According to a recent survey in the UK by SME deals site DealJungle.com , 77 percent of workers now believe that ties are a relic of a bygone age – and more than half think they’ll be as passé as a dodo-powered pocket watch within 20 years. “For many young professionals the image of a shirt and tie has become synonymous with stuffy careers such as accountancy or the legal profession,” the report says.
But what of private equity? In First Round’s experience, private equity types are now as likely to be wearing a tie as not – at least in London. And quite right too: ties are nothing more than a symbol of The Man’s excruciating yoke around our necks, and as such should be shunned wherever possible (with the possible exception of weddings and funerals).
Just to be clear: First Round bows to no magazine intro section in its appreciation of all things sartorial. There’s nothing it likes more than a good suit – and generally speaking, there are plenty of them in private equity. At risk of seeming a bit American Psycho, First Round will often find itself taking the measure of a buyout executive by the tailoring of their jacket, or the pleating of their skirt (particularly, in the latter case, if they’re male).
But while some in the industry may not share First Round’s (petty superficiality/) incredible instincts, others clearly do share its preoccupation with sharp dressing.
Take Duncan Quinn, a former private equity lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, who quit his job in order to sell expensive suits to hedge fund managers, celebrities and sports stars. “I was the guy who didn’t dress down for dress-down Fridays and always abhorred tan-coloured chinos and blue Oxford shirts that buttoned down at the collar,” Quinn told Bloomberg (and Amen to that).
Apparently, Quinn’s range includes a $30,000 suit made from Guanaco, “the yarn of choice for the coronation robes of Incan royalty”, and Guanashina, a type of baby cashmere only obtained from “the brushing of the soft under-fleece of 18-month-old goats bred only in Inner Mongolia”. So if you ever see a nice fat carry cheque ever again, you know where to (squander/) spend it.
And speaking of suits …
News reaches First Round of a great initiative from bespoke tailoring company A Suit That Fits: City types are being asked to donate their old and unwanted suits to a new scheme called Suit for Success, launched in tandem with three homelessness charities, which aims to help homeless people look the part when they go for job interviews (they’ll also be helped with presentation skills and so on).
Frankly, First Round is not totally sure that the wearer of its rashly-purchased beige linen suit of 2003 is more or less likely to get a job as a result; possibly the latter. But if you’ve got something rather more appealing to offer, you’ve got until 26th April to drop it/ them off. More details at www.aSuitThatFits.com/SuitForSuccess.