Like most investment banks, Goldman Sachs has got a women problem. Last time the firm promoted people to managing director, in November, just 25% of its new MD class were female. Last time the firm promoted partners, in 2014, just 14% of its partner class were female – same as in 2012.
If you want to make it to the top of Goldman Sachs, therefore, you need to be extra special. You you need to do all the right things in terms of bringing in revenues and “carrying culture.” You need to network internally. And you need to look the part.
Based upon the outfits worn by managing director and partner-level women participating in Goldman’s ‘Talks at GS’ series, it seems that looking the part at Goldman Sachs requires a fairly specific approach. There are definite points of commonality. And before anyone complains that it’s sexist to pinpoint women’s outfits – we’ve already done the same for Goldman men, here.
Our observations suggest these are the key points of the Goldman senior women’s dress code:
Firstly: You have to have long and well-groomed hair.
Secondly: You have to wear black and white – but mostly black. Grey is sometimes acceptable, if mixed with black.
Thirdly: Heels are probably a plus.
Fourthly: Don’t be afraid of showing flesh – as long as it’s not above the knee and your arms are toned.
Fifthly: Cleave is out, round-necks are preferable.
Below are the GS women who exemplify the above.
1. Dina Habib Powell, partner, head of Goldman Sachs Impact Investing business and president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation
Habib Powell typifies the Goldman women’s dress code. If you want to get ahead at Goldman, dress like this.
2. Kyung-Ah Park, managing director and head of the Environmental Markets Group at Goldman Sachs
Kyung-Ah also typifies the code: black suit, grey shirt. Bare legs (below the knee). Heels.
3. Liz Bowyer, managing director and global co-head brand and content strategy at Goldman Sachs
Bowyer closely adheres to most of the five point Goldman code (especially the part about wearing a lot of black). She is also the only senior GS woman we’ve encountered in a V-neck. This is clearly permissable sometimes.
4. Claire Scherrer, partner and global co-head of the industrials group at Goldman Sachs
US-based Scherrer likes to wear pearls. She’s not the only one: we came across several senior GS women in pearl necklaces, suggesting this is a thing at the firm.
5. Sheila Patel, partner and chief executive officer of International Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM)
Patel is also into pearls. And black. However, she also demonstrates the art of wearing bright colours – as a jacket, over a (black) top and (black) trousers.
6. Amanda Rubin, managing director, global co-head brand and content strategy
Rubin affirms that arms are acceptable when they’re toned. She also wearing knee-length boots, which makes her unusual among the women on Goldman’s website.
7. Heather Bellini, partner and business unit leader of the Technology Research Group
Bellini ticks all the boxes: black outfit, round-neck, bare legs, high-heels.
8. Michelle Pingerra, partner, international chief of staff
Pingerra also adheres to the code. Except she has a coloured scarf: if you want to lift your black outfit and bare legs, a scarf is clearly an option.
Lastly, spot the woman in the photograph below who doesn’t work for Goldman Sachs. Yes, it’s Carol Vorderman (centre left). Goldman’s senior female London executives are on either side (and are wearing orange scarves for International Women’s Day). You probably can wear an acid yellow dress to work at Goldman if you like, but you might be a bit conspicuous if you do…