As workplace standards have evolved from professional-looking suits to simple t-shirts, dressing appropriately for each situation has never been more important. Beyond corporate culture, the culture of each individual country also plays a role in determining what is acceptable and what is not.
A home to a diverse population with a majority of Muslims, Malaysia is embedded with unique cultures and beliefs. With each culture having its own social and cultural norms, dressing appropriately might be tricky. Although there are no laws banning certain dress codes, it is always advisable to respect local culture and traditions especially when conducting business with local people.
So, what kind of attire should we wear? Generally, we should avoid wearing revealing clothing such as shorts and miniskirts. A common dress code for men would be a suit, with dark pants and a long-sleeved shirt. On the other hand, women can wear mid-length to long skirts, trousers or a traditional dress. Often times, a scarf is a frequently used accessory to hide the exposure of skin especially around the neck.
Our clothing is a form of nonverbal communication and it conveys messages to others. First impressions are often influenced by outward appearance such as clothing, hairstyles and accessories. Besides leaving a good first impression to our business clients or partners, it also informs them that we have put an effort into understanding and respecting their culture. This small action of putting some thought into your dress code will go a long way in building trust and positive relationships with your future business partners and clients.
Although it may seem small and trivial, the time we spend on our appearance can contribute to the image we want to project to the outside – an especially important thing for companies looking to build their brand voice in new territories. Contact us here for more information on local cultures in your target location.