A formfitting blazer and Chelsea boots, or jeans and high-top sneakers? Here’s how the 2023 rising stars of VC put together their ‘power outfits.’

  • Having a “power outfit” can help anyone look and feel their best while at work.
  • But compared to traditional finance attire, venture capitalists’ style can be a bit more laid back.
  • Business Insider asked the rising stars of venture capital to share their go-to styles.

Unlike traditional finance jobs, where a suit and tie are often required – though this is changing following the pandemic – venture capitalists have earned a reputation for wearing Patagonia vests and Allbirds sneakers while networking with founders and limited partners.

The more casual world of VC and tech can be a breath of fresh air for up-and-coming investors in the sector, as many come from the more formal worlds of banking and consulting. “As a recovering management consultant to financial institutions, I’m ecstatic to have ditched the suit for jeans and a t-shirt,” said Laura Bock, a partner at QED Investors.

Having a great go-to statement piece or a more structured look, on the other hand, can give any VC the confidence boost they need to shake the right hands and land the hottest deals — and Business Insider’s rising stars of venture capital have perfected their signature sense of style.

We asked this year’s honorees to share their go-to “power-outfit” for when it’s time to get off Zoom calls and meet with their portfolio companies in person, land a competitive startup deal, or speak at a conference with their peers in their industry. Many of this year’s VC rising stars told Business Insider that their go-to power outfits included tailored sport coats or Chelsea boots, as well as more casual items such as hoodies and well-fitting jeans. But, in the end, all of these outfits contributed to one thing: instilling confidence.

Dressing for everyday comfort

The majority of this year’s rising stars prioritize comfort. Few investors wear collared shirts with their jackets, preferring to pair it with a t-shirt and jeans.

Nmachi Jidemna told Business Insider that her go-to outfit for everyday wear is “usually a structured blazer with a relaxed pair of jeans.”

Many of the investors on the list were also interested in streetwear designers. “I would define my style as business/tech casual meets streetwear,” said Javier Grevely, a Wellington Management investor. “I like brands like Off-White, FOG, & Ralph Lauren; and typically embed them within my outfits.”

Unless it’s a more formal meeting, Felicis’ Tobi Coker prefers a Buzz Rickson bomber jacket over a sport coat.

Other investors, such as Janelle Teng, like to flaunt their investment success by wearing a “portfolio company t-shirt and leather jacket” while out and about.

But it wouldn’t be a venture-capital powerhouse without some sort of sneaker. Amber Atherton of Patron told Business Insider that she and Jason Yeh, the firm’s cofounder and general partner, compete in the office over who has the “hypest” sneakers.

Their options range from white Converse high-tops to running shoes that can also be used for outdoor meetings. “I’m a huge walking-meeting person.” Walking meetings have been shown to increase energy, productivity, and creativity levels, in addition to being good exercise,” said Ashley Paston.

Surprisingly, no one mentioned Allbirds, a once-popular tech community favorite.

Sharper looks for conferences and public events

Most up-and-coming VCs will still swap their jeans for trousers on days when networking is the focus, they shared.

“There’s nothing quite like the confidence boost I get from wearing a well-tailored business suit,” says Justin Williams of Seae Ventures. The clean lines and perfect fit make this more than just clothing; it’s a statement.”

The blazers will be kept for conferences, but they may be replaced with brighter ones at times, according to VCs. “I love a good cape or statement jacket,” Mahati Sridhar explained.

Investors are willing to wear more formal footwear if they are a panelist at a hot tech conference. “For speaking opportunities, I invested in a sharp blazer and high-heeled boots — who doesn’t feel powerful when they’re a bit taller?” Vivien Ho of Pear VC told Business Insider.

However, dressing up does not always have to be for special occasions. For some investors, it can be a source of pride and a reminder of home. “I often find myself missing my hometown of London, so I love a textured blazer and some Chelsea boots for my most important meetings as they remind me of winters back in the UK,” said Ary Vaidya, founder and CEO of Kyber Knight

Dressing up can also communicate to others in the typically male-dominated VC world that some of the women on the list are important players in the room.

That’s why Luci Fonseca of Base 10 prefers to wear a red boucle blazer with a silk scarf. “The color red is associated with courage in the human brain.” “There is no courage without fear,” she says, “and when I wear red, I always feel a little more courageous and powerful.”

Here’s what other VCs said about which outfits boost their confidence:”Given the autumn season, likely a pair of jeans, boots, a long coat, and a colorful sweater featuring a funky animal of some sort.” (GV, KJ Sidberry)

“The majority of the events I host or attend are with tech community founders and investors.” My casual power outfit is all about the shoes! I’m wearing a simple, neutral-colored short-sleeve henley with pants and a nice cardigan sweater on top. The power is in the form of sneakers, which are likely to be more colorful and eye-catching! They’re usually Jordans or Nike limited edition collaborations with RTFKT (see my most recent pair on a LinkedIn post that received more engagement than expected).” (Sunset Ventures, Brandon Hoffman)

“My go-to is Mute by JL, a local designer who creates amazing statement pieces that go with everything!” I’ll put on a top/dress from her and some Birdies for comfort, and I’ll be ready to go.” (Emerson Collective, Sarah Wu)

“My power outfits usually consist of form-fitting dresses or blazers made of high-quality fabric.” To stand out in any setting, I prefer vibrant colors, and I like to add a touch of sparkle with blingy accents and highlights. It’s a confident ensemble that makes a memorable statement.” DCM Fiona Huang

“I’m wearing a red jacket and high-top sneakers.” “It’s game time!” Sapphire (Demi Obayomi)

“I adore a jumpsuit – it’s simple, professional, and comes in a single color.” I’ll wear it with interesting shoes (sneakers, heels, or boots). I usually wear black, but I was recently given a “color analysis” and told by an expert that I should stop wearing black! This is a problem because 90% of my clothes are black. I’ve been attempting to incorporate more warm and vibrant colors into my power outfits since then, so we’ll see how that goes.” (Natalie Borowski, Capital Coefficient)

“I’m an Aritzia girl through and through, as a proud Canadian.” Their Effortless pants provide me with all the confidence I require!” (Bain Capital Ventures, Alysaa Co)”It’s all black on black on black.” Flowy black pants, a black turtleneck, and chunky black boots.” (Andreessen Horowitz, Daisy Wolf)

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