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September 21, 2023

We Need to Talk About This Fleece Vest Situation, You Guys

Cath of Portlandia

We’re a little late to the party here but a recent WSJ article addressed a critical issue impacting servants of capital markets: fleece vests.

Jacob Gallagher writes:

The fleece zip-up vest, the capstone of a new corporate uniform, lurks in air-conditioned corporate cubicles across America. It covers the sweating backs of nervous interns ordering supersize coffees at Starbucks . It’s worn by silver-haired executives in the elevator, heading up to their corner suites. It appears in myriad shades of gray and blue, on men of all shapes and sizes who earn all kinds of salaries. It has become as ubiquitous as the take-out salad in humdrum workplaces, and is slowly supplanting the suit and tie as essential office wear.

Typically, the vest is worn over a button-up shirt and paired with chinos and brown dress shoes of any flavor. “The uniform” is how this ensemble has been branded around the office of one 36-year-old working in capital markets in Pittsburgh, a past practitioner of the much-mocked look who asked that his name be withheld. During a recent trip to New York City this month, he observed scores of men wearing gray fleece vests even as temperatures touched the mid-90s.

Alright, so which one of you was too afraid to give your name and your firm to the Wall Street Journal? It’s OK, you can tell us. As we can see from the WSJ article, the disease has spread outside of the NYC border and likely has reached Nebraska by now. Actually, I can confirm it has made its way to Richmond as my 50-something-year-old boyfriend showed up after work rocking one with his pressed shirt and khakis last fall and he’s not even in finance.

The “trend” (if you can call a bunch of office drones borrowing their cube wear from a Portlandia skit a trend) even has its own Instagram account @midtownuniform.

Twins, Basil! #midtownuniform ?: @kellymichon

A post shared by The Midtown Uniform (@midtownuniform) on

We have SO many questions, but here are just a few:

  • Who started this?
  • How long until women join this trend?
  • Why are you doing this in NYC in July are you crazy?

And the most important question: Will KPMG start handing its interns gift cards to Patagonia instead of Men’s Wearhouse and incorporating the fleece vest in its intern fashion show? Inquiring minds demand to know.

Has this trend taken over your office? Are you part of the problem? Do we need to stage a mass fleecervention?

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  1. The only accountant uniform of which I’m aware includes a long-sleeve blue (various shades are acceptable) button-down shirt, dark slacks and black dress shoes.

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