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I am scheduled to give an academic style presentation late in the afternoon at a private club in London the last week of October this year. The audience will be mostly retired flag and general officers from different countries, some government types, and few business people from finance. I am wondering what I should wear to make an impeccable first impression. My three top choices currently in my wardrobe, and that I get the most compliments on are: A double breasted gray POW check suit with a six button single breasted vest; a two button charcoal gray chalk stripe suit with a six button vest with lapels, a two button navy blue pinstripe suit with no vest. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated especially from those that do business in London or with the MoD. Also suggestions on wearing a tie or bow tie, and how to accessorize would be also be appreciated because I hope this presentation will lead to an interview or job offer. Thanks.
 

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I hope you get a better informed answer than mine, but I would first consider contacting someone in the administrative management of the club and ask if they could furnish you with guidelines. Though I've never had the privilege of being invited to a private club in London (There, again, they display remarkably astute judgement!) my tendency would be to keep it simple and sober.

My imagination conjures up a leather bound, wood paneled abode when the reality might be they're renting a hall to bunch of tired men in khakis. Depending upon the particular establishment, tone of the event, and the time of day, it literally might be anything from black tie to pedestrian casual wear.
 

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I would be inclined to wear the DB 3-piece - being sure to take the jacket off at the start of your presentation. When you stand in front of people in full suit, they can tell that you're serious and professional. When you then remove your jacket, unconsciously they relax and become more receptive.
 

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I am scheduled to give an academic style presentation late in the afternoon at a private club in London the last week of October this year. The audience will be mostly retired flag and general officers from different countries, some government types, and few business people from finance. I am wondering what I should wear to make an impeccable first impression. My three top choices currently in my wardrobe, and that I get the most compliments on are: A double breasted gray POW check suit with a six button single breasted vest; a two button charcoal gray chalk stripe suit with a six button vest with lapels, a two button navy blue pinstripe suit with no vest. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated especially from those that do business in London or with the MoD. Also suggestions on wearing a tie or bow tie, and how to accessorize would be also be appreciated because I hope this presentation will lead to an interview or job offer. Thanks.
My advice, limit your dress to a conservative, simple, single breasted dark suit with a solid silk tie. I suggest the navy pin stripe. You 100% can't go wrong with that choice. The best impression is for them to notice you and your presentation, not your suit.

And I must strongly advise against the suggestion above to remove your jacket. Under no circumstances take your jacket off, waistcoat or no. You will immediately look like one of the wait staff. No person in that room will be taking their jackets off, believe me, and you shouldn't either.

I belong to a private club and have visited many similar clubs around the world. I have never felt out of place in the attire suggested above.

Cheers,

BSR
 

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Having spent the last 40 years serving in and around the UK Armed Forces, I will echo BSR's advice.

There are some retired Very Senior Officers on the board of the military charity I work for. They all dress in classic British style, as taught at Dartmouth, Sandhurst & Cranwell. So, for the type of event you describe they will most likely appear in a dark lounge suit - usually single-breasted but double-breasted are still favoured by many - but I'd suggest that you stick to SB (no waistcoat) and a plain shirt. Avoid: huge tie knots, square-toed shoes, pocket on shirt or anything else that may make you look like a footballer (the British variety), but I'm sure you know that already.

I can't think of one VSO who would wear brown shoes with a navy or grey suit, incidentally.

Some of them will probably be wearing suits and shoes that are 20+ years old. You can get an idea of the sort of style they favour by looking at the tailors many of them use - Kashkets, or Goldings, for example.

BSR is correct about jacket removal; it isn't done.
 

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I think you have received some good advice above. Personally I like bow ties, especially with a DB suit, but some might quibble. They are definitely less common.
The club will have little to no say in how you and the other quests should dress. I recently attended a private talk at the Travellers and was appropriately dressed in a dark suit, plain tie and polished oxfords. I had invited a friend, however, and was slightly dismayed by his shabby/bohemian turn-out - not even a tie, which is an obvious no-no in clubland, wearing a tweed jacket, worn-out cords and desert boots too. He looked like a tramp. However, as we were guests at a private talk, he was not barred entry - though the doorman gave a slightly weary smile.
 

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And I must strongly advise against the suggestion above to remove your jacket. Under no circumstances take your jacket off, waistcoat or no. You will immediately look like one of the wait staff.
I have to argue from authority here - aside from the fact that you won't look like the waitstaff if you have a decent quality shirt and tie and are the one standing on the podium. I spent many years giving presentations on Wall Street - and did a fair amount of research into effective presentations. I've occasionally taught presentation skills. This works. The audience is more receptive, the engagement is better, you actually give the impression of greater confidence. A dress code is nothing against these benefits.
 

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I have to argue from authority here - aside from the fact that you won't look like the waitstaff if you have a decent quality shirt and tie and are the one standing on the podium. I spent many years giving presentations on Wall Street - and did a fair amount of research into effective presentations. I've occasionally taught presentation skills. This works. The audience is more receptive, the engagement is better, you actually give the impression of greater confidence. A dress code is nothing against these benefits.
This might be alright on Wall Street, but a London club with an audience of senior military personnel is not the same. I have never presented on Wall Street, but I have briefed senior military officers including CDS and CGS.

Chasseur could always take the lead from his audience, of course.
 

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I would cast my vote with Anubis' recommendations. It's been a long while since I've lived in the UK, but my recollections are that the situation calls for restraint in your clothing choices; let the substance of your presentation be front and center, especially if this is an audience that isn't familiar with you. I smiled (and agreed with) the comment regarding square-toed shoes and looking like a footballer. On that note, I guess you best leave the Bentley Continental GT at home and take an Uber.
 

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I have to argue from authority here - aside from the fact that you won't look like the waitstaff if you have a decent quality shirt and tie and are the one standing on the podium. I spent many years giving presentations on Wall Street - and did a fair amount of research into effective presentations. I've occasionally taught presentation skills. This works. The audience is more receptive, the engagement is better, you actually give the impression of greater confidence. A dress code is nothing against these benefits.
London is not, thankfully, Wall Street.

https://www.carltonclub.co.uk/dress-code/

Cheers,

BSR
 

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Gentlemen: with all due respect you are talking about how someone should dress to fit in with a club, I am talking about how someone should dress when making a presentation. I concede that if the club is more important than the content of the presentation, you are utterly right and I am utterly wrong.
 

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And with all due respect, I may be mistaken, and others are welcome to offer kind correction.

The stated goal of the OP was to "make an impeccable first impression" in a private London club setting with the stated aim of potentially landing future employment. Being unaware of the basic ettiquete of London club dress, in a gathering where he is an invited foreign guest, would result in a high likelihood of failure to achieve either admirable goal.

But I am willing to admit error where it possibly exists. Taking his jacket off and illustrating his Yank joie de vie at the lectern, might be just the medicine needed to break the ice in Whites or Boodles. I might just give it a try myself next time I visit "The Big Smoke".

Cheers,

BSR
 

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A further point to consider is that London clubs are not heated the same way as offices or shops are. Even at the height of summer, let alone autumn when the OP will be talking, they are not usually very warm places. The rooms are large with high ceilings, and although there are fireplaces, they are unlikely to be lit. It might look out of place and odd, and also rather contrived, to remove one's jacket.
 

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London is not, thankfully, Wall Street.

https://www.carltonclub.co.uk/dress-code/

Cheers,

BSR
Thank you for offering this! I think it both timely and on-point.

And I also think that offering such a guide is both helpful and kind; a way of promoting the general enjoyment of members while minimizing the possibility of embarrassment for all concerned. But the ironies implicit in both the publishing of such guidance and its contents are too ripe to ignore! ;)

I was first left to puzzle why they'd want me to wear the trousers for White Tie, irrespective of what nature of jacket I'm wearing?

Though I know full well that's not what is meant by the term "formal trousers" it provides a comic mental image of members possibly strolling the club in a tweed jacket and formal trousers. :D

But it begs the issue of what sort of staff would misuse the term either out of ignorance, or worse, deliberately as being the best one to communicate the intent to members? What sort of members are these?

Sadly, the list subsequently offered allows insight into that last question. They and/or their guests are the kind that might show up at the club in track suits or flip-flops! :eek:

And the fact that this guide had to be promulgated, as well as its contents, leads to some unfortunate speculation as to the criteria for membership. Refined taste? Discernment? Urbane accomplishment? Likely not. Rather a sneaking suspicion that there is only one common quality among them.



Marxist Doctrine:

"I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member."
 
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