Business Dress Code in Italy

Business Dress Code When you travel abroad for business it’s of great importance to aquire knowledge about cultural diffrerences between the two countries, as it can ’make or break’ the business deal in the end. An example of cultural differences is how you great each other, how you adress one another, the business dress code and not least the the way of negotiating.

When you travel to Italy for a business meeting, as we are, you should keep in mind that the Italians are relationship oriented. The Italians prefer to establish relations, even if shallow, as they value mutual trust when doing business. One should also be prepared that negotiations could proceed at a lower speed than Swedish people are used to, which is due to the more hierarchical structure of the companies.

Dress code plays an important role in the Italian culture. Your attire will be perceived as a reflection of your social standing and relative success, as well as your competence as an entrepreneur or business women.

Milan is one of the World’s four main centres of fashion and Italian design and craftsmanship is valued, respected and coveted all over the world. Anything that is ‘made in Italy’ has a tremendous respect. Italians enjoy designer clothes and often invest in big name brands. Prada, Marni, Max Mara and Gucci are just some high fashion Italian brands.

Formal attire is generally expected for business meetings. Women are advised to dress simply and with elegance. In general, the characteristics of elegance are quality fabric dresses, such as lightweight wools and silk. The most commonly worn colours are darker, subdued shades. An elegant and modest pant- or skirt suits, accessorised with simple jewellery and makeup is a safe choise. Jeans and sneakers is not considered suitable in any business context. An Italian would never wear scuffed, unshined or unfashionable shoes. If in doubt, wear the best pair of shoes you possess. So, always aim to put together an outfit that are both tasteful and stylish.

Photos by: Martina Hansson. All pictures are taken at Kronovalls Slott.

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