10 Fashion Lessons Learned from a Banker (Ex) Boyfriend

Margot Robbie and Leonardo Dicaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Image: Rex Features

Margot Robbie and Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Wolf Of Wall Street”

One usually wouldn’t describe suit-clad finance guys as fashionable, especially in New York City, where we worship imitable street style and pray to the ever-changing runway. So when I became one half of a couple with a man who has worked on Wall Street his whole career, I assumed I would be the one bringing all the fashion accolades to the table. Turns out, I could learn a few lessons from him. Get your basics and simple game down first and foremost, then maybe one could try the pocket square intervention. Dressing to work, dressing down after work, it was all a masterly art form.

1. Invest heavily in key pieces. When I look at his closet, his uniform is obvious. He’s got several versions of all the key clothing and accessories he wears: pants, shirts, sweaters, jacket, boots, etc. There are absolutely no outliers, such as patterned jackets or ill-fated distressed jeans. Can you say the same for yourself?

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2. Don’t mess with trends – ever. Keep it simple. Don’t wear a suit, you only seem desperate to be seen as rich or having “made-it”. The new CEO dons a shirt and sleek Oasics sneakers.

3. Have a wardrobe for every occasion or outing. Just like you have your work and weekend wardrobe, invest in pieces that stand up to a black-tie invitation, a ski weekend or wherever else you might have to eschew your daily uniform, especially if you expect to reach for these pieces a couple of times a year. It’s the last-minute scramble that leaves you purchasing something you will likely never wear again.

4. Care about construction and fabrication above all else. Let’s just say he inspects the seams inside all the pants and shirts he buys and if it looks cheap, it doesn’t make the cut. Have you ever done this? Me neither. If I had, all that wasted money at Zara or designer clothes that were disguised as well-made would have gone to that black Chanel jacket I always wanted – and would wear all the time.

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5. Bespoke isn’t just for suits. Yes we all knew you could get shirts made as well, but what about skirts, dresses or even jeans? If your body type is challenging in the retail space and you’re constantly altering expensive designer clothes to fit you, try finding a tailor that loves to design and bring in some ideas of staples that you want them to create for you.

6. When something fits perfectly, buy in multiple. This fashion statute isn’t news, but how many women do you know that actually do this? It feels so boring, no? The argument here is that, while you could replace later down the line, with the way retail-production cycles work, you are risking that the designer might quit making that pattern in lieu of something new, not to mention if your drycleaner ruins the piece or your luggage gets lost. A black pant that fits like a glove doesn’t come around often.

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7. Buy globally. Tailored pieces from Savile Row, leather from Italy,  silk from Thailand. Do your research before you travel and purchase the country’s signature items. It makes your wardrobe wordly and you aren’t paying premiums for importing.

8. Glasses can make the man – and the woman. The new power pair, get a paid of Clark Kent’s, others more serious spectacles or sporty frames. It inspired me to up my glasses game and invest in a few new shapes and colours.

9. Don’t neglect the boring stuff. Want to feel well-dressed? Invest is quality undergarments, technical-but-cool workout wear and even make your after-work loungewear something you would be caught dead in.

10. Lastly, some tips from the Wolves as follows: Ballet flats killed sexy; don’t forget the value of a heel. Chunky, oversize sweaters need to be balanced out, ideally with leather trousers. Wear polo-necks at your own risk.