Ideal employees don’t wear suits. Software engineers only wear hoodies. Tech innovators don turtlenecks.
Most financial advisors are taught that to be successful, then we need to dress the part. You want to earn a million, dress like you’ve already reached that point. If you want your handshake to be impactful, strap on that Rolex. Exude money to make money.
When I first started as a financial advisor in 2006, I was taught exactly this: Wear a suit and tie to every meeting, and success would come flowing like a river. Did it? Not quite.
As anyone who has interacted with me in the past few years would know, I am a rebel who tests boundaries, checks advice, and most of all will try to do things differently – or as they call it today, find optimized ways to improve processes.
Back then, I was the same. While I took the advice and wore the suit and tie to my meetings, it was usually within the first five minutes with a client that I would ask if it would be okay for me to remove that constrictive tie and sports coat. And guess what, they always said yes.
However, the magic that happened afterwards is what this entire post is about – you see, as soon as I became comfortable, my clients became even more at ease. It wasn’t a difficult business discussion anymore, no. It was something else, something way more beneficial. The meeting now became a relaxed conversation.
Comfort equates focus
Well, for me, at least, the more comfortable I am, the better I can focus. And with focus comes the ability to thrive, grow, and scale.
Going remote, the same thing held true, perhaps even more so. It was odd having a virtual meeting with a client with them on their couch while I appeared on their screens in a suit – the full coat and tie.
What I found years ago is that my physical work carries through to this digital realm. And in the conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues here, this does seem to be the case. We tend to be our best and most successful selves when we are comfortable in whatever workspace we’re in. So wear what makes you feel most comfortable, but be sure that this is within reason.
Comfort within reason
There’s a certain limit to how far you can really take this comfort. While I’m sure that a casual shirt or even a short-sleeved tee will be great for a meeting when it’s 100 degrees outside, a morning gown may not exactly cut it.
The rule of thumb here is to wear attire that you can work in without restriction, but at the same time be presentable enough to take a walk in public.
In the end, you should know your clients and what will make them most comfortable.
To end, let me ask: How do you dress for success?
Join the conversation here. Your opinion matters.