OOTD: week 4 – Every open house, every week – bringing back lace in REVIEW for a sophisticated and feminine look

OOTD: week 4 – Every open house, every week – bringing back lace in REVIEW for a sophisticated and feminine look

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We have all the seen the kind of real estate agent – the ones who drives a fancy BMW, wears a Rolex, talks the talk about the market in general and how it is booming, dresses well, but knows nothing when it comes to specifics about the property they are paid to sell: When prospective buyers ask them basic questions (such as how old is the building), they don’t know the answer. When prospective buyers ask them how much the levies are, they have to look at their own brochures. When prospective buyers ask them about settlement terms, they refer the buyer back to the contract. Basic information about the property they are selling isn’t hard to find out; all it shows is that these sorts of agents CAN’T EVEN BOTHERED to find out those details. Unfortunately for the community, these useless ‘I-can’t-be-bothered’ real agents also seem to be dime a dozen all over Australia, for some funny reason. If I was the seller, at 2% commission (2% of $500,000 = $10,000 commission), plus advertising and staging costs which are ADDITIONAL to the commission, I expect the agent to do some work.

 

And for this reason I make sure I thoroughly research the property, even though my job is only really to stand outside and look pretty while taking down the phone number and email addresses of potential clients we can add to our real estate database and spam with emails and sms for the life of the phone and email account.

 

On the subject of my job to stand outside and look pretty, I am also mindful that appearance is paramount and I take pride in what I wear. Last week’s open house saw me dressing up head to toe in REVIEW for my work outfit, pairing my Review blue floral ‘Neptune Bay’ sleeveless top with my flirty Review ‘Show Stopper’ skirt (which many a REVIEW fan in the Facebook group approved).

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What attracts me most to my favourite clothing labels isn’t so much how I look dressed. Well-cut dresses, tops and skirts for dressed up daywear and fabulous occasion wear not only have to look good on me, but it also has to make me FEEL beautiful and special. Yes, feeling good is more important to me than looking good when I am dressed up. Continuing the REVIEW theme from last week, this dress I am wearing today, a REVIEW Idaho black and cream lace short sleeved dress, is clearly one of those feel good ones.

 

Do I look good in it? Well, I don’t think I look as good in it as many of my other dresses. I remember when I first saw the dress on someone else’s Instagram post I told myself I had to have it. But on seeing it at the REVIEW boutique and trying it on, I felt that it didn’t look good enough on me. It may have to do with the cut of the dress: most of the dresses I wear are much more tailored to my body, and this REVIEW dress is actually looser. The sleeves have plenty of space, the fabric around my bust is a tad loose, and I can actually have a big meal and still not feel my dress is constricting myself. I returned it to the rack but couldn’t get it out of my head. So a few weeks later (ok, it was actually only 2 weeks later) I went to another REVIEW boutique and tried it on for a second time. How I looked in it didn’t change, but for what it can’t do in flattering my body shape, however, it more than makes up for by making me FEEL beautiful and special.

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So it took me two goes before I finally bought it. And now that I have it I absolutely love it and it is fast becoming my office outfit staple. This REVIEW Idaho Dress features delicate black and cream lace with sleeves, which is perfect for cool temperatures this season. I am even starting to warm to the less fitted cut – while I may not look quite as good I am incredibly comfortable wearing it. Paired with a black CUE belt a pair of current season NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps, the dress’ contrast collar, self-tie bow, and a scalloped hemline completes the dainty, neatly tailored and sophisticated feminine look I seek for my office workwear today. Yes I am putting my feminine charm to work in addition to my brains in chasing a sale! Fingers crossed I still got it 🙂

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Occasion: work/ office

 

Wearing:

REVIEW Idaho black and cream lace dress with short sleeves, a contrast collar and self-tie bow

CUE belt

NINEWEST ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps

 

Xoxo

Natalie

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OOTD: week 3 – Every open house, every week – head to toe in REVIEW

OOTD: week 3 – Every open house, every week – head to toe in REVIEW

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Last week’s open house saw me wearing one of my favourite iconic CUE dress. I love the clothing from CUE and rate it an absolute must for the style conscious working woman, and I admit I do own more than my fair share of skirts, dresses and tops from that label. While I would give them a solid 5/5 for their range from even 5 – 10 years ago, a time when they were made with quality imported fabric and well stitched together, I would rate CUE lower nowadays. As I wrote last week, a combination of odd and over-ornamented styles and poor quality and sizing change has left me with little options but to defect.

 

Yes, you read correct, I defected. From CUE to REVIEW.

 

I know what everyone must be thinking. Did I just defect from an iconic absolute-must-for-the-style-conscious-working-woman label to a flirty-flowery-fairy-tale label? Well, I just did. And yes I do agree at first glance most of the REVIEW skirts, dresses, and tops are really more suitable to wear to your five year old niece’s birthday party than the office, but look closer and you can still find fairly trendy and office friendly pieces – even for an office more conservative than the one I work in.

 

While CUE may have a ‘made in Australia’ credentials (though not all items – some are made in China), what attracted me to defect to REVIEW isn’t so much where the items are made. REVIEW produce well-cut dresses, tops and skirts for dressed up daywear and fabulous occasion wear which make me feel beautiful and special. Yes, feeling good is more important to me than looking good when I am dressed up. Matching CUE for ease of shopping (it apparently has 34 stand-alone boutiques and 64 Myer concessions in Australia), REVIEW pieces are designed from inspiration from the romance of eras past, drawing on the pencils of a design team that travel the world ‘combing through Parisian flea markets and vintage stores in London and New York…’ (the PR spiel makes me want to get a job as a member of the design team so that I too can travel the world combing through Parisian flea markets and vintage stores in London and New York … I wonder if REVIEW have any job vacancies in their design team?).

 

For today’s work outfit I decided to go head to toe in REVIEW (which I am sure most REVIEW fans – of which I only recently found out there are many and they even have a Facebook group with over 3200 members! – would approve), pairing my Review blue floral ‘Neptune Bay’ sleeveless top with my flirty Review ‘Show Stopper’ skirt. A sleeveless top in winter may not be the most practical piece of clothing, the cooling weather makes standing around outside the open house with bare arms and legs in a sleeveless top and skirt a chilly proposition. So to stay warm (and also complete a professional look) I am throwing on my current season CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer.

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As for all important footwear, I decided to ditch my comfy and sensible current season NineWest pumps this weekend for something with a higher heel – my pair of Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump. My Ferragamo pumps are usually reserved only for special occasions (such as weddings, for example). They are made in Italy and a classy statement item for any outfit and I try not to wear them out as they are firstly, costly to replace, and secondly, despite looking deceptively sensible actually have a 10cm heel that never fails to kill my feet at the end of the day if I wear them all day.

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But the cooling market and more importantly, competition makes it my weapon of choice for selling real estate this weekend: My footwear choice, of course, has nothing to do with the young blonde woman at the other real estate agency (i.e. the competitor) across the road who is selling another apartment in the same building as us who turned up at her open house last weekend strutting in a pair of high stilettos. Well take that you blonde bitch – you are not the only one who can pull it off in 10cm heels. We’ll see who struts in higher heels today!

 

Occasion: work/ office

 

Wearing:

Review blue floral ‘Neptune Bay’ sleeveless top (available here A$139.99)

Review ‘Show Stopper’ skirt (sold out)

CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer (available here A$280)

Salvatore Ferragamo slingback high heeled pump (sold out but similar styles available here $975 or here A$995)

 

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD: week 2 – Every open house, every week – in iconic, unmistakeably CUE

OOTD: week 2 – Every open house, every week – in iconic, unmistakeably CUE

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Since I started to post my outfit of the day look at every open house, every week, for the upcoming listing which I will be working with until the auction day, I’ve been looking online for ideas on what to wear to get “dressed up” for each open house. It’s not that I don’t have an idea what to wear, after all I’ve already been working in real estate for a number of years, for me the more fashion inspiration and ideas the better.

 

A few days ago this week I came across something interesting: according to an article on real estate website domain.com.au, the article actually goes as far to suggest specific labels that a real estate agent should get her clothes from: “Karen Millen, Cue and Veronika Maine”. I am hoping there is no paid product endorsements from the labels…

 

But honestly, is that the reason why dressing up in Cue has become the default open house uniform for so many female real estate agents?

 

For myself, however, I wear Cue not because real estate website domain.com.au says I should.

 

Quite simply, it is because I look and feel good wearing Cue. They fit perfectly and are cut to make the most of my figure. They are also iconic: I love the fact that I can walk into a room and people can instantly tell it’s a Cue dress and I always get compliments when wearing Cue. Pricey but trendy, I rate it an absolute must for the style conscious working woman.

 

Of late, however, they have gone downhill. While I would give them a solid 5/5 for their range from even 5 – 10 years ago when they were made with quality imported fabric and well stitched together, I would rate Cue lower nowadays. Firstly, their styles seemed odd and over-ornamented these days (with unnecessary frills or ruffles in odd spots). Secondly, their quality has gone downhill. Thirdly (the one that annoys me the most) is that their sizing has changed! Yes, I’ve always been a Cue size 6/8 but these days I couldn’t squeeze myself into anything smaller than a size 10!

 

Thinking I must have put on weight, I begrudgingly pulled out the new styles and older styles from my wardrobe last night and measured them side by side. And that is when I found the same size in Cue’s newer styles have actually shrunk compared with the old existing ones in my wardrobe. WTF!

 

For today’s open house, I have chosen to wear Cue. Besides, according to the article on real estate website domain.com.au, the mark of a successful real estate agent lies on her clothes, wearing labels such as: “Karen Millen, Cue and Veronika Maine”. Like many of my real estate peers, I figured I too should just fake it until I make it. Looking thru my Cue and Veronika Maine dress (such as this purple floral pencil dress and this pink dress from Cue and Veronika Maine respectively), I decided instead of relying on the newer styles of Cue dresses in my wardrobe, I’d stick to an ‘old faithful piece: something iconic, something unmistakeably Cue, something of an all-time favourite dress of mine: my floral satin racer neck dress.

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I still remember when I first bought this dress I was a bit uncertain about it. The dress wasn’t discounted, it was close to closing time on a weekday, and I wasn’t sure whether the cut would fit me. But I bought it nonetheless. It was one of my most expensive dresses I paid, but I absolutely loved it by the time I brought it home and put it on in front of the mirror again. I loved it so much I didn’t just wear it for just for special occasions. I’d wear it to blind dates. I’d wear it for dinner with friends. I’d wear it for a night out with my girlfriends. I’d always pack it with me for interstate business trips to wear to dinners with business clients. And it had gotten me lucky with successful sales and business deals on at least one occasion too. Of late, though, it has been relegated to the back of the wardrobe by newer dresses. But today I figured I might need some luck at this weekend’s open house (the last weekend’s open house was poorly attended unfortunately- the weather may have something to do with it).

 

While the dress may be an old favourite (which is, sadly for those who missed out, is sold out no longer available for sale – even Sonia Kruger wore it to the set on Channel 9 Mornings!), the rest of my outfit are new and current season. Pairing the dress with an elegantly cut current season CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer and my new pair of NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps to finish for a professional look.

 

Fingers crossed this week’s open house is more successful than last week’s!

 

Occasion: Office/ work

 

Wearing:

CUE satin floral racer neck dress (sold out)

CUE CITY Black Revere Collar Blazer (available here for A$280)

NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps (available here for A$149.95)

 

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD: week 1 – Every open house, every week – classic white shirt and black skirt

OOTD: week 1 – Every open house, every week – classic white shirt and black skirt

 

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Since I started working in real estate, my daily workload includes carefully planning and executing well-developed marketing plan to help bring the best result for my clients and the agency. As readers may have already read, we are holding the listing for a fantastic city apartment. The past few weeks had seen me working fervently on the marketing campaign, which on consultation with our clients decided would include a combination of newsletters/ our property magazine, newspaper editorial, online advertising, listing on real estate websites, and letterbox drop-flyer. Despite all the time spent in the office getting the details right, the work I have put in so far is only laying the foundations. All the newsletters/ our property magazine, newspaper editorial, online advertising, listing on real estate websites and letterbox drop-flyer serve only to lead up to the second most important thing (second most important after the auction day itself): the weekly open house.

 

Working in real estate we often advocate the advantages of an open house: buyers can examine the property in person and this is something buyers cannot gain just by viewing pictures online. It creates buzz and possibly a bidding war when it comes to auction time. Maximum exposure is generated: signs are put out on boulevards or near street corners to draw traffic.

 

To be honest and frank, the advantages are not just limited to the clients/ sellers. All real estate agents are selfish and I must honestly say we often advocate the advantages of an open house because it also benefits the agents: Hosting an open house can be a great way to limit the number of individual showings to set times and allow us to plan our work week. Maximum exposure is generated benefits not just the seller but the agency: we want people to know who we are and as far as the agency is concerned everyone is a potential client, if not now, then in the future. It also allows us to showcase who we are and what we do.

 

It is for the reason to showcase who we are and what we do that real estate agents always get “dressed up” for an open house. Which is why, for this FIRST EVER open house of the listing for this fantastic city apartment which we hold the listing for, I have decided to wear something classic. As they say, when in doubt, a white shirt and black skirt combination can never go wrong. So this morning I put on a CUE fitted white short sleeved button-up shirt and a CUE black pencil skirt, paired with a new pair of NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps, accessorised with my usual set of matching pearl necklace, bracelet, and earrings.

 

 

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Even the rain can’t dampen my spirits for to get things going right for my FIRST EVER open house.

 

Occasion: Office/ work

 

Wearing:

CUE fitted white short sleeved shirt

CUE black pencil skirt

NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps (available here)

 

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD – Every open house, every week

Ever since I started working in the real estate industry, I have always been made aware that the business’ and the agent’s image is projected through my professional appearance. Just as much as how well you communicate, how knowledgeable you are about the property you are selling, and your reputation (well, the latter doesn’t seem to matter to some agents especially in the Australian cities of Sydney or Melbourne, who are known to openly lie and underquote), some clients will judge you by your appearance.

 

So before one even talks about customer service or going the extra mile, first impressions matter when meeting with potential clients in this competitive and challenging real estate market. From a scheduled client meeting to an open house to a networking cocktail reception to a public exhibition of a new property sale project/ launch, most real estate agents always get “dressed up”.

 

Of course, getting “dressed up” is always easier for men than women: a well cut conservative and neutral coloured (such as navy or charcoal-grey) suit, a crisp white button shirt and a tie, and simple accessories such as a Swiss watch and monogrammed cuff links usually complete the look.

 

Women, meanwhile, have to content with challenges of options: skirt or slacks? Blouse or shirt? Sleeveless or sleeved top? A dress vs a skirt suit vs pant suit? If it is a dress or skirt there is then the choice of style and length: how short is too short a hemline? Is a fitted dress or skirt too tight? And then there are the colours: conservative vs neutral vs bright colours? And this is even before the considerations of shoes and accessories: High heels vs kitten heels vs dressy flats vs classic wedges? Heel height? Shoes colour? And make-up? How much is too much make-up? Is the shade of nail polish and lipstick appropriate? In short there is so much to consider and there is a fine line between sufficiently keeping up with current fashion trends versus maintaining a professional image.

 

So what should a young woman like myself do?

 

I know some of my colleagues turn to looking at how other female real estate agents dress and the end result is almost like one-upmanship fashion run-way war: last week the young blonde woman at the agency across the road selling an apartment in the same building as another apartment which our agency holds the listing for turns up at her open house in a new $310.00 CUE Belted Pencil Dress. The very same afternoon my colleague went to the shops after work and bought herself similarly unmistakeably CUE dress, this one a slightly more expensive $355.00 Floral Satin Pencil Dress. And at the next open house on Saturday the two competing agents jealously eye each other in their respective CUE dresses while trying their hardest to compete for clients and buyer’s attention in this competitive and challenging real estate market.

 

I don’t necessarily want to be drawn into this arms-race of the dresses of sorts (although I must admit it is at times unavoidable and even the level headed Natalie myself had been drawn into one) because I don’t want my entire fortnightly paycheck to go into a new outfit every week to compete with other women (not unless someone else funds it, that is): Consider this, the new CUE Belted Pencil Dress may be only $310.00 but there are also shoes, accessories, make-up, nails, etc etc. They all add up, and add up pretty quickly (therefore a revelation for prospective clients: when you pay a real estate agent to sell your property the reason why our commissions are five or six figures is because you are paying for our wardrobe and the expensive cars real estate agents drive).

 

Turning to online forums and internet for tips, it seems what a young woman like myself should do can be summarised in the following tip: When you need to look like a successful businessperson, either dress conservatively or follow fashion trends. Some go as far as to suggest that a good idea to keep up with current fashion trends is to read Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire, and Vogue. Which isn’t a problem for me: I go through tonnes of those when getting my hair styled at my hairdresser’s every 3 weeks.

 

At the end of the day, though, it has to be a balance. The balance between sufficiently keeping up with current fashion trends versus maintaining a professional image versus looking better than that blonde bitch at the real estate agency across the road versus not spending all my paycheck on my outfit.

 

We are holding the listing for a fantastic city apartment which we will be auctioning at the end of the marketing campaign of weekly open house attracting perspective purchasers to the home. So I have decided to post my OOTD look at every open house, every week, for the upcoming listing which I will be working with until the ending with the auction day.

 

Readers can let me know if my look is a hit, or a miss. I am excited and looking forward to this! 🙂

 

Xoxo

Natalie

OOTD – LACE IS IN

OOTD Review Idaho dress (1)

When I first noticed this REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress many months ago on the rack at my regular (and fast becoming a favourite, after defecting from CUE) REVIEW boutique I tried it on but thought I didn’t look as good in it as a REVIEW dress should. It is a nice dress, don’t get me wrong, but there was something about the shape of the dress, the cutting, and the colour that I thought did not quite suit me nor flatter my body shape (which I had recently found out matching clothes to body shape is an art and science). Maybe it needed to be long sleeved? Maybe it needed to have a contrasting white collar? Or maybe it was my hair colour and skin tone: the black lace dress certainly looked better if I was blonde (which I am not), I thought. So I left it.

 

But whenever in walked past the REVIEW boutique in the in following few weeks I found myself looking at it again. Again every other time I looked at it and tried it on again and looked into the mirror I didn’t think it flattered me to the extent a REVIEW dress should. Then one evening I saw it again on someone else’s Instagram post. And I must admit I wanted that dress after seeing that post.

 

So the next day I hurried into my regular REVIEW boutique. They sold out, so I found myself criss-crossing the city over the next few days until I found one in my size. For some funny and inexplicable reason I still wasn’t too convinced I looked good in that dress when I tried it on one more time, but I bought it anyway. My doubt disappeared when I got home and put it on again – I actually love that dress.

 

Their description is that ‘the Idaho Dress in Black & Cream is this season’s monochrome must-have. It features delicate black and cream lace with short sleeves, a contrast collar with self-tie bow and a scalloped hemline. Dainty, neatly tailored and sophisticated you’ll love this dress for special occasion dressing.’

 

I don’t think I need for a special occasion for an excuse to wear this dress, so here I am wearing it to the office to work today.

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Occasion: Office/ work

 

Wearing:

REVIEW ‘Idaho’ monochrome lace dress (available here)

CUE black leather belt, designed by Peter Lang (available here)

NINEWEST heels

 

Xoxo

Natalie

 

OOTD – LUNAR NEW YEAR

Today is the first day of the Lunar new year (also known as Chinese New Year). The lunar new year is major event in the Far East, a bit like Christmas in the West, but bigger. From China to Hong Kong to Taiwan to South East Asia, major celebrations dominate the day. And oh, it is also a public holiday. The ethnic Chinese diaspora overseas do not have the benefit of a public holiday, but it doesn’t mean the festival is not observed. So even though I have to go to work today, I have been brought up to observe certain traditions.

 

Among the many traditions (which I will not go through here – I am sure there are better blogs out there where each and every tradition is listed), firstly, red is worn (to signify good luck). I ran through my wardrobe last night and the only new item I had close to the colour red is pink: this sleek and elegant pink VERONIKA MAINE dress. Pink and red may be two different words in English, but in Mandarin pink is essentially formed of two words: ‘pastel red’. So I convinced myself I had observed tradition.

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OOTD-lunar new year (1)

 

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But just in case (in the off chance pinks isn’t quite red…), I decided to wear a red bra underneath: this particular flattering piece from DITA VON TEESE, which she describes:

“I love contrasting satin and lace, and I really wanted an elegant, smooth bra that also creates voluptuous cleavage. The wide-set straps leave the front of the chest very bare, which is very, very sexy.” – Dita Von Teese

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OOTD-lunar new year (4)

The first tradition upheld 🙂

 

Wishing everyone a prosperous and happy lunar new year, and the year ahead! 🙂

 

Occasion: Office/ work

 

Wearing:

VERONIKA MAINE dress

DITA VON TEAEE ‘Star Lift’ bra

NINEWEST heels

 

Xoxo

Natalie