Smart business suit


I am 41, Sam Simon is 23 and Stephen Feiner is just slightly north of 60. We are cross generational (not cross dressing).

A client who founded and runs one of the most successful fin techs asked me (wearing jeans and a t-shirt) if in 3 years’ time, when their lease renewal comes up, would I still be wearing a suit. To which I emphatically answered YES. Not to be old fashioned. A suit can be perceived as much a uniform as jeans and t shirt, Pilots white shirt, blue trousers/double-breasted blazer or army camouflage.

In the last few weeks, I was in one of the branches of a major high street Bank (whether that will still be there in 3 years is another story – see our blog on the high street) – admittedly, there is works currently being done to the branch so maybe that is why staff were dressed very down. I could not help thinking – these people who we trust with our money are serving us dressed in tracksuits and t-shirts.

It started with agents going tie less, now an agent will wear chino’s, a shirt and Timbies – stock uniform. Lawyers now dress down. Goldman Sachs now have a dress down policy.

David Rosen of Pilcher Hershman – gets away with not wearing a suit. His dress sense in impeccable. His clients who are leaders in the art and creative world expect it. His eye for detail is fantastic and his style of clothing is iconic. He takes care in his appearance. He also takes care of his clients.

Ashim Sharma of Ashwell London – beautifully dressed – clients love him. Tony Parrack of Edward Charles & Partners, same. Tony Lorenz, always in a suit. BH2 dress like they are going out to win every pitch – and normally do. Michael Rabin of Colliers City Fringe in the heart of tech City – always in the most up to date suit

An observation – women in our industry seem to take time to dress beautifully. They dress up, it is the men dressing down. I don’t believe this is a sexist double standards thing. Just women seem to take more pride in their appearance.

My wife recently mentioned that when she worked at one of the leading magic circle law firms her colleagues (male and female) all dressed beautifully. The only time they allowed themselves to dress down was if working to 3 or 4 in the morning; around 10pm tracksuits & comfy’s were put on.

Recently we inspected with a client one of the most prestigious buildings currently being marketed in the West End. The agent marketing the building turned up dress down and proceeded to give a viewing that frankly did not sell what is an iconic building or, present that person’s firm in a good light. The agent is lucky, the quality of the building means it will let whether the agent wears a Savile Row suit or swimming trunks and flip flops.

It is however, disrespectful to his client, the building and the time given up by the people viewing to simply show up and not understand that every space being marketed is an income for a client and a new home for a tenant. How often do we do viewings with clients when the agent simply turns up, opens a door and says nothing for the next 20 minutes?

It is not being arrogant to suggest wearing a suit improves our quality – far from it and there are plenty of fantastic agents and advisors who do their jobs better than we at LONIC ever could, not wearing a suit. Their clients love them and rightly so.

I just feel that you the client who spends their life building a business, when meeting an advisor, should be shown the respect you deserve when requesting your time being taken up by third parties advising on either the best way to exit a lease, finding a new home for your business, fundraising, M&A or any aspect where your life’s work is being assisted.

It would be fun to pitch in a meeting wearing just swimming trunks & flip flops though…