A colleague told me the other day, “I don’t know whether what you’re wearing is formal or informal.” At that time I was wearing a pale blue shirt, navy blue pants, butterscotch belt and shoes. The look was very Italian. I pondered on his statement for some time and decided to write about it.

Traditionally, when one says formal it meant the likes of black tie. In the Philippines, when you are in a dress shirt and dress pants you are considered fairly dressed up. Sometimes people describe me as wearing ‘formal’ attire even though I am not formally dressed. And I have noticed that most Filipinos consider all black waist down the most ‘formal’. I was wearing a butterscotch belt and shoes so I didn’t exactly look ‘formal’ hence the quip from my colleague.

I believe business dress should not be conservative or boring. Black might be widely accepted but it is a color that looks drab in a country where there is sufficient amount of sunshine and is meant to be used in dressier, more formal occasions. One should not look too serious about his work that his colleagues and clients will regard him in such a manner.

Being dressed up for work says you are serious about what you do. But when you wear other colors and express yourself it also says you’re not all work and no play.