Hero Business Attire
Classic in calf socks
Business attire dress code
Business attire does what it says on the tin, and sits one level higher than business casual on the formality scale. Also known as ‘day informal’, ‘business formal’ or ‘tenue de ville’, this dress code is worn in the business world or for business events.
Where is business attire worn?
A dark suit and tie, light shirt, black socks and high-quality shoes: the traditional suit is the everyday outfit for conservative professions that have contact with customers, such as finance, engineering or law. Customer relationships are the focus, so staff need to generate confidence and represent the company.
This dress code is mandatory for middle and senior management and is recommended for anyone wanting to be promoted to this level or invited to interview. Regardless of the usual dress code, prospective employees of such companies should always wear a business suit for interviews.
Many dress codes call for reticence when it comes to colour. As many elements as there are to think about when wearing black tie, colour is not one of them. Business formal offers more leeway, which makes it harder to choose the right thing. Dark grey, anthracite, dark blue or black – pick up to two for your outfit. Brown can be discounted as an option for formal clothing.
As a good rule of thumb, the more upscale the event, the darker the clothing. The same goes in the business world, the higher up the hierarchy you go. As long as you do not opt for more than two colours or patterns, you can step out with confidence. Less is more – the aim of this dress code is not to confuse or attract attention.
The shirt should be either classic white or light blue, and paired with a tie darker in colour than the shirt. Dark red or light blue are possible options, depending on your choice. Dark, simple lace-up shoes with leather soles are welcome: brogues, derbys or Oxfords.
Sneakers which were once still acceptable for a business casual look are no longer a viable option. Loafers, jeans, chinos and T-shirts are often combined into an informal ensemble for casual wear, which is why they no longer form a part of more formal work wear.
The perfect fit
The cut should be individually tailored to ensure that it does not pinch or sag anywhere. You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between your neck and shirt collar, and the sleeves should reach to your wrists when your arms are at your sides. ‘Slim fit’ describes a cut which is fitted without being restrictive.
Keep an eye on the fabric in the shoulder area: Is it sitting pleasingly on your shoulders or is there a kink spoiling the straight line? The buttons should close effortlessly without causing any creases.
Baggy trouser pockets destroy the clear cut and shape of trousers. Your keys and wallet are better off in the inside pocket of your jacket; this also makes it easier to sit.
Calf socks ensure that no bare skin is exposed, since as little as possible should be on show with this dress code. Your trousers should not require a belt, and there should be a small fold at the bottom of your trousers where the material is resting on your shoes.
A wrinkle-free suit and a good fit is something which everyone notices, whether consciously or unconsciously. To avoid wrinkles, we recommend removing your jacket when sitting in a car or on a train.
Armed with the right materials
For business attire, it is not the cut but the materials which make the key difference when the temperature tips. If it becomes warmer or you have an upcoming meeting which is likely to make you sweat, you will be glad for light, heat-regulating materials. Cotton, mohair, linen or silk are all suitable. Open-pored yarns are breathable and also let light through.
New wool or cashmere are suitable for the winter. To ensure that your professional appearance is not tainted by low-quality synthetic fibres, we recommend looking at the label. The proportion of such fibres should be as low as possible (below 5%) to ensure a high-quality material. These materials are not stiff and scratchy but rather perceptibly softer, speaking to their quality.
As well as colours and patterns, fashion-conscious men can also opt for additional accessories and details to add a personal touch to a dark suit. Discreet cufflinks can enhance a suit, as can a flat watch. A breast pocket handkerchief can add a highlight that matches your tie.
Leather belts and briefcases depend on the shoes you have chosen and leave less scope for individual style, but complete the image nicely. Products such as scent should only be sparingly used to remain natural and ensure that the smell is not obtrusive.
A trouser or skirt suit with a light blouse or top is the classic choice for a woman in the business world. Modern garments or cocktail dresses which are at least knee length and not particularly unusual can be used as everyday professional outfits with a little skill. Pair these with tights and closed shoes that have a heel no more than seven centimetres high. You would normally wear long sleeves, unless you keep your blazer on in the office.