Q: Is there a tactful way to let a male colleague know that wearing a brown belt with black shoes is not considered appropriate dress?
A: To begin with, I’d be very careful about which office battles I choose to take on. In the bigger scheme of office relations, this issue may not be worth making a point of. But assuming the matching-belt-and-shoe issue is something that I really want to talk to someone about, one option is to approach him directly: “Hey Jerry, you may want to keep your jacket buttoned today. You seem to have gotten a brown belt on, and you’re wearing black shoes.” You might also consider a more circumspect approach. On a day when Jerry had managed to match his belt and his shoes, you could make a comment like: “You know, Jerry, I can’t believe myself sometimes. I was getting into my car when I realized I had on a brown belt AND black shoes. By the time I made the switch, I almost missed the train!”