What is business formal attire?

Written by aksana nikolai
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  • Introduction

    What is business formal attire?

    The professional world has established several different dress codes deemed appropriate for the work setting, examples of which include business casual and formal business clothing. With all these different dress requirements for various occasions, it is often hard to discern between garments and accessories that are suitable for one occasion, but not another. If you are attending a political gathering, a dressy business event in the evening or an award ceremony, then you are likely to be asked to wear business formal attire. Whatever you wear, it's important to dress for success by dressing for the job you want, rather than the job you have.

    Suits and men's dress shirts always work as formal business clothing. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

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    Men's wear: Suits, Shirts And Ties

    Men wearing business formal attire are not required to wear black-tie garments, such as a tuxedo. As a result, tailored suits in neutral, subdued colours are the common business formal attire for men. Along with the suit, men should wear traditional light-coloured French cuff shirts and a silk tie. The tie should be chosen in a reserved colour and pattern combination, tied in a tidy knot below the neck. When wearing business formal afire, men should also avoid belts with overly ornate buckles.

    formal (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Business Dress for Women

    For business formal occasions, women should, like men, wear conservative suits. They can choose between skirted suits or a more traditional pantsuit. If mixing and matching suit pieces, it is important to make sure that the jacket closely matches the colour of the skirt or trousers. A solid coloured button-down shirt, conservative sweater and blouse without frills or ruffles are the best types of tops to wear under suits. If wearing a skirted suit, pantyhose or stockings are essential for business formal occasions.

    woman (PhotoObjects.net/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

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    Business Clothing and Shoes

    Men should wear traditional leather shoes with laces and a small heel. Trendy leather loafers with metallic accents or a pointed toe should be avoided. Women should opt for closed-toe pumps with a moderately sized heel. Stiletto heels and other eye-catching elements, such as straps or embellishments, have no place in women’s business formal attire. Both men and women should make sure that their business formal footwear is clean and polished -- that's essential when you dress for success.

    shoes (Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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    Business Clothing and Accessories

    Men should complement a business formal suit with cuff links and pocket squares made of either silk or linen. Fabrics in overly loud, bright colours should be avoided. If wearing jewellery, women should limit themselves to one or two small, reserved pieces, such as a simple wrist watch or stud earrings. Jewellery that becomes the focal point of a woman’s ensemble is an inappropriate choice for business formal clothing. Men, on the other hand, should refrain from wearing any sort of jewellery for business formal occasions.

    cuff links (Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

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    Grooming for the Workplace

    Business formal attire dictates that hair be properly groomed. Women wearing a business formal ensemble should make sure that long hair is pinned back or elegantly styled. Men should avoid long hair styles and keep hair neatly in place with the help of styling products, such as gel. In addition, men should properly groom any facial hair before attending a business formal event. Finally, women should avoid wearing too much bright make-up or strong perfume, which is not appropriate in a business formal setting.

    shave (Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

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