It’s estimated that more business deals get
done over lunch than get done in the board room so it goes without saying that
business lunches are not events to be taken lightly nor are they simply about
two people or a group of people getting together for a ‘catch-up’ and an excuse
not to go back to the office in the afternoon. For those who have experienced
countless business lunches they can be something to be looked forward to or
they can be loathed but perceived as a necessary part of the job whilst for the
uninitiated, the thought of a business lunch is enough to have you quaking in
your boots. However, they can be very pleasurable experiences or, at least,
bearable if you know a few ‘rules’ about what’s expected and how you should
is nothing more annoying for the person waiting than for their guest(s) being
late for a business lunch. Contrary to some people’s opinions, business lunches
are not an excuse to take the afternoon off and enjoy yourself and, whilst some
will inevitably last longer than others, many busy business people have a
strictly managed timetable so, unless it’s absolutely out of your control,
never be late for a business lunch. The memory of you arriving late will live
long beyond any apology for being so.
important that you focus on the ‘here and now’ and on your guests. Whilst some
people might make the excuse that they need to be ‘on message’ at all times,
for the most part, this is incredibly rude and shows a lack of respect. Many
people have scuppered big business deals simply by taking a call when they’ve
invited their guests with the intention of securing a business deal and then
ignored them for a few minutes to take a call.
offer a handshake but, unless you know the person or people with whom you’re
having lunch with very well (and that means all of the people attending lunch),
don’t be tempted to come out with anything ‘smart’ or funny. What some may find
amusing, others might not and that will put them off you straight away. It’s
also useful to think of an opening statement as you shake hands if you’ve never
met them before e.g. “Thanks for taking the time to come to meet me today, Mr
if you know the other person quite well, it’s perfectly acceptable to greet
them by their first name. And, if you’ve been invited to lunch by a company and
they have happened to have brought along group of colleagues, make sure you
shake hands with the most senior ranked member first if you know who that is,
unless you’ve been invited by a specific individual within a company, then you
should shake their hand first and then the rest of the people in the order in
which you are introduced to them.
is one of those areas which so often puts people at their ease but which can
also cause the most embarrassment. There are no hard and fast rules about how
long you should wait until you get around to the subject of business and a
general rule of thumb is to be guided by the person who has invited you. If
they’re happy to chat about the football last night for 5 minutes or so, go
along with that as it will help you relax and put you more at ease for when you
get down to the nitty-gritty of discussing business. However, if there are VIPs
present or the chairman of the company is there, it’s more likely that they’ll
want to keep any small talk to a minimum and get on with the business at hand.
It’s always better to take your cue from the person who invited you with regard
to this delicate matter.
matter that your guest may be far richer than you, if you’ve done the inviting,
you should always pick up the tab. If it’s a joint meeting, you should always
ask either at the beginning or before the meeting has taken place how they want
to split the bill and not wait until the bill arrives to discuss it as that
shows an element of professional weakness. And, if somebody has agreed to meet
you as you’re seeking advice from them, not only you should you pay but it’s also good manners to send them a ‘thank you’ note which is handwritten and even
perhaps send them a small gift to express your gratitude at giving up some of
their time for you.
it’s your napkin or knife and fork, knowing how to use your utensils is often
the one thing that instills fear into everybody who’s not been used to
attending a business lunch. It’s quite simple to remember really and most
people who get it wrong do so because they’ve been so paralysed by fear and
they’ve convinced themselves they will mess up regardless. So, it’s place the
napkin on your lap not down your shirt collar and usually, if the napkin is
still in the wine goblet and not placed on the table, you can take that to
indicate that the waiter will place the napkin on your lap for you. Bread and
salad plates are usually placed on your left, drinking glasses on your right.
like knives, forks and spoons should be used from the outside and work your way
in for each course with the dessert spoon by the dessert plate. If you need to
excuse yourself whilst the meal is in progress, put the napkin on the left hand
side of your plate or on your chair as this indicates to the waiter that you’ve
not finished yet. You should always say, ‘Excuse me’ to your guests as you
stand up to leave the table. Once you are through with your meal, put the
napkin on the right side of the plate and place your knife and fork
horizontally across the plate to signal the waiter. Also, remember not to start
eating until your host has given some kind of cue to do so.
the important thing to remember about business lunches is that they’re usually
so focused on business that if you use the wrong knife for a particular course,
it’s not going to cost you the ‘deal’. Some people have had far more experience
of business lunches than others and it comes more naturally to some people more
than others and you get used to them over time as you attend more. So as long
as you are polite and respectful, don’t get too agitated at the thought of
attending a business lunch, the next time you’re invited to one.
says: "There are a few things to consider when dressing for a business
lunch. Firstly, you will need to get from your office to the restaurant and
back, so wear something comfortable enough to walk around in. Opt for clothes
that fit well, and are easy to sit down in. Make sure your skirt is not too
short, or a design that rides up when you are sat down. If you are most
comfortable with your legs crossed, make sure you wear clothes that do not
constrict your movements whilst sat down. A business suit is likely to be a
good choice, wear it with a nice blouse, so you can remove your jacket if
Accessorizing Your Business Suit
One of the best business wardrobe pieces is a perfectly
tailored suit. Regardless the color; black, grey, red, or beige, it is likely
the appropriate attire for a business occasion. From meeting, to presentation,
to a business dinner, the suit will always underline how serious you are about
your job, by not taking the attention away from you. There are many praising
anthems about the classical business suit, but there is no need for it to be
boring. Here are some great ways to accesorise the business suit, while keeping
a perfectly polished look.
Generally it's suggested to keep it simple and business
like. We suggest six categories to choose from; watches, earrings, scarves,
shoes, bags or briefcases, and the essential tights!
Rather than constantly checking the time on your mobile,
opt for an elegant watch. A watch is much more than just an accessory. It is a
functional piece of jewelry that shows that you care about punctuality. A quick
glance on your fabulous watch is unlikely to be disturbing, opposed to pulling
out the mobile phone. When choosing a style go for a classic appearance. Steel,
Silver, and Gold are good choices. The bracelet should be simple and elegant.
Save the glitzy ones for parties, the simpler the better. Again, you want to
underline, and not outshine your character!
Earrings (Necklaces, and
Whilst earrings have no
actual functionality, they are one of the favoured choices for accesorizing the
business suit. Pearl earrings are a safe bet for the businesswoman. There is no
need for them to be real, as long as they look neat. Choose stud earrings, or
simple drops, and avoid anything too large or dangly.
These are the two key
jewelry pieces for women wearing a suit. Should you want to add a necklace or bracelet,
make sure it’s a matching piece and ever-so simple. In this case 'less-is-more'
is really the case.
Scarves are a great choice for any season. They add
texture and colour to your outfit. Consider your choice in fabric; Light cotton
is a more relaxed statement, whereas satin and silk are sophisticated and look smart.
Here you can also experiment with color. Match it with the color of your shoes,
handbag, blouse, or belt. Stay within the color harmony of all of these items.
Classic Pumps are always a great choice for business
attire. Invest in good quality shoes with a sensible heel, as comfort is key,
and style secondary. However, if you are out to make a statement, stick to the
classic style of shoe, but in different colours or prints. Ballerina flats have
made a comeback, and many women are choosing for comfort. There are a great
number of lovely designs out there; keeping in mind that simple is best.
Bags and Briefcases
Yes, the workingwomen of today are emancipated! That
does not mean we have to always carry a briefcase though. Luckily we live in
times with a great variety of handbags. They come in all sized and compartments
possible. You know best how much you need to carry on a daily basis. Color and
material should be in unison with your shoes, scarf, belt, or blouse. That
shows that you spent thought on your outfit and care about your appearance.
In a business environment
women should wear tights when wearing skirts. A nude colour is often the best
choice, however, depending on the outfit and season, there are endless options
of colour, design and texture. An added bonus of good quality hosiery
is that they help “correcting” those little female problem areas (if you
have any that is). Tights come in different stretch and support proportions.
The higher the DEN part of a pantyhose the more support it will give you.
Medically seen it is good for your legs and the flow of your blood. So even
more reason to opt for a skirt suit!
Looking professional is the essence of wearing a
business suit, but your personal style does not need to go entirely lost.
Choose your accessories wisely, and look and feel great at work!
Tags: Business suits for women, Career clothing, what to wear to work, how to build a professional wardrobe, work wardrobe
revolving doors start turning and in walks a short humpy old man. Round glasses
with a thick black frame decorate his face, and almost hide the sympathetic
wrinkles around his eyes. He fumbles with the belt on his beige trench coat. He walks with confidence and haste, like a
homage to 60s Hollywood. People greet him here and there until he is out of
sight. Another person enters, a slender and tall woman. Her golden hair is tied
back in a tight knot, not one strand of hair loose. Walking securely, in her timeless black suit she makes people
around her feel small. She stops and takes out her Blackberry, and continues to
the elevator. A much smaller and well-fed lady accompanies her. They exchange a
few words. 5 seconds pass until the tall woman turns around and looks at me.
serious face puts on a smile. I quickly stand up to greet her. She tells me
that I am early and that she will send for me in 30 minutes.
to do, but sit back down. Another 30 minutes to endure. I take out my notebook
in an attempt to write. All I can think of is how uncomfortable I feel in my selected
business clothes. Dressed in grey
heavy materials on a sunny day in March. What was I thinking getting dressed
this morning? Did I give it enough thought at all? The fit is off, and my shoes
scream “comfort” more than anything else. I feel silly. Today was supposed to
be a corner stone in getting my career started. I prepared all my paperwork; I
researched the company’s history and know the names of all the important
people. Yet I feel like I did not do my research about “what they wear to work” well enough. My knowledge seems to be
hiding behind my outfit. As silly as it might sound, I wish I had opted for a classical appearance today.
walk in, greet and take the stairs or the elevator. Not everyone looking as
proper as my brief contact. That knowledge gives me some comfort, besides the
fact that these people already work here. I try to concentrate on the things
that make me relax. The sun is
still shining, time is still passing, and I already had a new learning
experience today. I love learning experiences; because I know that next time I
face a situation like this I will spend time thinking about WHAT TO WEAR TO A
are suggestions I would opt for next time (and no, I do not know if I got the
job or not…still waiting)
behind the Capsule Wardrobe
Did you ever
have a “I have absolutely nothing to wear to work” moment? Ever been late for a
meeting or work, because of wardrobe malfunction, and your bedroom spattered
with clothes? Is your closet also full of clothes, but you cannot find anything
to wear with your new pencil skirt? Of course you have, we all have. The
Solution is - A reliable, classic collection of timeless pieces that can be
called on in any fashion emergency, whether you cannot find anything to go with
a new skirt or need a neutral accessory to tone down a striking dress, the
capsule collection is every troubled girls friend. Getting dressed should not
be a shore, and if it really turns out to be a time consuming problem you
should sit down and rethink a little. A girl needs a (work)wardrobe that
functions above all.
Susie Faux, who came up with the concept in the 1970s, the ideal capsule
wardrobe consists of two pairs of tailored trousers, a shift dress or a pencil skirt for more formal
occasions, a well-fitting jacket, a coat, and a casual
or smart cardigan. As for the shoes, we ladies ought to have one
pair of flats and one with a sensible heel, and two kinds of
- a small formal one and a larger bag for every day use.
this small list, you can probably go back to your closet and find a few of
these items already! Now you just need to be smart about creating one that
works for you.
with eye on the ‘work wardrobe’ that you choose two business suits for women,
one skirt suit and one trouser suit in basic colours, which can be matched with
other pieces. This will prove greatly versatile for any working woman.
The capsule is
essentially the backbone of your wardrobe that should always work. It has to go
with everything and should be based on timeless, best quality items (cotton,
cashmere, and silk), with the most flattering cuts and tailored to especially
fit your shape. Just think that those pieces are a small investment that will
transcend fashion trends. If you think having a capsule wardrobe is dull, think
again. It is the secret of the savvy. You can liven up your selection with colorful,
less expensive, trendier accessories - think of the fun you can have with jewelry,
scarves, shoes and bags!
When it comes
to colors we advice natural colors. Depending on the season you might want to
pick darker ones for the cold season, and lighter ones for the warm season.
What it comes down to is understanding who you are and how you live your life.
Tags: Business suits for women, Career clothing, what to wear to work, how to build a professional wardrobe
Work Wardrobe – Shift Dresses
were actually born of the ‘undershirt’ or also known as a chemise. The exposing
of the inner layers of clothing allowed the development of the shift dress,
introduced by the French who pulled out the inner garments and used them as the
and Style Icons
The Shift dress
has been popular throughout the decades, but had a few periods of highlights.
Its silhouette is most iconic of the 1960s “mod” look, when it was worn by such
public figures as Audrey Hepburn, Mia Farrow, and Twiggy.
made a comeback in the mid-1990s when business wear became popular, and at this
time were most often layered over a turtleneck or t-shirt and worn with knee
socks. Since then the classic design has not left the stage.
The shift dress
is still associated with timeless style and sophistication, and is often worn
by First Lady Michelle Obama. The shift dress was previously associated with US
presidency when former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy adopted it as her own
signature style, paired with pearls, gloves, and a pillbox hat.
Today, the dress
is hugely popular with current style icons, from Jennifer Aniston to Sarah
Jessica Parker, everyone seems to be loving them.
At the office
of the shift dress is key to its popularity. Although shift dresses can come in
various sleeve lengths and hemlines, the classic shift dress is sleeveless,
knee-length, and features a high collar or boat neck
It can be dressed
up or dressed down, and can be adapted to wear in any season. The simple
styling of the shift dress makes it a versatile piece, lending itself to a
variety of fabrics and accessories.
hugely popular with this dress, especially when worn for the office or
business. Due to the short sleeves, it is ideally paired with a blazer or
cardigan, and remains remarkably comfortable. Also, because of its simplicity, it can be paired with
jewelry to give it a unique look.
The fact that
they are not form-fitting and that the waist is not emphasised, they allow
women to move around freely without constraints.
lines of the dress allow for it to be produced in many materials, colours and
prints. For the basic office wardrobe the main choice would be a black, grey or
navy blue version of the dress.
It’s the perfect
dress to wear for a quick shift from desk to drinks.
the shift dress is ideal for anyone who needs to look professional, or works in
an office. Besides that, it is perfectly flattering for any body type.
than hugging the body, it narrows down every shape and size and takes you from
an early morning meeting to cocktail hour with ease.
If you are
looking to upgrade your work wardrobe, a shift dress is a great investment, not
only will you be able to pair it with many items you already have in your
closet, but you will also look great for the job.
As the first working week of the New Year ends, new research from Mintel finds that more and more women are dressing to impress, as they return to the office in style.
Underlining the renewed emphasis on dressing for the job you want (or the job you want to keep) exclusive consumer research finds one in ten (10%) female workers has bought smarter work clothes in the last 12 months in order to get ahead at work. And today, as many as one in four (24%) working women say they don't mind paying more for good quality work clothes.
Michelle Strutton, Senior Consumer Analyst at Mintel said:"It seems the sobering effect of the recession has brought an end to dressing down in the office to some extent. Despite the pressures being felt by UK clothing retailers in the current economic climate, officewear, and formal officewear in particular, is proving to be a light amid the rest of the market gloom."
"Both working consumers and the unemployed are buying smarter clothing to give a more professional image and help secure employment or avoid redundancy. What is more, the high number of working women has created a work culture that is now more conscious of fashion trends in officewear than ever before." Michelle adds.
Within the womenswear sector, the average annual spend on a suit rose around 3% between 2006 and 2008 to reach over £120, driven by fashion trends and the need to look good in a competitive job market. Meanwhile, average annual spend on blouses and tops which often accompany suits rose over 5% over the same 2 year period to reach over £60.
"Longer working hours and commute times are seeing the importance of the working wardrobe increase as consumers spend the majority of their day, and indeed their week, in office attire." Michelle adds.
Overall, just over a quarter of all British workers only wear formal clothes to the office, with ties worn by just 22% of men. While jeans are worn by one in five workers, accompanying them with casual footwear such as flip-flops or trainers is a no-no and these are worn by just one in 20.
"Looking forward, a continued focus on stylish yet professional clothing that is both affordable as well as high quality is expected to drive value sales for the clothing industry. It is also likely to shape the fashion for office working wear in the future as well." Michelle concludes.
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