How to suit up for your next business event

by Anthony Torno

Dimitry Toukhcher is international entrepreneur and CEO of LGFG FASHION HOUSE. He is a clothier for celebrities from sports, film and music as well as for successful business people.

Before the event season starts again after the Corona break with the Confare #CIOSUMMIT Vienna, the largest IT management forum in Austria, we asked him for his expert opinion on how to dress properly for a B2B event in a post-pandemic world.

How have the last 2 years of working from home and taking a break from events affected the business dress code?

Understandably things have gotten more casual- at the very least, from the waist down. We’re seeing a strong trend towards business casual in what were formerly formal environments. For us as a company, it meant that we’ve pivoted to meet market demand with more casual options including but not limited to jersey knit fabrics for jackets, stretch lycra cottons for shirts, an increase in stretchy, casual fabrics for pants (like jeans and chinos) and of course a more casual approach to shoes. In fact, dressing businessmen has gone from being fairly monotonous and predictable to having a high degree of freedom and creativity, even if it has meant nonetheless being more conservative for business purposes. This is where having a personal clothier, like what our company does, has become even more valuable to our clients.

After 2 years of the corona and event crisis, personal events are now starting again in many countries. What should you consider when choosing the right outfit?

Well, that question really goes back to what’s the expectation for the event itself. Technology summits for example won’t generally have the same dress code expectations as banking conferences. If there’s one rule from my end of the business on this, is that if you’re not sure, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, 100% of the time.

How much are there local differences in dress codes?

Now this answer will probably be a little shocking at first, but at the business level, really no differences in dress anymore from country to country. I’ve been in this business long enough now, that regardless of whether I’m in a business meeting in Bulgaria, Germany or Hong Kong, I wouldn’t know which country I’m in if I’m sitting in an office. The world is really converging. I remember one time a few years ago, I flew from Frankfurt to Moscow and I was sitting in a cab and trying to remember which city I was in that day. When you’re downtown in any city now, they all look more or less the same. We’re living in one big world so the whole idea that “this isn’t a formal business city” may be a sentiment people hold, however, in practice it’s just not true. So much business is now international, that we all sort of converge towards one international standard when we’re conducting business between our tribes, and that starts to creep into our intertribal relations as well as it becomes more and more normal to live in one big world.

What are the trends in suits?

Currently, most trends are away from suits and towards jacket-pants combos. That will likely change as we resume a routine, we’re more used to pre-2020, but if it doesn’t that’s OK. Ultimately, we all have a desire to be comfortable, to look good and to present professionally to gain and maintain trust with our key contacts. Hence, whatever the trends are, being in style doesn’t change over time.

What are the important details? What does the expert pay attention to?

First and foremost are you comfortable in body and in mind? As professional tailors and clothiers, we’re not only fitting the body- we’re fitting the mind. Are you happy with how you present in your outfit and what that outfit says about you? Everything else is secondary.  Having said that, there are of course some objective standards- whether it’s the fit or the construction or the fabric, or even the sustainable creation of the garments. I could write books on any of those subjects here, but one of the benefits of our professional Clothiers who come to you, is that they take care of all those details so you can focus on what you do best for your clients.

What role do ties, handkerchiefs and accessories play for men?

This is maybe a little ironic from a guy who runs a bespoke clothing company, but I’m not a big tie guy. I wear them when the situation calls for them but I really enjoy business casual more because ties give me claustrophobia! What role do ties play? The role of formality – so yes, I’ll wear a tie for client meetings and events which call for them. Handkerchiefs are a different story for me. With our jackets, the lining you chose will match the built-in handkerchief, so I always choose my linings carefully since I know that I can always pull out the pocket. This gives me creativity to match colors and give a little personal expression to my garment. Ultimately, accessories are just that; an opportunity for personal expression. For example, despite I’m sure some “boo’s” on the topic, I love crypto and blockchain, so my next jacket has cryptocurrency print lining with some bright colors. It gives me an opportunity to express something I’m passionate about. The jacket I wore yesterday had a lining with guitars printed on it; as a fan of Rock, I feel good when I wear it, and when I pull out my pocket on the front, there’s little blue guitars that match the color of the jacket. It’s a small thing, but it gives me a small degree of pleasure to express that. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve placed more premium on small, little joys!

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