‘Common sense is genius dressed in it’s working clothes’
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
What do I wear to a BNI Meeting?
The question comes up from time to time from visitors, guests, substitutes, and even members. Our quick and simple answer is to dress according to your profession. For example, if you are a business professional, business attire is standard. If you represent a trade profession in your chapter, something more casual may be appropriate. We don't expect a painter to show up in a three-piece suit, or a lawyer to show up in cut off jeans and flip flops. Credibility is inevitably gained when the clothes match the profession.
However, business casual is a standard for many, and the word “casual” can be a pretty vague term, so let’s explore that a little more.
Reader’s Digest offers a common-sense approach on what NOT to wear to work and I think you will agree these would apply in almost any workplace as well as your BNI meeting.
1. Too-casual jeans
2. Backless tops
3. Flip flops
4. Spaghetti straps or strapless tops
5. Clothes from 5 lbs ago
6. Anything you keep adjusting
7. Thin leggings
8. Running shoes
9. Strong cologne
10. Too-revealing clothes
12. Anything against your company’s policies
13. Crop tops
14. Anything your co-workers wouldn’t wear
15. Offensive clothing
16. Crazy tight jeans
While this list is certainly not all-inclusive depending on your profession, nor is it the standard for all professions, but it serves as a good guideline for many jobs as well as BNI meetings. There are certainly exceptions, like tennis shoes. We would expect this from our personal trainers or exercise professionals.
One way to look at is to dress for the meeting like you would if you knew you would be meeting an important new client. The best rule of thumb to determine if your attire is appropriate for your BNI meeting is to make sure that it matches the profession you represent and brings credibility to you and your classification within your chapter.
For more thoughts on this topic, check out BNI Heartland Podcast #180 at this link.
In the words of Russell Crowe, ‘It is important to dress for success.’