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Business ‘bro’ leave the pandemic hoodies for social looks


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The New York Times

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Reporting straight from the time machine, with the dial tuned to 2010. Market analysts and anyone with even a passing interest in menswear remember that year as the moment when “suitsupply” became a worldwide phenomenon. It was also the time when, for the first time, new technologies allowed men to customize their suits online without having to undergo tremendous annoyances like visiting a tailor or going to a store.

It turns out that 2010 also coincided with a few other changes in the evolution of fashion, and this might be the right time to point out a fact about menswear that isn’t usually much appreciated. In its function as a men’s uniform, the suit has changed remarkably little in 400 years, fashion historians say. (Picking up the hook: seeing Harry Styles in a dress wouldn’t have come as much of a shock to the inhabitants of pre-industrial times, when men and women wore similar robes and the boy children of the aristocracy used to wear dresses until they were promoted to two-legged outfits, a rite of passage known as “breeching” [(algo como “encalçamento”]).

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In other words, although suits have always been with us, their proportions are constantly changing, according to the taste of each moment, and in the second decade of this century the influence of American fashion designer Thom Browne seeped into all quarters of an industry that was staggering and needed a new direction. For those unaware of Browne’s influence, we can sum it up like this: Honey, he shrunk his suit.

Browne created tighter and shorter jackets, highlighting the masculine hindquarters. He created tight-fitting pants so short it was suddenly as if men had ankles again.

The broader fashion may have avoided the more extreme manifestations of the shrunken suit, but it still got the message. Subjects of all types and the most varied anatomical shapes — from “giraffes” to “short kings” [baixinhos posudos]— embraced the tight-fitting suits, made them the standard attire in the business world, and didn’t seem inclined to buck the trend. And then, of course, the pandemic hit, and no one wants to read another story about the effect it had on those uncomfortable pants and blazers.

Now, however, the number of workers who are back in the office is already huge. A surprising number of professionals have been grinding for months, or, in the case of some investment banks, for almost a year, in their corporate anthills.

In terms of getting back to the office, then, it’s the finance brothers who are leading the way. And for those looking to observe these creatures in their natural habitat, the ideal platform for contemplation is the lobby of Brookfield Place, a vast office complex in Manhattan’s Financial District. There, the menswear critic who speaks to you parked his ass in a chair at three lunch hours last week, to get an overview of what businessmen are wearing in the office. The information gathered was random, in a way, but also surprising in all respects.

Far from dressing very differently than they did before Covid-19 confined workers to the safety of their home workspaces, finance bros are actually dressing the same way as people who had this type. people dressed when Barack Obama was in the White House. Unlike the former president, whose clothing preferences were often a bit old-fashioned, the men I saw descending the escalators leading to the Royal Bank of Canada, financial services companies like American Express, or the Jones Day law firm , or buying ham baguettes in Le District for lunch at their tables at the headquarters of financial giants like Goldman Sachs, seemed pretty up to date. That is, updated with the 2010 fashion.

“What am I wearing?” said David, 30, who works at Goldman Sachs but, like many of those interviewed for this article, mentioned company policy to refuse to give his last name. “Who wants to know?”

In fact, David’s dress code could serve as a model for every finance bro who’s officially back in the office (“and we’re not going back this time,” his bosses say). David Solomon, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, is a staunch opponent of the hybrid working trend and has repeatedly stated that he views remote work as an aberration, and wants his employees to return to the office full-time.

Like most people interviewed, or even glimpsed, at Brookfield Place, David wore a neatly pressed white shirt with no tie. The model he sported was a Leeward shirt from Mizzen+Main, which costs $99. The garment molded well to his muscular torso. The same can be said of his New Venture polyester and “elastomultiester” pants, with external pockets, from the Lululemon business casual line, on sale for US$ 148 (R$ 787). His Bruno Magli lace-up shoes in the traditional Oxford style were black.

In context, this was almost a punk gesture, considering that, for reasons unknown, many of the business world’s consumers seem to have been persuaded to buy shoes in a light brown tone reminiscent of a discount spray tan. That shoe manufacturers artificially darken the toe caps to give these shoes an aged look certainly doesn’t help much.

“The clothes we wear are a little more casual now,” said David of Goldman Sachs, echoing an oft-repeated refrain. Less formal, in context, means not wearing a tie, except for client meetings.

It is true that there were people who came to the office in shorts and flip-flops when the workplaces were deserted, but even so, some intrepid employees insisted on working in the completely empty headquarters of their companies. At banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, informed people say, high-profile executives continue to cling to some pandemic-era customs as indicators of their elevated status. “Unlined cashmere blazers, dark jeans and [sapatos] Allbirds are symbolic vectors of seniority,” a financier at a top investment bank said last week.

There was a period when “you could wear jeans on a Friday,” said Arjun Menon, 33, of Goldman Sachs. Menon quickly added that he was not allowed to speak to the press, though not before revealing that the navy blue pants with outside pockets, which he wore with a neatly pressed white open-collar shirt and a pair of lace-up Oxfords — which are to shoes what a Michael Bublé ballad is to music – they were bought at Suitsupply.

Based on the available evidence, Suitsupply, Lululemon, Club Monaco and Brooks Brothers (although not the revitalized and trend-conscious line that the latter brand adopted under the creative direction of Michael Bastian) remain the brands of choice for many executives. This is especially true of trading desk staff, guys fresh out of MBA programs who haven’t made their mark yet and aren’t exhausted enough to dream with their eyes wide open of an opportunity to set fire to their sweatshirts with company logos.

(Things are different, one well-informed person explained to tech experts. Appearing in a suit to a client meeting in Silicon Valley, where wearing cute socks continues to be a trend, “would look completely weird,” he said. .)

As for footwear, the products of choice tend to be mid-priced models from brands like Johnston & Murphy, To Boot and Allen Edmonds, a Wisconsin shoe manufacturer founded to supply shoes to soldiers in World War II. While there weren’t many luxury footwear in use among the men of Brookfield Place — the palm-fringed lobby shopping center is anchored by gleaming boutiques selling Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo and Gucci — this may be due to the markets fall.

“Maybe if we get a bonus I’ll buy some Gucci,” said Charles Li, 26, a Scotiabank employee. Li was wearing basic but elegantly cut clothes (blue pants, white shirt, Oxfords) by Suitsupply, whose store on Brookfield Place is conveniently located on the mezzanine level. A colleague of Li’s, Allan Bossard, 23, wore much the same outfit.

“Of course, I care about clothes,” Bossard said. But, he added, that’s no more or less true now than it was before the lockdowns began in 2020. “It’s important to be presentable in the office because, after all, you represent the firm.”

For Ryan Meiser, 31, an investment analyst at the Royal Bank of Canada, the return to office phase has not signaled much of a change in his morning routine. “You have to have personality to dress,” said Meiser, who wore a white Giorgio Armani shirt, a pair of gray Zegna pants and shoes by a manufacturer whose name he had forgotten.

But in the end, what a person chooses to wear to the office may be less of a question than determining where exactly their workplace is. “Going to the office three days a week is mandatory, with Monday and Friday optional,” Meiser said.

“On weekends,” he added with a laugh, “we’re free to work from home.”

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I have worked in the news industry for over 10 years. I have been an author at News Bulletin 247 for the past 2 years. I mostly cover politics news. I am a highly experienced and respected journalist. I have won numerous awards for my work.

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