Lifestyle

5 wardrobe staples for women in real estate

Build your work style around classic pieces that exude professionalism

Don't miss the real estate event of the summer
Join 4,000 real estate pros at Connect SF, Aug 7‑11, 2017

We all think we’re deeper than appearances — and you might unknowingly dress poorly as a result of this assertion. But for anyone in sales, especially those in real estate who close most deals face to face, clothes do matter. In fact, a number of independent studies show that dressing the part may increase your income. Men can resort to fitted suits, but women’s professional attire is slightly more complex.

It’s not the most important part of the job, but agents can look smart and chic with these five clothing pieces:

Flat- or low-heeled shoes

Invest in a few solid pairs of comfortable and stylish shoes. Yes, they do exist. Think about your responsibilities: You’re mostly standing and walking during walk-throughs and open houses, right? Why torture your feet in the name of fashion when there are three shoe types that won’t leave you blistered and bruised?

Flats, for starters, are usually suitable, especially for driving around safely. And there are plenty of pointed-toe shapes that give an extra professional flair. Kitten heels, stilettos’ younger sister, are feminine without appearing ostentatious. Loafers aren’t always the chicest option, but they offer unparalleled comfort. When paired with tailored pants or a simple pencil skirt, leather loafers actually look stylish. It’s all about balancing your outfit.

Tank tops

As we all know, the real estate industry is hyper-competitive. And because there are few better catalysts for innovation than competition, real estate is constantly blazing new ground. Real estate expansion teams -- teams that do business in multiple markets -- are one of the industry’s latest, and hottest, innovations ...

Sleeveless shirts may look cute, but admit it — the best thing about them is avoiding sweat stains. If you’re having a particularly active day, taking off a few layers and airing out feels great.

Invest in neutral colors to wear underneath more vibrant coats and sweaters. Alternatively, if you have a closet full of basic outerwear, jazz up your bland outfit with a bright tank. Avoid cartoon-like prints or anything with logos plastered all over it — obvious branding looks tacky.

One thing to keep in mind when determining if your tank is work appropriate is the thickness of the strap. For instance, you may want to avoid spaghetti straps since this style is typically reserved for the beach and not the workplace.

Button-down blouses

Button-down shirts are classic and easily transition from day to night. But avoid blindly selecting any shirt that has buttons on the front. Materials matter, both in quality and durability. Silk, while stylish, shows wetness easily and may deteriorate rapidly if you don’t dry-clean or hand-wash.

Colors are important, too. White is a go-to, but make sure the material is opaque or you’ll be awkwardly covering up when you notice your sheer shirt in the daylight. Always try on clothes in rooms filled with natural light so you can choose your wardrobe wisely.

Sturdy, windproof skirts

Most women have faced the embarrassment a gust of wind can cause when sporting a short skirt. Those who haven’t personally experienced this humiliation surely notice the penguin-like walk that seems to strike everyone in a skirt on a breezy day.

To avoid flashing your clients, or waddling in an attempt to keep your outfit in place, rid your professional wardrobe of anything labeled “mini.” Opt for a pencil skirt, either hitting just above the knee or midway between knee and ankle (also known as a midiskirt). Long, airy materials are comfortable and less likely to expose, but they can be a bit too casual for business meetings.

Wide-leg trousers

If it’s way too chilly for bare legs or skirts just aren’t your style, opt for tailored dress pants. Wide-leg trousers give ample wiggle room and are best paired with a kitten heel to avoid dragging.

Just as you would a business suit, have your dress pants tailored — it’s worth the investment. There’s no better way to be comfortable in your clothes, and your attitude will reflect the way you feel.

No, your clients aren’t going to enforce a dress code. However, looking professional will help you stand out, and over time, build your brand as a successful real estate agent.

Email Jennifer Riner.