Being a management consultant in Sweden has its ups and downs when it comes to business attire. Many countries have strict business dress codes but in Sweden it varies depending on project, client and sector. The general guideline in most cases is that management consultants should adapt their clothes to fit the clients dress code, but “rather overdressed than underdressed”.
I’ve read some really good quotes when it comes to dressing properly. Here are some of my favorites:
- “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”
- “Dress for the position you want, not the one you have”
- “Dress for success”
Always remember that there’s no room for sloppiness when it comes to business attire. Looking your best day in and day out will give that extra boost of confidence needed to make a good first impression on everyone you meet.
I like wearing suits and dressing up so I thought I would give you some simple pointer on how to get a lean, crisp look from head to toe. Maybe it’s soon time for a job interview, or important board or business meeting?
- Invest in a good suit
Start with a nice looking, classic fitted suit. I would recommend navy blue or charcoal. Avoid black, it’s too formal and doesn’t look business in my opinion! Make sure to get the fit right, have your garments tailored and learn to optimize your body type by choosing clothing that flatters your form rather than emphasizes your physical flaws. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, but I would recommend to rather by one quality suit than several cheaper. You will get tons of use for it.
- Invest in some good shirts
Opt for long-sleeve collared shirts in white and light blue. These work in all occasions and can easily be matched with most ties and pocket squares. Make sure your shirt is ironed, NO excuses! I iron my shirts every morning – quite a nice morning routine, and your shirt always look crisp and clean.
- Invest in proper shoes
A nice pair of quality shoes can make any outfit pop! As can a bad pair of shoes make your outfit looks sloppy. People notice your shoes (and not just women), so keep them clean and shiny at all times. Remember that they should match your belt. I would recommend a pair of classic dark brown cap toe oxfords to the navy suit or a pair of black to the charcoal. The market has grown rapidly with quality shoe makers in the mid-range segment and you can find really nice stuff for approx. 2500kr-3500kr. That might sound a lot in some ears, but trust me, it’s worth it in the long run.
Wear a nice classic watch. A stylish wristwatch will make a statement when you rest your hands on the meeting table. Add a nice tie, blue or burgundy looks really nice, and why not add a pockets square to show some personality? Business doesn’t mean boring. I always go for a “four in hand” knot on my ties. Nice, clean and simple! Works with all ties, collars and has that little edge to it. Not everything needs to be symmetric. Plaids and patterns are also acceptable where shirts and ties are concerned, just as long as they are subtle and well-harmonized. As I mentioned previously match your belt with the shoes! Finish of the look with a really nice briefcase or portfolio to make a statement!
Last but not least, keep on top of grooming. Make sure your hair is well trimmed and beard in shape. After reading my own guide I noticed I’ve been a bit sloppy in this category, time to do better =).
Hope you found these 5 pointers useful and will have use of them in your next meeting, interview or public event. And remember, “everyday is suit and tie day” =)