Formal Twist

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August 12th, 2010 Lipi Mohapatra

Attending a formal corporate gathering last week got me thinking about the corporate dress code for men nowadays. In the gathering were some who subscribed to the traditional dress code. A select few were those, who pretty much had the essence of a mixologist in the way they blended formal attire with a little peppiness. The entire combination was very much formal, but characterised high spirits and pertness.

The environment at that conference looked like a Thank-God-It’s-Friday Conference, though in a demure way. This made me immediately reach out to a friend of mine who I think is a savvy dresser. I needed some perspective.

Corporate dressing for men has got a twist. Concocted by the new breed of young managers, formal dressing in office is no more restricted to the traditional black and whites. The colours are now flowing in, interspersed with red, aqua blue and peach.

Plain choices are no more the pattern. Pink and purple are, my fashionista friend declared. He added that one need not be brash. But, if you are carrying something offbeat, a little incorrect, but carrying it with arrogance and certainty, you can get away with it and nobody will think you are out of place. At least, people around you start to think that you are original and not dated.

As far as shoes are concerned, other than wing tips, slip-ons and oxfords, boat shoes are also making their way into the formal dress code world for men. In this, the most versatile colour for office wear still being black.

My friend adds that the basics of white shirt teamed with black pant remaining the same, it’s acceptable for men to experiment with colours.

Though, I still doubt how far he may be true.

For, dress codes are also dependent on the industry and particular office culture.

Ask the youngsters, and they say - so what if it’s office and corporate, you must exude as if you are having a real whirl enjoying your work everyday. And they way you dress gives that impression.

The author is Director, IILM - Business School, Mathura Road, New Delhi

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