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Featured Article—November, 2006

Men’s fashion in today’s workplace

By Bruce Liles, Men’s Fashion Consultant, Liles Clothing Studio


Within the first few seconds of a meeting, an opinion is formed based on the way that you look. Of course you have much more substance than that, but your appearance must give the first impression that you want to convey. Do you want to present yourself as a formidable opponent? Do you want to convey a trust in your client’s investment? Do you want to show your creativity? Your profession plays the first role in your choice of clothing.


Take this into account as you choose your wardrobe. When dealing with more conservative professions, e.g., accounting, legal, banking and investment, a suit is still the most appropriate attire. Darker colors are usually best to which you can add a lightly patterned tie (avoid ‘cartoon’ or ‘theme’ ties) and complimentary colored shirt. Fine dress footwear is a must; make your choice from a range of lace-ups or slip-ons, but avoid trendy heel and patterned top combinations.


In a more casual business atmosphere, although you may be tempted to adopt the look of sport coat and jeans, it’s best to use the tried and true “business casual” of casual slacks and a collared shirt. Here again, you can individualize it with color, tones, and patterns. When adding a sport coat to casual attire, avoid competing colors and patterns; it’s ill-advised to substitute a suit coat for a sport coat in casual dress, use a sweater or stick with just a dress shirt opened at the neck. Add a pocket square to the suit coat pocket, or a sweater and coat combination to dress it up a bit. Sweaters are always a good accent that can add a more stylized appearance and fit. Avoid ‘deck shoes’ and the like for footwear by adopting a more casual dress loafer.


Beyond that, body type, complexion, age, all figure-in to define your wardrobe. For example, vertical lines can deemphasize girth while suggesting height, while textural fabrics add gravitas to a thin frame. All black may be best left to Hollywood; most men benefit from a little bit of color. Find what works for you and ignore the vagaries of fashion, which works well on only one body type, if that. Your own true style should set the pace for others to form their opinion of you, and only you can determine what that opinion will be.


Consultants can help you choose among 100’s of fabrics for shirts, and cloths for suits, coats, and trousers. Each body type has a style that flatters, each person should choose certain colors, so that a knowledgeable consultant can inform you about lifestyle, fabric performance, and fashion options that will work best for you.


You work hard on your professionalism. Don’t let your clothes let you down.


Liles Clothing Studio

Raleigh, NC


Editor’s Note: Next month we will feature fashion in the workplace for women.

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