So, having recently covered Tips for Surviving a
Goldman Sachs Internship and Attending a Sporting Event With Your
Boss, my latest attempt (by request) is a fresh,
succinct, and definitive guide to dressing like an investment
The genesis of this post is simple; American men dress like s---.
It doesn’t matter where you look,
from the endless stream of bright-eyed but hopeless-looking students vying for
the ever-shrinking number of analyst positions on Wall Street, to the haggard,
white-collar, middle class masses traipsing their way from airport lounge to
departure gate, while getting Hilton Reward Points rich and Chipotle
Who better to help than the aggregated and infinite wisdom of GSElevator,
with a comprehensive list of business fashion tips from the halls of Goldman
So, here we go…
- No brogues, wing-tipped, or square-toed
- Stick with loafers; they’re more
comfortable and convenient. And the conventional wisdom that they lack the
formality of traditional lace-ups has long-since expired.
- If you aren’t
confident in your innate fashion sense, keep the shoes black when wearing a
suit. There’s no need to attempt hazel Bottega Venetas and a matching belt with
a monastral blue suit. In most cases, you can’t pull it off.
- Cedar shoetrees
are an absolute must. They absorb moisture, stiff-arm the signs of aging, and
otherwise materially extend the life of your shoes. Don’t forget to get your housekeeper a decent shine kit for Christmas.
#1: He's really wearing square-toed
#2: Wait, it's intern season
Prada and Gucci;
start and end there. Decent $700 shoes will last you 3-4x times longer than
something you pick up from Bloomingdale’s for $300. Do the math.
And make sure she uses it.
Unless you are married to a Sloane Ranger
or studied Classics at Cambridge, leave the pink Richard James socks at home.
It’s not Ladies’ Day at Ascot.
#1: Most Brits aren't gay, but their socks
- Calvin Klein or
Giorgio Armani makes some great calve-high plain black socks that never change
with the season. And just as Michael Jordan insisted on a new pair of shoes
every game, you need to keep the socks fresh.
- Buy at least 20
identical pair every six months.
#1: I wear a brand new pair of
socks every day. That's probably my only indulgence. That, and watches... And
The ‘no socks’
look is disgusting, and is actually a stated violation of many corporate dress
codes, particularly for banks.
No cuffs and no pleats; pleats are for guys with gunts (front
#1: Dude, cuffed pants are for limo
Belt loops are optional. If you have a decent tailor, rock
the side tabs.
#1: Did you forget your belt
#2: I don't need one; did you
forget to get your suit tailored
Actually, side tabs are rather convenient if you are a junior
banker. You’ve got less time for the gym and spend many a lunch and dinner
hunched over your desk. Throw in the boozy nights out and extravagant client
dinners and it’s a recipe for looking like 2011 Alec
This is pretty obvious - nothing garish or
obnoxious, and this includes those ridiculous monogrammed silver buckles that
all boys in Greenwich get for their 14th birthday.
- A few years ago,
we had a 1st year analyst walk across the trading floor with a Gucci ‘G’ belt
buckle. “Hey bubba, I didn’t know The Gap made belts,” bellows out a trader.
“Um, it’s Gucci,” the kid snaps back. The words are barely out of his mouth
before he realizes he’s being mocked in front of half a dozen guys and just
made it a lot worse. That was all it took; the kid was never able to earn even
a modicum of respect after that, and ended up leaving the firm less than a year
- No suspenders,
period. Who do you think you are, Matt “GG” Defusco?
The infamous blue
shirt and white collar is acceptable, as long as the shade of blue isn’t too
deep and accompanied with a power tie. This ode to Gekko works much better today
in a light pink, baby blue, or lavender shirt, and without a tie.
Skip the monograms… Unless your initials are D.I.K.
- No shirt pockets
or collar buttons. This isn’t a 1994 Brooks Brothers catalogue.
- Make sure your
shirts are tapered appropriately. If you want to see how ridiculous ‘blousy’
looks, go back and watch some old Seinfeld reruns.
- Have new shirts
made every year and donate the old ones to Career Gear, a great non-profit that
provides interview clothes to low income individuals. French cuffs are
- And if you sweat,
wear a damn undershirt, you slob. Besides, a $50 t-shirt will save numerous
$200 dress shirts from your disgusting armpits.
fine, provided that the cufflinks aren’t straight out of the Donald J. Trump
It’s all about the Windsor knot, with the perfectly
symmetrical triangle. A half or full Windsor are both fine, depending on the
thickness of the tie and the spread of the collar.
MD#1: Handshakes and tie knots. I
don't have time for someone that can't master those basic skills.
- Skip the dimple
that creates that obnoxious crease; you’re not Al Sharpton
interns and analysts, no Hermès.
Don't show up to an interview in a Hermès tie. I don't give a f*ck if you can
afford it, you have to earn it.
#1: Hermes ties are like Air Jordans for white
- Everyone has a favorite tie, but don’t wear it every damn
- Absolutely no
double-breasted herringbone. It’s gone and never coming back. Sorry, David
the peaked lapel, unless it’s on a single-button, casual suit.
- In terms
of color, keep it to various shades of gray and navy, with a few varieties of
pinstripes. That’s all you need.
#1: There's nothing pretentious
about keeping a tie journal. It keeps me on a solid 10-12 week
You can’t go wrong
with two-button, notched-lapel, and single-breasted. Skip the three-button
#1: Is that a brown suit? The
back office is in Jersey City, pal.
- No need to go above 160 per inch thread
count. Between the abrasive Herman Miller chairs and the drunken nights out,
they don't last.
- And it goes
without saying; buy as many suits as you can reasonably afford. But don’t waste
your money buying off-the-rack at Barney’s or Bergdorf; go bespoke.
#1: Gucci suits are like Corvettes.
They're a great way of telling people you didn't always have
- It’s a
cliché because it’s true; the most expensive suit is the one you wear the
#1: I spent $2,000 on a suit I
don't need or like, just to impress a sales chick I don't find
If you're not in
the US, lose the khakis.Sweaters
over a collared shirt? For the most part, no problem.
#1: Why do people wear wool if they know
#2: There is no such thing as turtleneck
Stick with Polo shirts; no one cares to watch you inevitably
mime golf swings.
#1: Nothing says douchebag quite
like wearing an Augusta golf shirt when the Masters are on.
I saw an
Associate get picked off for sporting a new Daytona the week before bonus. A
quick "if you want watches to matter, go work at Morgan Stanley" wiped that
smirk right off his face.
#1: Wearing a Rolex is like driving
an Audi. It says you've got some money, but nothing to say
Thanks to Hank Paulson, Nike running watches and Livestrong
bracelets were to 2004 what Lloyd's stubble beard has been to 2012-13. There
are quite a few senior guys that still wear a Nike sport watch, intentionally,
or even no watch at all.
#1: Not wearing a watch is the new Patek
Forget all about Hublot. It’s a great way to tell people
that you’re an idiot who has more money than taste. Hublot was a second-rate
brand with third-rate craftsmanship until about 15 years ago when they
arbitrarily doubled the price and started paying celebrities and sport figures
to wear them. It's been a marketers wet dream.
#1: Hublot put the ‘whore’ in horology’
Wedding rings, watches, and cufflinks are the only acceptable form of jewelry for a man.
Unless the Dalai Lama gave you that bracelet, leave it at
#1: In New York, don't trust a
banker with a pocket square. In London, it's a pinky ring. And in Asia, don't
f--king trust anyone
Like Ambien and red wine, the wrong fashion combination can
become a disastrously lethal cocktail of Larry Kudlow-esque
MD #1: A double-breasted suit and a
blue shirt with a white collar? Was it a rough night in the water bed?
#1: Plaid shirt, bow tie, and
pocket square is the douchebag trifecta.
Finally, "an architect is only as good as his builder, and a
fashion designer is only as good as your tailor."
There you have it; head to toe. These tips won’t exactly get
you laid at Soho House or on the cover of GQ; but on Wall Street and in
business, you can’t go wrong taking this advice.
Just don’t go out
and break the law or get scapegoated… Ask any juror, Fabrice Tourre’s
‘fabulous’(?) and expensive-looking fashion sense was a coffin nail come