The Unspoken Dress Code in Commercial Real Estate

There’s something I need to get out of the way up front. This article was not sponsored by the Dry Cleaners Association of America. But they’re going to love it.

As I’ve toured offices, here are some of the things I’ve seen:

  • Athletic shoes
  • Men without socks
  • Wrinkled polo shirts
  • Ripped denims

I haven’t seen these things in smaller markets where standards of dress might be relaxed. I saw them in markets where people dress for business.

And every time I’ve seen it, I’ve asked myself a silent question: How would that Advisor do if a conservative 60-year old client wanted him or her to come over right now? And I know the answer… Most of the time, they wouldn’t get the business.

Clothes Make the Advisor

Millennials Dress for Success

Not all Millennials shun traditional business attire. Pictured: Julia Taibl and Michael Malinconico of SVNIC.

You might say that Generation Y is changing the rules and making informality the norm. I’ll see you, and I’ll raise you Frank and Oak’s banner ads with a fully-bearded – and fully suited – Gen Y model. Add in all of the new Internet custom clothiers – who are clearly targeting Millennial customers – and you can see that business wear is ageless.

With perfectly adequate business wear available at Target and Costco and multiple discounts available at Macy’s and other retailers, it’s hard to argue that dressing for success isn’t affordable, either.

While this might all still seem a bit stodgy and old-fashioned, let’s think about what dressing for business every day means. It means that you are always ready for whatever comes. If a jacket is too much, you can take it off before a meeting. Same with a tie, scarf or other accessory. Long sleeves can even be rolled up on a hot day. It’s always easy to dress down. But it’s a lot harder to dress up on the fly.

It’s Smart to Dress for Success

And, here’s the really interesting thing…. Dressing smartly makes you smarter. Research now shows that formal business attire improves critical thinking skills (as does wearing a “doctor’s” coat).

Personally, I know that I feel crisper and sharper when I have a tie on. I’m able to work longer days. And focus harder.

To that end, if you’ve embraced a week-long “casual Friday,” I encourage you to think about starting off 2016 with a new, more professional look. You’ll look better, feel better and, most importantly, broker better. And your clients will thank you for it.

Happy new year, and I can’t wait to see you in San Diego for the SVN Annual Conference! Be sure to register now if you haven’t already. You know what I’ll be wearing…

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