Unraveling The Secret Hierarchy To Dressing On Wall Street (Associate, VP, Managing Director, Etc)

Though the rules are not spoken aloud, there is a secret hierarchy to how people dress when working on Wall Street. What you wear (brands/styles) and how much you spend annually on clothes is very indicative of your employment level when you’re working in finance. The difference between Brooks Brothers and Canali suits tells someone in the financial district everything they need to know about your position within a company, yet there’s no manual for this.

It’s not like learning to dress yourself on Wall Street is the only set of unspoken rules in finance, there are all sorts of hierarchical rules that associates and VP’s must follow. That said, this article over on Business Insider discussing the nuances of Wall Street Fashion is rather illuminating. Below is a breakdown from that article on what is expected of a finance worker at each level, including the following: brands (suits, ties, shirts, watches, shoes) and how much they should spend annually on clothes. I know I’m not the first person in the world to tell you that you need to ‘dress the part, and act like you’ve been there before’. That said, this handy little guide on how to dress at each level in finance might help you out at some point in your career.

Associate Level: The Business Insider article defines this level in finance as someone who has been working anywhere from 2 to 4 years. They recommend that someone at this level should be spending $2,000 per year on clothing.

The recommended brands are “Brooks Brothers suits, shirts, ties, and shoes and J Crew suits, shirts, ties, and shoes”.

Examples of those would be the following:

Brooks Brothers Light Blue Button Down


Brooks Brothers

The next tear up that Business Insider differentiates is the ‘VP Level‘, which they define as someone with 4 to 6 years of experience on Wall Street, or someone holding an MBA.

At the ‘VP Level’ they recommend that person should be spending ~$5,000 per year on clothing, and the following items are recommended at that level:

“Thomas Pink shirts, Thomas Pink ties, Paul Smith ties, Burberry ties, Tag (Heuer) watches, Starting to see Apple watches, Theory suits , Cole Haan shoes.”

Some examples of the above include the following:

TAG Heuer Men’s Formula 1


Tag Heuer

Cole Haan Men’s Air Santa Barbara Loafer


Cole Haan

The next level up, (according to Business Insider) is ‘Managing Director level‘. Wall Street workers at this level are expected to have 8 or more years in the business, and they recommend that at this level you’re spending between $6,000 to $12,000 per year on clothing. Items of clothing recommended at the ‘Managing Director Level’ include the following:

Ferragamo shoes, Ferragamo ties, Hermes ties, Zegna suits and ties, Canali suits, Rolex or Panerai watches are most prevalent with Patek Phillipe rising, Bespoke suiting by Asian or British tailors.

Though I don’t wear a suit to work (ever), I found it strange to discover that I’m closer to the Managing Director Level than the others, as I’ve been known to wear bespoke suits and Hermes ties. Some examples of the items recommended above include the following:

Salvatore Ferragamo Silk Neck Tie


Salvatore Ferragamo

Rolex GMT Master II



To read the article in full you can CLICK HERE to head on over to Business Insider.

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