Dress for Success: Western Business Attire

Dress Code
Some of our AMUN Secretariat showing off their best Western Business Attire

Dress for success. First impressions matter. Dress the part. Fake it ’till you make it. 

We’ve all heard these cliches and idioms a thousand times, but what do they have to do with Model UN?

Even in this 21st century world, Model UN, and diplomacy more broadly, is often a face-to-face endeavor, and this means appearances matter. And the world of international diplomacy is still a pretty conservative place, dominated by people in traditional business suits. As for Model UN, we think that dressing the part transports everyone into a different world, even if just for formal session. This post will help you plan ahead as you think about packing for Conference. You may need to purchase a few new pieces or visit the tailor, so a little lead time never hurts. Conference is just around the corner!

A note, before we continue: You might think the idea of “Western Business Attire” brings with it all sorts of expectations and conventions about race, gender, class, social status, ethnicity, physical ability and nationality. It may seem confining and constraining and terribly out of date. And you’re right. In this post, we use a lot of binary language (e.g., what is “standard” for men and women), even though we know there are Model UN participants who do not identify in these ways. AMUN encourages all participants to dress in a professional manner that generally follows the guidelines for their gender identity and expression.

The AMUN Dress Code

In order to cultivate an atmosphere appropriate to the international diplomatic corps, AMUN has instituted a dress code for all participants. AMUN requires conservative Western business attire for all representatives and Secretariat during all formal sessions, including the final sessions on Tuesday. The AMUN Dress Code is published, in full, in the Rules and Procedures handbook.

Western business attire is a business jacket or suit, dress slacks or skirt, dress shirt (with a tie for men), and dress shoes. Attire should follow the rule of being appropriate for visiting an embassy. Revealing dress shirts that expose excessive bare skin are not appropriate. Sweaters or leggings are generally considered too casual for Western business attire. Clothing that reveals undergarments in any way, including being too tight, is not appropriate. AMUN will not consider any manner of dress appropriate which includes T-shirts, jeans, shorts, hats, athletic shoes or any form of commercial advertising.

The Bottom Line

As you pack, pay close attention to the “yeas” and “nays” of the dress code.

For men:

  • YES to jackets, collared shirts, ties, dress socks and shoes, suits, and slacks.
  • NO to jeans, hats, tennis shoes, t-shirts, advertising, exposed undergarments.

For women:

  • YES to jackets, blouses or collared shirts, hosiery and dress shoes, accessories, suits, dresses, skirts, and slacks.
  • NO to jeans, hats, tennis shoes, t-shirts, advertising, exposed undergarments.

 What About After Hours?

After the formal Model UN day is done, you’re on your own: dress for style, comfort, going out, or whatever floats your boat. Just be sure you’re dressed for success in the morning!

More to read

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