Where first impressions count, clothes maketh the man. Hence, for the professional man, it pays to take care of how he clothes himself.
Many carry the impression that all it takes is a neat shirt, trousers, a belt and good shoes to complete the professional attire. Actually, this is nothing farther from the truth.
Men’s dressing has evolved a great deal, with 40 shades of dressing between Tailored, and Untailored Levels. These can take you through formal or power dressing to approachable formal to the much liked semi-formals and then even to the fully functional look. As for “Friday dressing” or in case of many Indian companies, Saturday dressing, the lower levels of casual tailored would do well while the untailored level, inappropriate as it is, is quite common.
What are the do’s and don’ts for each of these requirements?
The differences are subtle but visible and highly effective as our 40-point Style Scale for men’s professional dressing will show. We bring you this comprehensive matrix through our alliance with Judith Rasband, Image Master, Veteran Educator and Conselle Institute Director.
The common belief is that unlike women’s dressing, men’s dressing differs little across the world. This would mean that while the option of Indian corporate wear is available to women in addition to western wear, men’s wear typically just follows the west. At a larger level this is true with the use of the shirt, the trouser and the man’s suit. Yet, differences in temperature, seasons, office environments, type of get-together etc. will decide what professional men will wear in India. The type of industry and the company culture too have their say in the choice of fabrics, colours, cuts, lines and accessories.
Casual dressing is not entirely understood and needless to say that it’s even more casually dismissed as trivial. It is generally considered as a matter of just pulling up a faded or threadbare pair of jeans, getting into a thoughtless t-shirt and slipping on a pair of worn out floaters or sneakers. We beg to differ. There’s an art and a
Science behind even the most casual outfit, let alone if it be for a professional environment.
The message you want to convey is what will decide the style you will dawn for that particular day. Take a peak….
This look has a 10-point scale giving you a range of options for the formal dresser. The basic cue being a Matched Suit, i.e. Jacket and Trouser of the same colour, texture & pattern. The look follows straight lines, has an angular shape, with small geometric patterns in case there is one. Dark colours and firm fabrics of refined quality are essential. Typically these are used by senior levels of management in banking, finance, law, the military, communications and public relations industries. It is the most formal stand in dressing. The message with this look says authoritative, persuasive, credible, knowledgeable, organized, efficient and trustworthy.
Softly Tailored –
Here we incorporate many elements from the Tailored level above but softens them with untailored elements from below. The main cue to this level is a Jacket or an un-matched suit. Recommended for the sales and service industries where being friendly, approachable and helpful are most essential. This level also communicates that you are knowledgeable, authoritative, effective and trustworthy.
Casual Tailored –
This dress-style is typical of the creative workforce. It includes industries like fashion, music, art, advertising, interior design, research and development and/or technical work including computers, engineering, architecture as well as knowledge workers who are involved in outdoors work. The main sue here is an essential collar.The traits that these men convey, are of being creative, artistic, sensitive, individualistic, up-to-date while also being knowledgeable and effective. It’s a lot more relaxed, yet professional in look.
The difference between Softly Tailored and Casual Tailored is that the former carries a greater number of tailored elements while the latter carries more untailored elements. This will be evident in our forthcoming blog post where we give examples of each.
This is the most casual of all looks. Suitable for physical labour, factories or industrial work, sports and so on. The cue here is the non-existent collar. Essentially for comfort dressing, the messages conveyed when dressed at this level could be hard-working, dependable, strong, informal, available and efficient. On the flip side there is certain unpredictability to this look.
Look out for the Part II to his post where we shall discuss each of the 4 levels of the Style Scale in greater detail.
Meanwhile, test yourself by answering our quiz on these 4 levels. Linkedin Facebook