There comes a time in every ambitious Wall Streeter’s life when they have to look at their clients right in the face and gain their trust.
So when those clients look back, they need to see someone who looks like a master of the universe.
Coordinating that look, as we’re sure you can imagine, is not a trait most of Wall Street’s bankers, hedge fund managers, and other hot shots, are born with.
Enter Jessica Cadmus, founder of the Wardrobe Whisperer.
What Cadmus does, is figure out who you are for you. If you ask her to, she goes to your house, throws out the things that makes you look juvenile, and recreates your life as a professional — as a boss.
After that she’ll figure the your actual fit for your body, go shopping with you, and create a look book from the items you now own so you know how to put outfits together. She’ll even pack your bags for business trips, vacations etc.
And, of course, we say “you” and “your” as in a senior level Wall Streeters — as managing directors, portfolio managers, as CEOs and what-have-you. This is basically, the “you” lots of Wall Streeters want to be.
Cadmus met tons of her now-clients during her time at Goldman Sachs. At one point her purpose at Goldman was to cater to the firm’s 400 partners. Need a doctors appointment? Cadmus had could get that. Need to plan a vacation? Cadmus was all over it.
After a while, people started asking her what they should wear — so she started Wardrobe Whisperer in 2007. After about a year she left Goldman, and dedicated herself soley to helping the most ambitious people on Wall Street look their part.
“Most of them have the most basic suiting,” Cadmus told Business Insider. “They’re still in their 40s going to Brooks Brothers because that’s where their mum took them.”
In a world of easy tailoring and stretch fabrics that make a suit feel like a paid of pajamas, Cadmus believes this basic Brooks Brothers-ness is unacceptable (she’s right). You don’t have to stray too far from traditional suiting to give your look a pop or two.
See, at the end of the day it’s all about fit. That’s why she has shopping events for male and female clients. They can bring their friends, and introduce them to the Gospel that is the seam of your suit’s shoulder actually matching up with your body’s shoulder.
“I would rather have a man in a cheaper suit that fits than a $US13,000 that’s too big,” she said, adding that no man she’s ever worked with actually knew their true size when they hired her. They think space (a bigger size) = comfort.
Here are a few more tips Cadmus likes her clients:
- For ties and shirts: If you have a big pattern on your tie, you need a small pattern on your shirt (if you have one) and vice versa.
- For socks: The base colour of your sock should correspond with your trouser, not your shoe. So if you’re wearing navy trousers, your socks have to match that in some way. Not your shoes.
- On shoes: The more correct shoe to wear with a suit is a brown shoe, not a black shoe. “You cannot go wrong if you wear brown, cognac or oxblood,” says Cadmus.
- For the ladies: “Don’t be afaid to look feminine. There’s a power in looking polished in a dress while wielding your mind as a weapon,” she said.
This whole enterprise has worked out so well for Cadmus that she’s bi-coastal now. She’s also getting into the home design business. Her greatest achievement so far has been coaching an executive through his 270 lb weight lost. He trusted her the whole way through, which is basically what her clients told Business Insider they all do.
A few comments from the Wall Street wardrobe reformed:
- It’s imperative that I appear pulled together as I hold a senior position at my firm. I have the desire but simply don’t have the time. Jessica has identified a complete working wardrobe that basically ensures I never make a mistake. She’s armed me with a “look book” that I reference daily so I don’t waste brain power or precious time selecting an outfit.
- Jess provides a service that goes beyond picking out good clothes. Her read of people and their own personal style is spot on. She prepares before you meet her and adapts on the spot to deliver an outcome that drives confidence and comfort.
- [Cadmus] streamlines the shopping process to remove the pain and in short order helps you to get comfortable with the look that you always wanted but didn’t quite have the skill or time to pull off.
- Jess has completely changed my wardrob from boring, black and monotonous to stylish colourful and chic with tons of variety. I now no longer wonder “what am I going to wear today?” or feel drab in my clothes.
So here’s the thing people. Part of life is looking the part, and if you want to be a boss, you should probably look like one.
And if you don’t know how to do that, you should ask.