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Personal Branding: A Gentleman’s Guide To Dress Codes

There are a couple of new inclusions of current-day dress codes that need to be highlighted. Read on to know.

Wardrobe essentials for gentlemen have taken a whole new dimension these days.  With the total sartorial chaos we currently see, I feel it is a necessity to revisit the different dress codes that are out there; especially those we, in Asia are synonymous with.  

There are a couple of new inclusions of current-day dress codes that need to be highlighted.  Read on to know.

The Black Tie

It was in 1886 when Black Tie properly became part of fashion history.  

The traditional tuxedo or dinner jacket is a staple part of the ensemble, to be accompanied with matching trousers and optional black waistcoat or cummerbund, a white formal shirt, a black bow tie or alternatively a black tie.  On the feet, black dress socks and black formal shoes. There are other accessories that can be added on, like cufflinks, suspenders, white silk or linen handkerchief as a pocket square.

That said, the Black Tie or tuxedo has been given a new life recently, adding on a harness as part of this classic ensemble.  The actor, Terry Crews was seen donning one at the recent Oscars. The harness should be attributed to Louis Vuitton’s menswear artistic director, Virgil Abloh, who has taken this classic look to a whole new level.

Corporate Attire

Corporate Attire or Corporate Wear consists of a formal suit, tie, business-shirt and leather dress shoes to be accompanied by classic timepieces.  However, of late, we have seen it evolve; an example, the leather dress shoes have been replaced with loafers or sneakers to give it a relaxed look.  Just make sure those sneakers are white and clean to give this ensemble a crisp, clean air.


“A pupil or graduate of an expensive prep school” – this is the definition of the word preppy in the dictionary.  With that, a look was coined. The preppy look is one that is defined by Oxford button-down and polo shirts, navy blazers, chinos and on the feet, suede loafers – in short, it is unapologetically all-American as it gets.

Having said that, in my opinion, the most versatile piece of this ensemble is a knitted sweater; tie it around the waist, hang it on the shoulders, wear it on top of your button down.  The knitted sweater will definitely give the look a preppy vibe.


A style of casual clothing and very comfortable street fashion, streetwear is also known as casual wear.  The common combination will be jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps and sneakers, worn usually by teenagers. These days, however, there seems to be new dawn to streetwear; wearing it like a grownup.  Amen to that!

Few things to consider when up-age the streetwear; luxe-up the fabric, do not just go for the hype, instead, wear something you are comfortable with.  Next, think loose, not baggy; the baggy cut is usually less forgiving to dadbods compared to the youngbods; so stick to the former.

Athleisure (Athletics / Leisure)

Men have got the ladies to thank, for this arrival of a new dress code.  Something, as an Image Branding professional, I do not necessarily condone.  That said, if you really want to do it, let’s do it right. Women have been seen for a long time donning their yoga bests on the streets.  Well, something I have to admit, it is truly comfortable but to get it to look presentable can be a little tricky.

Here is my take.  Shoes are key – even though it is called athleisure, presentation is everything.  Make sure your pair of kickers are not worn and they are clean. Travelling up, your pair of joggers; keep them tapered and slim not baggy; the former gives you a cleaner look.  Hooded tops come to mind whenever we talk about sporty wear. You can still keep that but again, lumpy, baggy one is not a good option. Layers add substance to this whole look. My current favourite; a pair of tapered joggers, slim t-shirt and a fleece jacket on top.  For days that you want to take athleisure a notch-up, throw on a trench coat. The most important thing is to ensure that you are comfortable without looking like you’ve just rolled out of bed.

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Zu Anjalika Kamis Gunnulfsen is a certified Image Branding & Lifestyle Consultant. Born in Singapore and blessed to have lived in a couple of other amazing cities in the world, Anjalika is currently expatriating in Kuala Lumpur. Follow her on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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