A woman looking at a blouse while out shopping in the city for the day.

Dress Professionally and Maintain Your Authenticity

Monika Bhondy Professionalism 2 Comments

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By: Monika Bhondy

We’ve all seen the standard headshot of an agent dressed in a corporate suit on business cards, often arms crossed, beaming what they hope to be a million-dollar smile. If we’re honest with ourselves, this Linkedin-style profile shot doesn’t do us any real favors other than establishing our profession.  Instead, we find that these kinds of headshots blend in with many other agent profiles in our markets.

In many cases, your headshot is the first thing a potential client sees, so shouldn’t it highlight your true essence and personality rather than a curated or staged version of your professional self?

You’ve heard the saying, “First impressions last,” so an authentic representation of yourself is vital. How do you do that? By showcasing your personality and blending it with your professional self. Clients resonate with agents they can relate to or are drawn to. Since you haven’t had a chance to rattle off your accolades and stats to win them over, bringing your authentic self through in photos and in how you dress for your profession is a great way to market your personality.

You always want to be viewed as a professional, so coming to a showing, listing appointment or closing in loungewear is never appropriate. Yes, you want to come across as your authentic self, but the version that is the professional. You want to ensure your client knows you can get the job done and work well with them. Whether we like it or not, how we dress is important. Even if it’s not that corporate cookie-cutter image, making an effort matters because you represent yourself just as much as you represent your client. You want to serve both well.

When curating a professional wardrobe in the real estate world, there are some keywords to remember:  polished, presentable, professional and approachable.

For example, being a luxury realtor doesn’t mean you have to wear all designer, trendy labels, contrary to what the media dictates with shows such as “Selling Sunset.” What matters more is the quality, good construction, and that what you choose fits you well. If you like color or pattern, don’t be afraid to add it to your signature style. Not a tie guy? Adding a blazer to slacks or well-fitting, quality jeans looks just as polished.

Take a note from Chicago Luxury Realtor and Illinois rejournals.com Influencer of the Year, Carrie McCormick. She has a distinct style of elegance, often found in a form-fitting, midi-length pencil dress or a well-structured fit and flare.

Pop culture hits like the Million Dollar Listing franchise have changed the game when it comes to what a real estate professional can wear on the job. Take top producer Fredrik Eklund of Douglas Elliman, known for his colorful suits. You’ll find him in an array of bright colors down to his socks, a notable part of his signature high-kick. The colorful display complements his bubbly personality and helps get him noticed.

On the other hand, Steve Gold, from the successful Million Dollar Listing New York (MDLNY) show, has a more relaxed approach to his attire. Often spotted in neutrals, he typically opts for a fitted t-shirt under blazers and sneakers instead of dress shoes with his slacks. His style gives off a “laid-back-but-serious” vibe,  so people know he’s about getting the job done without any fuss.

Then there’s the fearless Tracy Tutor from Bravo’s MDLLA, who is unapologetically herself, oozing confidence and not afraid to showcase her feminine side with edgy fashion ensembles such as blazers with dress shorts or structured tank tops with dress pants. One thing that all of these successful agents have in common is that they are confident in their appearance and polished.

If you’re having a hard time figuring out how to bring together your personality and your professional self to create an authentic look, here are some tips to get you started.

  • Think about how you want to be seen. Confidence? Expert? Bold? Take-charge?
  • Make a list of those words, and then think about injecting your flavor into that visual.
  • Remember to be comfortable! I’m not saying to wear sweatpants, but I am saying to dress to ensure you are comfortable in your appearance. The more comfortable you are in your skin, the more confident you will be on the job and with your client.
  • Make it sensible. You might find yourself touring a home that’s a rehab project. Take into account the weather in your area. Keep in mind that you’re out and about most of the day.

You might even want to have a change of clothing with you at all times. Stash it in your car. This way, you’re prepared for all situations. I call it the bag of tricks to get you through any kind of day.

Remember that you don’t have to live up to some preconceived notion of what a real estate agent should look like or dress like. You can be you and still be professional. It’s all about finding your personal style that accentuates what you already have going for you: your personality!

Monika Bhondy was born Brit who moved to North America and now resides in the Chicagoland area. Monika comes equipped with vast life experiences with over 20 years of experience in the service industry under her belt. Her attention to detail, a keen eye for esthetics and uncanny ability to connect with others has seen her passion for styling evolve into a lucrative real estate business. A licensed real estate agent since 2016, Monika accomplished $2 million in sales in her first four months in the industry, earning her Million Dollar Guild™ status, which she has held since 2017. She’s a Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist® and a member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing™. Want to know if your home is priced right? As a Pricing Strategy Advisor, she’ll get you there. One of the few real estate professionals who is also a Certified Staging Consultant (held by less than 1500 brokers in Illinois as of 2020), she proves her passion for exquisite styling and knowing what works is always on point.

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