What Constitutes Professional Attire?

A topic that comes up a lot when I talk with people is how they should dress. Are flip-flops okay? What about a tank top? I remember seeing a picture of an appraiser that he posted himself, dressed in a backward baseball cap, tank top, and sunglasses, ready to go out and work. Ultimately, whatever works for you is what you should do. You know better than anyone what the culture of your local area is, and how you will be received in a given uniform. Let me share with you a principle or two to help guide you in your decision.

First, it really does somewhat depend on your particular location. I know some appraisers that work in Hawaii that wear flip flops to work on a regular basis. It would be weird for them to not show up in flip flops, because that’s what everyone wears in Hawaii. I also happen to know, however, that I couldn’t do the same thing here in Idaho without attracting some weird looks. Around here, you just don’t wear flip flops as a professional. The expectation and understanding of what professional attire means is very different in Idaho than it is in Hawaii, and the decisions must be made accordingly.

That being said, I know that many appraisers gripe about not being treated like professionals. If you’re not dressing like a professional, how do you expect to be treated like one? Think about what message you’re sending to the people you interact with through your dress and appearance. Are you dressed neatly? Do you look like someone who knows what they’re doing? Do you look like the kind of person your customers can be confident in? The answers to these questions can help guide us as we try to become more professional.

 For me, looking professional means wearing a blue button-up shirt, nice jeans or khakis, and some nice dress shoes that I can comfortably take on and off. For you it may be different. When selecting your attire, it is always important to take into account what the norm is in your area, as well as the message you are sending to your customers by the way you dress.

For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode: 

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