Black Tie – Tuxedo

Cross-cultural dress code considerations. The wording on the invitation card was clear. Dress code: Black Tie.

I took it seriously, but not literally, and packed my best suit. The suitcase was lost and never reappeared. Singapore Airlines.

Suit rental in Sydney was the order of the day. I found, somewhat hidden, Man About Town – Formal Wear – in Pitt Street and met an experienced men’s outfitter who greeted me with a slight Italian-accented Australian English.

He asked for the invitation card:
⏭️ Aha, a wedding.
And he asked about my role.
⏭️ Ah, closest relatives.
There was only one option. It had to be the tuxedo. Literally, I thought to myself. How good that my suitcase had been lost. Glück im Unglück. Blessing in disguise.

This was a few months ago.

And now I’m back in Sydney and had a ticket for the gala dinner of the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce. Networking as a member of the German Australian Business Council e.V. in Germany.

No surprise when the dress code was announced a few days before the event: Black Tie. I had dispensed with a suit in my suitcase and had firmly planned a visit to Pitt Street. This time no hesitation, but the tuxedo.

Networking at the event, especially at the bar, was very exciting, informal and very friendly for me as a newcomer.

“What brought you to the event here, Bernd?”
“I orient myself in Sydney and would like to explore whether my competence for Intercultural Leadership Excellence could perhaps be of interest here.”

“And you, Felix?”
“I’m the consul general here.”

Oh yes, and my tuxedo outfit got positively noticed, especially the concealed shirt button placket and the patent leather shoes. I enjoyed the compliments and my thanks go to Man About Town on Pitt Street.

Fun, joy and entertainment, an event to enjoy, see

✳️ My learning: Dress code in Australia is to be taken literally and very important. Even if I might be of the opinion that I read it too closely with my German lenses.

➡️ And you? What experiences have you had with the dress code in an intercultural context?

Thank you, Samuel Davies and Konstantin Brechtel, for the kind intro before and during the event. My luck of the draw at table 3.

If further interested in this matter, check out a recent post of Melanie Habel, summarising dress code principles (

If you are interested, feel free to follow me at LinkedIn, #Prepare4Landing or contact me directly. I am Bernd Scharbert and my task as a mentor for leaders and executives is to accompany them in such a way that globally composed and intercultural teams will continue to develop and grow together.

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