jackets is very comfortable, especially during an interview.
Women should keep their suits and separates neutrally toned (black, grey, brown, caramel, olive, navy and burgundy). However the item worn underneath the jacket doesn’t need to be neutral as it will only be seen in a small area of the body.
Shoes should be closed-toe, low or medium height heels, polished and quite neutral. Handbags should be structured.
The article by Annita Hannadja.