How to Dress as a Management Consultant

Personal appearance counts. Especially in management consulting. This article is intended to serve as an advisory to anyone (males in particular) who aspires to give professional advice to other professionals and hopefully help you avoid some common fashion faux pas, especially in the more conservative business environment of Asia.

General Advice

There is a general way that people dress in any industry. Management consulting is no different. This largely means that you will wear a suit with a full-sleeved shirt & a tie, and keep a conservative hair style. However, it does not mean that you need to look like a photocopy of everyone else. You may aspire to have a flexible ‘statement piece’ which could be a specific hair style, a unique tie collection, or a designer eyeglass. It does mean that you present an image that is professional. Your clothing and accessories should not be a distraction for colleagues and clients. This is achieved by having consistent statement pieces. If your statement piece is a bow-tie, then always wear bow-ties to all meetings with the client. Do not surprise your client by alternating between a long tie and a bow-tie. Similarly, if you wear a stud in your ear, always wear that piece of jewelry to all meetings. While deviating from the norm is fine, you must not deviate from your norm. Stick with the style that you have chosen.

Remember not to have more than one statement piece. As a management consultant, a statement piece helps project an image of an individual who can think beyond the current paradigm, create out-of-the-box solutions and hold your own opinion in the face of opposition. However, a consultant who mixes bow-ties with red socks and ear-rings does not look like such an individual. He merely looks eccentric.

Following the one-by-three rule is a good way to create a professional wardrobe that looks affluent. Instead of buying three average suits, buy one very good suit. Instead of three average ties, buy one great tie. A well fitted, high quality suit is instantly recognizable and distinguishable. And well worth the great impression it leaves. The bottom line – a management consultant must always be formally dressed and therefore prepared for a client meeting.

Suit and tie

Suit and tie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Specific Advice

Suit:

A suit is a suit. A suit is not a sports jacket, or a blazer, or cardigan (no matter how fancy) worn over trousers of matching or contrasting color. A suit consists of at least two pieces – a coat and a pair of pants stitched from the same cloth. The third piece, a waist coat, is optional. A suit does not have leather or metal buttons. The suit should be well-fitted, and have no loose threads, burs, or missing buttons. A dark suit is preferable in the winters, while light colored suits work fine in the summers. To guard against the cold, it is better to use a cardigan or thermals rather than wear a multi-colored v-neck or high-neck sweater under the coat. Polyester and nylon do not usually make a good suit due to their lack of proper ‘fall’. Suits should be made of wool, cotton, linen, silk or a blend of natural fibers.

Shirt:

Shirts should be full-sleeved and well fitting. A ready-to-wear shirt should be of the correct collar size, such that the top-most button should close comfortably, the correct sleeve length and appropriate torso fit (regular, fitted, or big). A rule of thumb is that the shirt collar should be one-fourth to one-half inch above the suit collar and loose enough to fit one finger into it. Sleeves should be up to one-fourth of an inch longer than the suit sleeve. The shirt should be well ironed and crisp, with no wrinkles in the collar, cuffs or front. It should not be torn, stained, or discolored and all buttons should be intact. French cuffs are optional, but should always be worn with professional-looking cufflinks. Plain colors or light colored strips, small checks or light colored self-prints make good formal shirts to be worn with a tie.

Tie:

A tie should be formal; flashy prints such as those with comic characters should be avoided. The tie should fit tightly on the collar with a decent and clearly made knot (see http://www.tie-a-tie.net/ to learn how to tie a tie). The top button of the shirt should be closed. An undone top button looks casual at best and sloppy at worst. If the shirt collar is too tight, use an elastic collar extender. The tip of your tie must lie somewhere on your belt buckle.

Belt:

Always wear a leather belt of the same color as your shoes. The belt must pass through, not over, all the loops on the trouser. Needless to say, all the belt loops on the trouser must be intact.

Shoes:

Shoes must be leather and of the same color as the belt. They should be polished to a shine. While many suggest that a sharp clacking noise on hard floors is the sign of a high quality shoe with all leather soles, it is best to avoid a shoe that is ostentatious.

Socks:

Socks must always be worn and should be long enough to ensure that no skin is exposed from beneath the trouser leg. The color of socks should blend with the pants and/or shoes. Towel socks are not formal wear.

Facial Hair:

Choice of facial hair should be consistent and neat. Well-trimmed beards of any style or a clean-shaven look are both acceptable, as long as you do not wildly alternate between styles. Avoid the shaggy beard or stubble. Stubble is not a beard and is unacceptable in most formal occasions, including in consulting.

Silk:

Silk looks best in a tie. A silk shirt might work, if paired with a woolen or cotton tie. Avoid pure silk suits as they dazzle and distract.

Body Art and Piercings:

Do not have visible tattoos. Depending on cultural and professional norms, they can be considered unprofessional. Male management consultants should not wear colored nail polish. They should also avoid distracting piercings. While a small, inconspicuous stud in the ear maybe fine as a statement piece, large dangling earnings or an eyebrow piercing is a certain no-no.

Body Odor:

Mild, but effective, deodorant, perfume or talcum powder, depending on personal taste, should be used daily to mask any unpleasant body odors.

Hair Oil, Gel and Cream:

Style or oil your hair if so desired. However, use only processed hair oils. Raw or highly perfumed oils, gels or creams are a major distraction and are to be avoided at all costs. Excessive gel or cream should also be avoided – no one will hire a consultant who drips on the carpet.

Handkerchiefs:

To avoid any awkward social situations, always carry a clean, unused handkerchief each day. Handkerchiefs are usually light in color and made of cotton. Pocket squares are not handkerchiefs.

Dressing Down or Semi-Formal Dressing:

An invitation to dress down or dress in semi-formal attire is not an invitation to turn up in jeans. Semi-formal dressing is still formal in nature and the appropriate attire is a full-sleeved, button down shirt worn with trousers, leather shoes & belt, and accompanied by a matching or contrasting coat. A tie is optional, depending on the occasion.

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Glimpse at future of warfare as engineers reveal plans for ‘hypersonic’ bomber [Video]

Glimpse at future of warfare as engineers reveal plans for ‘hypersonic’ bomber
Glimpse at future of warfare as engineers reveal plans for ‘hypersonic’ bomber that can outrun missiles
Breath-taking footage showing the future of military technology, has been released ahead of this year’s Farnborough International Airshow.

Engineers and scientists at BAE Systems and the University of Glasgow have outlined some of their current thinking about military aircraft including the idea that military planes could soon be ‘grown’ in labs and reach hypersonic speeds.

During this century, the scientists and engineers envisage that small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) bespoke to specific military operations, could be ‘grown’ in large-scale labs through chemistry, speeding up evolutionary processes and creating bespoke aircraft in weeks, rather than years.

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This unique UK technology could use environmentally sustainable materials and support military operations where a multitude of small UAVs with a combination of technologies serving a specific purpose might be needed quickly.

In addition, armed forces of the future could be using rapid response aircraft equipped with engines capable of propelling those aircraft to hypersonic speeds.

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Flying at such speeds and high altitude would allow them to outpace adversary missiles.

BAE SystemsBAE SystemsMilitary aircraft could soon achieve hypersonic speeds
The aircraft could perform a variety of missions where a rapid response is needed

“The world of military and civil aircraft is constantly evolving and it’s been exciting to work with scientists and engineers outside BAE Systems and to consider how some unique British technologies could tackle the military threats of the future said Professor Nick Colosimo, a BAE Systems Global Engineering Fellow.
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Growing UAVs Through Chemistry [Video]

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During this century, scientists and engineers from BAE Systems and The University of Glasgow envisage that small Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs) bespoke to military operations, could be ‘grown’ in large-scale labs through chemistry, speeding up evolutionary processes and creating bespoke aircraft in weeks, rather than years.
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This robot could deliver your pizza someday soon [Video]

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The Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology Explained [Video]

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A block chain is a transaction database shared by all nodes participating in a system based on the Bitcoin protocol. A full copy of a currency’s block chain contains every transaction ever executed in the currency. With this information, one can find out how much value belonged to each address at any point in history.

Every block contains a hash of the previous block. This has the effect of creating a chain of blocks from the genesis block to the current block. Each block is guaranteed to come after the previous block chronologically because the previous block’s hash would otherwise not be known. Each block is also computationally impractical to modify once it has been in the chain for a while because every block after it would also have to be regenerated. These properties are what make double-spending of bitcoins very difficult. The block chain is the main innovation of Bitcoin.

Honest generators only build onto a block (by referencing it in blocks they create) if it is the latest block in the longest valid chain. “Length” is calculated as total combined difficulty of that chain, not number of blocks, though this distinction is only important in the context of a few potential attacks. A chain is valid if all of the blocks and transactions within it are valid, and only if it starts with the genesis block.

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Blocks in shorter chains (or invalid chains) are not used for anything. When the bitcoin client switches to another, longer chain, all valid transactions of the blocks inside the shorter chain are re-added to the pool of queued transactions and will be included in another block. The reward for the blocks on the shorter chain will not be present in the longest chain, so they will be practically lost, which is why a network-enforced 100-block maturation time for generations exists.

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Because a block can only reference one previous block, it is impossible for two forked chains to merge.

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Architect and researcher Ammar Mirjan explains how drones could be programmed to construct buildings in the first of two movies about the use of unmanned aerial vehicles in architecture.

In 2012, Swiss architecture firm Gramazio Kohler Architects and roboticist Raffaello D’Andrea collaborated with ETH Zürich to program a fleet of drones to lift and stack thousands of polystyrene bricks at the FRAC Centre in Orléans, France.

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The Pigeon Patrol Flies Over London [Video]

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In London this Monday, pigeons wearing small backpacks with pollution sensors and GPS trackers inside them flew around the city detecting its current pollution levels. DigitasLBI, a marketing company, produced this project. The pigeon’s backpacks were made by Plume Labs and can monitor ozone and volatile compounds as well as nitrogen dioxide. The Pigeons are known as the “Pigeon Air Patrol,” and this whole entire stunt is meant to draw the publics’ eye to the decrease in air quality London has experienced over the past few years.

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