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New York Times Article: Suits in Scorsese's "Wolf of Wall Street"

post #1 of 92
Thread Starter 
Interesting article. Especially the part about how the wardrobe was thoroughly researched to add to the 80s overindulgence vibe of the movie.

I think it wrongly generalizes about "the dress code for men steering away from displays of conspicuous sartorial consumption" since the 1980s.

Sure, the proportions of suits changed (long gone are "Armani shoulders" and full chests). And pinstripes are now shunned as very "1%". But there are lots of #menswear peacocks in their 20s and 30s days. Isn't that just a different kind of "conspicuous sartorial consumption"?

Also, the forum's own NMWA is mentioned about halfway down the article. icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif


Quote:
From ‘Wolf’ to Sheepish Clothing
In ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ the Power of ’80s Clothing for Men


26zWOLF-articleLarge.jpg
Leonardo DiCaprio, as Jordan Belfort in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” shows how men’s tailoring on Wall Street is not done today.

By ALEX WILLIAMS
Published: December 24, 2013

In Martin Scorsese’s new film, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” it is not hard to tell when Jordan Belfort, the high-finance hustler of the 1990s, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, has officially made it on Wall Street: His suits go from billowy, double-breasted, off-the-rack numbers to lordly pinstripes, complete with a chunky gold Rolex watch, Gucci loafers and a giant red silk tie.

Ah, for the days when greed was good.

Throughout the go-go “Wolf” years on Wall Street, the Gordon Gekko definition of a power suit — think blue pinstripes, shoulder pads, wide lapels and a red or yellow power tie — held a particular grip on the psyche of young men like Mr. Belfort (those who shared his ambition, anyway, if not his contempt for the law).

Caught up in the testosterone-soaked frenzy of a bull market, would-be masters of the universe found that the power suit not only provided the psychological armor it took to survive the trading trenches, but signaled, through its sheer gangster-ish cockiness, one’s intention to scrape his way to the top by any means necessary. (Yes, this was a boys’ club.)

Today, the Dow is once again soaring. But on a more sober, post-financial-crisis Wall Street, bankers and clothiers said, the dress code for men has steered away from Gekko-style displays of conspicuous sartorial consumption.

Sure, among bonus babies, there is always room in the closet for a $6,000 bespoke suit, or 10 of them. But anyone showing up on the trading floor in suspenders and a contrast-collar shirt better be old enough to remember Drexel, or off to a 1980s theme party after trading closes.

“The power suit is over,” said Euan Rellie, a New York investment banker with deep ties to the style crowd (he is married to the fashion editor Lucy Sykes, the twin sister of Vogue’s Plum Sykes). “Less is more today. Finance is less brash, and so are its clothes.”

We are a long way from Mr. Belfort’s day, when the broad-shouldered power suit, along with the Lamborghini and the Charles Gwathmey-inspired beach house, advertised extreme wealth.

“When you have someone who is incredibly successful and has no time to devote to polishing his style, you end up with the 1980s,” said Sebastian Tatano-Ramirez, creative director at Alexander Nash, a maker of bespoke suits with a large Wall Street clientele. “Nowadays, it seems that successful men have finally understood what ‘stylish’ actually means.”

The contemporary equivalent of the power suit, for those who still wear suits on the Street, tends to be sleeker and more subdued, Mr. Tatano-Ramirez said. In place of pinstripes is often a trimmer-fitting ensemble in solid blue or gray, or perhaps glen plaid, with narrower lapels and softer shoulders. It may be offset by a narrower tie of a more subdued color, perhaps even (gasp) wool instead of silk.

While such a latter-day power suit can still command power prices (a top-of-the-line bespoke suit from Alexander Nash costs $8,000), the status cues are subtle, Mr. Tatano-Ramirez said, invisible except to those who are versed in the codes: super 120 wool, if not super 150; working buttonholes on the sleeves, perhaps with the final one stitched, rakishly, in a different color; side tabs instead of belt loops (a suit that truly fits requires no $300 belt to hold up the trousers); a playful lining in, say, electric-blue paisley.

“Any external sign of wealth in how Wall Street dresses has been replaced with a desire to look average or normal,” said Gregory Lellouche, a former senior investment banker at UBS who now runs a men’s clothing and accessories website, No Man Walks Alone. “You see very few ‘banker stripe’ suits on Wall Street these days, except on the oldest gents. No Prince of Wales or windowpane suits, no Gordon Gekko contrasting-collar shirts.”

If today’s power suit makes a quieter statement, it is because its role has evolved considerably since the ’80s.

For a glimpse of how it once was, consider the early scenes of “Wolf,” which are set in the days before the 1987 crash and were exhaustively researched for period accuracy, said Sandy Powell, the film’s costume designer. The young Mr. Belfort, a working-class wannabe from Queens, shows up as a junior equity salesman at an august Wall Street bank and finds more pinstripes and navy blue than the New York Yankees clubhouse. At the height of the ’80s boom (and, to a large extent, the ’90s boom that followed), bankers and traders morphed into cultural icons, so they adopted a showy gentleman-fop style that befitted their new status: French cuffs with shimmering cuff links; suspenders in bold statement patterns, like a skull-and-crossbones motif. “It wasn’t about fashion,” Ms. Powell said. “It was about showing your money on your back.”

The dot-com era of the ’90s swept all that away. In an effort to meet the khaki-clad Internet zillionaires on neutral sartorial ground, even institutions like J. P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley did away with the suit and adopted business-casual dress codes, a shift that was well documented by the fashion and business media. Cut loose of their stylistic moorings, bankers often defaulted to khakis and blue polo shirts, a look that was quickly derided as the “Blockbuster uniform.”

Like Pets.com, Wall Street casual got a lot of ink but had no prayer of surviving the bursting bubble of 2000. With the easy money gone, many bankers reverted to formal attire — at least, many bankers in so-called client-facing roles, like investment banking and mergers and acquisitions. (Men in sales and trading can often wear the casual slacks and button-down look that took hold in hedge-fund culture.)

The Gekko look took another body blow during the financial crisis of 2008 and, several years later, from Occupy Wall Street, several bankers said. Suddenly, it seemed either tasteless or personally hazardous to walk around in an outfit that shouted “1 percent.” It is no wonder that Wall Street peacocks have learned to dial back on anything that smacks of capitalist dandyism.

“I haven’t worn a pocket square in years,” said one investment banker, 40, who spoke anonymously because of his employer’s policies against workers’ speaking with the news media. “After the financial crisis, the people who are really stylish want to tone it down. Even if they’re wearing the same suits, they wear simpler shirts, simpler ties. People are making adjustments. I’m not wearing a pocket square, another guy is not wearing French cuffs.”

This is not to say that style is dead on Wall Street. Quite the contrary: The shift has allowed a new generation of Wall Street men to explore new frontiers of patterns and cuts.

“When people are going into meetings, there’s a flexibility to dress more like you’re seeing in the rest of the world,” said Paul Trible, chief executive and designer at Ledbury, an online clothier in Richmond, Va., whose downtown-inflected shirts and ties are trendy among young men on Wall Street. “The casual aspect you see in industries like media and advertising is starting to seep into finance.”

That means slimmer, more form-flattering suits, like the J. Crew Ludlow suit. It also means thinner ties; socks with more color or personality; and, particularly for those who do not have to wear ties, shirts with spread collars in fabrics borrowed from the “heritage hip” look, including, Mr. Trible said, gingham, Tattersall check and chambray.

“At the junior ranks, you see J. Crew and Theory,” said an investment banker in his 30s, who also spoke anonymously because of his employer’s policies against talking to the media. “In the last 18 months, I’ve seen first-year analysts showing up in wool ties and making it work.”

In the end, the goal is a look that does not scream “banker,” but whispers it. “The proper tone today is an elegance that doesn’t try too hard,” Mr. Rellie said. “Wall Street doesn’t want to show off anymore, because no one is listening.”

Edited by jrd617 - 12/24/13 at 8:04pm
post #2 of 92

I was surprised to see that the article was up yesterday - I was told it may get published on the 26th (I think that's still the case for the print version)

 

:satisfied:

post #3 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post
I think it wrongly generalizes about "the dress code for men steering away from displays of conspicuous sartorial consumption" since the 1980s.

Sure, the proportions of suits changed (long gone are "Armani shoulders" and full chests). And pinstripes are now shunned as very "1%". But there are lots of #menswear peacocks in their 20s and 30s days. Isn't that just a different kind of "conspicuous sartorial consumption"?

 

Not that many on Wall Street though (which was the topic of the article).    The #menswear movement and renaissance of suits, sport coats, ties and pocket squares is very interesting in that it turned people who would otherwise not need to dress formally into more formal dressers, incorporating elements of traditional dress codes into a fashion-oriented vision of style.  Some do it well, others go a bit too far for our classic menswear eyes.

 

A lot of what I said did not make it to the article, but what you've seen on Wall St over the last 6-7 years with the general trend towards dressing "humbly" has been quite fascinating to watch.   Most of the top earners, group heads, etc... are careful about not dressing too well.  Ubiquitous Patek and Audemars have been traded across the board for black plastic Iron Man watches in a (ridiculous but maybe effective) effort to look the part in front of clients whose business has struggled, or even the general public post-Occupy WS.   I remember an article a few years ago about Lloyd Blankfein and his carefully selected suits that make him look like an average joe rather than one of the most important men in the financial system (doing G_d's work of course ;p )

post #4 of 92
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gdl203 View Post

Not that many on Wall Street though (which was the topic of the article).    The #menswear movement and renaissance of suits, sport coats, ties and pocket squares is very interesting in that it turned people who would otherwise not need to dress formally into more formal dressers, incorporating elements of traditional dress codes into a fashion-oriented vision of style.  Some do it well, others go a bit too far for our classic menswear eyes.

They do mention Theory and Ludlow suits being popular. Overly tight suits strike me as being very conspicuous. Even in sedate fabrics. And they also mention other #menswear trimmings like fun socks and chambray shirts.
post #5 of 92
http://nypost.com/2013/12/23/meet-the-man-who-clothed-the-wolf-of-wall-street/


Meet the man who clothed ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’
post #6 of 92
the article is not well written

I have been in the trade for over 30 years.

I have different views on almost everything written.
I used to sell shirts to the kids working boiler rooms both downtown and midtown.
from the really down and dirty ones run by young Russian kids with mob connections
to those run by once legitimate banker/brokers, who were lured by the fast money!!

disclaimer: I made the shirts for DeCaprio and Jonah Hill, as well as a few others.
post #7 of 92
Thread Starter 
^ awesome about making the shirts for the movie.

I always enjoy hearing who you've made shirts for. Too bad about that client who you think got "shipped upstate", but I remember laughing about that euphemism
post #8 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrd617 View Post

^ awesome about making the shirts for the movie.

I always enjoy hearing who you've made shirts for. Too bad about that client who you think got "shipped upstate", but I remember laughing about that euphemism

i think he gets out soon!

I have not seen the movie yet.
I saw american Hustle.
the clothing and hair for that movie is even better!
post #9 of 92
I was traveling from London to NYC and beyond during the crazy "80's. And crazy it was. I set up shop at the Inter-Continental hotel and shared a suite with my good friend Keith Fallan. We did most of our business between 7 and 10pm. the traders and dealers were far too busy to come and see us during working hours. We would have as many as 15 men in the hotel room at one time. Every one of them still "up" from a day of hectic work and each one demanding individual attention. Keith and I would sell and fit all at the same time. We had an ashtray into which we would scrape our chalk dust when we sharpened them. we could have made a fortune. So many of these guys, who were so used to seeing cocaine in piles, thought it was cocaine and wanted to buy a line!! The other comment we received was that we should hide it from the hotel staff as they would probably steal it. To them, this was clearly a common sight. It was crazy, it was fun and it was quite lucrative.

I was contacted by Sandy Powell, the costume designer for the Wolf of Wall Street, to make the tailored clothing for Dicaprio and a number of the other stars. She knew that, as they prospered, the traders portrayed had upgraded their wardrobes and so wanted me for this reason.

Logsdail
post #10 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Len View Post

I was traveling from London to NYC and beyond during the crazy "80's. And crazy it was. I set up shop at the Inter-Continental hotel and shared a suite with my good friend Keith Fallan. We did most of our business between 7 and 10pm. the traders and dealers were far too busy to come and see us during working hours. We would have as many as 15 men in the hotel room at one time. Every one of them still "up" from a day of hectic work and each one demanding individual attention. Keith and I would sell and fit all at the same time. We had an ashtray into which we would scrape our chalk dust when we sharpened them. we could have made a fortune. So many of these guys, who were so used to seeing cocaine in piles, thought it was cocaine and wanted to buy a line!! The other comment we received was that we should hide it from the hotel staff as they would probably steal it. To them, this was clearly a common sight. It was crazy, it was fun and it was quite lucrative.

I was contacted by Sandy Powell, the costume designer for the Wolf of Wall Street, to make the tailored clothing for Dicaprio and a number of the other stars. She knew that, as they prospered, the traders portrayed had upgraded their wardrobes and so wanted me for this reason.

Logsdail
Len
you had a more upscale crowd then mine.

I was not sure how some of my customers could even pass the Series 7 test.
I went to the offices on either the 1st or the 15th , and was paid in cash!
Carl
post #11 of 92
This is a wonderful thread. I hope you all don't mind if I throw out some questions.

Can I ask how much direction you get, as specialized clothiers, when you work on a film project? I presume there's some direction, but how "managed" are you? Is there some discretion as to particular styling choices or cloths used, or is it pretty firmly laid-out?
post #12 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shirtmaven View Post

Len
you had a more upscale crowd then mine.

I was not sure how some of my customers could even pass the Series 7 test.
I went to the offices on either the 1st or the 15th , and was paid in cash!
Carl

lol8[1].gif
post #13 of 92
Ha Ha. I saw the odd briefcase full of cash!!
post #14 of 92
The direction on how to fit and style usually comes from the costume designer.

they often ask for our input.


Len may agree with me on this.
We did some fittings for a recent production.
the costume designer is up in years.
this was a period production and the designer kept referencing different time periods.


sometimes collars and lapels on 70's productions are reduced so they do not look so clownish.

Just watch American Hustle!

Fabrics are important.

On film, white shirts are tea dipped so they are not so white.
there is almost always surface interest on the fabric or at least some sort of multi- stripe.

Most Actors are easy to fit and work with.
it is just the few that are so awful, that it gives you second thoughts on your chosen career.
post #15 of 92
Quote:
Originally Posted by YRR92 View Post

This is a wonderful thread. I hope you all don't mind if I throw out some questions.

Can I ask how much direction you get, as specialized clothiers, when you work on a film project? I presume there's some direction, but how "managed" are you? Is there some discretion as to particular styling choices or cloths used, or is it pretty firmly laid-out?

I ALWAYS ask the designer if they would like my input. Mostly they say yes. That said, i am fully aware that I work for them, not for the actor. They usually arrive at my store with a folder of research photographs from the era in which the movie will be set. We discuss styles and then I show what I think would be appropriate fabrics. This is often a 2-meeting process. Only once we are all on the same page do I then meet the actor. By that time it's a matter of measuring and telling him what is going on and, often, giving him the opportunity of having a say in the fabric selection. But it really depends on the movie and the actor. THere's a movie coming out on valentines Day that I made clothes for that is set in 1920. So it's fabric, costume and, because of one of the main actors, a lot of his input,too.

In direct answer to your question I would say it's a definite collaboration (they would not come and see me if I had no mind of my own) but the costume designer has the final word. She, or he, is my boss during the course of any movie and, when it comes down to it, I create what i am told. Now sometimes there might be a slight shoulder adjustment, lapel adjustment of lengthening or shortening of a coat depending on whether the movie is set in one particular year or spans a decade or two. It's where the skill of the tailor comes in. he cannot be firmly set in his way of making and has to have the ability and willingness to take direction and make what is asked.

Logsdail
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