Wall Street’s wardrobe whisperer on how to nail the ‘quiet luxury’ trend and 18 other do’s and don’ts to look like a rainmaker

  • Jessica Cadmus has been dressing Wall Street’s top execs since she worked at Goldman Sachs.
  • But things have changed, and dressing like a rainmaker isn’t as simple as it used to be.
  • Cadmus says heels, pantsuits, and big logos are out, as are three-piece suits.

When it comes to mega-merger advice or convincing a client that you can manage their millions, how you look is just as important as what you know.

According to Jessica Cadmus, a personal stylist who specializes in dressing Wall Street executives.

“Because they’re so smart and used to dominating with their brain, a lot of these people believe that tending too closely to your aesthetic is frivolous.” “They couldn’t be more wrong,” Cadmus pointed out.

“If you’re going to stand in front of someone, such as a client, and raise money, you have to look like you can handle that money.” And there are visual cues to assist you in doing so,” Cadmus explained. “It isn’t just about your brain. It’s a complete package.”

Cadmus’ previous experience working for one of Wall Street’s most prestigious banks provides her with a unique perspective.

From 2005 to 2010, she worked as an associate at Goldman Sachs. Cadmus enjoyed dressing up for work and said her fashion sense was noticed by senior colleagues, who enlisted her to help them spruce up their closets. Word of her talent spread, and soon she was assisting so many coworkers that she launched Wardrobe Whisperer, a personal styling business, in 2007. Her services — closet deep-dives, customized shopping trips, and the creation of “look books” — became so popular that she left Goldman in 2010 to focus solely on styling.

Cadmus is still dressing bankers and financiers nearly 16 years later and has founded the luxury accessories line Rogue Paq. Approximately 85% of her clients now work in finance and are among the highest-ranking employees — mostly MDs and partners — at major banks and hedge funds.

Cadmus spends her days assisting them in looking stylish as well as office-appropriate, a task made more difficult by the transition to business casual. The pandemic, and the preceding tech boom, have rendered ties, suits, and stilettos obsolete. Sneakers and sometimes jeans are the new norm even in the formal finance industry.

“A suit is a uniform, that’s easy,” Cadmus said. “It’s the in-between gray area where people are just absolutely struggling.”

Cadmus shared her playbook for dressing VIP finance clients with Insider, including her favorite brands, dos and don’ts, and specific buy recommendations for both men and women.

Of course, following her playbook comes at a cost. The financial industry is known for big paydays, and some of her recommendations could be worth more than what some readers pay in rent each month. (See her lower-cost recommendations in Insider’s summer intern style guide.) Cadmus believes that a well-dressed wardrobe is an essential career investment for high-paid MDs and partners.

One key to dressing like a rainmaker is to embrace “quiet luxury,” according to Cadmus, which means wearing pieces that are very high-quality (and expensive) but don’t have obvious logos and aren’t necessarily made by big-name brands.

“You need to invest the time, the energy, and the dollars, frankly, to put yourself together in a way that you are coming from a place of power,” she went on to say. “Dressing like a partner is about making the effort.” Don’t just wing it. And so many of them are still doing it by phone.”Editor’s note: This story was originally published in June 2023 and has been updated to include the most recent fashion trends.

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