Larry Rosen, chairman and chief executive officer of Harry Rosen Inc., gave the keynote address at a luncheon during the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association’s annual meeting in Halifax last week.
Rosen practised corporate law for some years and now runs the Canadian retail chain known for its men’s fine clothing. So he knew of what he spoke when he offered corporate counsel these tips for dressing just right:
1. You can only underdress, not overdress. Always err on the side of being overdressed. Worst-case scenario? You’re the best dressed, most in-control, confidence-inspiring person in the room.
2. Men in suits look powerful, authoritative, and sexy. Why would you not want to have that advantage when dealing with a potential client?
3. Dark dressy suit: navy or black — updated and current. Dress it up with a white shirt and French cuffs for semi-formal occasions. A dark suit is the most versatile suit you can own. Wear it with a coloured or patterned shirt, with a tie or without, for a more relaxed look.
4. When “business casual” is appropriate, wear a sports jacket with dress casual pants and a smart sport shirt or knit. Jeans are never appropriate for business.
5. “God is in the details” (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe). The small things make you look complete. Add a pocket square and cufflinks. Take care choosing your shirt and tie.
6. Eyeglass frames that are 10 years old look 10 years old.
7. The leather colour of your belt should match that of your shoes. The colour of your socks should match that of your pants.
8. Successful people get their shoes shined — often.
9. Try something new. Everyone can benefit from getting out of their rut and dressing more eclectically.
10. If you have occasion to attend more than one formal event each year, invest in a tuxedo. You will always look great (and rentals always look “rented”).