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Learning to dress business-casually in London

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Cantabrigian, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    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. 
     


  2. LS7

    LS7 Senior member

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    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.
     


  3. Quadcammer

    Quadcammer Senior member

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    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?????
     


  4. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    Trading. Salesmen wear ties, traders don't.

    Everyone, however wears suits which leads me to believe that odd jackets mean something different over here.
     


  5. johnnyletrois

    johnnyletrois Senior member

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    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.
     


  6. TC (Houston)

    TC (Houston) Senior member

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


  7. Cantabrigian

    Cantabrigian Senior member

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    Shocked by the suits or by the lack of ties?

    In any case, that certainly appears to be the staple.
     


  8. Balfour

    Balfour Senior member

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2012


  9. Pembers

    Pembers Senior member

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    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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