vest is best?

Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual???

Pry this pocket square from my cold dead hands, Goldman. Photo: Astrakan Images/Getty Images/Cultura RF

Goldman Sachs employees may now live every day as if it were summer Friday: On Tuesday, the bank’s top three execs sent around a company-wide email announcing the dawn of a “flexible dress code” policy. They failed to define “flexible,” however, and all that creative license reportedly has finance bros feeling flummoxed, perhaps even a little panicked.

“Given our one firm philosophy and the changing nature of workplaces generally in favor of a more casual environment, we believe this is the right time to move to a firmwide flexible dress code,” read the email, according to Bloomberg. Emphasizing that the client’s comfort is king, the bosses asked employees to “exercise good judgment” in their selections. “All of us know what it and is not appropriate for the workplace.”

Do we, though? An informal Twitter poll suggests we all harbor our own subjective understandings of what business casual means. Most responders voted for Goldman to adopt the Silicon Valley hoodies-and-sneakers look. I myself am not convinced the client would be comfortable with that, but then again, whenever I see a bro in the “midtown uniform” — chinos, button-down shirt, fleece vest, probably boat shoes or something similarly brown — coming at me, I stop drop and roll away, a ball of prickly apprehension:

On its face, Goldman finally loosening its tie may not strike you as a particularly complicated issue — you gotta learn to relax, my dudes! (And I do mean dudes, because although women working in boys’ club environments like Wall Street have always been presented with the impossible puzzle that is passable work dress, coverage of this particular issue centers squarely on men.)

According to the Associated Press, though, compiling the right Wall Street wardrobe requires balancing a delicate equation. You want to compete sartorially with the hip young tech firms drawing from the same talent pool, but as the AP points out, jeans simply “won’t do in every setting.” And when your CEO (David Solomon) moonlights as a DJ, you might assume that your chill Yeezys would be acceptable in the office, but what happens when the old-guard comes in from London or whatever? Well, you could always keep a pair of emergency deal sleds (Gucci loafers, did you know?) under your desk, for added professionalism in a pinch. What is the best outfit to launder money in?? I just don’t know.

Anyway, I think the most likely outcome here is that Goldman’s New York office becomes a sea of khaki slacks; a nightmare of pastel gingham layered under sleeveless Patagonia, as the bankers retreat to the comfort of their performance fleece shells. I hope, though, that the bros embrace this opportunity to play around with their personal style. An accent scrunchie never hurt anyone.

Panicked Wall Street Bros Wonder: What Is Business-Casual???