Apprentice vs Dragons Den: The Clothes We Wear

What year does Lord Sugar think this is?

Why does the Apprentice programme insist on all men in suits and ties and women in frock and heels (okay some trousers) but let’s face it – the dress code for the programme is so outdated and gives the wrong message to anyone who is watching to be inspired to be a business owner,  partner entrepreneur.

I watch every year because I like to see the behaviours and analyse them and I know they edit it for “good tv watching” but you can really see the stronger, generally extroverted , characters on episode one, but as the series unfolds you see the more reserved, also strong, characters unfold. I am particularly keen on this series as young Avi Sharma was a delegate on one of my programmes s a few years ago and I am now seeing his “fun loving, character come out”

I am also a Dragon’s den lover, especially now with Stephen Bartlett as a Dragon. Whether the title of the programme gives the right image or not, because I wouldn’t actually call any of them Dragons, some can be harsh and cutting with their words but they are all there to give their feedforward on why they are “out” or to make an offer.

I wanted to write this because of the vast difference in the dress code.

I spent many a year in the corporate world, where absolutely the Apprentice dress code was the business dress code, I wore a frock, a heel (maybe even one with a red sole). The hair, the nail, the makeup all immaculate because that WAS how business was done.

And now, this is 2023, Dragons Den show the real world. Yes Peter wears a suit and tie, because that is what he feels comfortable in, in a business environment, Touker Suleyman wears a suit and shirt, no tie. Deborah and Sara have a mixed array, suits but also sometimes more relaxed. Stephen Barlett is – to me – the image of what the modern business world is. Even the business owners that come into pitch, where their own “uniform”.

What is your dress code?

I started #WeekOnAWall, inspired by Jo Elvin and my wardrobe is very varied, depending on what I am doing, but as a rule, my “go-to” business wardrobe is navy jeans, shirt/t-shirt/top, jacket and more often than not a silk scarf. Big glasses, red lipstick and red nails. What came first my wardrobe or branding – not sure but they complement each other.

We all know that we make a first impression, according to studies it is within 7 seconds, we judge on dress, hair, image, skin colour, the car we drive and we form an opinion.

We also form an opinion on business, our branding, our website, our dress code.

Now I love that I run my own business and I get to choose what I wear. When I am home, I am generally in jeans, today as I type this, it’s blue skinny jeans and a white roll-neck jumper – that’s because I have calls today and a white top shows better on Zoom because I sit in front a red branded wall. I had a red jumper on the other day, no calls planned and then my lovely Friend Richard McCann was LIVE on FB, thought I would give it a watch and then he pulled me into the video (I wasn’t prepared as had messy bun hair and no make-up – now the old me would have said “noooooo way, not coming on camera” but I thought, well now you get to see me on a non-meeting day. It was all a bit too much red, I blended in with my wall hahahaha..

The first 5 years of my career were spent working in the Bank and back then I had a uniform, that was great because it meant I had a work wardrobe and everything else was for causal. I guess that’s where the change has happened, I no longer have a Work Wardrobe and a casual wardrobe, they blend into one. I will happily stand on stage with smart jeans, shirt, and blazer

My question to you:

So what do you think of the Apprentice Dress Code? Outdated or bring it back, I want suits and smart outfits.

What do you think of jeans, a shirt and a blazer?

What do you wear?

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