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Wardrobe help - Ladies...

#1 Wardrobe help - Ladies...
05/12/2006 14:06


I'm starting at one of the Big 4 in the new year but haven't worked at one before - are women expected to wear suits every day too or is general business smart acceptable?

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#2 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
05/12/2006 16:01

Crabbit to anon (#1)

Suits when you are on client site. Usually more casual in the office.

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#3 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 00:11

zebra to Crabbit (#2)

I have seen women dressed "business casual"in the office but "business smart" whenever they travelled to a client's site. For a 1st day, however, it is probably best to wear a suit. You are likely to meet a lot of people on your first day and making a strong 1st impression is important.

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#4 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 00:27

anon to anon (#1)

The dress code is business casual in the office but more often than not our clients have a casual dress policy so consultants either stay in business casual or go smart casual for the day. Smart business is reserved for sales pitches and client dinners.

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#5 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 01:46

u2 to anon (#4)

u got to be kidding me.....

u must work on a farm.

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#6 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 13:56

ASal to anon (#4)

With regards to the 4th message from the top, what is the difference between business casual and smart casual?

I once had a project with a fashion retail client and we had to wear jeans and t-shirts. The CFO wore a turtlenect. How cool is that?

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#7 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 14:34

fernando to ASal (#6)

Turtleneck....very cool.

Let me guess.....he had a pair of those "Look at me I'm creative" thick frame black glasses as well?


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#8 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 14:48

Tom to fernando (#7)

I dont know what planet your from, or where you work, but in my case its unthinkable not to wear a suit everyday to work. And the same goes for my colleagues, and more importantly, clients. Granted, sometimes my tie stays in my drawer...

It is a matter of respect, professionalism and dignity in ones appearance. I was recently at the number one Anglo Dutch FMCG player, where there is a casual policy for all employees.

Having a VP of Belgium talk to me wearing trainers and a red t-shirt was ridiculous. Perhaps this is why people who work in industry tend to be stereotyped the way they do.

Wear a suit. Have pride.

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#9 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 14:50

Boxershorts to fernando (#7)

Personally, I think an environment where you can wear jeans and Ts IS cool. I think, Fernando, that this is what ASal may have been getting at, not that the turtleneck itself was cool. However, if that floats your boat ...

Anyway, on to the question at hand. I'm not a lady, but I reckon this applies irrespective of gender. Our dress policy (unofficial, as we have nothing written down) is to take the lead from the client. Find out early, preferably before you go in, what they wear and then dress to suit. If you can, try and look a touch more professional that the client staff to mark you out, but don't go overboard so as to make the client staff uncomfortable. For example, in the jeans and t-shirt clients, don't go wearing a three-piece suit.

Wear what you look good in within the context of the client environment. However, packaging is everything in this business, so never look unprofessional. Whatever you wear must always be clean, coordinated and in a good state of repair.

That's what my mom told me ...

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#10 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 15:29

anon to Tom (#8)

I think that we should all keep in mind that people on this forum are from different types and practices of consulting. One might be in Strat so a suit is a must, where as another could be in IT Consulting where it is perfectly acceptable to just wear dress pants and a nice suit, tie, etc. It would help if when we're asking/answering, we mention what type of consulting practice we're in and even where we're from. Not trying to bash or anything, just wanted to throw that out there. Get me drift?

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#11 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 16:00

Boxershorts to anon (#10)

Almost agree, anon.

As I mentioned above, to my mind it's not about who YOU are, it's about the client. You have to fit what suits their context. Even if you are a strat consultant, you shouldn't swan about in a suit in the clinet staff are not dressed that way. It's awkward. Some might say it smacks of arrogance.

By the same token, you should wear a suit if the client staff are wearing them. Even if you are an IT consultant.

When in Rome and all that.

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#12 RE: Wardrobe help - Ladies...
06/12/2006 19:34

anon to Boxershorts (#11)


Couldn't agree more. That's kind of partly what I was thinking and tried to say, but you said it clearly.

You always want to look nice and professional, but let the Client's culture and own dress dictate how you dress while on their site. Not bad to look one small step up, however, don't let it look like you're trying to outdo them.

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