We went to see a fairly big customer last week, a supplier meeting for a big blue-chip FMCG business.
They are one of those companies that over the last five years has lost the suit (and tie) culture and is very much 'smart casual'. However, there are very defined versions of this look, depending on which department of the business one is meeting.
The sales and marketing folks are more casual really, the HR team are definitely smarter. So, what to wear? - as we were meeting people from both the Sales and HR teams.
In the end, we oped for a very smart pair of jeans, lovely tops and nice jacket (also a very expensive pair of boots - well we are into Autumn now!)
Our recruitment colleagues' outfits were wide and varied. Both men and women in super smart suits, a few in similar garb to us and a couple definitely looking more casual.
Our hosts were wearing anything from a trouser suit to a Chanel jacket! So who got it right? I think we all did.
The demise of the suit means that you can be an individual and maintain your own brand equity, whilst maintaining a good level of business dress at the same time.
(Almost) anything goes - just make sure you know your customer before you turn up in your shorts and flip flops!
The suit is positively uncool these days. Earlier this year 400 jobs went at Brioni, the luxury Italian suit-maker, because of falling sales. And last week its creative director, Justin O’Shea, left after just six months in the job, having been brought in to revive the business. It defined James Bond and Don Draper, but now the suit is out in the cold. It’s not only at the high end that the suit is in decline. Relaxed dress codes and increased informality at work can make the suit seem like something from a distant era. And even when suits still are being worn it’s far from certain the wearer will have a tie on to match.