In the United States, the work environment is professional and causal as well. Don’t be surprised if you see people bring their pets to work! The work culture and dress code in U.S. is different.
People prefer to dress casually (unless the company policy states otherwise), work schedules are flexible and overall the work atmosphere is informal. If you have recently moved to the U.S. you will find the following pointers useful.
Most American companies expect their employees to maintain a dress code. A detailed description of what type of dress is expected will be made clear to you when you begin work.
If you are on a business visit (a meeting or finalizing a deal), a suit is the most appropriate attire. A light-colored collared shirt, a matching necktie, and formal leather shoes look smart. Dark-colored suits look presentable and are the norm at most conferences.
Some offices or places of business require suits for men, and dresses and hosiery for women. If your workplace follows this dress code, denim of any type would not be appropriate.
Information Technology companies have a very casual dress code. Jeans, T-shirts, trousers, khakis, and cotton shirts are acceptable even on weekdays. In other industries, Friday is a day to dress down, and even Bermudas and shorts are allowed. Socks should be worn at all the times in the workplace.
Though your clothes need not be expensive or fashionably cut, they must be clean and well ironed. Neatness is very important. Take care of your hair, teeth and personal hygiene. Carry deodorant and mouth freshener with you; you will find that some people even brush their teeth in the office after lunch.
If you are on a business visit, suit is the most appropriate and preferred business formal. A suit with a light color collared shirt, a matching necktie, and a formal leather shoe is what makes a perfect business formal dress. Suits of dark color like black, navy blue, gray or brown are most common, and are conventionally considered as perfect business formals.
- Wear belts that match your outfits.
- Try to wear nice shoes and belts, and also nice quality shirts/tees.
- Wear fresh pair of socks and clean shoes.
- If you carry lunch to office get a good lunch box.
- Carry a good office bag to your office. A good leather bag or a laptop bag is most convenient.
- Maintain your clothes by regular washing, dry cleaning, laundering, and ironing.
- You can purchase a good suit at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Express, Gap, Banana Republic or any other good men’s store. These stores also have a good variety of casual wear.
Women are also expected to maintain a dress code. If the dress code is casual, then you have a wide choice. In IT companies, women wear jeans, casual pants, shirts, T-shirts, blouses, skirts, trousers, dresses, shorts, sweater sets, and blazers. Try not to wear traditional Indian wear like saris or salwar suits. You will feel out of place. However, Indian tops can be worn with jeans. You can complete the look with a complimenting bag and jewelry.
Conservative athletic running, or walking shoes, sneakers, boots, flats, and leather shoes are fine at work. Women are discouraged to wear flashy shoes or open-toe shoes in office. In some industries, it is a must to wear closed toe and closed heel shoes. Some business places require women to wear business suits, jackets or trousers. Business suits can be worn with a matching or contrasting blouse. With short skirts, one must wear stockings underneath, along with high-heeled sandals.
- Usually women must wear closed high-heeled shoes.
- Wear limited jewelry. Avoid flashy and chunky jewelry.
- Choose a handbag or purse to match your outfits. Shades of black and brown compliment almost any color.
- Hair should be styled, cut, shampooed and conditioned.
- Pay attention to your hands and nails. Remove peeled or chipped nail polish. Makeup should be minimal.
- Wear mild perfume. Deodorants are a must, as they help keeping body odor at bay.
- You can purchase women’s apparel at Macy’s, Nordstrom, Express, Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, Talbot, New York & Company or any other good women’s store. These stores also have a good variety of casual wear.
- For accessories you can shop at Aldo, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, etc.
The key to dress well is to ‘dress right’. Try not to overdress or under dress-this will make you feel out of place and awkward. Follow the dress code at your workplace. If you have recently moved the country on the H1 visa you will realize sooner or later that some wardrobe makeover is needed.