Business in Thailand: A Guide to Thai Business Dress Code & Etiquette
Thailand is located in one of the most beautiful parts of the world, and just about everyone who has visited the country at one point or another can attest to this. It’s not uncommon for Westerners to end up going to business meetings in Thailand, especially as the country has become more entangled in the global economy than ever before within such a short period of time. Therefore, we thought it to be important to included the Thai culture in our series titled Business Dress Around the Globe. For those who have never been to Thailand, knowing how to dress for an important meeting in the country can be easier said than done. That said, understanding Thai business dress doesn’t have to be difficult, so long as you take the time to learn as much about the culture and business etiquette as possible. The following are just a few tips to help you streamline your business ensemble the next time you find yourself in Thailand.
The Western Business Suit
Contrary to popular belief, the Western business suit is extremely popular in Thailand, and is considered to be the most versatile piece for wearing during important meetings in Thailand. The fact is, however, Thailand is well-known for the extreme heat that is omnipresent in the country, and those who are there on business often find wearing a full suit to be extremely uncomfortable. Bearing this in mind, it’s most common for businessmen to carry their jackets instead of wearing them when walking outside. More often than not, they’ll put their suit jackets back on when they get inside to air conditioning. Westerners, then, should not be concerned about having to wear an uncomfortable suit in the extreme heat. Suit pants, on the other hand, are an absolute must. Because of the heat natural fibers, which are more “breathable” should be chosen of cheaper synthetics or synthetic blends.
Given the fact that the weather in Thailand can be incredibly hot, many Westerners who travel there on business believe that they might be able to get away with short-sleeved dress shirts. Even though it is indeed quite hot in Thailand, long-sleeved shirts are always worn. You can make things easier on yourself, however, by wearing light colors and ensuring that the shirts you wear are constructed out of 100% cotton; this will keep sweating at bay. It may also be wise to forgo the t-shirt that is often worn underneath dress shirts in America, as this will help to make your ensemble more breathable and cut down on any discomfort that you might experience.
The All-Important Tie
If you remember only one thing about business dress in Thailand, it should be the importance of wearing a tie. Without a tie on your side, your chances of fitting in with others in the country will be quite low. Businessmen in Thailand almost always wear ties, as doing so adds a touch of professionalism to one’s ensemble and can make a huge difference regarding the end results of someone’s look. Ties in Thailand tend to be subtle; loud ties are best left at home. Purple ties should be avoided as purple is Thailand’s color for mourning.
Other Things to Consider
The Thai pay a lot of attention to appearance. Make sure your pants, shirts, and jackets are free of wrinkles and stains. Shoes should be polished daily, fingernails manicured regularly, and facial hair should be avoided. Also, avoid showing tattoos as well as piercings.
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Your Bows-n-Ties.com Team