Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Agent Fashion ... in the Luxury Market
Style: Formal to upscale casual; designer suit for everyday wear but can be scaled down to a sportcoat with jeans and loafers.
July 29, 2016
My Home Group Real Estate
What is your niche?
I focus on the $750,000-and-higher demographic, but I’m fortunate in that I have the opportunity to serve a wide array of clients.
How would you describe your sense of style for work?
Upscale casual. I certainly love the feel of my nicely tailored suits, but I understand that they are not required — or even appropriate — for every meeting or showing. That being said, my normal attire is a suit, crisp shirt, pocket square, and shoes with a nice shine. My priority is always showing the client respect and making them feel as comfortable as possible. I want them to recognize that I take my career seriously and that their real estate decision is in the best of hands. I believe nice clothes speak volumes to this.
How does your style fit your niche?
I meet business professionals relocating here from all over the country. I work with athletes, artists, and musicians — all of whom have their own unique sense of fashion. Many times, our choices of wardrobe provide a wonderful way to build rapport. I believe it comes back to respect for the client. A nice presentation, whether it be my wardrobe or where I take them to lunch, is a wonderful show of appreciation for their business.
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What situations in your workday call for different wardrobe choices?
My wardrobe may vary slightly day-to-day based on a few different factors. For instance, I recently met a client at a baseball game because that was the only time his schedule allowed. I bought myself a ticket and threw on a cap, and we talked business in between innings. My pinstripe suit would have been way off-base — pun intended — for this get-together, not to mention hot and uncomfortable. Each occasion is different, but I try not to get any more casual than a nice pair of jeans, sport coat, and loafers. Image is key in business, and I never want to show up looking anything less than professional.
When are casual and formal outfits most appropriate for you?
When a meeting is held in a client’s home or in an office or boardroom setting, I will go all out. Fortunately, after 20-plus years in a prior career in television, I have acquired a nice collection of suits and developed an appreciation for them. I believe we all need to develop the art of being able to read a room regardless of what we do for a living. That is an important quality in the quest for success.
If I know I am going to be touring several homes with a client or attending the grand opening of a new restaurant for networking purposes, I may scale it down a notch or two in the interest of comfort. With the climate being what it is here in Arizona, the heat sometimes serves as the ideal excuse to wear a nice linen shirt when it is appropriate.
What is one of your favorite accessories?
I have developed a fondness for nice ties and rarely pass on an excuse to wear one.
What is one workplace fashion mistake you will never make?
Letting a client see my tattoos too quickly. I am a bit of a tattoo connoisseur and have collected pieces from some of the top artists from around the world. As commonplace as tattoos are in today’s society, I respect the fact that they are still not for everyone. For that reason, my pieces are easily covered. I will say, however, that I’ve yet to receive one piece of negative feedback from clients regarding tattoos. My tattoos have served as the foundation for some wonderful conversations.
Where are some of your favorite places to shop?
Hugo Boss suits seem to fit me quite well, and their styles are always up-to-date. Many of my accessories are from Burberry. For shoes, I lean toward Johnston & Murphy because I know that I can shop for both dress and casual in one spot. Timepieces are also important when you spend a majority of your time dealing with the public. A nice watch can be a key ingredient in a well-orchestrated outfit. It exudes style but doesn’t need to break the bank. Movado is my current choice of watchmakers.
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