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Knotty problem: do clients care if agents wear ties or not?

Agent in London has caused a stir by ordering its staff to take off their ties, claiming they are an 'antiquated' form of business attire.

Nigel Lewis

business attire

An estate agency in London has ordered its staff to take off their ties after claiming that clients no longer care whether they wear them or not.

Nine-branch London firm James Pendleton says wearing a tie is ‘no longer good for business’ and at a sales meeting earlier this month co-founder and MD Lee Pendleton (pictured, above, centre) asked all his sales staff to cut their ties in half.

Pendleton claims that the long-standing business attire style is an antiquated way of doing business when many of his clients themselves rarely wear ties or even suits to work.

Staff at his firm, which recently celebrated its 16th anniversary, are judged on their performance rather than appearance, it is claimed.

Business attire retired

“I looked round the room and thought ‘today’s the day’,” says Pendleton.

“Times have changed and our clients aren’t paying for the way we look. It took a while for my world view to change because, when I entered the industry, it was still very traditional, and we all wore suits and ties without fail.

“But the world has moved on and clients today don’t value a nice tie any more they value good advice. I want the people who meet our consultants to see them as equals, whose experience they badly need, not drones who need to dress to impress.

“My hope is that this helps clients will feel the relationship they have with us is less transactional and more about trust and experience.”






August 23, 2019


  1. Never had ties or suits in our office since we launched in 2004. Most of the time I wear jeans, trainers and t-shirts and we’re booming. Most common comment when meeting clients or applicants? ‘I love the fact you don’t wear a suit, you’re so much more approachable’. Other agents have often said ‘yeah, but you’re in Shoreditch you can do that’- we work for clients across London, over half our clients don’t live in the UK, our average rent is nearly £2500 pcm and average property value around £800k- so plenty of high market activity. It’s your personality, knowledge and professionalism that wins out in the end- if you’re relying on a suit your focus is in the wrong place.

  2. Looooong overdue. I’ve been saying this for years. Lose the suits as well – how about chinos and branded polo shirts – with light-hearted service message (as opposed to over branded). Smart, casual and still professional.

  3. I remember in 2009 opening our doors in a new agency, I decided that wearing a suit and a tie was not the way to go. The first appointment I went on, I was asked where my tie was, I just explained it was no tie day. Wore a tie but no suit from then onwards. In 2016 I burnt the lot and swore never to wear one again.

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