In the past 20 years, with the gradual rise of the financial sector to economic superstardom, the world's image of the financial worker has started to overlap with that of slim Cavalli models showing off the latest AW collection. Hollywood, and the media, are largely at fault for creating it, and because this overlap 'sells', everybody in the financial sector embraces it.
But why is this? During the dot-com boom a decade-and-a-half ago, nobody cared how anyone looked, as long as there was money to be made. (And goodness knows those folks were far more Carnaby Street than Jermyn Street.) But in today's financial world, where the reputation of bankers is getting worse by the year, it's more important than ever to take a leaf from a politician's guidebook: look presentable and trustworthy. (The other tip should be 'Keep the flash behind closed garage doors'. Would someone mind adding that to page 352?)
And in case you're wondering what's on page 351, it's about your appearance, and it says this:
1. Don't over-do it. If you're an associate, don't use your first year's bonus to buy a power suit. Save that for when you make director.
2. Cufflinks are optional but appreciated. They can be clever, but for heaven's sake, leave the Vargas Girls at home.
3. When it matters, wear a tie. If it's bonus day, especially if you're handing out bonuses, wear a tie. If you're going to be in a meeting with the your CEO, wear a tie. But not a loud tie.
4. Don Draper has brought the pocket square into the mainstream, but go easy. Consider the idea that no pocket square is the new pocket square.
5. If you really need to go a little crazy, consider some funky Paul Smith socks. Or if you just can't help it, wear your Christmas tree socks (on the 24th of December only, though, and consider not sitting anywhere but at your desk).
6. Ladies, we know you know this, but more is more. If you have to ask yourself, "Is this appropriate?" then the answer is probably 'no'.
7. Your weight and level of fitness tells a lot about you. Banking attracts competitive types, and most of them are not overweight. There are lots of ways to do it (see product information here for another idea). Because look around you; it needs to come off. And you never know, you could even take inspiration from this former junior trader, who is now a fitness guru in California.
8. Make sure your shirts are well-ironed and stain-free. We don't care if it's your favourite Thomas Pink shirt. If the shadow of the marinara sauce won't come out, pass it over to your girlfriend to wear as a nightshirt.
9. Never brown in town. OK, so that's one from the suave, elderly gentleman's day. You can now wear brown in town. We just wanted to say it. Because yes, the modern day banker has changed.