What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Formal for galas 2x a year; regular business for work. The Congolese love to dress up and often the Americans are the most casual in the restaurant. Don't wear khaki shorts and flip-flops. Just don't. - Aug 2019

Business to business casual, depending on your job. I usually did not wear a jacket unless I needed to go to an outside meeting and often didn't wear a tie, but some sections are more formal than others. Congolese are fashion conscious, but it isn't a faux pas to dress casually as an expat. - Apr 2019

Pretty casual, try to avoid short shorts/skirts/dresses, formal attire once a year, max. Most business men wear suits. - Dec 2017

Casual dress for Americans. - Dec 2017

Formal dress needed for the annual TASOK (international school) Gala and Marine Ball. Normal daily work attire is mostly business casual except for certain offices where jacket and/or tie are expected. Even then, most keep them hanging on the back of the office door until necessary. - Mar 2017

Typical for Africa--business casual, with jackets needed at formal events. For women, bring outfits that cover shoulders/knees to avoid unwanted attention. Bring all your work outfits and shoes with you--there are not good shopping options in the city, although tailors can adjust/repair Western clothing as needed. - Jan 2017

Pretty formal. Congolese take their fashion seriously, and always look great. Even if in jeans, they are ironed and worn with fancy shirts and shoes. - Sep 2016

Congolese dress well - especially considering the heat. Suits for the most part at work; even wandering the streets you will not see people in shorts or sweatpants. Most women wear long dresses/skirts - often in traditional fabrics. Showing knees as a woman is somewhat risky (and uncomfortable). Within our USG compound people are in shorts and t-shirts, but you don't see a lot of that kind of dress on the streets. - Apr 2016

Work: Jacket and tie for the men with the jacket usually off but available if needed for meetings. Slacks, summer-weight dresses (sleeveless ok), blouses for the women. Street: Quite casual for most although upper class Congolese are usually dressed quite well. Many expats have shirts, dresses, and skirts tailored from local fabrics. Above the knee skirts and sleeveless shirts/dresses are not a problem. Would not recommend camisole-style tops or very short skirts or shorts. - Jan 2014

The U.S. Embassy is business dress for some and business casual for others depending on the position. The Congolese government and other embassies are pretty much uniformly business dress, while NGOs and Monusco are more casual. It can get very hot in business dress at receptions and lunches, so try to bring light materials. - Nov 2012

Work -- business attire. Public - casual, though shorts on women tend to be frowned on. - Feb 2012

Smart casual. - Nov 2011

The usual - Aug 2011

Business casual. If women underdress in public, they are subject to un-wanted attention. - Jan 2011

Business casual. In public, very much whatever you like. - Oct 2010

Same as in DC, but lighter material. - Jan 2009

New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More