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What to wear at work


Business and Professional Relationships Networking and maintaining a positive environment in the work place is important! Surviving the 9-to-5 within.

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Old 8th June 2015, 12:49 PM   #1
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What to wear at work

This is going to sound a little odd coming from a guy, but I'm concerned about my wardrobe.

I have taken a position as insurance agent for a fairly big company (one of the biggest) and sometimes I go to people's homes or work to solicit business. It's what they used to call a "white collar job" because that's what businessmen used to wear all the time. White shirt, black necktie, black suit...you know, F.B.I. style!

I have thought all along that I should wear a suit and I do. Black or gray; I only have one white shirt but I have a variety of colored dress shirts and an assortment of ties that I wear. I did notice when I started there though that many people wear polo shirts with the logo embroidered on them or dress shirts with no tie and open buttons on the top. I liked the idea of a logo but don't wish to destroy my clothes so I bought a couple magnetic badges with the logo and my name on them which look nice.

So here's the thing. I have gone soliciting with a couple of different colleagues and I wear the suit and name-tag while they wear the polo shirt or just a golf shirt. Rarely do the business people we are visiting have nice clothing, obviously they dress for their work which can be manufacturing, restaurateurs, Veterinary offices, retail shops etc.; sometimes even at coastal areas with lots of beach-goers around, so I feel over-dressed. Sometimes I feel conscious about my colleague feeling under-dressed walking in next to me with my suit and tie.

But what really is bothering me is they seem to be doing better than I am. Even if we take turns giving out our info (how we typically do it), they get calls and I get nothing. That leads me to believe either they are just better at sales than I am, or people are intimidated by the suit. I'd be the first to admit it could be either or both, but it's something for sure! It can't be coincidence so many times.

So, is there something I'm missing here? Is it self-defeating these days to dress in the standard professional attire and should I go out and go polo shirt buying? Is it wrong to wear a suit doing a white collar job anymore? It doesn't seem like it should be wrong, but maybe I'm just too old school (I'm 54.)

Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

Ken
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Old 8th June 2015, 12:54 PM   #2
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In sales you have to meet the customer where they live. That means more then going to their house.


In our casual society people can be intimated by a professional wardrobe. They will feel more comfortable around you & therefore more inclined to buy from you if you meet them at their level which is more often then not casual. So skip the suit & go for khakis & the polo. Keep a blue blazer handy to throw on if you need to dress up.
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Old 8th June 2015, 1:33 PM   #3
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(1) Environment will play a factor
(2) Profession
(3) Co workers.

Haven't met a sales person yet that didn't have a variety of clothing to fit the environment. Medical places, formal, Construction sites, informal. You get the idea.

Refrain from flip flops or steel boots even if the customer arrives in that manner for a meeting.

And always do as your mamma says, and have clean underwear !
Best attire- a smile.
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Old 8th June 2015, 1:37 PM   #4
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Old 8th June 2015, 7:14 PM   #5
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I think the polo-and-slacks look can be done really well, or really poorly. If done well, it's a fantastic option for white collar professionals.


Right:

http://www.thegrrls.com/wp-content/u.../polo-dude.jpg
http://www.uniformready.com/store/pc...odel_front.jpg

Wrong:

http://i1.wp.com/momsownwords.com/wp...antCollage.jpg

The absolute key is quality. Rules to follow:

- Higher end fabrics, best options are polyester and rayon or cotton blends... no pure cotton as they tend to pile, bleed color and look dingy very fast.
- Good quality, dressy shoes and belt.
- Properly fitted, NOT overly loose. If you are skinny, go for "slim" cut pants and polos. Otherwise, stick to "classic".
- Be wrinkle-free. Again, blended fabrics are a lot easier to keep wrinkle-free.
- Attention to detail: dress socks, nice dress watch, etc.

My husband is an IT professional, and I buy all his clothes. He never wears a suit, and he still manages to be the best-dressed guy in his team. His polos are usually from Haggar and his pants from Dockers.
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Old 8th June 2015, 7:47 PM   #6
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Since around 9/11, suits have lost popular favor. They are reserved mostly for investment bankers an whatnot.

Think Steve Jobs vs Bill Gates.

I can't tell you how many people I know both personally and professionally that think someone in a suit is hiding... not being themselves.

The key to great numbers in sales is using your funnel wisely, knowing your subject matter to an extent that is acceptable and... building rapport.

If these regular people you are visiting don't wear suits, you'll do better to be less stuffy and meet them at their level.

Example... if you're selling to a small construction outfit, they would trust you more showing up in jeans and work boots.

Try to mirror the prospect as well as you can. In dress, in diction, in subject matter.

Be real.Be genuine. Be down to Earth.

Also, just like getting girls, don't care about losing the sale.

Last edited by loveweary11; 8th June 2015 at 7:50 PM..
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Old 8th June 2015, 8:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arabella View Post
My husband is an IT professional, and I buy all his clothes. He never wears a suit, and he still manages to be the best-dressed guy in his team. His polos are usually from Haggar and his pants from Dockers.
computer professionals are not known for their clothes, they have bigger fish to fry
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Old 9th June 2015, 1:22 AM   #8
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Thanks all, guess it's time to do some shopping.

Arabella, I looked at the photos and while I see your point, the "together looking" guys won't look that together if they actually work a little. the perfectly coiffed, tucked in wrinkle free look ends as soon as they sit down and stand back up, much less reach for something, but I get the point. It's about giving a crap and making the effort. I appreciate your input as well as everyone's.

Fortunately, the logo-name-tag will still work with casual, I just need to clasp it on!
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Old 9th June 2015, 2:40 AM   #9
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Sales is mainly a process otherwise it's about communication. Go on training if needed, research your customers more, learn to build better rapport. Look at how your colleagues talk, their body language, the questions they ask. Are they selling better because they understand customers better.
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Old 9th June 2015, 7:14 AM   #10
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I think confidence plays a big part. Your colleagues are comfortable and confident in their clothes. Whereas you're worrying about what the customer thinks, are they intimidated, are you over-dressed or your colleague under-dressed, etc.

Wear something that makes you feel comfortable and confident and most importantly not worrying about how you're dressed.
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Old 9th June 2015, 12:15 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphamale View Post
computer professionals are not known for their clothes, they have bigger fish to fry
Yeah, I'm well aware, given that I am in the same field

It's not an excuse to look like a scrub. I make a point of hiring people who look presentable and avoid those who don't.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmore View Post
Arabella, I looked at the photos and while I see your point, the "together looking" guys won't look that together if they actually work a little. the perfectly coiffed, tucked in wrinkle free look ends as soon as they sit down and stand back up, much less reach for something, but I get the point. It's about giving a crap and making the effort. I appreciate your input as well as everyone's.
Haha I get that. You're never going to look perfect like a model in the picture through the entire day. I was just trying to illustrate the difference between doing the polo-look professionally and just looking like you've given up on life
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Old 9th June 2015, 4:56 PM   #12
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When my son sold insurance he wore golf shirts or polos with nice pants and nice shoes because that's what the other guys wore.

He only ever wore a tie to the interview.
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Old 9th June 2015, 7:16 PM   #13
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I went out today with white dockers, a button-up shirt with the top couple buttons open and the sleeves rolled up. Yes, it was more comfortable if for only the reason that I wasn't checking to make sure my tie was hanging right and my name-tag straight (when I fasten it to my coat, it droops sometimes because the material is too thick...oh the minor issues in life!

Since I was similar to my colleague and most people we saw, I did feel more appropriately dressed, plus it's very humid today, so the suit would have been hot!

As has been implied, the problem more likely falls with my sales techniques than my clothing, but it does all add up and changing my clothing right away is much easier to do. The rest will have to come with time, educating myself and practice.

Thanks for all your comments and suggestions, it means a lot!

Ken
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Old 9th June 2015, 7:22 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmore View Post
I went out today with white dockers, a button-up shirt with the top couple buttons open and the sleeves rolled up.
hey ken, that's what i used to wear at work except i stayed away from white because it got dirty faster
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Old 9th June 2015, 8:19 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kenmore View Post
I went out today with white dockers, a button-up shirt with the top couple buttons open and the sleeves rolled up. Yes, it was more comfortable if for only the reason that I wasn't checking to make sure my tie was hanging right and my name-tag straight (when I fasten it to my coat, it droops sometimes because the material is too thick...oh the minor issues in life!
Sounds like you made an excellent choice for yourself. I'm not a fan of white pants for men, but that's just personal preference
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