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The Suit Advisors Should Wear: The Importance of Color
by Michael Ferrera, 7/23/18
© 2018, Advisor Perspectives, Inc. All rights reserved
Source; excerpts follow

Source disclaimer: Advisor Perspectives welcomes guest contributions. The views presented here do not necessarily represent those of Advisor Perspectives.

MADG disclaimer: Same here

Although the target audience is professional investment advisors, the proffered advice could apply to a variety of professions and situations.

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… The colors you wear play a significant role in the impression people receive. You must use this to your advantage. The suits you wear on first, second and subsequent meetings should be strategic in your consulting and sales process.

The color for your first meeting suit should be in the area of navy blue or medium to light gray. Why? Theses colors put your client or prospect in a position to be more open and share information with you. Blue and gray suits and jackets give a welcoming presence and openness when paired with a light blue, white or light colored shirt. This positions your potential client's mind and they do not even know it, which is vital to your strategy as a financial advisor. The more information you know about the client the more valuable you can be to their financial wellbeing. This is all strategically done by using the appropriate colors to control your meeting. Hues of navy blue or grays are the key to positioning success in the first meeting.

Interestingly, the suit you should wear during the second meeting is the reverse of the color you wore the first time, but still staying in the same gray to navy blue range. You are still priming your client's mind for the professional relationship you are establishing. At the beginning of the relationship, you are learning from them but they are also measuring you. They are learning your communication style, the meeting flow, the investment options you can offer, and the way you present yourself as a financial advisor. When you give a strong professional image from the start, your clients will know what to expect. This will also create an easier opportunity for you to be casually dressed in the future when appropriate since they have already been primed with your standard image…

Read full editorial

That's the gist of it right there. According to Ferrera, first impressions are important, and he's describing a particular facet of that. Since I think of myself as essentially fashion-insensate, this is one of the reasons I found this missive interesting.

Another is that he's describing "subliminal suggestion"; and how the human mind works is always interesting. Who knew that color differences were broadcasting different messages? Sure, showing up for a job interview in a purple pimp suit is not a positive precursor for an offer; choosing "navy blue or medium to light gray" from the business wardrobe is a subtlety I never considered. When building my suit ensemble, I start with: "Which shirt is clean?" and work it from there.

Finally, I read through the entire missive without even wondering if the advice also applied to women's business attire. DaFirm is very keen on "women in investing": About 2-months ago, I attended a presentation on "unconscious bias"; and about 2-weeks ago, listened to an in-office presentation by an author (and former state rep) who runs an organization encouraging women to become involved in the investment industry. Yet, when I saw the headline of this article and started reading it, I just "knew" it was about men's clothing.

So, the most interesting part was not in the editorial; it was how I unthinkingly processed it.

Postscript: The author, who led me down the "manly path", included a footnote (my emphasis added):

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Also, as Sara has written, personal appearance is a sensitive topic, so let me start out with a couple of caveats. Implied in what I write here is the assumption that a certain appearance denotes success and that advisors should strive for this. You are entitled to reject that assumption. Second, while my recommendations are gender-specific, your gender is self-defined.

This still doesn't tell us whether careful color consideration works for women as it supposedly does for men.
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2 Comments On This Entry

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The color for your first meeting suit should be in the area of navy blue or medium to light gray. Why? Theses colors put your client or prospect in a position to be more open and share information with you. Blue and gray suits and jackets give a welcoming presence and openness when paired with a light blue, white or light colored shirt. This positions your potential client's mind and they do not even know it, which is vital to your strategy as a financial advisor. The more information you know about the client the more valuable you can be to their financial wellbeing. This is all strategically done by using the appropriate colors to control your meeting. Hues of navy blue or grays are the key to positioning success in the first meeting.

Interestingly, the suit you should wear during the second meeting is the reverse of the color you wore the first time, but still staying in the same gray to navy blue range. You are still priming your client's mind for the professional relationship you are establishing. At the beginning of the relationship, you are learning from them but they are also measuring you. They are learning your communication style, the meeting flow, the investment options you can offer, and the way you present yourself as a financial advisor. When you give a strong professional image from the start, your clients will know what to expect. This will also create an easier opportunity for you to be casually dressed in the future when appropriate since they have already been primed with your standard image…


I agree entirely, and it's VERY MUCH the same in selling Engineering services. I took a leaf from IBM - Their people HAD to wear blue suits and ties, to project an image of 'reliability' in the then-new era of computers. Of course, nobody THESE days wants to look like "The guy from IBM". And ESPECIALLY... NOBODY (at least not in Engineering) wears a 3-piece suit these days, no matter how much I'd want to.

I've adopted a "modified IBM" look: First meeting - IBM-ish navy jacket but NOT part of a 3-piece. Good khaki or grey trousers. non-white shirt. necktie. Second meeting - I lose the necktie.

I've learned the hard way - What DOESN'T work, at least not "Back East" is the "West Coast" look. The photo of me in my gallery? Same ensemble I've worn whilst sitting on a Intel corporate jet, meeting with Larry Ellison of Oracle and Craig Barrett of Intel. Doesn't seem to work back east.
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THERE’s a smart-looking, trustworthy fellow! :coolshades:

As a lifetime, “operations” professional, presentation is not a major aspect of the job (except, perhaps, to model appropriate behavior for the younger folks). And yet, I take few meet-and-greet meetings per year; and much more often, video-conferences with the “home office”, other company satellites, and various vendors and service providers. In such cases, “dress for success” means the waist up. (Isn’t technology wonderful?!) Don’t get me wrong; I clean up real nice, and enjoy it. I just don’t want to do it every day.

The investment firm I’ve been working for these last 20-umpteen years has always been “casual Friday every day”; so long as my shirt has a collar (like a polo shirt) and jeans are not “confrontationally grubby”, I’m good to go. There ARE “dress-up” days when we have important visitors but the entire office is warned of that via email the day before. This is part of the reason why I’ve never even thought about color selection, and why I thought the editorial was interesting.

Thank you for posting.
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