If you're a first year analyst in an investment bank, how much must you spend on your outfit? While the suit your mother bought you from eBay is definitely a no-no, do you really need to go very large in Hugo Boss?
You might think this would depend both upon where you work (in terms of organization) and the sort of division you work for. For example, a technology analyst at HSBC who mostly interacts with colleagues might be expected to dress less snappily than an M&A analyst at Goldman Sachs with aspirations to visit clients.
In fact, sartorial splashing out seems to have more to do with the individual than the bank or division.
We asked some analysts who joined banks full time this summer how much they spent on suits. The biggest spender was in the technology division of Goldman Sachs, which is now allowing its people to go "totally casual" if they so wish.
"I spent £1,500 on my suit," says the nattily-dressed Goldman tech analyst. "I spent around £200 on my shoes and I have ten shirts costing £80 pounds each." That's £2,500 ($3.2k) in total then.
An incoming analyst on the trading floor at a French bank says he got his suit in the sale for £800 and supplemented it with £250 shoes and shirts costing £50 each. An incoming IBD analyst at a U.S. bank says he spent £350 on his suit (from SuitSupply), bought a lot of white (and some pink) shirts from Charles Tyrwhitt, and purchased several pairs of shoes costing between £150 and £300, a Hermes tie for £300, some silver cufflinks for £150, plus some CK underwear.
At the other end of the scale, an IBD analyst at a leading M&A boutique in London says his suit budget was £200. "Given that I was going to be wearing it every day, I tried to minimize what I spent on my suit," he tells us. "I didn't see the point in buying an expensive suit that was going to be ruined by daily wear and tear. I bought several double-cuff shirts, costing between £30 and £60 each and I bought a pair of cheap shoes for less than £100, plus some more expensive ones that I only wear to meetings."
If the biggest spender was in Goldman's tech division, so was the smallest. "I have two suits, both of which cost me around £100," says another GS tech analyst. "- I have one pair of really good shoes which cost me £150 but were a really good investment (I've had them for two years and they look like new). I usually buy non-iron shirts costing around £30 and I have seven of them. I also have three ties which cost me £40 each and some cuff-links which cost me £25 each, but I don't really use those either..."
Similarly, an analyst in Goldman's risk division confesses to parsimony too. "I spent no more than £100 on my suit. Around £40 on shoes, and my shirts were £10-£15 each," he says. Not all young bankers have a big clothes budget.