What to Wear to a PCG Meeting: A Guide for Client Side Project Managers

Jackson Row
Jackson Row
January 29, 2024

As a client side project manager, attending Project Control Group (PCG) meetings is a crucial part of your role of successfully planning and managing the delivery of capital works projects. These meetings are not just about presenting progress updates or discussing project timelines; they are also an opportunity to reinforce your professional image and credibility. One key aspect of this is dressing appropriately, which shouldn't be a thing, but it is a thing.

Dress to impress on your next PCG meeting with these suggestions and create a look that screams "I mean business."

The Importance of Dressing Appropriately

First impressions matter; in a professional setting like a PCG meeting, how you dress can significantly impact how your clients, stakeholders, and team members perceive you. Your attire should convey professionalism, competence, and respect for the meeting's significance. If you are looking the part and are dressed suitably for the occasion, it should help with the meeting's success. Should.

Dressing for Different Types of PCG Meetings

The appropriate attire can vary depending on the type of PCG meeting and the stakeholders involved. It can also depend on location, so it's important to be prepared in advance. Here are some typical meeting scenarios and how to dress to impress as a client side project manager.

1. Formal PCG Meetings

These are typically with high-level stakeholders, investors, or clients who expect a certain level of formality. Most of the time, these meetings are held in person, providing an opportunity to build rapport.

As a project manager in a formal PCG meeting setting, it's essential to bring some level of authority to the meeting, so business professional attire is recommended.

For men, this includes wearing a suit (opt for conservative colors like black, navy blue, or gray), a crisp business shirt, polished dress shoes, and a belt to match.

The dress code has a broader range of options for women, such as tailored dresses, skirts, or pants that can be coordinated with various blouses or tops. Complete the look with some closed-toe shoes or modest heels, and for a touch of personality, add some accessories for a bolder style.

Perfect gray suit for a PCG meeting.
A professional suit in light gray.

2. Casual PCG Meetings

These meetings might be with a team or stakeholders with whom you have a more established and casual relationship. By now, you've had a few PCG meetings with the team, and everyone is a bit more familiar and relaxed with one another. You can tone it down a little.

For these meeting types, we recommend business casual attire, which combines a balance between professional and relaxed, allowing for more freedom than in your formal meeting scenarios.

Typically, this includes wearing chinos or dark jeans complemented by an open-collared long-sleeve shirt, blouse, or polo shirt. Add a blazer, cardigan, or coat for a more professional touch (or even just for the colder months).

For footwear, choose a closed-toe alternative such as Oxfords, boots, loafers, and flats, all great options. Also, feel free to elevate your jeans by pairing them with heels.

A smart-casual style for males for PCG meetings.
A smart and conservative, yet casual, cardigan for a male client side project manager from Charles Tyrwhitt.

3. Site-Based PCG Meetings

If the meeting is on a construction site or similar location, safety compliance and practicality are your top priorities. Not only will you be required to wear the mandatory personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a high-visibility vest, hard hat, and steel-toe boots, but it's crucial that you come prepared for the on-site conditions.

As a basis, we recommend wearing smart, casual, and comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting a little dirty from the day-to-day construction activities, as well as giving you the necessary protection that you'll need from being outside. Appropriate attire includes chinos, jeans, or heavy-duty workwear trousers (if required); pair this with an open-collared long-sleeve shirt or polo shirt.

One thing to remember is to dress appropriately for the weather conditions, which can mean wearing a puffer vest or jacket in winter months.

Dress appropriately for site-based PCG meetings.
Sleeveless puffer vests have been a favorite of client side project managers for many years.

4. Virtual Meetings

Ah, the virtual PCG meeting. How could we leave this out?  

For video calls, focus on your upper half. A crisp business shirt, blouse, or top is still necessary (you never know when you'll need to stand up unexpectedly!). For below the camera line, comfort is king, but just make sure you stay seated.

Quirky backgrounds or filters can be fun, but we often recommend sticking with a neutral background to avoid distracting the audience. You don't want to end up with a cat head accidentally, like this guy

Make sure you are situated within a well-lit space and opt for a light smoothing filter for a more vibrant appearance on camera.

Even virtual PCG meetings have a dress code.
Virtual background, lighting, and a smart-casual top for virtual PCG meetings.

Additional Tips

  • Grooming: No matter the dress code, being well-groomed is essential as it reflects professionalism within the corporate environment. This includes maintaining a clean and neat personal presentation, paying attention to details such as hairstyle and facial hair (if applicable), appropriate and tasteful accessories, and using a subtle fragrance without overwhelming others.
  • Know Your Audience: Research or ask about the expected dress code if you're meeting new clients or stakeholders for the first time. This will ensure you are covered from a compliance perspective and are aware of any cultural considerations and standards applicable to dress appropriately.
  • Represent Your Organization: Incorporating your company's colors or wearing branded attire creates a unified and professional appearance that positively impacts how a client perceives a company and promotes brand recognition easily throughout the industry.

No alternative text description for this image
Neoscape is a leading client side project management firm that provides quality merchandise to their team.

Conclusion

Dressing appropriately for a PCG meeting as a client side project manager is about finding the right balance between professionalism and practicality. Your attire should suit the meeting's setting and the expectations of those you are meeting with. Remember, the goal is to project an image of professionalism that complements your skills and expertise in managing complex projects. When in doubt, erring on the side of formality is often a safe bet.

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