Dress code in the office... for Independents

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Nov 25, 2009 12:40 am

So in my prior days, it was all Suits at ameriprise, an insurance house and a wirehouse.

Now that I am RIA, and have my own office.... there are days where i just come in to do the work in jeans and a polo, or slacks and a shirt.

If i have meetings that day in person, i will put on a suit.

but if I am having a review meeting via phone, or prospecting day... I dont dress up tooo much.

Wonder about others' experiences.

Nov 25, 2009 12:45 am

Same...

 
You are not going to accidentally walk into our office... I have had one walk in in the past year and that was more of a crappy referral(guy asked his neighbor who he used, client gave him my info, neighbor showed up at my office, 2 days later client returned my call and said he told his neighbor... I had button down and slacks on that day)..
 
Days with no appts and just calls, is normally jeans and something comfortable... But always have a suit hanging in the office just in case.
Nov 25, 2009 7:37 am

Not quite "independent", but I'm an Ameriprise P2 so its close...

 
...button down shirt and dress pants just about every day.  If a top client comes in or if I'm trying to get a big rollover or something I'll throw on the suit but for the most part its a nice shirt and dress pants.
Nov 25, 2009 8:23 am

I get out of the office a lot around town (small town), so I never wear jeans or anything real casual.  I will sometimes go without a tie, btu I always have a dress shirt and dress pants if not a suit.  I almost always wear a jacket unless it's the middle of summer (but I have it with me).

Nov 25, 2009 8:35 am

Suit everyday without a tie.  I'll put a tie on for prospects and some clients.  I'm an RIA and former wirehouse guy (where I wore a suit and tie every day).  I'm in a major metro area, so I think prospects and clients have certain expectations about how a financial professional should be dressed.  I also think it sets the right tone for me.  I don't want my office to be the place where I'm kicked back and relaxed in a pair of jeans.  It's a work environment and I'm there to do business. 

Nov 25, 2009 8:58 am

I'm in a high rise and I wear what most of the people I see in the elevator wear. After too much coffee, I tend to be chatty, so I sometimes will chat on the elevator -I don't want to look like a maintenance worker.

Usually -I am in kakis and a golf shirt. I usually get the comment -going to play golf? Then I give them my pitch and why I get to dress the way I want.




Nov 25, 2009 9:05 am

After working in a bank for the past 10 years always a suit and tie.

 
Now an indy I just wear Jos A. Banks dress shirts and pants...no jacket and tie ever again.
 
Don't forget the MontBlanc LeGrande RollerBall (they write like crap however customers like it). One day I left it at home and was writing with a bic pen. Two customers that day asked where the MontBlanc was...From that day foward I never forget the MontBlanc.
 
I think if everything is high end (office, furniture, ect.) they don't care if you wear a suit and tie. I also feel that customers are more relaxed when you are not in a suit and tie...they open up more.
Nov 25, 2009 10:12 am

Khakis, golf shirt and docks.

Nov 25, 2009 10:20 am

Suit and Tie.

 
 
Sometimes a feather boa
Nov 25, 2009 10:33 am
on my own:
Don't forget the MontBlanc LeGrande RollerBall (they write like crap however customers like it). One day I left it at home and was writing with a bic pen. Two customers that day asked where the MontBlanc was...From that day foward I never forget the MontBlanc.

 
MontBlanc's are overrated.  All black and silver and chrome and platinum and most of them don't write any better than a $2 rollerball from WalMart. 
 
Do yourself a favor and when you're ready to buy your next pen check out this place:
 
www.fountainpenhospital.com
 
Visconti's are wonderful writing pens as are the Delta's and the Pelikan's.  Client's notice that MontBlanc white star on the top of the pens.  That's it.  You pull out a pen made with woven horse hair (Equus - Graf Von Faber Castell) and your clients will notice it for the artistic appeal, not just the trademark white star.
 
If you have to have the white star, at least look at the Starwalker collection where the star is laser etched into a mound of crystal on the top of the pen and seems to float. 
 
Oh, and learn how to use a fountain pen, not the rollerball.  Your older clients will get a kick out of seeing a someone under 60, assuming you are, using a style of pen they haven't seen since the 50's when the ballpoint pen became popular. 
Nov 25, 2009 11:35 am

I think the bottom line is not WHAT you wear, but how you LOOK.  If you wear really nice, well-tailored casual clothes, and have a well-appointed office, you will be better off than the guy in a 12 year-old suit two sizes too small (or too big) made of "no-wrinkle blend", with the fake-silk (poly) tie bought at Walmart, and socks that don't coordinate, working in a stinky little office with bare walls and piles of paperwork everywhere.

Nov 25, 2009 11:52 am
B24:

I think the bottom line is not WHAT you wear, but how you LOOK.  If you wear really nice, well-tailored casual clothes, and have a well-appointed office, you will be better off than the guy in a 12 year-old suit two sizes too small (or too big) made of "no-wrinkle blend", with the fake-silk (poly) tie bought at Walmart, and socks that don't coordinate, working in a stinky little office with bare walls and piles of paperwork everywhere.



Man...you've been to my office?

Nov 25, 2009 12:44 pm

Never a tie or suit and definately not jeans.  I often get mistaken for a golf pro as I always wear golf pants and a golf shirt or sweater. 

Nov 25, 2009 12:49 pm
SometimesNowhere:
B24:

I think the bottom line is not WHAT you wear, but how you LOOK. If you wear really nice, well-tailored casual clothes, and have a well-appointed office, you will be better off than the guy in a 12 year-old suit two sizes too small (or too big) made of "no-wrinkle blend", with the fake-silk (poly) tie bought at Walmart, and socks that don't coordinate, working in a stinky little office with bare walls and piles of paperwork everywhere.

Man...you've been to my office?





I forgot the smoldering cigarette butt inside the old coffee cup full of butts and ashes. It's a good look!

Nov 25, 2009 5:04 pm

Humn, so lets take this another step...

My clients always notice my watch and a pen.....

What do you use?

I usually wear a movado or a submariner copy to the office. I remember my biggest lesson was when I was a greenpea, 6 months in, met with a client that came as a result of cold call. 1mil investable. The first meeting that I put on a nice watch... vs a decent fossil, the client's wife noticed and made a comment.

As far as pens, I always have a decent pen, mostly keep a few metal parker pens that are like $25 bucks or so... nothing more expensive, dont want to lose them. At the very lease, a few nice roller balls.

Nov 25, 2009 5:21 pm

Mak, I agree.  I consider pens and watches to be "accents" to your office and wardrobe.  I would shy away from the Rolex thing (sends the wrong message), but something tasteful and "mature" (as opposed to the "Swatch" watch from 1985 - sorry I know some of you weren't born yet...).  Same thing with pens.  Although I don't like the cheap Cross and Waterman sets you get as gifts at Christmas.  They look like something you could buy at CVS behind the glass display.

 
Shoes are also a big thing.  Make sure they are real leather, are always clean and shined, and not too "trendy".  Women definitely notice shoes.
Nov 25, 2009 6:06 pm

I agree. Clients size you up in the first 10 seconds...then they validate their first impression by your actions and what you say. You have to look professional/successful but not too over the top.

Nov 25, 2009 6:23 pm

Depends on the area, on the account. I upgraded my car to an Audi A4 - used. The SBO's I dealt with noticed, and not necessarily in a good way.



I wear JosBank suits/ties, a nice gold watch (Baume Mercier) - but noting I need a high class pen, now - ... but my office is as basic EJ as you get. My awards, my degrees, the articles written about me are on the wall on the way to my desk but that's it. Again, I've had clients suggest the reason they came to my place specifically was because I didn't have the leather seats, mahogany, etc. Every time they come in, their name is big letters on the big grease board, sitting on a tripod, with an agenda about what we'll be talking about.



Now, I don't do the alphabet soup clients ... but they are definitely HNW. They don't appreciate people that put on airs, because they don't. The attraction, needless to say, is mutual. Everything I do, is about them ... and I think they "get" that.

Nov 25, 2009 6:36 pm
Spaceman Spiff:
Oh, and learn how to use a fountain pen, not the rollerball.  Your older clients will get a kick out of seeing a someone under 60, assuming you are, using a style of pen they haven't seen since the 50's when the ballpoint pen became popular. 


Spaceman-Thanks for the tip.
Nov 25, 2009 6:43 pm
LockEDJ:

Depends on the area, on the account. I upgraded my car to an Audi A4 - used. The SBO's I dealt with noticed, and not necessarily in a good way.

I wear JosBank suits/ties, a nice gold watch (Baume Mercier) - but noting I need a high class pen, now - ... but my office is as basic EJ as you get. My awards, my degrees, the articles written about me are on the wall on the way to my desk but that's it. Again, I've had clients suggest the reason they came to my place specifically was because I didn't have the leather seats, mahogany, etc. Every time they come in, their name is big letters on the big grease board, sitting on a tripod, with an agenda about what we'll be talking about.

Now, I don't do the alphabet soup clients ... but they are definitely HNW. They don't appreciate people that put on airs, because they don't. The attraction, needless to say, is mutual. Everything I do, is about them ... and I think they "get" that.


I live in a small town affluent town in the Southeast where it is all about status...example my Lexus is bigger than yours. I come from a small farming town up in the Northeast and my values are different however where I have lived the last 15 years it a more superficial town