Newbie question - Dress code

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May 10, 2007 1:07 pm

This may seem like a silly question, but I'm trying to get a better idea of what is considered 'business formal' versus 'business casual' for women at a wirehouse. 


The branch I'm starting in on the 1st has a business formal 'code' at all times out of consideration for other FA's (ie. I have no apointments scheduled, but your biggest client may be coming in today).  Obviously for men, this means suit and tie every day, but I feel like the line is a little more blurry for women, and as I'll be the only female advisor I don't have anyone to take the lead from.  Should I wear a suit every day as well? Or would business slacks or skirt and a blouse be 'formal' enough? Obviously the whole point is to convey a put-together, professional look to the clients, but are there conventions that I should stick to?


(asking now because my current job is very casual - jeans and t-shirts - so I want/need to do some shopping in preparation for the change in dress codes)

May 10, 2007 1:09 pm
kap39:

This may seem like a silly question, but I'm trying to get a better idea of what is considered 'business formal' versus 'business casual' for women at a wirehouse. 


The branch I'm starting in on the 1st has a business formal 'code' at all times out of consideration for other FA's (ie. I have no apointments scheduled, but your biggest client may be coming in today).  Obviously for men, this means suit and tie every day, but I feel like the line is a little more blurry for women, and as I'll be the only female advisor I don't have anyone to take the lead from.  Should I wear a suit every day as well? Or would business slacks or skirt and a blouse be 'formal' enough? Obviously the whole point is to convey a put-together, professional look to the clients, but are there conventions that I should stick to?


(asking now because my current job is very casual - jeans and t-shirts - so I want/need to do some shopping in preparation for the change in dress codes)



Just look sharp and professional.  You don't have to wear suits all the time to look sharp and professional.

May 10, 2007 4:29 pm

Make sure you look better than the Admins in the office (assuming they are women).  You can look good without a suit if you dress real sharp.  Men, on the other hand, don't have many options.  Even jacket and tie looks a little goofy for a "professional" image.


Just think good material (wool, silk, cashmere, etc), well tailored, and crisp.  Cotton and polyester are for weekends and the beach. 

May 10, 2007 6:41 pm

You should look as professional as possible at at ALL times. Who knows who will pop in when. I had a friend of a client pop in on a Saturday when I was cleaning up my office from a tough week, needless to say I was not looking my best, I now where a suit to go clean my office. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you only get one chance to make a first impression.

May 10, 2007 8:50 pm

You should coat yourself in baby oil and wrap your body in Saran Wrap.

May 10, 2007 8:54 pm

Well...I only bring out that outfit for special occasions

May 10, 2007 9:21 pm
kap39:

Well...I only bring out that outfit for special occasions


You should wear it daily and break out the black lights on special occasions.

May 10, 2007 11:17 pm

Make sure that you wear an outfit that shows off your tats.....

May 11, 2007 2:43 am
kap39:

This may seem like a silly question, but I'm trying to
get a better idea of what is considered 'business formal' versus
'business casual' for women at a wirehouse.





Go to the nearest Brooks Brother's store, and get the women's catalogue. That's how you should dress.



However, to save money, you should shop at Marshall's/other high end
discounters, but keep that BB catalogue on hand. Because that
understated elegant look is what will work well for you. Absolutely nothing sexy.



What you don't want to look like is a desparate real estate broker with
permmed hair, pancaked makeup flashy jewelry etc. And wear comfortable
shoes, i.e not bunionizing high heels. No one wants to hear you
clomping about in the office.








May 11, 2007 2:49 am

In terms of acessorie, women are lucky since they can wear silk
scarves. Men tend to give the wrong impression when they do that. 



A good scarf from Hermes etc, goes well with everything.


May 11, 2007 8:58 am
bankrep1:

You should look as professional as possible at at ALL times. Who knows who will pop in when. I had a friend of a client pop in on a Saturday when I was cleaning up my office from a tough week, needless to say I was not looking my best, I now where a suit to go clean my office. I know it sounds ridiculous, but you only get one chance to make a first impression.


A suit to clean on Saturday?  Dude, you need to lighten up a little bit.  If you are in the office outside of normal hours, no one expects you in a suit.  I had a new client who had recently inherited an account drop by my office at about 6:00 on a Friday.  I had gone home already, and was just back in the office to pick up something up on my way to Home Depot.  I was wearing old jeans and a flannel shirt in anticipation of the project I was going to Home Depot for.  My 4 year old was with me.  When the client came in, he asked if he should come back.  I said if he didn't mind my appearance and my 4 year old coloring at my desk then I would be happy to meet him now. 


He ended up adding $150,000 to the account.


Old jeans and flannel wouldn't work in many parts of the country (and I would have been dressed better if I knew he was coming), but on a weekend around here people are going to think there is something wrong with you if you are in a suit.

May 11, 2007 11:27 am

I would agree. A professional look during business hours is mandatory... I tend to work a couple hours on Sat mornings to touch base with prospects, chat with a couple clients, finish annoying paperwork, and organize the upcoming week. I always dress in wekeend garb, and if I had someone call to drop by, I wouldnt feel the least bit embarasssed by my attire. People know that we have lives- the dont expect us to sleep in our suits...

May 11, 2007 12:22 pm
kap39:

Well...I only bring out that outfit for special occasions


Now that was a GREAT response to that idiot.  Shows you have moxie.

May 11, 2007 12:40 pm
blarmston:

I would agree. A professional look during business hours is mandatory... I tend to work a couple hours on Sat mornings to touch base with prospects, chat with a couple clients, finish annoying paperwork, and organize the upcoming week. I always dress in wekeend garb, and if I had someone call to drop by, I wouldnt feel the least bit embarasssed by my attire. People know that we have lives- the dont expect us to sleep in our suits...



I completely agree.  If a client dropped by to see me during off-hours and I was wearing a suit I think they would find it odd, to be truthful.

Having said that, I still make it a point to wear clean clothes even if they are casual, and to be neatly groomed, not in "weekend mode" of baseball cap and 5 o'clock shadow.