How to Dress for the Job You Want
From Wall Street to the catwalk, get ahead at work by looking the part. Four industry professionals tell you how.
By Sarah Z. Wexler
Dress for a job in: High-end real estate
Photo Credit: Taghi Naderzad
THE JOB: Real-Estate Agent
"Think neutral suit with a single pop of color. Dress too sexy or distracting and you become easy to dismiss. "
Sale vs. Fail
Constant maintenance of shoes, manicure, roots (if you color your hair).
Fitted, not tight, silhouettes; conservative length and shapes for skirts and pants (you can sell palazzos, but not wear them!)
Jackets in striking colors.
Low-cut or see-through blouses, booty- licious pants or minis
Visible bra straps or thong (obviously!)
Open-toed, strappy sandals or stilettosthey look silly with a hard hat
BROKER IN TRAINING: Natalie Birinyi, 20, student at Columbia University
EXPERT: Ariana Meyerson, managing director, Cantor-Pecorella (markets $1 million$10 million apartments in Manhattan)
FORMALITY FACTOR: (8.5/10) "There are no casual Fridays, even on a construction site."
THE GOAL: "If you're showing people beautiful properties all day, aesthetics are obviously important. Your clothes signal to clients that they can trust your taste. That said, real-estate development is so male-dominated that women have to work harder to be taken seriously. Dress in a way that's distracting and you become easy to dismiss."
THE MUST-HAVES: "A charcoal, black, or navy suit with a single pop of colorit's classic, with a twist. I'm an urban nomad, chasing taxis and navigating construction sites, so my shoes have to hold up. I live in these black Louboutins because they're not too high. And as I work 12-plus-hour days, I always slip on the Oscar de la Renta flats between appointments."
THE FASHION DISASTER: "I was seeing a new property with a group of colleagues, and some of the young agents were wearing seriously short skirts. Afterward, the male brokers couldn't remember the address, the flooring, the finishesonly the minis."
DRESS FOR SUCCESS: "When you're starting out and don't have a lot to spend, invest in a few fantastic designer pieces you can mix and match. With a starter suit from maybe Theory in charcoal gray or blackand matching skirt and pants for more mileageyou can still afford to go a little crazy with camisoles and colorful accessories from H&M."
FINISH THE LOOK: "Keep makeup and jewelry simple. I tend to buff, not polish, my nails, but you can use a neutral pink like Essie's Ballet Slippers. I also wear my hair down to balance the masculinity of the suit."
On Natalie Birinyi, left: Jacket, $690, Camilla and Marc; top, $275, White + Warren; pants, $245, Vera Wang Lavender Label; shoes, $310, Tory Burch; belt, $44, White House Black Market.
On Ariana Meyerson, right: Pants, $700, The Row; shoes, $695, Christian Louboutin; Meyerson's own jewelry and Gucci coat.