Women Travelers - Business attire, Texas
Jan 12, 10, 2:17 pm
Guys, just found out I'll be doing a project in south-west Texas.
I've never worked in the US. Usually for this kind of kick off meeting, I'd go along suited and booted, but able to carry out fieldwork if necessary (ie a suit and sensible shoes!).
Having read the forum for a while, I have a feeling that a UK suit might be too formal for this kind of situation. I might have to go into meetings, climb in and out of SUVs/pick-ups and wander across fields, so trousers are de rigeur.
Any suggestions? I'm inclined towards female version of chinos - but with a blouse instead of polo shirt and smarter dark jacket. And probably hiking boots, although it might be dry enough to get away with stout shoes which look dressier.
Jan 12, 10, 2:24 pm
UK suit is way too formal for West Texas. I'd go with the hiking boots. No need for 'the dressier look' IMO.
Can you tell us a little more about the job assignment and the industry. Are you dealing with Texans, engineers? Petro stuff?
I'd say for an office visit a trouser suit would be great. Pack an extra pair of shoes and a windbreaker jacket. Heels two inches or less, rubber soles preferable. For an onsite visit go jeans and whatever else is appropriate for the conditions. They won't mind. Texas is super casual.
Beware though, if it's petro industry and you are invited to a fancy dinner, the ladies often go all out. This will be even dressier than in Europe.
Just some general ideas without knowing the specifics.
Jan 13, 10, 8:32 am
It's an airport! (which also explains why I'm not specifying exactly where in Texas) It's the project kick off meeting, which may involve a site/airfield inspection, so I need to be fairly flexible. I'll be going in with colleagues from the local office, so don't want to be too far out of kilter (I could ask them, but they're guys, so may not know the nuances of female attire :D). Also just finally checked the weather, and it's about 5-10 degrees cooler than I thought it would be, so a warmer outfit than I was thinking about will be required.
For our in-house meeting, I'll probably go with what I would term my usual office scruff ;) but that I would consider too informal for meeting clients.
And good heads up on the need to pack something dressy for evening. Hadn't even considered that! Thanks for the comments :)
Jan 13, 10, 9:39 am
So you'll pick up a pair of cowboy boots when you get to Texas then? And a suitable hat? ;)
Greeting to a group: "Howdy y'all", or "Hi y'all!" :)
Jan 13, 10, 10:06 am
"Y'all" by all means, but if you walk in saying "howdy" they'll think you're from another planet - a patronizing one.
Jan 13, 10, 10:58 am
Oh I can do "y'all", learned to do that one when I spent some time in North Carolina - I pick up accents and commonly used terms way too easily :o
Jenbel, airport open field you should be fine. If it's pouring rain outside they'll probably try and come up with rubber boots for everyone. Downpours can be torrential here. Otherwise, I think my preliminary recommendations still hold.
And a stereotype for giggles:
Texan guys won't know a thing about nuances other than those of horses and guns, of course. Heehaw! :)
Jan 13, 10, 7:08 pm
Jenbel, as a Texan and female, let me add that they know who you are and where you come from. That all won't be a surprise! They are paying for an expert with experience. I would arrive in my normal attire, but have a complete change of clothes at hand so you can do a fast change in the Ladies room if you need to for going out into the field.
I always travel in full business attire. The company rule is that we have to travel dressed to be ready for a press conference if need be. As I am an older woman I nearly always travel in a skirted suit.
Underdressing can be seen as an insult by many people out here. You can be invited out for a BBQ dinner where the dress code is much more casual, but you never know if they will take you to an oak paneled office for a meeting or their country club for lunch. Don't under estimate the power of an attractive woman wearing a skirt (and top of course) who shows some nice leg getting in and out of trucks and SUV's which by the way are our normal transport systems!
Don't even attempt to fool around with a Texan accent. That really doesn't go over well. You are from Scotland. They will love that as many Texan ranch families are descended from folks who left Scotland to get their own land in America.
Good luck and don't eat the calf fries!
Good luck and don't eat the calf fries!
We call them prairie oysters in Canada;)
Jan 17, 10, 1:53 pm
Thanks guys - trip has now been postponed so hopefully things will have warmed up by the time I get there!