Dress for success, really matter??

72 Replies

Hello all! I was just thinking before I go to a new small bank and inquire about financing and opening new accounts, how important are the clothes I wear? Let me tell you about my everyday work attire, I’m blue collar, I’m a commercial refrigeration technician, I wear a uniform. The uniform is clean, tucked in, and I have a good appearance. I don’t dress slovenly for work. Should I change things up when going to inquire about loans, accounts, etc.? Polo shirt and khakis? Even though I turn wrenches, I earn a lot more than expected. When most people enquire about my profession and see my W-2’s they’re sometimes surprised. Should I dress more “white collar”? Should I treat it like a job interview? As in, dress for the job you want? Jeremiah

Hey! I had seen your question and was listening to and old favorite podcast - Episode 124, at 33:00, their lender implies that how they were dressed mattered for getting their first portfolio loan. Best of luck!

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Just put yourself in the others position. I don’t see where it hurts to go the extra mile. Now if your applying for a roofing or welding job dressing up may work against you. The people loaning the money usually dresses up so is that a clue to follow??🤔

Blue collar workers that are not accustomed to getting dressed up often look very foolish when they do put on a suit. Wearing a suit out of style, one that is too tight, or the tie not properly fit all look bad. Wearing clothes your comfortable in, will help you portray more confidence and sincerity. When you want to borrow money, looking sincere trumps a whole lot of things. 

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I’ve operated in both blue collar and white collar working environments. What I have learned is to try and dress like the people I’m doing business with. People trust people who look like they do. However dressing like a banker might not work for you, it might feel forced and end up making you look and feel awkward if you’re not accustomed to it and your suit isn’t tailored etc. So just dress up enough to look put together while still being comfortable but don’t overdo it would be my advice. Probably not your work uniform or people might think you’re there to fix something instead of applying for a loan. I was surprised at my first closing on a multi family, the seller who I knew held a portfolio of dozens of paid off properties showed up in a sweat stained grey V-neck T-shirt and cut off jean shorts. When you get to that level you can wear whatever you want, even jorts, apparently.

Wait...so you're the customer and you're asking how the sales person should react based on how you dress?  If the sales person you are working with can't accommodate you then move on.  It's not your problem - it's theirs.

Find a sales person you are comfortable doing business with and build a relationship with that person - whether it involves shorts and a t-shirt or a suit and tie.  If you aren't comfortable working with the sales person, then you don't belong doing business with that sales person.

Imagine Steve Jobs showing up at Lehman Brothers in a turtleneck and jeans and them turning him down because of how he was dressed LOL.

@Jeremiah Dye how you dress absolutely matters. Even in your profession, you said it yourself, you wear a uniform. Why do you wear a uniform at work? It is because your customers think more highly of you because you wear a uniform. If you showed up in dirty sweat pants and a shirt with holes in it, your customers would draw the conclusion that you would do lower quality of work.

You even mentioned yourself that people would be surprised how much money you make. In other words, they are drawing conclusions about you because of how you look and what what job you have.

People are judged on appearance every day. I am not here to get into a debate about f it is morally right, but that is how it is. You can either accept it and dress for success or ignore it and take your chances.

There is another factor of dressing for success that people ignore. I used to have a job working phone sales and my employer required us to wear ties to work. We never met the customer face to face, so you may ask what is the purpose of wearing a tie? The reason is that when you dress better, you feel better and have more confidence. Studies show when people dress up, they sit up straighter and project more confidence. Why do you think an NFL football team shows up for the big game wearing their suit and tie? Wouldn't they be more comfortable in their warm up gear?

@Jeremiah Dye How you dress matters - 100%! The comment about Steve Jobs is very misleading. Unless you're the head of the largest corporations on the planet (or a billionaire), you don't get to make social rules. 

Bankers, lawyers, accountants (not the ones at H&R Block), etc belong to very conservative professions. As such, they feel more comfortable dealing with similar folks. Doesn't mean you have to fake it, but it does mean that you have to put your best foot forward. 

Think about it this way: Why do people dress up to go to church (not saying that going to a bank is the same thing - just trying to provide an example)? We all know that the Lord knows us - inside and out. The reason why folks dress up neatly/conservatively when going to church is to put their best foot forward. 

You will be surprised at the doors that will open up for you if you dress the right way and are neatly put together. Looks matter because humans make their first impressions within the first couple of seconds. Use it to your advantage and present the best version of yourself.

Originally posted by @Omar Khan :

@Jeremiah Dye How you dress matters - 100%! The comment about Steve Jobs is very misleading. Unless you're the head of the largest corporations on the planet (or a billionaire), you don't get to make social rules. 

Bankers, lawyers, accountants (not the ones at H&R Block), etc belong to very conservative professions. As such, they feel more comfortable dealing with similar folks. Doesn't mean you have to fake it, but it does mean that you have to put your best foot forward. 

Think about it this way: Why do people dress up to go to church (not saying that going to a bank is the same thing - just trying to provide an example)? We all know that the Lord knows us - inside and out. The reason why folks dress up neatly/conservatively when going to church is to put their best foot forward. 

You will be surprised at the doors that will open up for you if you dress the right way and are neatly put together. Looks matter because humans make their first impressions within the first couple of seconds. Use it to your advantage and present the best version of yourself.

I think this is very regional.. bankers in our areas where Jack and Tie.. I don't but I dress business casual for all meetings with them.

I like the comment about church though.. Oregon is very funny that way.. I had a guest from the deep south in town and we went to my church on Sunday they dressed as they normally would in the Sunday best.. in Oregon people go to church literally in their PJ's  LOL.. and or rarely dress up a few older folks might but most just wear their basic weekend attire..

I don't think it hurts though to wear jacket and tie if your comfortable in it and used to it.. but you sure don't want to go into a banker meeting looking like you just milked some cows or crawled off of a job site..  

Originally posted by @Jay Hinrichs :
Originally posted by @Omar Khan:

@Jeremiah Dye How you dress matters - 100%! The comment about Steve Jobs is very misleading. Unless you're the head of the largest corporations on the planet (or a billionaire), you don't get to make social rules. 

Bankers, lawyers, accountants (not the ones at H&R Block), etc belong to very conservative professions. As such, they feel more comfortable dealing with similar folks. Doesn't mean you have to fake it, but it does mean that you have to put your best foot forward. 

Think about it this way: Why do people dress up to go to church (not saying that going to a bank is the same thing - just trying to provide an example)? We all know that the Lord knows us - inside and out. The reason why folks dress up neatly/conservatively when going to church is to put their best foot forward. 

You will be surprised at the doors that will open up for you if you dress the right way and are neatly put together. Looks matter because humans make their first impressions within the first couple of seconds. Use it to your advantage and present the best version of yourself.

I think this is very regional.. bankers in our areas where Jack and Tie.. I don't but I dress business casual for all meetings with them.

I like the comment about church though.. Oregon is very funny that way.. I had a guest from the deep south in town and we went to my church on Sunday they dressed as they normally would in the Sunday best.. in Oregon people go to church literally in their PJ's  LOL.. and or rarely dress up a few older folks might but most just wear their basic weekend attire..

I don't think it hurts though to wear jacket and tie if your comfortable in it and used to it.. but you sure don't want to go into a banker meeting looking like you just milked some cows or crawled off of a job site..  

You make a very valid point about regional differences. Still think that more people should, at least, put in some effort before going to a place of worship (not that it makes any difference…).

You also don’t dress up because you are in a different league – experience, volume/size of transactions and presence in the market place. Us, regular mortals, don’t have those luxuries 😊

"place of worship" .............My bank is my only place of worship.

My wife would make me ware dress pants and a button up shirt. Never a suit. Now my money speaks on my behalf but she still make me ware dress pants.

She is embarrassed being seen with me in public warring my coveralls.

I've done both ways - business casual and homeless painter plumber- and it hasn't mattered. The time I dressed up was an inital lunch meeting with the small town bank CEO with an REO, the decision-maker, and he was carrying the paper. Every other time we met I wore work clothes because I was, you know, working. I got the deal.

What I like about wearing clothes that shows the crawl space I just got out of is the bar is low and easy to exceed expectations.  My main insurance guy said 'whoa, there is more to your book than the cover'.  I say be yourself.

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

I've done both ways - business casual and homeless painter plumber- and it hasn't mattered. The time I dressed up was an inital lunch meeting with the small town bank CEO with an REO, the decision-maker, and he was carrying the paper. Every other time we met I wore work clothes because I was, you know, working. I got the deal.

What I like about wearing clothes that shows the crawl space I just got out of is the bar is low and easy to exceed expectations.  My main insurance guy said 'whoa, there is more to your book than the cover'.  I say be yourself.

also in ag communites  Many farmers have more money than most real estate folks but you would never know it. 

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

I've done both ways - business casual and homeless painter plumber- and it hasn't mattered. The time I dressed up was an inital lunch meeting with the small town bank CEO with an REO, the decision-maker, and he was carrying the paper. Every other time we met I wore work clothes because I was, you know, working. I got the deal.

What I like about wearing clothes that shows the crawl space I just got out of is the bar is low and easy to exceed expectations.  My main insurance guy said 'whoa, there is more to your book than the cover'.  I say be yourself.

so lets talk about real time.. I have clients coming in today for an over night visit.. I have my nice jeans on and a tommy Bahamas button up shirt and sketcher shoes.. I shaved  brushed my teeth.. and I took the Tesla to the do it yourself car was and cleaned it head to tow.  I find car cleanliness to be a tell tail clue.

we will meet my banker for lunch ( talking about  a particularly large transaction)  and he will be in a jacket and tie..

then dinner at a cool hip Portland restaurant.. so no need to change all day... got my work out in at 6 am.. good to go..

I have two presentations to do next month one at Google and one in So CAL... I will wear Very nice jeans and a button up shirt and a jacket over that no tie.. better shoes.  belt to match.. and of course fresh hair cut ( what little I have )

what I find that has really changed though is air travel.. in the old days people dressed up to get on a plane now a days same thing anything from PJs to business suits and again I am always country club casual in my attire..  

I have a meeting this Thursday in Tampa, and the guy specifically said to "dress casual because you're on vacation!" (I'm mixing business and pleasure for this trip down.) Well, I might dress casual in the sense that I won't wear business slacks and a blouse, but I'm not going to show up in my jean shorts either. lol Something Floridian like white capri pants with a fashionable top.

Definitely have to just use your best judgement, but also not force yourself to be something you're not.

These days you can do everything online without ever meeting with anyone. But regardless, I'm gonna dress with what I feel comfortable wearing, which in 100 degree heat is shorts and a t-shirt....but yea won't catch me in a suit and tie unless required.

@Jeremiah Dye - Unfortunately, appearance does matter quite a bit in our society. Just take a look at Mark Zuckerberg sitting on a 4" booster seat in court to appear taller and more confident.

But, ultimately PROVE to them why they should give you a loan and you'll be golden. Best of luck!

-Tyler

@Steve Vaughan  and @Jay Hinrichs I think part of what is missing here is the difference between when you are starting out versus after you have made it. You both have a proven track record and solid net worth, so the clothes really don't matter. You could probably both wear a Speedo to a bank meeting and get the loan. 

Business has definitely gotten more casual over the years. As you pointed out Jay, jeans with a dress shirt and jacket is customary in some areas for business casual. 

My point is people starting out should strive to be the best dressed in the room, not the worst dressed. Dressing nicely commands respect. I will never forget an engineering that I sat in on an interview with. He wore a polo shirt to the interview, which was by itself not a deal killer. The problem for me was that the shirt was on inside out. I was on the interview committee and told the group no thanks. Why would I want to hire an engineer who can't put his shirt on the right way? He was qualified on paper, but so was the guy that wore a shirt and tie to the interview. His shirt was on the right way too...

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :

@Steve Vaughan and @Jay Hinrichs I think part of what is missing here is the difference between when you are starting out versus after you have made it. You both have a proven track record and solid net worth, so the clothes really don't matter. You could probably both wear a Speedo to a bank meeting and get the loan. 

Business has definitely gotten more casual over the years. As you pointed out Jay, jeans with a dress shirt and jacket is customary in some areas for business casual. 

My point is people starting out should strive to be the best dressed in the room, not the worst dressed. Dressing nicely commands respect. I will never forget an engineering that I sat in on an interview with. He wore a polo shirt to the interview, which was by itself not a deal killer. The problem for me was that the shirt was on inside out. I was on the interview committee and told the group no thanks. Why would I want to hire an engineer who can't put his shirt on the right way? He was qualified on paper, but so was the guy that wore a shirt and tie to the interview. His shirt was on the right way too...

I here what you're saying, Joe.  I would never recommend wearing anything inside out! And thanks for the Speedo visual :(

Ok, I was referring to my first real deal with the banker where I wore work close to meeting 2+. Living in a trailer park (by choice) and no RE but a couple houses. But like Jay mentioned, lots of ag here and the bank CEO was used to orchadists and wheat farmers.

If it's a once and done interview/meeting, dress decently.  When I 1st met what turned out to be my best seller and lender when viewing his 7 plex in '05 I was driving a multi colored Geo with a wired down, crumpled hood.  He later told me if I hadn't corrected 2 running toilets and reset a w/h t-stat down in the crawl while there, I made him nervous.   I had time to prove myself.

But there is something to be said for bonding time when the suit or tenant is with you shoulder to shoulder pushing your car to jump start it on your way out...

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