Unlike businesses where the office environment may be predictable day in and day out, REALTORS® often find themselves in vastly different settings with unique clients multiple times a day. This unpredictability can make dressing for success a little bit tricky—you may be checking in on the progress of a new build in the morning, but need to be dressed for a big meeting in the afternoon.
With a little planning and ingenuity, you can navigate the tricky terrain of building a REALTOR®-friendly wardrobe in no time. Here are three techniques for looking and feeling your best:
1. Identify Your Personal Style
The first tool, regardless of the business success you are dressing for, is to identify your personal style. Knowledge is power, and when dressing for success, knowing your personal style breeds confidence in business.
Start by asking yourself a couple of leading questions as you get dressed each morning. What is the cut of that shirt you are always reaching for—is it a button-down or V-neck? What about your favorite pair of pants—do you tend to prefer skinny or wide legs? Or do you prefer dresses or skirts instead?
Start noticing what it is about these pieces that make you feel comfortable and confident. This is valuable (and necessary) information for creating a wardrobe you love. When you shop, stick to those styles and silhouettes that really feel true to you. Regardless of whether you work with millennial consumers or more senior clients, your personal style is something you must keep consistent throughout your business to build the brand and the image that makes you unique.
2. Stick to a Neutral Color Palette
With so many different scenarios popping up throughout your day, your wardrobe should be convenient and flexible. A neutral color palette is a great way to relate to a wide range of unique clients in a professional manner.
A neutral color palette is a style and time saver. First, everything in your wardrobe will match each other, which makes getting dressed in the morning much simpler and easier. If you prefer to stick to primarily black pieces when in professional environments, you can always purchase your favorite silhouettes in black. This allows you a lot of flexibility when getting dressed for different professional occasions. If black is not your color, some other neutral options to build your wardrobe around are grey, navy and camel. Identify the neutral color palette that makes you feel confident and invest in some great pieces to amplify this feeling.
Pro tip: If your wardrobe is currently all over the place in terms of style and color, it can seem overwhelming and expensive to start all over with only neutral pieces in silhouettes you love. To save money, shop for new pieces at a local consignment store or browse online at secondhand clothing sites. You’ll find lots of gently used and like-new clothing at a fraction of the original price, so you can start building up your dream wardrobe for a lot less cash.
3. Always Be Prepared—With Accessories!
Home showings with important clients can pop-up last minute, and everyone knows that you don’t want to miss an opportunity with a client just because you aren’t wearing the right attire. One of the best ways to keep your wardrobe flexible is by utilizing accessories.
When I say accessories, I don’t just mean earrings and necklaces. This also includes extra layers, statement shoes, belts, jackets and more—basically, anything that can be kept conveniently in your car or office that can quickly dress your outfit up or down. Choose pieces that you can change quickly without hopping into a “dressing room” of sorts. For example, a blazer is the perfect piece to hang in your office when you need a more traditional look. Or, to show off your flair on a more creative project, keep a pair of statement heels in your car that you can quickly switch into. You can even use accessories to turn a shift dress from casual (with a pair of sandals and fun earrings) into professional (throw on a blazer and change into conservative pumps).
Use these techniques to curate a wardrobe that helps breed trust with your clients without sacrificing your personal style. After all, your clients chose to work with you because of the brand that you built—and a big part of that brand is your personal style. Have fun and embrace it!
Catherine Claire is a stylist and a fashion blogger who provides easy-to-adopt fashion advice for working professionals. She co-founded the style blog The Crystal Press and also writes for thredUP.com, an online/offline consignment store where you can find wallet-friendly work dresses and other career basics.