What businessmen should wear when doing business in Asia

What Businessmen Should Wear When Doing Business in Asia

Last week I wrote about “What Business Women Should Wear When Doing Business in Asia”, and as promised, this week’s post is for you, gentlemen!

Doing business in Asia can be vastly different from what you’re used to back home. If you’re from a business environment that’s a little more casual, where it’s acceptable to wear jeans to work, you will absolutely have to re-think your professional wardrobe before venturing to Asia for a business trip.

For businessmen who travel to Asia for business, I’ve compiled a list of items that you should definitely have packed in your suitcase when you leave.

A Business Suit in Charcoal or Navy Blue

Asia is quite conservative when it comes to business attire. It’s really only darker colour suits, such as charcoal or navy blue, that are acceptable in business. Black is also acceptable, but you can easily look too sombre in a jet black suit. So I suggest you stick with something slightly lighter in colour.

Travel Tip #1: If a business suit isn’t something you regularly wear to work and it’s been hanging in your wardrobe for a while, take it to the dry cleaners and freshen it up before you depart.

Black Dress Shoes

Since you’re taking with you a charcoal or navy blue suit, you have to think about what colour shoes will pair best with these colours. You can’t go wrong with a pair of black dress shoes to wear with either a navy or charcoal suit. If you have extra room in your suitcase, then you can also slip in a pair of dark brown shoes to wear with your navy blue suit, but this is of course optional.

Dark Grey, Navy Blue, or Black Socks

It’s important your sock colour matches the colour of your trousers, and not the colour of your shoes. Many people make this mistake. But it’s easy to remember when you think of it like this: When you match the colour of your socks with the colour of your trousers, it creates a flow to your look, and the transition of colour is smooth instead of harsh. If you don’t have charcoal or navy blue socks, it’s ok to wear black ones.

Travel Tip #2: Make sure your socks are hole-free, just in case you’re asked to take off your shoes before entering a room.

Crisp White Business Shirt

The standard colour for business shirts in Asia is white. Yes, just like back home. A white shirt pairs well with both a charcoal or a navy blue suit so this is definitely something you should pack. If you’re travelling to Asia in summer when it’s humid, then you might want to avoid a slim cut shirt, and take a shirt that’s a little looser in cut to allow your skin to breath. And of course, make sure it’s 100% cotton.

What businessmen should wear to Asian on business

Image courtesy of Vichaya Kiatying-Angsulee/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A Tie

For most business meetings or formal dinner parties, you’ll be expected to wear a tie with your suit. So on your international business trip, take 2-3 different ties that you can wear to different functions. For your charcoal suit, a light orange or green would pair well. For your navy suit, a light blue or red would work.

Travel tip #3: Leave your handkerchief at home if you’re travelling to Asia for business. It’s considered distasteful.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s tips and advice on business attire for men travelling to Asia for business.

If you want to further your reading, I invite you to take a look at a previous post, “4 Professional Dress Mistakes When Doing Business Internationally”.

And, if you loved the tips in this article and you want to have access to these tips and more, then I invite you to become a member of the Executive Impressions community. Simply enter your name and e-mail address in the boxes below.

Header image courtesy of Schwarzkaefer/Flickr.com under Creative Commons licence. Graphics added to this image by Kara Ronin.

About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox