For Thursday night’s White House state dinner in honor of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and his wife, Kim Yoon-ok, Michelle Obama wore an asymmetrical purple gown by Korean-American designer Doo-Ri Chung. Now, yes, the First Lady didn’t have to travel anywhere but she was appearing before foreign dignitaries and she felt it would be respectful to wear a dress from their country.
It got me thinking about all the things businesswomen have to prepare for when they travel abroad, besides just working through jet lag. Attire, which is a big part of business etiquette, presents a lot to deal with: weather conditions, cultural expectations and style. For business, behavior and manners can be completely different than what we are used to in the U.S. In the A woman initiating a handshake in certain cultures is very taboo (it is okay in the Czech Republic though) as is chewing gum or even wearing boots. You should always do research before you visit a new country, though just observing the culture and networking when you are there will help tremendously. Here are a few essentials to get you started with help from a few experts: