July 01, 2001
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts July 2001 Current Issue
July 2001
Short Cuts:
What to wear


Business dress used to mean just that, but today even the most fashion-conscious among us are flummoxed on occasion. Peter Post, co-author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success (HarperCollins; www.harpercollins.com), admits to carrying a tie and in some cases an alternative outfit if he’s not quite certain of the formality of an event. To keep us packing light, Post, director of the Burlington, Vt.-based Emily Post Institute (and great-grandson of the etiquette maven), helped M&C define oft-perplexing dress-code terms found on invitations and in registration material.

Smart casual: Also called dressy casual or Friday casual, appropriate wear includes sweaters, turtlenecks, blazers, collarless or open-collar tops, and pants such as khakis or corduroys. For women, slacks and skirts also suffice.

Resort casual: Often called for in warm destinations, attire includes mid- to knee-length shorts; collarless or golf shirts; khakis and sandals. Women can wear linen sheaths, casual skirts or sundresses.

Business: For men, a collared shirt, tie and jacket or suit are always correct. For women, pants or skirt suits or business dresses.

Cocktail: Men should wear nothing less formal than a blazer and slacks; for women, dressy pantsuits or short, dressier dresses.

Black-tie optional: Men can wear a tuxedo or dark business suit; for women a long, formal gown or a shorter, elegant dress or suit.

Some additional words of wisdom from Post: Regardless of how informal the outfit, clothes should always be clean and pressed, stain- and odor-free, and not ripped, torn or frayed. And don’t even think about wearing anything spandex, muscle T-shirts, sweatpants (although company-logo sweats and jackets are fine in a casual setting), running shoes, ultratight or sexually provocative clothes


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