How to Dress for Onsite Visits to the US

Posted On: January 30, 2015

Dress to impress. Before even opening one’s mouth, an impression is made through the clothing and body language one presents in front of the other person. The discussion and videos in this post will offer suggestions for males and females on how to dress for success in a professional environment in the US. 

Comparison for Males and Females 

  1. Yes, if we compare most Indian office wear to most American office wear, we will see that American office attire is typically boring and bland in dull colors. 
  2. While you may want to buy all your clothes in India for US business trips, thinking it will be less expensive, this is not always the case. The suggestion is to buy one or two sets of clothes in India if you must, then purchase the rest in a store local to your client site. Not only will this solve the problem of fitting into the local style, but in most cases you will actually spend less on better quality Western clothes in the US. 
  3. If you are going to the US between December and March to a colder area of the country, if it is possible hold off on buying your winter wear until you land in the US. Again, boots, hats, gloves and hats sold in the US will help you bear the cold better than most winter wear made for Indian winters. The winter most will face in the US will be like nothing you ever experience in most parts of India! 

What do men wear to the office in the US? 

  1. If you wear a shirt, pants and tie in your Indian office, you may not need to dress as formally in the US. Take note that it’s important to wear undershirts to hide your chest hair in the office environment. 
  2. Some Indian offices allow men to wear open toed shoes to work as it is very hot. This is not acceptable in the US. Closed toed shoes or formal dress shoes are the best bet for office wear. 
  3. Avoid bright colors like pink or purple or bold checks, patterns or large logos. Do not wear anything with a Playboy logo on it. 

What is the dress code for women in offices in the US? 
Ladies that feel more comfortable wearing salvaar kamiz and sari to work may find the US dress code the most challenging to adapt to. Take note of the suggestions in the video below to help start your journey.

Work wear in India in the education industry

In the photo above I am standing with a group of education professionals on an ordinary working day

Work wear in India in the IT field

Here, you can see the dress code on a normal day in UST Global. While the guys in this photo may be able to dress down in the US office, the ladies may feel they will need to dress up in new and different clothes as they are not as used to wearing Western clothes to work as the guys are. It should also be noted that since this photo was taken in about 2016, UST Global has changed the dress code to a more dressed down approach. 

Always, always, always remember if you are not sure about the dress code on site, don’t be afraid to ask. Ask any colleagues who have gone onsite what they noticed, or better yet, talk directly to your client and ask. Asking does not show Americans a lack of confidence, but will show that you are confident to ask, get the right information and prepare appropriately for your onsite visit. 

See this video from The Vault about Dressing for Success


Jennifer Kumar helps your Indian offshore teams prepare for onsite visits to US client sites and onshore office headquarters. Contact her for more information. 

Image by katemangostar on Freepik


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