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Learning to dress business-casually in London

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Since I'll likely be here a while, I should probably have some idea of the unwritten rules - if only so that my (what I imagine has to be, to their ears) grating accent is the only thing that makes me stand out.  

A few that I've guessed at so far-- 
- No khakis / chinos, no way.  I've seen (a lot) more black or grey jeans in the office.  Don't really understand why but that one seems pretty universal. 
- Friday is just another day.  People don't seem to dress much more casually on Fri than they do Mon - Thurs.  

This is for a job in the city and, unfortunately, the answer isn't 'just wear a tie' since tielessness is an important signifier in this line of work. 
post #2 of 9
Do you work at a hedge fund?

I'm surprised by the casual nature of the dress code you describe, certainly for a finance role. I'm in investment banking - although not a front office position - where wearing suits and ties is perfectly normal and accepted.
post #3 of 9
I think a sportcoat and flannel/gabardine trousers...with a muted shirt are a good start. Add tie if you think you are too casual.

Grey jeans in the city?????
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LS7 View Post

Do you work at a hedge fund?
I'm surprised by the casual nature of the dress code you describe, certainly for a finance role. I'm in investment banking - although not a front office position - where wearing suits and ties is perfectly normal and accepted.

Trading. Salesmen wear ties, traders don't.

Everyone, however wears suits which leads me to believe that odd jackets mean something different over here.
post #5 of 9
Any idea what law firm dress codes are like? I'm sure it depends on the firm, but say a boutique arm of a large UK firm with a separate office. Thanks.
post #6 of 9
When I was in London in the fall I was shocked to see so many young professionals (25-35) wearing suits without a tie.
post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TC (Houston) View Post

When I was in London in the fall I was shocked to see so many young professionals (25-35) wearing suits without a tie.

Shocked by the suits or by the lack of ties?

In any case, that certainly appears to be the staple.
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by TC (Houston) View Post

When I was in London in the fall I was shocked to see so many young professionals (25-35) wearing suits without a tie.


This is indeed one of the most common, but in my view most objectionable, ways in which people dress down in London.

 

I don't wear suits without ties.  If I dress down in the office at all, it is via odd jackets.  They are not very popular here, but there is something inherently flawed in my mind about the tie-less suit (notwithstanding that there is an AA sketch that people trot out to justify it).

 

Friday is a dress down day in certain contexts - for example, certain law firms remain business formal except on Fridays / during the Summer.

 

As to the question about law firms, practice varies.  But I think there is only one Magic Circle (aka White Shoe) firm that is generally business casual (Allen and Overy).  At the Bar, practice varies tremendously - in Chambers, when not seeing clients, I've seen everything from jeans and a tee shirt to working at one's desk in a three piece suit with the jacket on.

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Balfour View Post


But I think there is only one Magic Circle (aka White Shoe) firm that is generally business casual (Allen and Overy).  At the Bar, practice varies tremendously - in Chambers, when not seeing clients, I've seen everything from jeans and a tee shirt to working at one's desk in a three piece suit with the jacket on.

I did vac schemes at two MC firms, neither of them A&O. Few wore ties, except to meet clients, at either place. Having said that I didn't go to the firm which has the stuffiest reputation (I guess you know which I mean!).

I've also done a couple of mini-pupillages, both at commercial sets. Yep, lots of variation. I would say though that younger barristers tended to dress down more. Jeans and a Jack Wills shirt sort of thing. IMO, this trend reflects the fact that the average barrister is becoming less eccentric. Cleverness isn't enough any more - you have to also be an extremely determined careerist with polished manners to get a pupillage anywhere good.
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