Dressing for Success: It’s All About the Context!

There was once a time when every professional, no matter his or her industry, put on a suit each morning.  Today, there are many interpretations of formal, business casual, smart casual, etc.  If you’re not aware of the environment you’re in it can be easy to look sloppy, and it can be equally easy to be over-dressed.


Dress Codes vs. Self-Expression

“Dress codes have most certainly relaxed over time, particularly since the introduction of ‘jeans Fridays’ and dot-com era casual attire,” says Judah Kurtz of BPI group, a human resources consulting firm in Chicago, Illinois. “What is considered ‘appropriate’ varies by company and culture, as well as what parts of the house are strictly internal versus client/public facing.”

“Dress code policies walk a fine line between portraying a professional image to clients and customers while allowing employees to be comfortable, engaged, and expressive,” said Kevin Sheridan, senior vice president of HR optimization at Avatar HR Solutions, also in Chicago.

While some have adopted casual dress code policies that allow for self-expressions, others believe it’s important to have dress codes with limitations of expressions.

Franki Brandt-Pethtel, the Director of Operations for Bond Jewelers in the Tampa Bay Area, thinks maintaining a proper dress code shows respect for your employer, clients and yourself.

“Would you purchase an expensive piece of fine jewelry from a woman with a green Mohawk and sleeve full of tats? That’s why I wear a suit to work every day. My personal expression can wait until my day off,” she said.

While it’s ultimately up to each organization’s culture to deem what is fit, various human resource professionals believe general dress guidelines are useful as they create some parameters and expectations around what is considered appropriate.  At the same time, allowing some freedom of individual expression can have positive impacts on company culture and employee satisfaction.

“You may be memorable, but make sure you are memorable for the right reasons,” said Kurtz. “Be yourself, but don’t let your appearance or behaviors detract from your selling points: your intelligence, accomplishments, strengths and experience.”



Before you decide on an outfit for any professional appointment, carefully consider your audience. If you’re meeting someone abroad, research what the locals wear for business meetings and dress accordingly. When meeting with a high-level executive, do your best to mirror what he or she will wear.

For men, putting your best look forward often comes down a clean, crisp look from head to toe. Svelte suit. Slick tie. Shined shoes. Spruced hair. For women, the same rules apply. An equally unfettered, conservative — basically safe — professional look is often the best choice for meetings, regardless of your gender. If you wear a skirt with your blazer and blouse instead of dress pants, double check that it’s not too short.


Tech start-ups

Startups are notoriously contrarian cultures; they are looking to change the status quo. Dressing in a suit represents the status quo, or at least, a caricature of it.

Silicon Valley has a peculiar and yet virulent bias against the suit. It’s even a euphemism for an overly conservative, corporate-buzzword-speaking, pointy-haired Dilbert boss. No one wants to work with an “empty suit”. Software engineers help strongly define the culture in Silicon Valley, and they overwhelmingly don’t wear suits, or in general they don’t want to work with people who do.

If you are meeting with a tech startup, business casual dress is often the way to go.

Source:  Entrepreneur.com


Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. Congratulates Jacqueline White

St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica has recognized Barrister’s Assistant Vice President Jacqueline White with two awards for her devoted volunteerism.  White is the recipient of the “Volunteer in Action” and was recognized for over 100 hours of service.  Since joining the volunteers at St. John’s in May 2009, White has devoted over 300 hours working on the oncology ward.

Helping people has been a passion for White since she was a child.  But as a single parent of two, her responsibilities did not give White the time or flexibility needed for volunteerism.  Things changed when White’s eldest child got her driver’s license, White’s schedule opened up and she was finally able to sign up for St. John’s volunteer group.

Anyone who knows White says that her kindness and cheerful attitude are contagious, which is a precious gift to have, especially as a volunteer on the oncology ward.  When White goes to the hospital every Tuesday after a full day at the office, she is a light hearted and compassionate force to everyone that she assists.  She is not only there for the patients, but the families who are grieving and struggling.  Ultimately, White’s goal is to make what is a difficult situation for everyone better.  Her tasks when on duty include assisting nurses, patients, and families.

Jacqueline White has been working with Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. for 19 years.  In 1992, White began working as a phone operator in Beverly Hills and is now the Assistant Vice President and On Site Manager of Barrister’s largest location, Century City.  White is also a founding member of Barrister’s Community Service Committee, and responsible for organizing Barrister’s 2010 Revlon Run/Walk Team which raised $7,500.

Congratulations Jacqui!

For more information on voluteering at St. John’s please visit: http://www.stjohns.org/body.cfm?id=210

Barrister Tenants Trick or Treat and Network for Halloween

Our suite managers find any excuse to throw a party for their tenants, knowing it’s a great networking opportunity.

Halloween past was another occasion for Barrister tenants to take a break and mingle with other professionals at their shared location. 

Each of our 20 locations has a wide variety of entrepreneurs, sole practitioners, and individuals representing their company in a satellite office.  Tenants who office with us have an opportunity to interact all types of professions and uncover a myriad of business opportunities.

“I didn’t realize that my office could be so fun,” says one Barrister Century City Tenant.  “The various networking and tenant appreciation parties allow me to finally have a conversation with the people down the hall and enjoy myself at work.”

Afternoon Tea at Barrister Serves as Opportunity to Network

TEA PARTY 004          TEA PARTY 010            TEA PARTY 013


The Mad Hatter wasn’t present for the recent tea party held at our Century City location, but the laughter and good times flowed just the same.

Barrister tenants and staff gathered for an End of Summer Afternoon Tea networking event. While tea was served and finger sandwiches were passed, tenants mingled and utilized the opportunity to exchange business cards.

The afternoon was also a great opportunity to welcome new tenants and learn about one another’s business or practice.

Barrister Assistant Vice President Jacqui White drew from her British background for the idea of tea in the afternoon. 

“We had a tremendous turnout,” White said.  “Numerous tenants have expressed how much they enjoyed the opportunity to mingle and relax.”

Century City Executive Suite Goes Greek

Jacqui WhiteBarrister Executive Suites Inc. showed the real estate community what it means to “Go Greek” at an open house hosted at their Century City location on Thursday, Nov. 5.

The Greek-themed networking event attracted many top commercial real estate professionals, Chamber of Commerce members and other local business professionals. While the music played and food was enjoyed by all, the open house was a great opportunity for attendees to take a tour of the Century City office space and see what the executive suite has to offer any business professional.

Guests were eager to discuss current market conditions and leasing trends, and learn just how easy it is to partner with Barrister Executives Suites, Inc.

“[We] showed brokers what they can offer their clients with hardly any effort. They just refer the client to us – we close the deal – they get the commission,” said Jacqui White, Assistant Vice President. “And the special features we include really helps their clients achieve a much greater return on their office rent.”

Brian Luft, NAI Capital was one of the evening’s lucky raffle prize winners.

The Century City Executive Suite offers a full-service office atmosphere, without the added costs. With two full floors of occupied space at the Century Park Plaza building, many experienced attorneys have found a permanent business home at the executive suite. The Century City location boasts a floor-to-ceiling window line with spectacular views of the famous L.A. Country Club, and convenient pedestrian bridge connecting it to the Westfield Century City Shopping Center, for world class shopping and entertainment.

To learn more about the Barrister Executive Suites, Inc. location in Century City, Click Here.