What you wear to a business meeting is just as important as your interview outfit; you can’t simply put on your favourite pair of ripped jeans and rely on your brainpower to make a good impression. In today’s competitive working world, it’s best to keep your appearances up by dressing appropriately.
But what may be suitable for a casual working environment will definitely not be for a corporate one. As if planning for the meeting wasn’t enough, you’re now fretting over what to throw on to impress a prospective client, connection or employer. To push your panic aside, we’ve formed this guide for both men and women to make sure you look the part at your next conference.
Business Casual Meeting
Business casual often throws people off: do you wear jeans and trainers or stick to the conservative suit? Some companies may err on the side of caution and dress formally, while others more casually. To set any confusion aside, follow the tips below to ensure you’re dressed for success.
Leave the two-piece aside and select something more fashion-friendly
What to Wear
- Top: Keep it simple with a chiffon shirt, simple jersey top, turtleneck or patterned blouse. You could also layer with a blazer for a smarter look.
- Bottoms: Suit trousers, chinos and structured wool trousers are all acceptable for company meetings..
- Skirt/Dress: A dark-colored bold body-con dress, pleated A-line or midi skirt are working women’s go-to ideas for professional clothing. They are feminine options that are suitable for the workplace.
- Shoes: Loafers, brogues, pumps and up to four-inch heels are suitable.
- Accessories: Light jewellery is your best bet; don’t go for any bold statement options or big earrings – these will only distract from what you are there to do.
- Outerwear: For the colder days, opt for a pea coat, trench coat or smart jacket to accompany your look.
Ditch the formal suit and choose something smart but comfortable
What to Wear
- Blazer: A blazer isn’t always required but it can smarten up any look, making you feel more confident throughout your pitch. You could choose a blazer in a dark block colour with either a chequered pattern or without.
- Shirt: A shirt is an essential part of a working man’s wardrobe; whether you’re layering on top with a cardigan or a blazer, your buttoned-up, collared shirt should be pressed and tucked into your bottoms.
- Bottoms: Smart trousers or chinos are a safe option (preferably dark or beige in colour; don’t pull out your summer whites for a business meeting – no matter the weather). If you’re in a startup or in the creative industry, jeans could be suitable, provided they are dark denim with a straight cut (no skin-tight or ripped jeans).
- Shoes: Chelsea boots, brogues or formal shoes are all a great option in brown, black, leather or suede.
- Accessories: A belt is a wardrobe staple and should be worn with every outfit. A watch is also a nice touch but make sure it’s not too flashy – you don’t want to distract your audience with an accessory.
- Outerwear: If your meeting is in the colder months and you need to wrap up warm, choose a pea coat, trench coat or a formal wool jacket.
If you want to knock your manager’s or client’s socks off, follow the below tips:
- Don’t show too much skin: It’s not the catwalk and your attendees don’t need to be distracted by your bare legs or arms. Keep it classy by covering up.
- Choose the right fit: Your clothes should be well-fitted. Make sure your trousers aren’t dragging on the floor, your belly isn’t popping out of your shirt and your blazer fits well (you won’t want a fashion faux-pas with a split mid-meeting). Ladies, make sure your blouse isn’t too revealing and your skirt isn’t too short.
- Complete your look with the right hairstyle: How you choose to wear your hair is just as important as your outfit. Men’s hairstyles should be well-trimmed and tidy, while women’s neat and kept out of their face.
- Fragrances should be subtle: You don’t want to turn your business meeting into a gas chamber and make your business partners suffer from your overpowering smell before you’ve even managed to pitch in. Opt for something lighter in smell.
- Makeup should be natural: Wear a natural base (nothing too cakey) and go for a natural glow with a bronzer and a hint of highlighter. Wear a layer of mascara and a natural lip colour – you don’t want to look like you tried too hard!
- Accessories should be kept to a minimum: Meghan Casserly agrees: ‘Simple jewelry is best, this is no time to distract. Stay with classics like stud earrings and pendant necklaces.’
- Be comfortable and confident: The bottom line is that you need to be comfortable in what you are wearing – if your personal style leans on the casual side, find ways to spruce up your business attire without compromising any opportunities. When you are content, confidence will ooze naturally and you will feel powerful in what you are wearing.