Business Golf Primer – Fashion Faux Pas

Elegantly attired members from the Executive Women's Golf Association (EWGA)

Dressing for golf is a little tougher than dressing for business….but more fun.

Despite more relaxed dress codes in many offices these days, the basic rules for business still apply in the upper echelons of executive circles:  you’ll need a conservative suit in dark blue or black, a crisp white, cream, or blue shirt or blouse, a classy tie for the men, appropriate socks or hosiery and matching shoes in good repair, understated, top quality classic jewelry, a classic handbag or briefcase, and a great watch.

For golf, a conservative look never misses but you can get a little bit more creative with your personal style in choosing colors, fabrics, and fashions.

Styles change from year to year but golf fashion does not evolve as dramatically as the world of high fashion. What this means is you need not spend a fortune annually to continue to look good.  For women it is more difficult to find a varied selection of women’s clothing in golf pro shops or mega-stores but if you have access to the pro shop at a private club, you should feel confident that any styles there are up to date and fashionable, especially if there is a person dedicated toward the women’s section.  Selections for men are always more plentiful than for women, but some clubs are realizing that if they don’t carry a varied array of styles, they are basically sending the women away to go and buy elsewhere.   Better department stores are also beginning to carry functional and stylish golf clothes, sports attire, and performance wear as well.

In a pinch, you will never go wrong with a basic logo golf shirt in any color, a matching sweater or vest, a tailored pair of navy, black, or khaki shorts or slacks, a top quality belt, and a good pair of classic leather golf shoes.   Also recommended is some type of  hat or visor and a top quality pair of  UV-filtering sun glasses.

OK, that’s pretty easy.  Now, let’s look at what you do NOT want to do:

–          This is obvious but needs to be said: golf clothes can take a lot of abuse due to heat and humidity but never wear dirty or stained clothes.  If they get that way during the course of a round, don’t worry because often it involves a great story to tell;  and, more power to you because you’ve been working hard.  But, if your favorite top is faded or torn, don’t be nostalgic.  Don’t wear it in public.   To be safe, get rid of it and avoid the temptation.

–          Wear clothes that fit.  Nix outfits that are too tight or you’ll look like a sausage stuffed into a casing or sport the dreaded muffin-top.   A snug shirt will not allow you to move properly and you might rip it during a swing.    You may have prize abs you want everyone to see but the golf course is not the place nor the time.   For women, never wear shorts or pants that are too short or too tight, even if you have the figure and/or the legs for it.  It will be a subject of conversation for the men in your group after you’re gone – and the subject won’t be business opportunities.   Save those outfits for the dance floor.  Many golf clubs still have dress codes limiting the length of shorts, and while I am not a fan of too-long shorts that drape at the worst part of your leg (read ‘fleshiest’) and inhibit good leg movement in the golf swing, neither do I believe it is wise to wear shorts or skirts exposing what should be left to the beach.  If in doubt, change into something else – you’ll feel better and be more comfortable.

–          Don’t wear socks that are stained or dirty or have holes in them.  You never know when you’ll have to remove your shoes;   some clubs do not allow any type of golf shoes inside the dining room or clubhouse…..and they surely would not appreciate bare feet should you have to ditch the holey socks.   Besides, new socks always feel wonderful, don’t they?

–          Don’t wear low cut or tank tops because you do not want ‘the girls’, ‘the puppies’ – or whatever other pet name you have to indicate breasts – hanging out there for all to see.  You’ll be distracted knowing what is showing, and won’t be concentrating on your swing.  The guys will, though.  And guys, tank tops have been a no-no for you for years, so this is nothing new.

–          Don’t wear any ‘cutting edge’ fashions or anything over the top with large cut-outs or peek-a-boo slots.  There are some avant-garde clothing lines out there – which are  fine – but now is not the time to be a raging fashionista.  This is not to say you can’t push the envelope when playing with friends or for fun, but not during a business round.

–          Do not wear the ‘belly-baring’ fashions that some college girls wear.  Again, you may have the figure for it, but a business round is not the place.

–          Don’t wear any ‘questionable’ or suggestive logos that may insult or embarrass your playing partners; that ‘Hooters’ shirt or ‘Juicy’ hat may be a classic to you but may offend your foursome.   Racial and political slogans are not a good choice either.  You may also want to be sure you don’t wear the logo of a business competitor either, simply out of respect.  It is a good idea to have a change of clothes or alternate outfit for times surprises pop up and someone you didn’t expect is in your group.  Business situations change and colleagues often substitute for one another.

–          Keep your hair tied back or tuck it into a hat.  Don’t hold up play because you are fooling with your hair as it flies around.

–          Keep the perfume or cologne to a bare minimum not only to be sensitive toward your partners’ noses when the breezes blow downwind, but also to minimize visits from bees.  Getting stung is not a fun concept and can put a crimp in your otherwise glorious and productive day.

–          Don’t worry about changing for apres-golf dinners or banquets.  A shower and change of clothes is nice, but while you are in the locker room, you are not where you should be, in the center of whatever discussions are taking place.  In the past, everyone changed clothes, but now that tradition has gone by the wayside and people wear their golf clothes.  A brief touch up in the locker room should do the trick unless you are truly a 10-minute quick-change artist.

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