Dress = Business Professional

Real Estate Sales Representative with Wyndham Vacation Ownership

I have recently opted to take a week long training course that specifies "Dress is Business Professional" I need some input from fellow activerain members.

I live in Panama City Beach FL, temperatures range from 35 to triple digits in the summer. The humidty is very high. Should the weather play an integral roll on what is considered "Business Professional"?

Business Professional
The following items are acceptable as business attire for women:

  • Suit-black, gray, dark burgundy or navy
  • Contrasting jacket and skirt
  • Two-piece dress
  • White or off-white blouse
  • Solid color blouse (may be pastel)
  • Gold or silver earrings
  • Scarf that picks up colors from the suit
  • Black, navy or taupe pumps
  • Neutral or taupe hosiery
  • Black, dark brown or burgundy leather handbag
  • All-weather coat
  • Black, brown or burgundy briefcase

Is there any leviation? What is considered "Business Professional" in todays workplace? I have a ton of clothes. I do not how ever own a vast array of Suit's.

As always I remember the old adage "Dress for Success" which I try to do on a daily basis in the workplace. Please give me your thoughts and experiences.





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Laura Karambelas
Baird & Warner Downers Grove - Downers Grove, IL
Realtor - Downers Grove


I think dressing professional is important.  I think we need to dress our part though.  We have a big market here and what I am showing plays a part in what I wear.  There are farm properties about 50 miles from Chicago and when I show those, I don't wear suits for sure, nice pants and shirt.  I never wear jeans, shorts or gymshoes no matter what. 

When I was looking at properties in Marco Island, the agent was pulled together and had on dress shorts and a polo....it didn't bother me at all.  She dressed for resort properties.


Mar 16, 2008 05:27 AM #1
Mindy Allen
Allen & Selig Realty - Sebago Lake, ME
My opinion is that as long as you look clean and neat you're half way there. Dressing in suits is a personal decision...I say it depends on who you're working with.  I actually try to get a feel for the client & dress to the situation.  I want my clients and customers to relate to me, it is an important part of building rapport.  I have learned that dress casual is the best way to go for me.  I rarely wear full suits but I have a few if the need arises. Definitely avoid low cut shirts, short skirts, & strappy sandals...since you're in a warmer climate you could wear a quality short sleeved shirt with your agency logo and and a nice A frame skirt. I think business apparel IS important and good investment and keeps your choices simple.
Mar 16, 2008 05:51 AM #2
Pam Faulkner
Faulkner House Interior Redesign - Herndon, VA
Faulkner House Redesign Stager-Northern VA-Fairfax

So many variables at work here.  As mentioned above, it depends on the venue. An office business meeting with high end clients will naturally dictate more traditional business attire.  You want to connect with the clients, too, so be aware of over-dressing.  Pulled together and immaculate is the look to project no matter what you are wearing, so it is less about standard colors but what looks good on you and is comfortable for the weather. 

I once lived in Dallas where the weather could be similar to yours.  People tended to dress more casually and less conservatively that they do in the Northern Virginia/DC area where I now live.  Your clothing will want to reflect the way people dress in your area.    Do you have a department store or boutique nearby that offers a personal shopping service?  Many will meet with you and review your wardrobe then suggest combinations based on your input and their merchandise.  The services range from free with purchase to a consultation fee with discounts on clothing purchases.  Staying with a local source will ensure that the advice is tailored to your locale.  Personal stylists are another option and will often have resources that you might not have access to that make their services more than pay for themselves.  Ask around and be sure that whoever you may work with will keep your tastes and preferences in mind.  Good luck!

Pam Faulkner, Faulkner House Interior Redesign, Oak Hill, VA

Mar 16, 2008 07:02 AM #3
Kimberlee Morgan
Windermere Real Estate - Indian Wells, CA
Living in a desert resort community, I have noticed buyers feel more at ease if I am not "overly" dressed.  I tend to be a more casual person anyway, so as long as I am neat and pulled together I am OK with business casual. With the heat playing a huge role, dressing for comfort is so important.  If I am not comfortable, then I wont be as effective in helping my clients.  Im sure Florida is the same with the heat and humidity.  We always need to put our best foot forward but environment does make a difference  :)
Mar 19, 2008 06:01 AM #4
Sarah Eubanks
Hill Valley Financial Services - Oregon City, OR
Preferred Oregon Loan Consultant & Notary Public

As these other women indicated in their votes, I agree with them,  We need to dress in a fashion that is both professional and also in the manner which makes our clients feel most comfortable.  Assess the client and their personality.  Then go with that.  In addition, I feel like the attitude we present to our clients is as much dressing for success as our actual clothes are.


It should prove interesting to see what we find here!  :)

Mar 20, 2008 02:18 PM #5
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA
I love blazers in the winter to go with slacks, but in the summer I love long flowing skirts and a simple lightweight blouse or sweater.  Your clothing should be professional, but also should be appropriate to your climate and clientel.  I work with a lot of land and horse farm specialists.  They do tremendous amounts of business in their bluejeans and khakis.  I have a feeling that if they showed up in a suit, their clients would feel uncomfortable.  It depends on the situation, so trust your gut.
Mar 23, 2008 04:25 AM #6
Jennifer Zammit
Realty Executives Elite Ltd. - London, ON

I think you always have to be prepared in this business and I think that it helps put you in the right frame of mind as well.

Jun 02, 2009 05:47 AM #7
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