If we had a dollar for every time we’ve read the words “western business attire,” maybe we’d all be rich, instead of just looking like we are. But alas, Model UN conferences don’t pay in dollars; no, they reward participants with the communication skills, collaboration ability, and global understanding that lasts a lifetime. And while that’s all good and fine, you may be thinking, why does it mean I have to do it in a suit?
Indeed, the words “western business attire” conjure up images of painful tradition and conformity, shoehorning students into Eurocentric, classist and outdated roles.
But the truth is that for better or for worse, diplomacy is an affair of presentation and personality – and when putting your best foot forward, the shoe you’re wearing matters.
First, being a sharp dresser and standing out from the crowd can work wonders at a tournament where you may only have a few hours to make the magic happen. If you think about it, from the moment you walk into the room of your assembly you have to begin networking, collaborating, drafting solutions, winning people over, editing, compromising, presenting – and repeat, as many times as necessary. That’s a lot of work, and a good first impression can most definitely go a long way. By putting effort into your appearance, you convey the message that not only that you know what you’re doing, but that you’re passionate about it. Even before anyone says a word, people will gravitate towards that character, and those crucial first moments can make all the difference.
Furthermore, and perhaps more importantly, it significantly boosts your self-confidence if you look the part. Ever heard the phrase ‘fake it till you make it’? In this case, you’re not faking it – you’re ensuring that your external appearance matches your knowledge and preparation. Putting on that blazer helps you get in character and shift your mindset in order to be better focused. You’re not just a high school student anymore; now you’re an international diplomat, ready to tackle a wealth of global issues.
So, the next time you see the words “western business attire,” hopefully you’ll begin to see an opportunity in place of an inconvenience. If something as simple as clothing can boost your standing in others’ eyes and your own – what’s not to love?