Davos – From Dress Code to Sexist Codes at the WEF

CultureFashionJanuary 15, 2024

This week, the World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos. It’s basically the rich and powerful‘s favourite hangout. Got an invite or did your company drop a cool €23,800 for your ticket? Then, you’ll want to read this. We’re talking about how to look good even when it’s freezing at minus 10°C. But there’s more – we’re also spilling the tea on the not-so-glam side of this ‘improving the world’ shindig. We’ll start with what is the dress code for Davos and wrap up with the touchy topic of Davos’ sexist vibes.

Davos: The Insider Scoop

The World Economic Forum, around for 55 years, got its name from its host city, Davos. For one week, this Swiss Alpine spot becomes the it-place for business bigwigs, political leaders, celebs, and even royals. This year, they are expecting the new Argentinian president! And you might bump into Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, or the Google CEO at some swanky dinner or after-party. Or who knows, maybe just walking down the street.

Now, you don’t want to stick out for the wrong reasons. You’ve got 10 minutes to make an impression when you walk into a room, so dress to impress.

collage with menswear as an idea to what to pack for Davos
Fursac Suit Etro Scarf Thom Browne CoatFursac Shirt Burberry Tote BagLottusse Boots

Davos Dress Code

  • Rule one: don’t freeze. Applies to everyone. Shivering or turning blue is not a good look, especially among the super-rich. Pack a solid winter coat (it’s gonna be around -10°C). Don’t forget a hat, gloves, warm boots, and thermal undies.
  • Choose boots that are both toasty and stylish. It saves you the hassle of changing shoes between events, plus you skip those annoying queues and security checks. Ladies, some fashion-forward Eastern Europeans might switch their boots for sky-high heels and fancy fur coats. If you want to keep up, stash some heels in a trendy day bag and swap shoes at the conference lounge.
  • If you’re not a rockstar or tech whiz, go for a suit. A blazer or a tweed with a tie works too. Ladies, business attire is key in Davos. Think classy cashmere dresses or knit pants with a silk blouse. The vibe is fancy but not too stiff.
  • Gals, your event lanyard and badges are your go-to accessories for the week. Please keep it simple with earrings and cocktail rings, and maybe skip the necklaces.
  • Bag-wise, think Prada Galleria, The Row Margaux, Goyard tote, Loewe, or Birkin. Gents, channel your inner Jacob Elordi or LeBron James with something from Louis Vuitton, Saint Laurent, or Bottega Veneta.
  • Flying commercial? The airport is like a mini Davos. Dress to turn heads and be remembered. Picture cashmere, fur, leather, and designer bags – Quiet Luxury stuff that screams ‘shopping with Gwyneth Paltrow.’

collage with womenswear as an idea to what to pack for Davos
Sandro BootsIsabel Marant Bucket Hat Essentiel Antwerp Faux Fur CoatVanessa Bruno TrousersEtro Scarf The Row Margaux Bag

The Darker Side of Davos

Three years back, The Times of London and Channel 4 revealed a not-so-pretty truth about Davos. Despite all the talk about female equality, Davos is quite the boys’ club. During the Forum, this tiny town fills up with foreign sex workers. The parties? Brimming with women paid to entertain the big shots. An undercover Channel 4 reporter heard this from a woman who had to hide in a bathroom from a
pushy guy: “W.E.F. is the worst because they’re hanging with their privileged buddies,” she said. “Here, it’s actually safer for them to act out than anywhere else. They behave worse than I’ve ever seen because it’s all hush-hush. They think they can do whatever they want.

Women in Davos

In 2023, less than 30% of the folks at Davos were women, showing how lopsided the top jobs are. Davos remains a big deal, a place where major societal decisions are made. But women need to take a hard look at this event. It’s time to speak up about the unfairness, the bad behaviour, and the sexism.

Always have your phone with you. Use it to record voices, take photos, and videos. Stay out of shady situations, and make sure you’re not alone. And don’t be scared off by the blue or white badges that sort people in Davos. If you need to call out a ‘Davos-Man’ for crossing the line, just do it.

Feature Image: Angelina Jolie via @wikimediacommons @worldeconomicforum