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How to Dress for Success: Casual Meetings

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Section: Dressing for the Occasion - Blog

We all know the importance of dressing to impress, and you’d never show up to meetings – even casual ones - dressed in shorts and flip flops, would you? But, deciding how to look the part at casual meetings is harder than getting dressed for daily work because the dress code rules are vague. Here’s how to look dapper without looking too dressed down.

At casual meetings, your attire should project approachability, openness and relaxation. Of all the types of meetings, this one is the most likely to turn into a sales or buy meeting.

Some example of these casual get togethers are:

  • A round of drinks with colleagues and clients after work
  • Company pool parties or picnics
  • A round of golf with the boss
  • Birthday parties and other celebratory events

These casual occasions build relationships and bonds through shared experiences. However, dressing appropriately for them can be difficult, especially since the overwhelming tone is one of relaxation.

Dressing Casually for Success

Even if you're told the meeting is one where you can "relax", it's still a business meeting. Negotiations may happen or you could even close a deal. You can be sure your boss is not really relaxing; more importantly, he or she does not become your peer at casual meetings. Never succumb to the urge to let your guard down. Instead, dress in a way to maintain your air of professionalism. Remember, many promising careers were nipped in the bud because folks didn't pay enough attention to dress and other business etiquette in these casual meetings.

Best Casual Choices

Tailored suits are a good choice, and if the situation dictates, you can dress them down rapidly by taking off your jacket, rolling up your shirt sleeves, and removing your tie. However, you do have other options.

In warm or hot weather, consider wearing clean, pressed shorts (no higher than a couple of inches above the knee), a collared lightweight cotton shirt, and polished dress sandals. For winters, opt for a sweater or tweed sports jacket with a collared shirt and grey flannel trousers.

While there are always casual meetings with your intimate friends where you can dress as you please, if any colleagues will be there, dress conservatively – you can't go wrong with that choice.

If you'd like help putting together one or two "power" outfits for those tricky casual meetings, schedule a personal consultation with one of our style specialists. We'll walk you through the process of putting all the pieces together so you'll feel confident and powerful no matter what the occasion. 

Original idea for article from Antonio Centeno, author of the internet's most actionable men's style guide. We recommend a read!

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