How to Wear Your Protocol "Uniform" - World of Protocol & Diplomacy
JMAMONI Lifestyle & Etiquette Institute Pte. Ltd.
Mar 12, 2019

My first introduction to the world of protocol was in the 1990s, and back in those days (I can’t believe I’m saying this), everything seemed to be a bit more formal and more glamorous. Formal occasions like “black tie” were far more the norm than the “cocktail” or “business” attire that we see nowadays.

Even as a very junior protocol and foreign representatives assistant at one of the top international conference and exhibition centers in Germany, there were many occasions where I had to dress very formally in order to blend in appropriately. As is always the case of jobs early in one’s career, my civil servant salary at the time was not very much. Nonetheless, somehow, I had to find a way to add long gowns to my “work” wardrobe and just hope I could do so very inexpensively. Likewise, my male counterparts had to do the same in search of appropriate tuxedoes.

When on duty at one of these special occasions, where delegations from all over the world including its entourage from the world of diplomacy gather, no matter how dressed up I was, my responsibilities would still likely require doing things much more suited for rumble and tumble wear and definitely NOT the silks and satins more appropriate for the event.
I quickly developed a routine before purchasing anything for work – I would give it a work out-in the dressing room. I tried on many an evening gown from the sales racks and rejected them all if they failed my tests:

  • Could I run in it? (Think of having to chase after motorcades.)
  • Could I jump in it? (Think of how often we have to jump up from seated positions in the back of the room.)
  • Could I reach my arms up high? (Stacking boxes and suitcases in overhead shelves and cupboards.)
  • Could I bend down low? (Picking up odd things dropped by delegations.)
  • Could it be pulled out of a suitcase without looking horribly wrinkled? (Too often, preparation time disappears because of changes in schedules at the last moment.)
  • Could I get in and out of a car quickly and gracefully? (Staff cars are often less comfortable.)

    If I could not run, jump, reach and twist in it in the dressing room, it passed the test! If not, then sadly, it would not make it into my protocol “uniform” but rather on the mannequin

    I assume many of you have often heard protocol officers compared to swans - no matter how stressful the occasion is, these officers have to remain calm, serene and graceful on the surface, while underneath they paddle for dear life in mission mode to keep going. One important fact this experience taught me is that, nothing happens by accident. Every event in the universe is somehow linked. Our job is to look for those links and appreciate it when we find them – I call it the “visual architect” which by the wat can be applied in any industry.

    So, if you are interested in becoming one of these “swans” in your company or climb up the career ladder in any event industry, hospitality industry, official associations or even as a normal staff at the embassy or any governmental section, wear your protocol uniform today and register for our upcoming Protocol and Soft Diplomacy Workshop at

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