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October 22, 2017
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In this first edition of Private White x The Genteel: The Style Guide, we take a fresh approach to business style. Chock-full of tips and tricks, we provide a guided tour towards a revitalised wardrobe for formal and office attire - from the boardroom to the pub. For accompanying handpicked, head-to-toe looks for every kind of business meeting, visit The Genteel CEO, Mona Chammas' column, The Edits, over at Private White.

- James Eden, CEO of Private White V.C. 

Formal Business Wear

It's no surprise that formal business wear takes the form of suits. But did you know that the material of your suit should depend on the location of your meeting? For example, at a business meeting in China, suits should never be made from materials that have a sheen to them. Look instead for linen and cotton suits in dark shades.

As London Fashion Week has come to an end, it was great to see so many A/W 2013 menswear collections with formal business wear. Many design houses decided to create their looks with a twist. Ralph Lauren's show for A/W 2013 did this with an air of clever tailoring and sophistication that we haven't seen for a couple of seasons. Their tweed suit, for example, is the perfect mix of English gentlemen's tweed with enough sharpness for a formal setting.

We all have a stack of ties that have sat unused in our closets, mainly because there is a belief that formal wear has to be bland and simple. This may have once been true, but in 2013 this just isn't the case. Take Kenzo's S/S 2013 collection: brighter is better!

Another item that many people don't consider when looking for a tailored suit is a top coat - an essential in colder months. When picking a smart, formal coat, always look for a non-shiny, lightweight item that can be carried easily as well as worn. The SB4 Flyweight Jacket is perfect for a formal look as it is nicely tailored, simple and easy to wear in an undone fashion. Make sure you choose a neutral colour that blends with your overall look.

From Day to Night 

You can wear formal wear in the evening, but what about in informal dining areas? Surely you wouldn't want to wear a full suit and tie to the bar after work, but there are alternatives that look just as smart but are certainly more comfortable.

There are nowhere near as many rules for casual business wear as there are for formal, but it still needs consideration. In general, avoid denim as some people feel denim is the epitome of casual and not for the workplace. Light coloured trousers such as beiges and browns work as a good alternative to jeans and look great with a pair of loafers.

John Smedley's cranberry pullover paired with neutral-coloured trousers is a quintessentially British look with international flair - and is exactly what the designers at Private White VC are going for, not only with the clothing but also the brand. Private White VC, based in Manchester, prides itself on having or sourcing all of its items from the UK; there are not many companies that can say this anymore.

For the Artists Among Us

We may not all be art aficionados, but most businesses have to introduce design elements into their plans, whether for branding or packaging. Meetings with designers are - generally - a more relaxed affair, so the possibility of introducing the informal look is perfect here. Just remember that informal and dressed down are very different things.

For an artistic take on business wear, mix adventurous items with classic tailoring. This look from Private White VC, matches follows the rule perfectly. Jeans and a thick knits may not be the first items that come to mind, but there is something about this classic combination that screams relaxed, yet in charge. Match the colour of your knit to the jeans so that you can play with the colour worn underneath.

Playing with colour here (depending on the client) is also a smart way to add some of your personality to your outfit. Choose a shirt that buttons up right to the top, which will give a hint of business wear and match the colour to your day. This is the kind of meeting that you can really play with your look.

While a perfect combination for cooler days, a cardigan is not going to work well with the warmer weather we are long overdue. If you are travelling abroad for a meeting, or summer finally arrives, then why not consider wearing a shirt and loose fitted blazer. 2013 is set to see an increase in men's blazers, with or without sleeves; oh yes, some designers have gone as far as denim cut off blazers! Hartford's bright blazer is the perfect summer companion; it's lightweight, smart enough for a relaxed meeting and the colour screams fun.

Business Accessories You Can't Live Without

There are many items that will complete your business look. Accessories are slightly easier to coordinate and you generally don't have to change them for different settings. This year has seen a huge rise in sales for men's ankle boots and loafers, both of which work particularly well with both sharp suits and casual wear.

Another accessory that is growing increasingly popular by the day is the scarf; not the thick, woolly winter kind, but rather the chic, classic silk scarf. Silk scarves work for both formal and casual wear and are an excellent way of adding in some splashes of colour to your look.

If you need to travel with a weekend bag separate from your work bag, then have a look at this beauty by Cherchbi - perfect for long haul or national business travel. Cherchbi bags are made from the finest materials that have been sauced and created in Britain, celebrating the traditional and the modern. Inside is a built-in laptop sleeve and a secure closure strap that displays the needs of 21st century men. The bag may not look waterproof, but it has been hand-crafted with a beautiful blend of cotton, linen and a natural rubber bonding that has fused together to bring you a naturally robust waterproof finish.

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