Thoughts on professional attire in a business setting

Services for Real Estate Pros with BSO

Happy Monday Charleston Real Estate!! 

 I have experienced working in a Business Casual environment where there were "grey areas" of appropriate vs. inappropriate.  I would like to think that common sense tells people that something you might wear to do yard work or to the beach might not be suitable for work.  Even in a business casual work environment, clothing should be pressed and never wrinkled. Torn, dirty, or frayed clothing is unacceptable. All seams must be finished. Any clothing that has words, terms, or pictures that may be offensive to other employees is unacceptable. Clothing that has the company logo is encouraged. The term "casual" is often misleading. 

We run our company from a very relaxed yet professional atmosphere.  We work in a professional office setting in an executive office suite.  However, we are a young couple and feel that we should dress as ourselves and portray "Real" Real Estate professionals.  Joey usually wears nice flip flops with his dress slacks and a very nice polo shirt on top.  I normally wear dresses and sandals.  Nothing is ever inappropriate. 

We are trying to develop a brand image for our company, BSO.  We feel that relating to our clients is highly important in helping them to feel comfortable with us.  Think about it:  when approached by a salesman wearing a suit and tie, you instantly feel the urge to reject whatever he is selling.  He could be giving away free gold coins, but you start preparing yourself to say no before he even begins.  I know that I do.  I start to feel pressured and anxious to leave.  When we are approaching a homeowner with a property of interest to us, we try to relate to them in appearance.  We have found this to be extremely effective when dealing with lower income areas. 

What are your thoughts on this type of attire when put into a business situation?


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Norma Brandsberg
Marks Realty Co. Inc., Lynchburg, VA, 540-586-9496 - Forest, VA

I would say no to the Flipflops. I think that is too casual. Would be interested in hearing from others.

Jun 01, 2009 02:56 AM #1
Ralph Gorgoglione
Maui Life Homes / Metro Life Homes - Kihei, HI
Hawaii and California Real Estate (310) 497-9407

I agree that business casual attire has changed.  And you must be able to identify with your clients.

But you do want to present a professional image, because inevitably you are asking these people to let you handle the biggest finanacial purchase they are ever going to make in their lives.

PLEASE!!  NO FLIP-FLOPS!!   You do not want to ask prospects to trust your guidance on a half-million dollar purchase when your toes are hanging out!!!

Trust me on this one, you will not warrant ANY amount of respect wearing flip-flops or sandals NOT MATTER WHAT INCOME LEVEL THEY ARE IN. 

You're better off wearing something that is trendy, yet still professional to make a connection with the Gen-Y crowd.  As an example, there are some really cool collared shirts with embroidery and/or prints that are really hot now.  That's just one example of taking the past, and weaving it into the present.

Jun 01, 2009 02:58 AM #2
Elinor Grabar
Exit 1 Stop Realty, Jacksonville, FL - Jacksonville, FL

Elinor GrabarAt least look as nice or slightly better than your client.

Jun 01, 2009 03:03 AM #3
Kelli~Rhyanne Bartley
Keller Williams Realty Mid~Willamette - Corvallis, OR

Thank You!! When I first started in real estate, I was told to dress like a "professional". I did for awhile, but it's not me. I'm not saying I dress like I'm going to work in the yard, but I do wear a lot of skirts (yes, with nice flip-flops or sandles) and will also wear jeans with a nice blouse and heels. I have worked with high end buyers as well as lower end...either way, the more down to earth approach is working well for me.

Jun 01, 2009 03:16 AM #4
Christopher Shaw
My First Michigan Home Inc - Southfield, MI

I always believe that you dress the part. People are very visual and you only have one chance to 

make a first impression.  I would go a step farther and make sure your car is clean and neat as


Jun 01, 2009 03:24 AM #5
Audrey Poltor
BSO - Summerville, SC

Kelli, I totally agree with a down to Earth approach.  This is why I wanted to put this post out there.  I guess everyone has different thoughts as to what is appropriate. 

I also wear nice jeans with a pretty top and heels.  I think that also following current fashion trends shows that you also know current housing trends.  Just a thought.....

Jun 01, 2009 03:25 AM #6
Jodie Miller, Realtor, KW, Pasadena
Keller Williams Realty - Pasadena, CA

It also depends on the city you're in, also - some cities are dressier than others.  We're not power suit people in LA, we're more casual, so I try to keep the suit loose, modern, and neutral.  Don't want to look like Shelley Long. 

No flip-flops ever, though.  Not even here.  Because trendy or no, people want to think you know your way around a contract.

Jun 01, 2009 03:50 AM #7
Marchel Peterson
Results Realty - Spring, TX
Spring TX Real Estate E-Pro

I guess I'm going to disagree with everyone on the flip flops.  Maybe it is because I live in Houston but that is fairly common attire here, especially with the younger crowd.  Personally I think it depends on your clientele. I always try to dress similar to what my clients are wearing.  Well maybe a little more dressed up.  My summer wardrobe is Capri's and sandals whereas a lot of my clients are in shorts.

Jun 01, 2009 04:48 PM #8
Kari Battaglia, PA
PalmerHouse Properties - Nokomis, FL
Buy Sell Love Florida

I don't see any Realtors here from the hot, sunny and did I say hot state of Florida.  Here in Florida open toed shoes are the norm.  I am not saying it is OK to wear everyday flip flops that you would wear with blue jeans, but the flip flops here can be quite nice and expensive.  If you are north of here that would definitely not be appropriate.

Jul 16, 2009 10:31 AM #9
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