Getting it right is important when learning to dress as a man in business.
After all, a good first impression counts for a lot, and clothes play a significant part in how confidently we present ourselves.
So, let’s take a look at Japanese business attire for men.
Table of Contents
Choosing Business Wear to Impress
Although Japan has a fairly universal business dress code, it’s important to spend time researching as dress codes can vary slightly depending on the area and business you are working with.
It is important to respect the traditional Japanese customs that are still widely practiced and must always be respected.
You may find a room full of suited professionals waiting for you. Always be cautious and dress on the more formal side.
It’s a good idea to check with companies you may be working with to make sure you fully understand the dress code.
Don’t worry too much about this, just remember; when in doubt, dress more formally, and you will not regret it!
Basic Business Looks
In Japan, business attire usually consists of a dark-colored suit paired with a lighter shirt.
This is the most popular and respected choice for both men and women. Often paired with dark shoes that match the suit, this is the classic uniform for business professionals in Japan.
There are a few items that you should stay clear of, let’s take a look:
- Revealing clothing: Steer away from revealing clothing as it is not deemed professional. Shirts should be fully buttoned, or at most, just one button undone in the warmer months.
- Flashy jewelry: This is often seen as distracting, stick to light, simple jewelry instead. Necklaces are a no-go.
- No bright and bold colors – dark suits, paired with light-colored, plain, crisp shirts are what will work best here.
A dark-colored suit should be a key part of your business wardrobe for men.
You must always remember to dress in a formal, restrained way, including:
- Dress formally and conservatively: Tailored suits are perfect.
- Wear closed shoes: Sandals and other opened-toed shoes are seen as beach wear and are not appropriate for the office.
- Tattoos: Sometimes seen as unprofessional, tattoos are best covered up or hidden from view.
- Cologne: Should be light and not too overpowering.
Getting the Correct Fit
Choosing a well-fitting suit is an incredibly important business in Japan.
It should not be too tight, or loose fitting and this could be seen as an unprofessional look. Many men attend a specialist business suit store to ensure they get a well-fitting, professional-looking suit that will last.
You could try asking friends or colleagues for recommendations, or research online, you should easily be able to find good quality stores that will tailor a suit for business wear.
You may wish to have measurements taken by a tailor before you start your search for business wear. Alternatively, you can provide these measurements yourself; be careful, this bit is important!
Once you have found a style you like, you should not be afraid to ask for alterations if the finished look is not quite to your liking.
Crisp, clean lines are what you should have, if you feel confident, you will look more confident and professional. Allow time to move around, stand and sit. Taking time to do this ensures you will have the correct fit.
Discovering Different Materials and Fits
Now that you are feeling more confident in your fit, it’s time to start trying out some different styles.
Trying on different varieties of suits and colors is important (keeping to muted tones, such as black, navy, and grey).
Buying quality business wear can be expensive so you want to be 100% confident in your choice before handing over your money.
Consider the different seasons when making your choices. Japan has 4 distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. You may find in fall and winter, a thick coat and stylish hat will be needed.
Remember to compare the following when shopping for your suit:
- Wool: This is a fairly common material for professional workwear for men, it’s durable and looks great when on.
- Polyester: Lightweight and easy to care for, it’s not easy to wrinkle which is good news! It’s not as breathable as wool, however, so may not be the best choice for wear in warmer weather.
- Cotton: A good choice for warmer weather, cotton is also easy to wash.
- Silk: Depending on your business, silk can often be a little bit ‘too much’. It is a delicate material and has a luxurious feel to it. An important point to consider is it requires special care when cleaning, which is not something many people want to deal with.
When shopping for your suit remember that Japanese sizes can be much smaller than western sizes so size up when choosing a suit if you need to.
The fit should be not too tight, but not too loose, it’s in your best interests to get this just right.
Usually, pant legs will have a straight leg with a slight taper to them. The pants should fit comfortably around the waist and hips – slightly loose is better than too tight.
Japanese business suits for men typically consist of a conservative and minimalist design, the focus is on quality materials and exact tailoring.
The final look should be not too restrictive nor too tight. Make sure you have plenty of room for movement at the shoulders and that your suit jacket fits comfortably. The jacket’s waistline should fall to the natural level.
Final Thoughts on Japanese Business Attire for Men
In Japan, well-fitting business wear shows respect for your company and Japanese culture. Dressing in a similar way to your work colleagues shows that you are working in harmony with your company and gives the impression of solidarity.
Japanese business attire is formal and conservative, helping to convey a sense of professionalism and seriousness in the workplace.
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