‘What do I wear?’ is a question that has probably plagued mankind since the invention of clothes. Finding the right balance between style and professionalism for a meeting can be such a nightmare. We’ve come up with a few questions to help you get it right.
Where are you meeting at?
Are you meeting in a pub or a coffee shop? It could also be drinks at a fine dining restaurant or a meeting over a beer by the beach. Attire to each occasion can differ. A proper pub might require you to go smart casual, yet an upmarket coffee house will say no flip flops, and a fine dining restaurant would have their own dress code you need to abide by that and of course you can slip on your flip flops for the beers by the beach. Remember to not forget who you’re meeting too, if it’s someone who likes to dress for every occasion you might want to do the same. You know how the old saying goes “Always dress to impress”.
Figuring out Time
You don’t want to be dressed like you’re going to a wedding at 9am or to a beach party at 3pm. Taking the time to figure out what time you plan to have your meeting. If it’s daytime then approach with subtle colors that are appealing to the eye rather than harsh and of course at night you can pull out the more darker shades in your wardrobe.
Who are you meeting?
This is the most essential question. Are you meeting a CEO of a larger company or a chilled out startup founder? The CEO wouldn’t appreciate shorts and flip flops and at times neither will the startup founder. Dressing down to meet someone at the top could mean you aren’t paying respect so play your style card right.
Is it an event, a conference or a one on one chat?
You might want to dress up in business casual for all three just to be safe. But if you can anticipate the type of crowd who might be attending, that might give you a clue as to how you should be attired. Like most local techie conventions and panel discussions, call for t-shirts and jeans but that sort of attire wouldn’t fit in a CEO forum.
What sort of message are you trying to put across?
Dressing in business casual could mean the obvious ‘you mean business’, whereas dressing down might convey you’re a chilled out type and could also be conveyed as “I’m not bothered about my responsibilities” which is not the first impression you want someone to have of you. Be style safe and make sure even if you choose to wear jeans choose to pair it with a collared buttoned up t-shirt or shirt with a good pair of shoes so the very least you look the part for the job.
No one has ever been overdressed to anything. You could layer and remove each as you see fit or even ask friends what is allowed to certain places. Showcasing your style is just as important as nailing the message you’re trying to convey to a potential employer or partner, you might just want to make sure it matches theirs till you close the deal. Good luck!