It’s been hot. It’s been very hot. It’s been so hot that people who work in investment banks are turning to their ‘summer wardrobes’. And those wardrobes can leave something to be desired.
We asked a selection of junior and senior people working in London’s financial district for sartorial failings they’ve observed in the City over the past week. These, we have listed below. There are none of the open-toed sandals and flipflops of the past – “I am very glad that shorts and flipflops were banned over a decade ago,” says David Escoffier, the ex-deputy head of global markets at SocGen, “Let us hope that this perk never comes back, even if banks are tempted to reinstate it as an easy freebie in these tough times.”
This doesn’t mean finance is free of fashion crimes. Far from it.
1. The sweaty shirt
This week’s most common sight has been the visibly sweaty armpit. “There are a lot of classic light blue shirts with sweat stains,” says one equity researcher, “It’s not a good look”.
“Visible sweat patches aren’t great,” confirms one analyst. “If you’re a guy, you need to wear a blazer to cover them up.” This might disguise the effects of the sweat, but risks accentuating its cause.
2. The hairy chest
As temperatures rise, you may be inclined to loosen your shirt and increase the airflow around your upper torso. Don’t.
“Having more than three buttons open is a definite no,” says the analyst, who has witnessed such things.
3. The trendy trainers
You work in an investment bank, not a fintech firm.
“I’m wearing my Nike Airs,” says one DCM analyst. “It’s been suggested that they’re a bit casual.”
“No trainers, except for medical reasons,” says a banker at another firm.
4. The bad shirt
Your shirt may not be sweaty, but is it bad? Has the heat encouraged you to select a more vibrant garment than usual? This too, is happening.
“The Central and Eastern European interns here have been wearing some strange shirts,” says one (French) VP at a European bank. “There have been some really weird colours. Red and yellow shirts with black ties.”
“There are people here in flowery shirts,” discloses an analyst.
5. The vibrant trousers
“There are some very garish trousers on dress-down Friday,” says one consultant. How garish? “Red, yellow, pastel blue,” he admits.
6. The excessively smart outfit, unsuited to the temperature
This appears to be a particular problem for interns who’ve invested in one or two expensive outfits and don’t have any heat-appropriate alternatives.
“There are a lot of extremely formally-dressed female interns in grey pinstriped suits and pearls,” says one VP. “They must be hot and I keep thinking they’re directors. There’s no need to be so smart.”