Dress code in the office... for Independents

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Nov 27, 2009 12:24 am

Both great points. My area has a lot of wealth (southern New England coastline), but much of it is hard working business owners, people that inherited family businesses (“working” businesses like marinas, farms, etc.), and some very good life-long savers (quiet millionares). Many of them drive minivans, pickups, SUV’s, Subarus, etc. Yes, there are some Audi’s and Lexus’ and the like. But I am often amazed at the lack of visible wealth among some of the very wealthy in my area. Some of them get very annoyed with a few guys at MSSB/ML/WS, etc. that drive “fancy cars” and have the plush offices and brag about it. However, they also appreciate people that are experienced and know what they’re doing. So there is that balance between being “polished” and “successful” and simply appearing being arrogant.

Nov 27, 2009 8:23 pm

Yeah. He makes 100k a month though so its nothing.

Nov 27, 2009 10:25 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Blancpain-Fifty-Fathoms-Tourbillon-5025-3630-52/dp/B002BH37F0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=watches&qid=1259360570&sr=1-4

is more my style. =) Plus its 30% off on amazon. =)

Nov 28, 2009 8:19 am


…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.[/quote]





plus 1…but I usually throw on the sport coat as well when it’s cooler . Just bought a few on sale at Brooks Brothers.



I now have only 1 really nice suit (BB as well). It only gets worn for a new prospect or an important networking meeting.   Even though I’ve been in this business a long time, a nice suit makes me feel more confident.



I agree with some of the other posters about having the nice pen, watch, shoes etc…those things do make a difference especially with the women.   We do live in a material world and image is everything in this business.
Nov 29, 2009 12:55 am

[quote=Omar]

 
...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.[/quote]


plus 1...but I usually throw on the sport coat as well when it's cooler . Just bought a few on sale at Brooks Brothers.

I now have only 1 really nice suit (BB as well). It only gets worn for a new prospect or an important networking meeting.   Even though I've been in this business a long time, a nice suit makes me feel more confident.

I agree with some of the other posters about having the nice pen, watch, shoes etc.....those things do make a difference especially with the women.   We do live in a material world and image is everything in this business.[/quote]   I've always found BB to be a little grandpa ish..
Nov 29, 2009 2:05 pm

[quote=Squash1] [quote=Omar]



…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.[/quote] plus 1…but I usually throw on the sport coat as well when it’s cooler . Just bought a few on sale at Brooks Brothers. I now have only 1 really nice suit (BB as well). It only gets worn for a new prospect or an important networking meeting.   Even though I’ve been in this business a long time, a nice suit makes me feel more confident. I agree with some of the other posters about having the nice pen, watch, shoes etc…those things do make a difference especially with the women.   We do live in a material world and image is everything in this business.[/quote]



I’ve always found BB to be a little grandpa ish…[/quote]



I agree. They have great quality, and I do buy ties there, but their clothes always seem to fit like I am wearing my father’s suit or something. They were always traditionally a “mature man’s” tailor, but I’m not sure if they’ve adapted with the times. Wealthy guys aren’t all “fat and happy” anymore like they used to be. I’ll admit, I haven’t tried any clothing on from BB in years (other than buying ties) - maybe they have changed.
Nov 29, 2009 3:51 pm

I agree re: Brooks Brothers.  Their clothes don’t fit me very well.  I
really like Charles Tyrwhitt.  Great quality and reasonably priced. 

Nov 29, 2009 7:50 pm

Hate to see what you consider expensive…

Nov 29, 2009 9:04 pm

[quote=Squash1]Hate to see what you consider expensive…[/quote]

4 dress shirts for $200.  I don’t think $50 per dress shirt is too much to spend for something high quality that looks great and will last.  You can get a charcoal striped suit for $350 and an Italian herringbone for $600.  Decent prices for the quality in my book. 

Not trying to sound like a snob, but I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Men’s Warehouse or any other discount suit stores.  I’d rather pay for something that will look sharp and last for years.  I consider it an investment in my business since, as others on this thread have noted, appearances do matter. 

That said, I think you can go too far. $3000 Armani suits are inappropriate and can look too slick.  Every advisor and market is different, so to each his own.  What I wear might not fly in a suburban area.  Whereas khakis and golf shirts would definitely not fly in my market (major metro area). 

Nov 30, 2009 12:11 am

Really, this is a pointless discussion.  There is no one size fits all answer.  Tailored suits, BMWs and a gold watch wouldn’t fly in my market and I seriously doubt I ever lost a prospect based on my attire.  My market accepts dockers and a decent button shirt (I’m not a golfer, but I’m sure they’d accept that also).  One of my best accounts was transferred from a top-100 Merrill broker in a major metro market.  This client is literally worth probably 70-80 million dollars and his attire of choice is jeans and a button shirt.  I’ve had an appointment with him on a summer day when I rode my motorcycle to work wearing jeans.

  The bottom line is, know your market and dress accordingly.  You should probably dress a bit better than your clients, but showing them up by dressing like a prince and driving a car that is nicer than anything on the local roads will most likely send the wrong message.   I'm convinced that a nice, professional-looking office is more important than what you're wearing or driving.  There's nothing that looks dumber than a double-wide next to your hummer.
Nov 30, 2009 2:47 am
  Black dress, heels, pearls, and some type of fabulous bag, a like Louis Vuitton.
Nov 30, 2009 2:51 am

indyone, what market is that? 

  I dont know, personally, if i am meeting a professional for the first time, they better not be wearing jeans.    Once I know someone can do the work, then I will care less about it, but.... if I know nothing else of them... they better make a damn good first impression.    The first thing I check out on people are how they are dressed, the shoes, and a watch.
Nov 30, 2009 3:01 am

Rural midwest.  Trust me, you'll never get a second meeting with a lot of these guys if you're wearing a suit.  A lot of folks in my market simply don't trust suits.

Years ago before I knew better, I had a new client tell me specifically to lose the suit for our second meeting.  Personally, I don't put much emphasis on what the other guy is wearing as long as it's neat and clean.
Nov 30, 2009 4:04 am

[quote=Indyone]

Rural midwest.  Trust me, you'll never get a second meeting with a lot of these guys if you're wearing a suit.  A lot of folks in my market simply don't trust suits.

Years ago before I knew better, I had a new client tell me specifically to lose the suit for our second meeting.  Personally, I don't put much emphasis on what the other guy is wearing as long as it's neat and clean.[/quote]   Yup, you are right. =)  I dress down depending on who I meet with, and on second meetings, I lose the jacket. 
Nov 30, 2009 4:46 am

I think it depends on who you dealing with and where you are… East Coast probably need a suit… South… a nice jacket… West Coast… flip flops(just kidding)… Midwest is tricky because it is a hodge podge, You have Chicago and suburbs but outside of that Indyone is probably right, a lot of these people hold blue collar jobs where distrust of people in suits(management) comes with the territory…

Nov 30, 2009 3:41 pm

Even in New England (CT/MA/RI, not NH/VT/ME), most of the independants I know are casual dressers.  However, the caveat to that is the little “solo” indy’s are generally casual, but there are a few monster indy’s (one is like 700mm,. the other is over $2B), and they are pretty much just like wirehouses in terms of dress - they are all in suits.  So it depends on location as well as firm size.  I think one of the reasons is that most small solos only have a few hundred clients at most.  The firms I mentioned above probably have a few thousand clients (they serve HNW as well as the masses), and 20+ employees (the bigger one has over 40) so on any given day may have dozens of clients come through the doors.

Nov 30, 2009 7:34 pm

[quote=Indyone]

Rural midwest.  Trust me, you'll never get a second meeting with a lot of these guys if you're wearing a suit.  A lot of folks in my market simply don't trust suits.

Years ago before I knew better, I had a new client tell me specifically to lose the suit for our second meeting.  Personally, I don't put much emphasis on what the other guy is wearing as long as it's neat and clean.[/quote]   I think my area is similar to Indy's.  I had a client refuse to let me into his house until I put my tie back in my truck.      
Dec 2, 2009 2:11 am

[quote=B24] [quote=Squash1] [quote=Omar]



…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.[/quote] plus 1…but I usually throw on the sport coat as well when it’s cooler . Just bought a few on sale at Brooks Brothers. I now have only 1 really nice suit (BB as well). It only gets worn for a new prospect or an important networking meeting.   Even though I’ve been in this business a long time, a nice suit makes me feel more confident. I agree with some of the other posters about having the nice pen, watch, shoes etc…those things do make a difference especially with the women.   We do live in a material world and image is everything in this business.[/quote]



I’ve always found BB to be a little grandpa ish…[/quote]



I agree. They have great quality, and I do buy ties there, but their clothes always seem to fit like I am wearing my father’s suit or something. They were always traditionally a “mature man’s” tailor, but I’m not sure if they’ve adapted with the times. Wealthy guys aren’t all “fat and happy” anymore like they used to be. I’ll admit, I haven’t tried any clothing on from BB in years (other than buying ties) - maybe they have changed.[/quote]



BB suits are classics that you won’t regret buying. I agree, if you want something a little more stylish, they aren’t for you. Quality is top notch, the non-iron dress shirts are the best and mine still look new after being abused by the cleaners each week.



I have to admit though, I tried on a Hickey Freeman recently and it was a beauty. Couldn’t justify spending $1500.
Dec 2, 2009 4:56 am

Whoever wrote the comment about dressing like a golf pro and talking about your passion for golf when people notice, I can totally relate. I feel all dressed up in golf clothes, and have taken to wearing nice jeans on phone appointment days ( which is most days now).

Indy, suburban west coast sounds like the Midwest. If you don’t lose the tie, you’re a loser. Not a pointless discussion at all, though. It’s nice to validate what comes naturally.

http://www.milyunair.com