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If you have ever done business with Russians, you may have noticed their distinctive business attire. Just like every country, they have their customs, style, and culture.
Are you familiar with Russian business attire? How can you best prepare when meeting with Russian clients? Of course, you want to be on point during a business meeting. To help you on your way, I have enlisted the help of international etiquette expert Anne-Marie van Leggelo.
Russia is a wonderful country that has changed enormously in recent years. Do you also see this change reflected in the clothing?
“Definitely. Until about thirty years ago, Russia was still the Soviet Union. Back then, people dressed both practically and modestly. Today this has changed. People are more daring in their dress style. But of course, it differs per region. Rich people in Moscow dress differently from people who live in remote villages.”
How about business attire? What is the norm in Russia?
“In Russia, business clothing is linked to status, and a suit is the way to express your professionalism. Here in the Netherlands men sometimes take off their jacket when they sit down, this will most likely not happen in Russia. You lose your status when you take off your jacket. Details are also very important. In addition to wearing a suit, men should keep their beard neat and shoes polished. When doing business with Russians, wear a suit in a dark color such as navy, black, or charcoal. Bright or light colors are seen as a sign of unreliability. ”
And best for ladies to wear?
In the past, Russian ladies were famous for their chic style. They wore a lot of fur, often combining it with embroidery and velvet. Nothing was too extravagant. But this is changing. Businesswomen these days often wear more modest but still elegant clothes. Skirts are usually knee-length but a little above or below is also acceptable.
Russian women also like to emphasize their femininity and spend a lot of money on grooming and accessories, especially compared with Dutch ladies. For example, they put a lot of thought into their shoes, jewelry, and bags. ”
Any tips for people attending a business meeting?
“Russians feel it is important to invest time into building a good business relationship. So you could be invited to someone’s home for dinner. Keep in mind that you are expected to take off your shoes inside the house. And to build that good relationship, it is important to bring a gift and maintain eye contact with your conversation partner.”
One last tip
Finally, I would like to add that Russian women attach great importance to well-groomed nails and like to be daring. They are not averse to nail art and wearing vibrant colors. I have had conversations about this in my local nail salon. The owner is from Russia and regularly chats with me about Russian women and their appearance.
So if you know a Russian man or woman in your area, be sure to ask them for advice. This a great way to get first-hand knowledge about their business practices.