Monday, January 25, 2010

What to Wear?

I laughed out loud reading David Lebovitz’s description of the moment he knew he’d adapted to his new home city – Paris. In his book "The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World’s Most Glorious – and Perplexing – City" he described the lazy Sunday afternoon when he showered, shaved, dressed in a starched shirt and pressed jeans - all in order to take out the garbage – only steps down the hall from his front door.

No old sweatshirt, wrinkled shorts or yoga pants outside the front door for this (formerly) California guy. How he appeared, should one of his neighbors spot him, now was important. Without conscious thought he’d adapted to the dress patterns of his new home.

For a Californian who does wear old sweats to walk down the hall to the garbage chute the idea is hilarious. But at the same time, as one who spends significant time each year in Paris, it makes perfect sense. How you look even taking out the garbage matters.

When we pack for business trip we think in terms of weather at our destination, the weight of the bag and the cost we’ll be charged to get it on the plane. We need to take a few minutes to think about what we wear to look like we belong, to create a look that makes people comfortable with us. Formal or casual? Jeans or suits? Short sleeves or not? Lots of jewelry or none?

To answer the question Google: what to wear (name of destination),
Check Journeywoman (, or guides including Fodor’s ( or Trip Advisor (, ask someone you know who does business at where you’re headed. For fun look at what’s being worn on the streets around the world go to The Sartorlialist (

Make it easy for people to feel at ease with you – look like you belong wherever your business takes you.

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