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Office dress codes around the globe

29 October, 2015

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Date of Publication: 29 October, 2015
Formal or casual? That is the question pertaining business attire all over the world. As much as style and quality are often out of the equation, men tend to stick to a suit in the vast majority of the countries, even those that are thought to be laid back (we are talking of you, Latin America). Common sense should always play a substantial role in choosing what to wear in a country you don’t know, even more so if you are not a tourist, but a worker. Women face a broader dilemma, as usual when it comes to clothes, as the choices both in formal and casual attire vary so much for them: flat shoes or heels, pants or skirt, skirt length… you name it. Let’s have a closer look.


Very formal, almost conservative. Dark or neutral colors, especially for men. Women have to add a dash of style, with chic dresses and skirts, balancing business and trend.


The country where “smart casual” (unless you work in a very strict business environment) meets with “casual Friday”. In other words, it’s most unlikely for you to be required to wear a tie here.


If you’re not Chinese, you will probably find a job in a financial/business sector, therefore you’ll have to stick to the most conservative side of dressing. The mantra is “not to show-off” and remember to apply it to jewelry too. If you’re a woman, you must remember that everything revealing can be labeled “inappropriate”. Your dress hem should always fall below the knee and a high neckline is strongly recommended.


Suit and tie, arms covered and – for women – remember to conceal your cleavage and to never show your shoulders.


This may come as a surprise, given the fact that – aside from Berlin -  Germany is a) not famous for it’s fashion sense, and b) definitely not laid back. Nevertheless, even though you have to look professional, you can choose your pattern, colors and shapes, especially when it comes to shirts and ties. But pay attention! As much as you’ll be relatively free, the employers do have the right to enforce certain dress codes. - e.g. women wearing bras to work.


very formal dress code is no longer necessary, but if you decide for a casual look, be sure to choose perfectly fitting pieces that still convey a sense of care and attention.


USA is strongly divided into formal and casual business attire, but you’re in luck: it’s very simple to understand the rules. Either you play on the dark and conservative side (no earrings for men, neatly styled hair for women), either you stick to a lighter version, where well-kept sneakers play a substantial role replacing the more formal leather shoes. Still, as casual as you may go, never forget to do your ironing!

Whatever your company recommends, we strongly advise you to check the “fashion-level” of the country you are working in. Will it be acceptable to wear a pinstriped suit that comes straight from the mall? Or should your suit convey a designer like quality, less formal but more fashionable? Should your clothes reflect your persona or should they be toned down as much as possible?

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