Management Consulting Dress Code

Written by . Posted in Consulting Industry

Businessman in classic vest against row of suits in shop

Consultants put on clothes depending on their management consulting firm, on the occasions they participate in and the people they’re dealing with. Continue reading this post to get familiar with dress codes consultants follow.

Some scientific researches support that clothes and accessories make a difference in how people perceive one’s capabilities and personality. People wearing thick, black-rimmed glasses are often labelled as “geeks”. Those who are not acquainted with the well-dressed man who just  got promoted to a managerial position will assume that he’s probably smart because of his getup.

These indicators are the reason why management consultants must be careful in choosing their clothes as they perform their duties and responsibilities. Since they interact with many people (including clients), they must ensure that they dress up accordingly. They are not only hired to provide solutions to business problems but also to promote the brand of their management consulting firm.  Below are three factors they consider on what clothes to put on.


Management consulting firms have their own rules on what clothes to wear. Some require their employees to wear suit for five working days while some implement the business casual policy on Fridays. Some companies do not have specific rules, but will let the consultants choose what they believe is most appropriate.


When they are working at client’s premises, consultants usually put on suits and ties. Since they represent the company, they must project a professional image through their clothes, shoes, accessories and even scent. It would be too sloppy to show up in a meeting with the CEO or top management with jeans and polo-shirt on. Actually, this just does not happen in the real consulting world.


There are also clients who prefer consultants to dress casually when dealing with their employees to fit in. Dressing formally may cause aloofness between the two groups. Lew Sauder, the author of Consulting 101, narrated in this post that while he as in Ernst & Young, one of his clients said he would send the consultants home if they show up dressier than jeans.

Given the factors above, the dress codes of management consultants can be summarized into three. These are the following :

Formal Dress Code

This includes wearing a suit, a pair of pants or a dress skirt and for men, a nice tie. They must be cleaned and well-ironed. Accessories must not go beyond three pieces. The number of firms or clients who require consultants to strictly follow this on a daily basis has decreased in the last few years.

Business Casual Code

For men, this includes pressed collared shirts, cotton trousers and belt. For women, slacks and skirts with appropriate length paired with a dress shirt are acceptable. Ties and cufflinks are not required in this category.

Casual Code

This allows employees to work comfortably in jeans, informal shirts and blouses. However, clothing under this category must still be appropriate for office work. They can’t just show up with clothes used for cleaning the house, exercising or doing the laundry.

First impression may not necessarily last but it has a great impact on how others perceive a person. Since dressing smartly seems to be associated with credibility and professionalism, management consulting employees consider the three factors above before choosing the dress code perfect for the day.

If you’re an applicant who’s very particular with dress codes, research on what your target company requires. You can do so through the Internet but networking is better since you’ll get first hand information from different consultants. Don’t forget to check this post on showing a corporate image in consulting interviews too.

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