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Bespoke suits out of college

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by nelly, Aug 27, 2006.

  1. edmorel

    edmorel Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Here are my views on this:
    (1) unless you work in one of the very few firms on Wall St that require a business attire for all bankers, as a 1st-year analyst ("A1") you will wear business casual outfits most of the time. You will wear suits only when invited to client meetings or other deal events (roadshows, diligence trips, closing dinners...). I would estimate that an A1 in I-Banking wears a suit between 10 and 20 days in a year, depending on deal flow
    (2) wearing a well-fitting, expensive suit is not as much of an issue as wearing "flashy" clothes or specific items that can be seen as such. Some examples that spring to mind are suspenders/braces, flashy/funky cufflikns, contrasting collars, light brown shoes. It would look very strange to see an A1 wearing any of the above
    (3) the main ways for an analyst in I-banking to be well regarded, well paid and to get the great next job they are after are to (a) be humble and hard working (and be perceived as such), (b) not attract any negative attention (in such a competitive environment, people tend to notice the mistakes and errors of judgment first...), (c) show great judgment and initiative, which will lead others to think that you can step up to the next level of responsibilities

    As was said here and before, there are unfortunately a number of older, "conservative" i-bankers who tend to think that - for example - wearing brown shoes with a suit is an error of judgment. As it is a bit late to change their perception, I would recommmend any young banker to dress in a conservative Wall St manner (navy suit, white shirt, black shoes, Hermagamo tie) unless he sees that the environment in his group/firm is different and more relaxed than that.

    Also, contrary to what was said here, I know a number of senior bankers in my firm and group who can tell in one look if a suit or pair of shoes is high end or not. An MD in my group occasionally greets me with "Nice shoes. Lobb?" when I wear a pair of JL or EG. He gets all his suits custom made and he (just like a number of others) has an eye naturally trained to distinguish quality from mediocrity. Of course, a bunch of other bankers couldn't tell the difference between a BB and an Attolini suit...


    And so it was written, and so it shall be done.......

    That is the good thing about working at a small place like I do. There are no "clothing politics" and the ladder only has a rung or two (of course I also don't make the high 7 figure income that gdl makes [​IMG] ). I agree that people underestimate the recognizability of quality clothing. Whenever I wear something good to the office, people immediately notice. They might not not Borrelli from macaroni but they can tell things such as fit, fabric, cut.
     
  2. Monster

    Monster Active Member

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    and I would absolutely not spend that money.

    You only make $60k base and maybe 60k in bonus (it was more this year, but they were records..it won't be like that next year).

    Buy two suits and you're out 10k. Thats about 12% of your after-tax income...and that assumes that you don't contribute to your 401k (stupid) or pay for health insurance (again, stupid).


    The answer should be clear.
     
  3. Artisan Fan

    Artisan Fan Senior member

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    I used to be an ibanking analyst for Lehman. I would suggest a three areas of attack:

    1. A power suit like a Brioni or Kiton pinstripe for big client meetings. For less money maybe a Zegna MTM or RTW. I might shy away from Brioni or Kiton as you don't want to outdress or tie clothing-wise the management.

    2. Invest in some quality custom dress shirts and casual slacks for other days like maybe Incotex, Zanella, Zegna trousers. The odd sportcoat may come in handy and if you are in Boston or NYC a good winter coat is mandatory. I like the Loro Piana Horsey Jacket since its great in rain and covers the suit jacket.

    3. Invest in a good pair of Edward Greens in dark brown for versatility and style. Invest in EG or Lobb rubber soles for bad weather days.

    Some other advice: Don't take Wall Street too seriously. It's very easy to get sucked in by the materialistic culture. It's just a job and even the most lauded Managing Director is just a sales guy at the end of the day.

    Sorry I couldn't resist. Wall Street is a great place to start but a lousy place to end in my experience.
     
  4. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    I just have to say that these threads always crack me up. Granted, the OP did ask about high end/custom/bespoke clothing, but it just kills me when someone says something to the effect of, "don't go bespoke, just purchase two or three Brionis and you'll be all set - maybe Zegna if you want to slum it. For shoes you should look at Edward Green or Lobb, and by all means get some rubber soled Lobbs for wet weather." [​IMG]

    In some ways, this forum is an excellent place to ask for advice, because the people here are extremely knowledgeable. In other ways, I think that the advice given from time to time is somewhat unrealistic, as it is being given by people who have an unusually high interest in men's clothing and style.

    My advice - go to Brooks Brothers (or another comparable store). You will walk out looking like an investment banker. Contrary to popular opinion, BB does not produce "crap." You don't even have to go to the Golden Fleece level to come out looking extremely professional with clothing that will last for years (believe it or not!). If you hit them during one of their sales, you can get some extremely good bargains, particularly on suits. There is a lot of nice and well made clothing out there that, for whatever reason, doesn't rise to the level of a Kiton, an Oxxford, a Brioni, or a John Lobb.

    If you find, after a time, that you have developed a true passion for clothing, then make the jump to the higher end. Until then, if your main goal is to come to work dressed professionally, you don't need to spend such a huge chunk of your disposable income on clothing (especially if you're just graduating from college).

    Just my two cents. Others here will undoubtedly disagree.
     
  5. lee_44106

    lee_44106 Senior member

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    Well said, JBZ

    It's kinda ridiculous to be telling clothing novices to go buy some Kiton/Brioni/Lobb
     
  6. josepidal

    josepidal Senior member

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    I'm in a little of this situation, and if I had the money, I'd certainly buy a couple sets of basics, shoes included, and then work from there. A young man out of college, starting from the bottom, may have a justified desire to impress when there's an occasion to do so.

    A lot of the above suggestions are excellent.
     
  7. kirbya

    kirbya Senior member Affiliate Vendor

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    My opinion is that it's always nice to have one nice suit, even as a college grad. I recently graduated college and purchased a similar suit (however, for more like $2k, not $5k), and get a fair amount of use from it. More than that, I look forward to and love every opportunity to wear it. That said, I do not think you'd need more than one, and getting a Kiton or Brioni might be a little much. I would recommend finding a nice tailor in NYC that could do something a little more reasonable for you (reasonable in the context of bespoke, which relative to off the rack many would consider flagrantly unreasonable). As an IB analyst, speaking from experience, you'll hate life. Wearing a nice suit that you endulged in might be a bright spot. [​IMG] Kirby P.S. Your money would go much further and get better use on some custom shirts. This has been my current MO, switching my spending away from coats and shoes towards custom shirts.
    I'm not underestimating, I know how much they cost. Cost aside, I'm just wondering that relative to when I would be wearing them (in a cubicle going at it with Microsoft Excel) whether it's worth it. Say as a lowly investment banking analyst, you probably wouldn't see the light of day. And at that point, would it be better to just buy crap that will just throw away after two years instead of going high end right away.
     
  8. epa

    epa Senior member

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    I guess that I am one of these guys having "cases of sour-grape". In any case, I remember when I had to start wearing suits to work: I got a bit desperate about it and bought too many suits (luckily, of bad quality) that I thought looked just great. As my taste started to develop, I realized that they didn't look that great. Now, you might consider that with high-end suits, I wouldn't have had this problem, but I am not sure; taste develops and all Brionis do not look great forewer. Nelly, you may have a very developed taste, but if you are not sure, I would suggest you to start slowly and not to spend the big money until you are reasonably sure of what you want and that you are likely to want the same for some years at least. (If you feel that you have too much money, invite some woman you like to a nice restaurant now and then, and/or give some money to charity).
     
  9. gdl203

    gdl203 Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    (of course I also don't make the high 7 figure income that gdl makes [​IMG] )

    LOL [​IMG] I wish! I'm no first year analyst but I'm no MD either...[​IMG]
     
  10. JBZ

    JBZ Senior member

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    LOL [​IMG] I wish! I'm no first year analyst but I'm no MD either...[​IMG]

    And over the weekend, Vincent Chase fired you. [​IMG]
     
  11. auto90403

    auto90403 Senior member

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    I don't mean to be strident, but this is ridiculous. Bespoke is not a magic incantation (okay, well maybe it is but only in a far more roundabout way). For those without unusual fit issues, high quality rtw nearly always delivers greater style than entry level bespoke. I've seen some truly wonderful things from Henry Poole, yet I've also seen some authentic mediocrities from that very same legend of tailoring. More than anything else, bespoke is the product of a relation between tailor and client. It would be surprising if things were to work out perfectly from the beginning (not that it doesn't happen from time to time). And that's just the conversation part. From the business angle, if you are going to get serious attention and the services of the best cutters, sewers, etc. the tailor must be convinced that you are in this for the long haul, that they can count on you to order several things from them every year for many years to come. It's not as simple as just going in, getting measured up, and then coming back for a couple of fittings. Over time you will come to know what you want and you will have a relationship with the tailor that can translate that into clothing. JLibourel appears to have done this with Chan. That's the magic part. But short of that, high quality rtw will give you harmonious styling and construction that you will be free to judge and take or leave as you wish. It's a far less costly and risky proposition (especially when you may not be sure about what features you want and how those may fit together).


    Hear, hear!

    I've bought numerous MTM suits on Savile Row without ever establishing a long-term relationship with any of their makers. Are the suits well-made? Yes. Are they worth the money? Not really.

    I'm much happier with high-end RTW.
     
  12. auto90403

    auto90403 Senior member

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    About 10 years ago, I remember my boss at that time and I interviewing young engineers for a trainee position. There was this very nice girl who qualified well for the position, but she had never worked. However, according to her CV, she liked sailing and skiing and had her own car. My ex-boss and I agreed that it sounded like her parents having spoilt her a bit, and we were looking for responsible people, prepared to work hard. She did not get the job (we actually hired another person, who had spent her summer vacations working for MacDonald's; it turned out to be a good choice). For the same reason, someone showing up in a Brioni suit might have faced similar problems. I seriously think that a young person may give a better impression if choosing less expensive clothes. I think style is not primarily about money: it is more about knowing to choose the right stuff within the limits of your budget. If your budget has no limits, this may be good for you, of course. However, it may still be a good idea not to make this fact evident to your boss and your colleagues, at least not from the very beginning. Actually, your boss may still be dreaming about getting his first bespoke Brioni, and seeing this young guy having five different ones at the age of just above 20 may be a frustrating experience.


    If Nelly's an entry-level spreadsheet jockey at a private equity shop or hedge fund where people wear expensive clothes, then his wearing MTM Brioni and Kiton may send exactly the right signal.

    And the right signal in this case may be "I live an expensive life and I will work my ass off for you in order to afford my lifestyle."

    Don't compare engineers with small Wall Street shops.
     
  13. epa

    epa Senior member

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    If Nelly's an entry-level spreadsheet jockey at a private equity shop or hedge fund where people wear expensive clothes, then his wearing MTM Brioni and Kiton may send exactly the right signal.

    And the right signal in this case may be "I live an expensive life and I will work my ass off for you in order to afford my lifestyle."

    Don't compare engineers with small Wall Street shops.

    I guess that you are right. I do not know what kind of signals you are expected to send on Wall Street. Actually, I am not even familiar with U.S. dress norms. I guess that my point of view is, basically, German. Nelly, forget all of what I have said! I do not want to feel guilty if your career fails due to sloppy clothing!
     
  14. gdl203

    gdl203 Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    And over the weekend, Vincent Chase fired you. [​IMG]

    True. But I cannot imagine that will last long. There's simply no show without Ari
     
  15. edmorel

    edmorel Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    If Nelly's an entry-level spreadsheet jockey at a private equity shop or hedge fund where people wear expensive clothes, then his wearing MTM Brioni and Kiton may send exactly the right signal.

    And the right signal in this case may be "I live an expensive life and I will work my ass off for you in order to afford my lifestyle."

    Don't compare engineers with small Wall Street shops.


    I've yet to visit a hedge fund where they weren't running around in fleece vests and pleated khaki's. Private equity is a different story if you are going to work at a place like KKR or Blackstone, where the dress is more formal. But then, if you are making 75k and you walk in with a 5k suit and 1k shoes, the powers that be might think to themselves that you would do anything, including stealing from them, to maintain your lifestyle [​IMG]

    On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people in the equity business on this forum. Maybe we should start our own PE shop. We'll have a strict dress code (your daily outfit must retail for greater than 5k) and we'll raise money for a buyout fund that will specialize in high-end manufacturers and retailers. Once we have the funds, we'll buyout Bergdorfs men's business, buyout Kiton and Brioni, throw in a couple of the bespoke British and Neopolitan clothing and shoe makers and then a couple of cashmere and wool mills for good measure. We'll have pick of the litter for all of our clothing needs! How will we make money for our investors?? When you look as good as we will, who cares [​IMG]
     
  16. gdl203

    gdl203 Senior member Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people in the equity business on this forum. Maybe we should start our own PE shop. We'll have a strict dress code (your daily outfit must retail for greater than 5k) and we'll raise money for a buyout fund that will specialize in high-end manufacturers and retailers. Once we have the funds, we'll buyout Bergdorfs men's business, buyout Kiton and Brioni, throw in a couple of the bespoke British and Neopolitan clothing and shoe makers and then a couple of cashmere and wool mills for good measure. We'll have pick of the litter for all of our clothing needs! How will we make money for our investors?? When you look as good as we will, who cares [​IMG]

    I'm in! [​IMG]
     
  17. mrchapel

    mrchapel Senior member

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    I've yet to visit a hedge fund where they weren't running around in fleece vests and pleated khaki's. Private equity is a different story if you are going to work at a place like KKR or Blackstone, where the dress is more formal. But then, if you are making 75k and you walk in with a 5k suit and 1k shoes, the powers that be might think to themselves that you would do anything, including stealing from them, to maintain your lifestyle [​IMG]

    On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people in the equity business on this forum. Maybe we should start our own PE shop. We'll have a strict dress code (your daily outfit must retail for greater than 5k) and we'll raise money for a buyout fund that will specialize in high-end manufacturers and retailers. Once we have the funds, we'll buyout Bergdorfs men's business, buyout Kiton and Brioni, throw in a couple of the bespoke British and Neopolitan clothing and shoe makers and then a couple of cashmere and wool mills for good measure. We'll have pick of the litter for all of our clothing needs! How will we make money for our investors?? When you look as good as we will, who cares [​IMG]


    Count me in [​IMG]!
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    Is the 'rule' - the one where you dress one or two positions higher - still in effect? That might be applicable. Or how about the one about not making your boss look like a slob? That one kept me away from french cuffs for a while.

    Just out of college - you have a long career ahead of you and plenty of time to climb the ladder or change jobs. I bought some suits out of college and not long afterwards wound up at a casual workplace. Hello khakis and polos. Blue jeans are not out of place at the current workplace.

    Today my suits get dusted off for presentations and meetings. And though they're good enough quality to be suitable in any company, I didn't drop a fortune on them and I'm glad for that.

    But that too can change...
     
  19. DShareef

    DShareef Senior member

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    On a side note, there seems to be a lot of people in the equity business on this forum. Maybe we should start our own PE shop. We'll have a strict dress code (your daily outfit must retail for greater than 5k) and we'll raise money for a buyout fund that will specialize in high-end manufacturers and retailers. Once we have the funds, we'll buyout Bergdorfs men's business, buyout Kiton and Brioni, throw in a couple of the bespoke British and Neopolitan clothing and shoe makers and then a couple of cashmere and wool mills for good measure. We'll have pick of the litter for all of our clothing needs! How will we make money for our investors?? When you look as good as we will, who cares [​IMG]


    I'm in!
     
  20. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    For you people that work in casual environments, do you really think anyone would care if you wore dress pants and a sportsjacket instead of khakis? I just don't see the big deal. I think that in a lot of cases it's all in your heads. As long as you do your job well, I can't see how anyone would complain that you dress a bit better than everyone else. At first you might get a couple of comments asking why you're dressed up but my experience has been that people soon get used it and stop concerning themselves with it.
     

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