On a scale of one-to-tie, what will you be wearing on your next post-work night out?
How you dress at work is probably an aspect you nailed after your first week in the job. Appearance ranked second only to communication skills as a sign of professionalism when the Center for Professional Excellence at York College of Pennsylvania carried out a national poll in 2010. Spending hours a day there, it becomes apparent fairly quickly what is acceptable, what's not and how your own style preferences fit into that.
But outside of work, "What am I going to wear?" becomes a seemingly inescapable dilemma. There’s more to placing your work night out on a scale of one-to-tie than there may seem: from who’s going, to where you’re headed and what the occasion is, a whole range of variables can affect your decision. That’s why we’ve compiled some of the most common post-work outings and matched them to the ideal get up, to ease you into a night to remember.
Dinner and Drinks
"Drinks" is the most common destination for letting loose after work so it’s worth getting the dress code under wraps. Of course, not all venues are the same - you might be heading round to the local or you might be celebrating something special at a much posher venue.
If it’s just the pub, keep it casual. Dress code restrictions are unlikely and you’ll seem out of place - perhaps even uptight - if you’re any more extravagant. But for a slicker bar or restaurant, we recommend researching where you’re going ahead of time: many bars operate a dress code and you certainly don’t want to face the embarrassment of being turned away in front of co-workers.
Outfit suggestion: Avoiding trainers is a given but you’re probably safe going tie-less. A smart pair of jeans (so no “fashionable” rips) with a crisp shirt and brogues or loafers - even better if you go bespoke - is a suitable compromise between casual and dressy.
If you and your colleagues really want to make a night of it, the casino seems an obvious option. Your decorum may lessen as the night goes on and the drinks flow, but dress code tends to go the other way. They’re rarely the glamorous palaces of the James Bond world Betway Casino so aptly describes as entwined with glitz and glamour but there are often strict dress codes in place and, regardless, if you’re going to a casino, you may as well do it properly. The bow tie is perhaps a little extreme but chat with your colleagues beforehand about going full suit. It's a classy look and, as a group, you won't seem overdressed.
Outfit suggestion: Jeans, hats, sneakers, shorts are definitely out and, although it’s unlikely you’ll need to ponder over peaked lapels or a shawl collar, we definitely recommend suiting up. Go for plain all round or, alternatively, MossBros suggests mixing things up a bit: ditch your tie in favor of a more vibrant shirt or even go for the suave t-shirt-under-jacket look.
Another very different setting, but one that’s a great way to bond with colleagues. What sport you’re going to watch will be an important factor in your choice but a far more pertinent question is what the weather will be like.
We’ve certainly seen our fair share of extreme weather these past months and, from a spectator's point of view, this can make or break a night out: if rain is forecast and you’ll be out in the open, you don’t want to be underdressed when it begins to pour.
And while the type of sport may dictate a dress code, so can your seats. The Telegraph once published this report on Middlesbrough fans, accidentally asked to sport a jacket and tie to matches. All very funny, but the fact is that the message was intended for hospitality box guests. So if your boss kindly invites you to the match, take a moment to consider where your seats are.
It's fundamental to avoid offending your colleagues. We’re not saying you lie about - or worse, forsake - your allegiances, but do you really need to wear your team’s shirt and scarf if Gary from Accounts supports the opposition?
Outfit suggestion: Accessories are hugely important to a good outfit and, for sporting events, it seems they're more important than ever. If it's going to rain, getting yourself a quality umbrella is a sure way to appear resourceful in front of colleagues and your superiors. Avoid shirts, hats, scarves or flags too outspokenly one side or the other.
Nowadays, for better or for worse, dress codes are less about what you strictly must wear and more a selection of suggestions on what to avoid. Still, you don’t want to be the one refused entry or caught short in the rain, so best do your research - dress to impress without standing out for the wrong reasons.
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