Have suit, will travel

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“I supposeI’d better get my suit out for EPCA,” said one US petrochemical conference veteranon the phone to me yesterday. “It’s all casual for US conferences, unlessyou’re giving a presentation.”



What asartorial gulf there is between the US and the rest of the world.



Our teamreturning from the Southwest Fertilizer conference in San Antonio told me that it was allopen-necked checked shirts and cowboy hats. And Stephen B in our Houston office tells me that business casual was the dress code at the
National Biodiesel Board annual conference and the RenewableFuels Association’s ethanol conference.



But I’m notsure I believe in the all-casual theory of American conferences. It’sdefinitely all suits at the NECA Winter Meeting in New York. And although most of the suits atthe annual NPRA conference in San Antonio are sported by Asians and Europeans, I’m sureI’ve spotted a few suited-and-booted Americans too.



If you’vescaled back your wardrobe to just one suit, there’s a lot of pre-conferencepressure to fit into it. And it seems a bit rash to be stuck with just one suitfor both meeting and eating. What if you spill egg down the front? What if youare caught in the torrential downpours which are so much a feature of Monte Carlo conferences?



One shipbrokertold me that he had to run out and buy a new suit on the Saturday at EPCA in Berlin last year, because Air France had lost his luggage on theway there. That’s all right on the Kurf├╝rstendam, but you don’t want to have todo that in the millionaire’s playground of Monte Carlo.

 

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