“What’s the dress tonight?” This question has subsided over the years as my friends become used to each other, but new people to our group still ask. It’s always amazed me how prominent business people always worry about this . . . but then, that’s what makes them prominent.
I attended a realtor awards dinner last night. Black Tie was suggested. I hadn’t worn my “Tux” for nine months and when I tried it on, it was a little snug. Without worry, I dressed in a black suit and attended. It was as I had supposed. Those in Tuxedos stood out as the exceptions rather than the rule. Men don’t play dress up as well as women do. There were even men there without suits. One stopped a gold chain shy of an American Gigolo. On a group trip to Portland once, I suggested that we bring along our Tuxedos and attend the Portland Opera. I don’t think the men even told their wives. The men passed.
If I thought I would have stood out in the crowd at the awards dinner in my suit, I would have sucked in my tummy and not breathed for the evening as I wore my Tuxedo. As it was I arrived early with a back-up plan to rush home and change if I needed to.
The rule of thumb in business is to dress for the job you want to have next. At social events you want to blend in. There is a business training program on CD called Creating Personal Style: An Interactive Guide. This guide is a godsend for people in business who want to advance in their career.
“Whether on the job or going to a special event, dressing right and feeling good about yourself is always important. But knowing what to wear and how to shop for clothes can be frustrating without the right advice. These updated and now totally interactive versions of the popular Your Ideal Silhouette for Women and Suit Yourself for Men can help change uncertainty into confidence as students learn to build and manage their wardrobes in dynamic new ways.”– Ad copy for Creating Personal Style: An Interactive Guide
Creating Personal Style: An Interactive Guide even has video segments that show you how to get properly measured and how to tie bows and ties. It’s a very good training aid to have, whether you’re a man or a woman.
As a man I think that women have it easy at social events. All they have to do is wear basic black and some make-up. But then I’m a man and I’m probably wrong.
When in doubt about the proper attire for a party or gathering, it’s best to call the host or someone involved in the event and ask. Many events are “Business Attire,” which means suits and ties or sport jackets and ties for men. At these types of events men use their radar. As soon as someone takes off a tie or a jacket, the rest will follow.
We don’t mind looking good, we don’t mind dressing up, we just want to fit in and be comfortable. Most of us aren’t fashion leaders, we’re peer group followers.
Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com), which he says is the home of the no-hassle “free preview” for business training videos. He also owns Human Resources Radio ([http://www.humanresourcesradio.com]), which broadcasts HR and business training information, program previews, and training samples from some of the world’s great training speakers twenty-four hours a day. You can listen and learn on Human Resources Radio.