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June 25, 2008

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.

what to wear for a real estate agent

Dress for a job in: High-end real estate

Photo Credit: Taghi Naderzad

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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 stilettos—they 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 color—it'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 finishes—only 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 black—and matching skirt and pants for more mileage—you 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.

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