Is it ever OK for me to wear casual clothes, even in a heat wave?
About 10 years ago a revolution took place in Estate Agency. It was only very subtle and you would be forgiven if you had missed it but for those of us old enough to remember before it has never been the same since.
Roughly 10 years ago we lost our ties! I don’t mean that they fell down the back of our desks or they are in the footwells of our cars, we revolted and ditched the tie from our everyday apparel. The image of the shiny suit and tie wearing estate agent is now consigned to history and it doesn’t look like it will ever be making a return.
Now admittedly we were a bit late to the party and everyday work wear for a great number of industries has changed dramatically over recent years but it was still a big move for us and one that I was at first a bit reluctant to take up. Whilst I mess about and have fun doing what I do, selling properties is a serious business and as an estate agent you have a great deal of responsibility. You are assisting people in what will undoubtedly be the biggest transaction in their lives and helping them make decisions about where they might live for the next 30 or 40 years. This deserves a level of reverence and respect but at the same time I want to convey that I am approachable, accessible and hopefully can make people feel at ease and be able to relax when they make these life changing decisions.
Turning up at a house in a suit and tie with a briefcase or being in an office with 5 or 6 other estate agents all dressed virtually the same that spring up to try and sell you something as soon as you enter can understandably come across as a little intimidating and that is the last thing we want to convey. I like the new look, we are still smart but a bit more relaxed and hopefully the balance is just right.
Is it now time however to take this relaxed look even further?
The recent heatwave has started a debate as to whether we can now go even further with our relaxed attire and if we did would it make any difference? People are now much more used to seeing workers in less formal work wear. Even traditional stuffy industries have taken up this approach. Places like banks where they would be wearing pinstripe suits and bowler hats are now advocating casual wear for workers and a lot of it has sprung from the new and extremely fast expanding online businesses.
How weird was it when we saw Mark Zuckerberg the Facebook founder address the American Senate dressed in a suit? So used are we to see him in his now traditional jeans and t-shirt that it seemed very odd to see him looking so smart and uncomfortable (his was getting a grilling mind). His attire doesn’t seem to have held him back at all with his current worth rated at approx. $75,000,000,000! So should we all revert to this type and do people really care what their estate agent has got on when they are showing then around a house?
Last week in the extreme heat I had to show a couple around a bungalow. This particular bungalow was empty and obviously all locked and sealed up. I turned up 5 minutes before the viewing to at least try and ventilate it a little but was fighting a losing battle. By the time the couple turned up to look around I was melting and just looked a soggy, sweaty mess. All I could do was apologise as I showed them around with an extremely attractive bead of sweat dangling from my nose! They on the other hand were fine as he had on a pair of shorts and flip-flops while she had a light summer dress. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to wear the same?
Would it be the end of the world if I wore a smart pair of shorts, short sleeved shirt and sandals? Would anybody think me unprofessional, incapable or disrespectful?
I think that you can still look smart wearing shorts and a shirt but for me currently it is a step too far. We have a very important job and even from a physiological point of view for us, I think that I would feel and act differently wearing shorts and flip-flops compared to a suit and I believe that even subconsciously people would view and treat us differently. We have to show respect for what we do and always carry it out in a professional manner and this includes what we wear as well as what we do.
So for now the Mankini will have to only come out on Sundays and days off and I will have to carry on melting in my suit but who knows in a few years time this may all change, we have had one revolution who knows when the next one will take place?