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Wardrobe Advice for Finance Intern

kicno10

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Hey All,

Just wanted to say that I've been pouring over the threads on this forum for the past two weeks or so and I think its an amazing resource. I am working in Frankfurt this summer at a bank and I need to upgrade my wardrobe since the dress code in the office is business formal 4 days a week and business casual 1 day. I would love to hear any advice or input you guys have. I have a budget of approx $2,500

What I currently have (that I think it acceptable):
1 navy polo suit, two button - fits decent 38R
brown leather belt
2 ties - both maroon color scheme
1 white dress shirt

What I think I definitely need:
2 suits - 1 navy w/pinstripe, 1 charcoal
6 more dress shirts (white/blue)
2 or 3 ties
2 pairs of dress shoes (either 2 black, or 1 black 1 brown)
1 black belt
2 pairs trousers

The biggest problem I keep struggling with is what type of suits to buy. I've considered everything from JAB up to the 1818 line from BB. I really like the Fitzgerald line but I really dont think my budget allows be to spend $1,600 on two suits right now since I have to buy so much other stuff. I can get the shirts on clearance from BB for 65-75 which seems to be a decent value and I am considering going for a few pairs of used Allen Edmonds on Ebay if I can find some in good shape at the right price (I'm a little worried about the sizing though, especially since the shoes may have formed to their original owners shoes.)

In any case, I'm open to any advice/criticism/etc. I know my list can be expanded to include pocket squares, cuff links, etc. But I really just need to find the best value on the basics right now.
 

ajmanouk

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IMHO it's great that you've done your research and have a good budget. This is what I would probably buy:

1 charcoal suit
1 grey suit
10 shirts (see http://www.styleforum.net/showthread...=223932&page=5 for some ideas)
1 pair plain black cap toes
1 pair brown cap toes (quarter brogue or half brogue for a bit of variety)
1 black belt
dress socks (match slacks)
undershirts
white linen pocket sq
5+ ties

i would definitely grab the suits from the b&s section of styleforum. also the ties for sure. shoes would be where i spend the most...

just some ideas to get you started
 

dragon8

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It appears you have a good idea of what you're looking for. I'd search on the Buy and Sell forum on this board and also on Ebay.

What is considerd business casual over in Frankfurt?
 

tgt465

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I have the feeling brown shoes would be frowned upon for business/banking formal over there, but otherwise your list looks good.
 

jediswayze

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Speaking from personal experience as an intern at a bulge bracket bank, if you dress anywhere close to as nice, or in a markedly different way as your superiors you're screwed. If you come in on your first day looking like you picked your outfit out of GQ, you WILL get comments, and not in a good way.

Don't buy pinstripes or brown shoes, your not Gordon Gekko. The finance industry as a whole dresses terribly, and unfortunately you have to try and fit in. You need a bunch of light blue shirts and a navy suit and your set. Besides, no one is going to care what you are wearing when your making DCFs at three in the morning, pulling 100+ hour weeks, and all the other wonderful things that accompany a finance internship.
 

WaterlooSunset

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Originally Posted by dragon8
It appears you have a good idea of what you're looking for. I'd search on the Buy and Sell forum on this board and also on Ebay.

What is considerd business casual over in Frankfurt?


Trousers, sports jackets and shirts, tie optional.

Very different from what it is considered to be over in the US!
 

Merlino

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Originally Posted by jediswayze
Speaking from personal experience as an intern at a bulge bracket bank, if you dress anywhere close to as nice, or in a markedly different way as your superiors you're screwed. If you come in on your first day looking like you picked your outfit out of GQ, you WILL get comments, and not in a good way.

Don't buy pinstripes or brown shoes, your not Gordon Gekko. The finance industry as a whole dresses terribly, and unfortunately you have to try and fit in. You need a bunch of light blue shirts and a navy suit and your set. Besides, no one is going to care what you are wearing when your making DCFs at three in the morning, pulling 100+ hour weeks, and all the other wonderful things that accompany a finance internship.


Investment banking in continental Europe is quite different from that in New York or the City. I currently work in Syndication at a large Dutch bank and I've very rarely worked past 10pm, with my days usually ending at around 7pm. M&A is a different story though, working until 11pm daily is still the norm.

Also, people try and dress nice and brown shoes are fine (in The Netherlands, anyway). I can't comment on how bankers in Frankfurt dress though, but I suppose it's not much different from bankers in The Netherlands.
 

GBer

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You need to provide more info. Which department are you in? M&A? IT? Risk? Trading? Front office or back office? Will you tag along to see clients? They are different cultures. Hence dress is different. If you are talking about Germany, you will usually see Hugo Boss + black shoes + back belt. Solid gray and shades there within are popular suit colors. No black, they will think you are going to a funeral. I doubt you will see Saville Row there, maybe some Zegna. Don't bother with pinstripes, you won't see many Germans wearing that at the intern level. Careful about being too casual on Friday. In some places, casual means no tie, and that's the only difference. Hugo's are heavily frowned upon here, but you can get them pretty cheap on the bay or in B&S, and they are readily accepted in Germany. Can also be found at Nordstroms. Anyway it's an internship, so I doubt they will expect you to come in wearing Kiton. Solid white & blue shirts are common. At higher levels, there's frequent Borrelli sightings. You can get some deals on BB shirts at the outlets and on sale. Suggest non-iron slim versions, otherwise they seem to tent. Stay away from french cuffs, those are seen as the domain of senior execs. They will be heavily frowned upon at your level. More common place in the City. Pocket squares are rare, except for MD levels visiting clients. Please no animal print or whimsical ties, unless you want to be the joke of the office. Try geometric themes. Have at least 2 black shoes, you will need to rotate them. Brown is almost never worn in the office. About used shoes:
Originally Posted by Man Of Lint
Athelete's Foot can stay dormant in the shoes. So can mould. Both can and will re-activate with a new wearer's foot moisture
Originally Posted by DWFII
I picked up a "lightly worn," "pre-owned" pair of shoes. But that's not all I picked up...I picked up a nail fungus that is with me to this day despite repeated rounds of medication
On another note.
Originally Posted by Merlino
brown shoes are fine (in The Netherlands, anyway)
That's because the Dutch streets are not well cleaned of the little animal "gifts" and brown shoes cover inadvertent steps. No other European country do I look more carefully where I step. If they went to a coffee shop for lunch, they won't care what color shoes you are wearing.
laugh.gif
 

jediswayze

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Originally Posted by Merlino
Investment banking in continental Europe is quite different from that in New York or the City. I currently work in Syndication at a large Dutch bank and I've very rarely worked past 10pm, with my days usually ending at around 7pm. M&A is a different story though, working until 11pm daily is still the norm. Also, people try and dress nice and brown shoes are fine (in The Netherlands, anyway). I can't comment on how bankers in Frankfurt dress though, but I suppose it's not much different from bankers in The Netherlands.
I was more speaking from the experience of an intern. But yes, I am not surprised that Europe has better hours (and are likely better dressed). To be perfectly honest though, as an intern if this guy isn't willing to put in those types of hours (wherever he is working), he wont get that job offer at the end of the summer. It's so hard to wade through all the nepotism and **** just to get a finance internship, you cannot afford not take full advantage of it. Yeah, no one told me I had to stay at the office that late when I was interning, but you better believe it was expected. I know for a fact being an over-payed errand boy is not exclusive to interning at a NYC bank, people don't care how you dress at this point in your career (just don't draw attention to yourself with your clothes). I'd also add that if your good enough at what you do, dress codes fall by the wayside. Don't rock the boat, don't be late with anyone's coffee, and attempt to make a name for yourself by making the bank as much money as possible through your own research etc. That's all you need to do and you'll get your coveted job offer. I'm just trying to keep it real, as an intern you are going to be everyones betch, your clothes might as well not exasperate the situation.
 

kicno10

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Thanks for all the feedback guys. It looks like I'll focus on getting myself a charcoal and maybe grey suit and a bunch of plain white/blue dress shirts with some conservative ties. A couple pairs of black shoes seems to be the best bet since they will be more versatile than the brown and I will need more than 1 pair so I can rotate them (going to buy them new after out of fear of contracting some type of mutant foot fungus
laugh.gif
).


Originally Posted by GBer
You need to provide more info. Which department are you in? M&A? IT? Risk? Trading? Front office or back office? Will you tag along to see clients? They are different cultures. Hence dress is different.

Have at least 2 black shoes, you will need to rotate them. Brown is almost never worn in the office.


I'm working in the Institutional Asset Management department of a large bank (I'm only a sophomore this year) so the hours should be a little more forgiving than M&A. The department I'm working in manages a portfolio of high-yield bonds as far as I know. My primary role is going to be investment research. I'm sure I'll see my fair share of excel slavery. Looking forward to trying to land a junior internship in NYC next year.

@GBer: When you say Hugo Boss suits are frowned upon "here"... where are you talking about? Ideally I'd like whatever I buy now to also fit into my wardrobe for next summer as well.
 

Klobber

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In Germany, do not forget an overcoat (mid length to long). During winter, you will be glad to have one.
 

Lightbringer

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Originally Posted by kicno10
@GBer: When you say Hugo Boss suits are frowned upon "here"... where are you talking about? Ideally I'd like whatever I buy now to also fit into my wardrobe for next summer as well.

I believe that he is referring to "here' as in "on Styleforum"
 

Lightbringer

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Originally Posted by Klobber
In Germany, do not forget an overcoat (mid length to long). During winter, you will be glad to have one.

It's a summer job. I don't think this will be an issue for now.
 

mcbrown

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Dress professionally but boringly - black shoes, plain shirts, no pinstripes, no pocket squares, no French cuffs. "Personality" is something you can start to display when you have a few years of work under your belt. Until then, employers want cogs.
 

TimelesStyle

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I'd spend on the suits and shoes, go cheap on the shirts and find decent ties on sale. $1,600 for two suits isn't bad, though I'd go with the Milano instead of the Fitzgerald if you're a thin guy. That leaves you almost $1,000 for other stuff, so if you buy one pair of really nice black shoes at $300 and a second pair of less nice ones for maybe $150 (perhaps some slip-ons), you'll then have about $450 left. You can easily get five shirts for $50 each and I'd even hit H&M for that, a belt for $50 (lots of options) and a hand full of ties on spring sales for maybe $50 or so each.
 

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