Build a good public image while adopting appropriate attire

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Published: 30th July 2012
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An appropriate wardrobe is a strategy for image development equally as important as other business and personal plans. Begin your process to an appropriate wardrobe, and a good public image by considering what to wear on different events. The following article discusses the same subject matter.

Attire, at any age expresses a person's lifestyle. For prom night, what you wear adds points to your high school coolness factor. In the working world, what you wear is an indication of your professionalism. Studies indicate successful people in virtually every business have developed a look and image that says success. Think of clothing as currency used to barter goodwill. Wardrobe conveys messages of status, authority, power, rank, personality, friendliness, dependability, adventurousness, class distinction, character and taste.

An appropriate wardrobe is a strategy for image development equally as important as other business and personal plans. Having a good public image makes friends, builds customer loyalty, attracts investors, motivates your staff, and helps you survive difficult economic times. A weak image is a liability that can cost you lost opportunities and can drive you out of business. Begin your process to an appropriate wardrobe, and a good public image, with this primer on what to wear at various parties and events this spring and summer.

Black Tie

For men, black-tie denotes a single or double-breasted dinner jacket with a black silk bow tie, properly referred to as a tuxedo or tux. For women, an invitation to a black tie event means wearing a long, floor length evening dresses or evening separates. A short cocktail dress may be appropriate for some cocktail receptions, summer events, or daytime functions. At international affairs, men and women are often invited to wear traditional formal attire from their country.

Black Tie Optional

Black tie optional is a term created to allow men to choose whether to wear formal clothes described above or informal attire described below. It is not an open invitation to dress in whatever a person's wants. Choices for men are a tuxedo or a dark suit, white mens dress shirt, and evening tie. Nothing else is allowed like light colored suit, or sport coat.

Business Casual

An American term invented by the fashion industry to promote a style of clothing that included a sport coat, a white or colored shirt, tie, slacks, and loafer-style shoes. This allowed men more flexibility in their clothing choices than simply wearing a business suit to work every day. Corporate America, in an effort to increase productivity and morale, created Casual Fridays. The original intent was to demonstrate to the staff that owners and management of companies were flexible to the changes in modern business environments, by allowing staff to dress down one day a week. No matter how you define business casual, according to this etiquette professional, there is no place in the workplace for blue jeans!


For both men and women casual denotes sports attire as appropriate for barbecues, pool parties, casual suppers, and sporting events. If you are going to actually engage in a sport, of course, wear the appropriate tennis outfit, swimsuit, etc.


Traditionally, before six o'clock in the evening, women wear a late afternoon dress or a cocktail or theater suit. Men wear a dark suit, mens dress shirt traditionally white and tie. After six o'clock formal dress means black tie or white tie.

White Tie

This most formal style of them all is not as often seen in the U.S. It denotes full evening attire for both men and women. Men wear a long black tailcoat, dress shirt mens and white piqué bow tie-or equivalent military uniform. Women don the dressiest floor-length formal gown she can dare to wear. If you wear gloves, remove them to eat, drink, or shake hands.

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