Should one adopt local dress codes when in different areas?

Say you’re an American in Japan for a week. Should you button the bottom button? What about England? Should you avoid ties that might reflect a certain university? Or stay absolutely away from bluchers in a suit? Wear a guayabera instead of a suit at a South American formal function?

Just curious how the etiquette works when traveling abroad.

3 Replies to “Should one adopt local dress codes when in different areas?”

  1. If you want to blend you can always dress like the locals, many of them will be more comfortable and familiar with the style that way.

    The other option which is to dress the way you usually would, this is not necessarily incorrect but may make people uncomfortable if it’s too unusual. Here in NA we might be a little put off if someone showed up to a wedding in a Guayabera regardless of his heritage.

    Personally I think if your usual style of dress is only slightly different go for it, after all a man from Naples is unlikely to go buy a suit with roped shoulders simply because he’s coming to Canada but that’s a mild change.

  2. There is a book in the Chic Simple series called DRESS SMART MEN, WARDROBES THAT WIN IN THE NEW WORKPLACE. On page 156 is a loose guideline on how to dress for business around the world. It is very general but should give a basic idea of what is appropriate. It doesn’t go into specifics by country, just by continent and for Asia it breaks down into Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

  3. I actually use to live in England for several years and I say yes if you are staying for an extended period of time. I say no for just visiting. For example in Europe the suits are much more form fitting and the taper on the legs much thinner compared to most suits in the US. The same goes with the shoes, when I was their last everyone had long and pointy shoes unless you were an elderly gentleman.

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