A few years ago, we had a 1st year analyst walk across the trading floor with a Gucci ‘G’ belt buckle. “Hey bubba, I didn’t know The Gap made belts,” bellows out a trader. “Um, it’s Gucci,” the kid snaps back. The words are barely out of his mouth before he realizes he’s being mocked in front of half a dozen guys and just made it a lot worse. That was all it took; the kid was never able to earn even a modicum of respect after that, and ended up leaving the firm less than a year later.
You know that uncomfortable scene in The Devil Wears Prada when Anne Hathaway snorts when Meryl Streep and the other editors are trying to put together an outfit for a shoot? The lesson was you shouldn’t pretend that clothes don’t matter at a place where everyone cares about clothes. Apparently, everyone cares about what you wear at Goldman Sachs too.