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January 3, 2017

Americas: Are You Really What You Wear?

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Why are conference dress codes so boring and predictable, whilst simultaneously managing to be totally ambiguous? If Dutch delegates really turned up in “business attire,” the room would be awash with designer denim—much to the shocked surprise of the Japanese. What the heck does the seriously business-minded female delegate do today when faced with the dreaded “black tie” invitation? And let's not get started on “smart casual,” an intercultural minefield for any organizer of international meetings!

dress codeMaybe we should tailor our sartorial instructions to the psychological or behavioral objectives we're aiming for. “Left bank philosopher” or “beat poet,” perhaps, when we’re trying to stimulate deep discussion and intellectual thought. How about “nerd chic” when organizing a celebratory evening function for techies? Or “all in blue” when trying to get everyone in a relaxed mood, reflecting this color’s intrinsic attributes, or “better red than dead” when aiming for high-octane, scarlet-wrapped, or power-tie energy? Or why not just focus attention on one part of the body: “glossy spats, stilettos, and sneakers,” or “bright scarves and ties” for your next gala event, anyone?

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