Guide to Business Dress and Etiquette in France
France is considered by many to be one of the most fashion-forward countries in the world, and has been for many years. Indeed, the design houses in Paris continue to put out benchmark menswear on a regular basis, some of which makes it over to America in short order and helps to further influence the country’s style. Business dress in France may not differ much to those of other countries around the world, but there’s no getting around the fact that it fits in nicely with the country’s fashion aesthetic. French businessmen are expected to look their best in just about any professional scenario that they find themselves in, which helps to connote confidence and professionalism. The following are just a few things that help to better characterize the way businessmen dress in France, all of which those who are traveling to or planning to live in the country should take into consideration.
One of the most important things to understand about business dress in France is that it tends to be quite understated, with sleek, subtle style taking the forefront. Businessmen in France tend to wear conservative suits that feature a moderately-slim cut, and are meant more to frame the man then to add excessive amounts of flair to his appearance. More often than not, business suits in this country are relatively dark in color, with stark-white dress shirts being worn underneath. The result is a look that most people would consider to be highly professional, yet not necessarily something that is meant to turn heads. As one might expect, the business-casual look that has become so popular in America provides a stark contrast to the conservative dress that is the norm for business professionals in France, those who travel to the country should always keep this in mind.
Jackets Stay On
Perhaps the most difficult thing for Americans to understand about French businessmen is that jackets almost always stay on inside the office. In America, jackets are often taken off once one enters the office, and sometimes even before relatively important meetings. In France, however, this is considered to be a sign of an utter lack of professionalism, and is to be avoided at all costs. Not only do jackets tend to stay on, but French businessmen will rarely loosen their ties the way Americans so often do; an important thing to note for those who conduct business in this country on even an occasional basis. The goal in France is to dress in a way that connotes confidence, and in-formalities simply aren’t going to do the trick most of the time.
Avoid Bright Colors
When choosing professional business attire to be worn in France, bright colors should be avoided. Unlike in other countries (Spain, for example), colorful business attire simply has no place in France, and wearing it will almost always cause you to stand out for the wrong reasons. Patterns can be quite effective when properly worn, however; pinstripes tend to be nearly as popular as solids in the country. Just be sure you’re leaving suits that feature bright colors in the closet, as they have no place in French offices.
Your Bows-n-Ties.com Team