Work attire in China, strut your stuff
Different countries have different dress styles and work attire, but the same point is that you should wear suitable outfit. On separate occasions, people wear different clothes, depending on the event and weather. These events can be specified and include a wedding, party, church, holiday, office, recreation and much more.
However, still, some people desire to be special when it comes to standing out. For instance, when they are asked to wear black tie, they wear a pair of slippers; when invited to a barbecue in the open air, they wear a coat. A dress code is a just dress code, but not everybody uses the same one.
Basic everyday dressing etiquette
Chinese people have no set dress code, well except if you are going to a very formal event. The older generation is the one that is still a bit reserved (depends on with the area you are in) in Beijing for example; the older generation is not strict about the style of dressing as they have adopted the Western style of dressing. Whereas, the younger generation wears whatever they feel is comfortable. Though, they tend to wear short skirts, and short trousers (really short ones), they cover up most of their top part. That is, you will never see women in China wearing any low tops that show décolletage.
There is no specific dress code. Casual clothes should work. But it may be a little bit inappropriate to wear a vest, slippers, and short skirts or pants. There is no set dress code in China; people just wear what they want to. From the very short skirts to the long ones but in all that they do not show cleavage or expose their shoulders.
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Business attire etiquette
Work attire in China, depends on the working environment, most wear what they like but at the same time, formal businesses wear uniforms to identify themselves within a crowd and that they work at their respective jobs. For example, bank tellers, real estate agents and those who work in a traditional business environment. However, it is different within the service industry. People who are employed in the service sector, those who deal with people every day such as in banks and hospitals wear formal clothes.
Certain styles apply to women, Chinese business women dress quite conservatively, and you should simulate this style. Avoid wearing anything revealing. If you choose to wear a dress, the hem needs to be below the knee or the dress is considered inappropriate. You should also wear a high neckline.
While Chinese people have no defined work attire, short heels or wedges are preferred. Chinese women like heels that is why most of their shoes have a sort of double heel. This might be because they are short people and would like to feel tall, which is a universal feeling in the world of short people. They like heels but not the ‘stiletto’ kind of heels. They like the feeling of wearing heels but not having to torture their feet unnecessarily.
In China, women in business should avoid wearing very high heels, regardless of what you are wearing. A shoe with a low heel is appropriate, but the heel must be extremely low. Do not wear a heel at all if your host is shorter than you, as this will be considered as a sign of rudeness and disrespect. Only closed-toe shoes are worn, such as pumps.
Understanding and knowing the right business attire in China is essential to making a good first impression when conducting business with Chinese colleagues. China’s size and growing economy means that many individuals and foreigners will find themselves doing business in China. Thus, being appropriately dressed is essential for the success.
It’s all about the ties
It’s not unusual to see solid-colored ties in China; most people who work in the formal sector can attest to this. To be taken seriously and professionally at work, strive to avoid any patterns and colors that are considered to be “loud,” as wearing these types of pieces can come off as offensive. Red ties are at times a good choice; it’s a sign of power and prosperity. Wearing red that matches your clothes is a suitable compliment what you want your work attire to say.
Look to the future
Work attire in China was heavily influenced by military garb when Chairman Mao was still in power. In fact, it was called the ‘Mao suit,’ as it resembled the clothes he used to wear in all the pictures you’d see of him. But as the times changed, and a new Chairman took his place, the fashion for business attire did as well.
In modern times it’s uncommon to see anything so military-esque, even though in the West that was a favorite fashion trend. People are expressing themselves through their clothes, and a more casual atmosphere has been embraced in the Chinese business culture.
One of the most noticeable changes to the human landscape of China over the past few decades has been the shift in dress code. The Western style of dress has significantly influenced the Chinese work attire especially in the commercial and urban areas. Gone is the traditional unisex Mao jacket and trousers in blue or green. Men now wear suits and ties, and women tend to wear skirts and blouses of a modest cut.