UK

Red Braces Shunned By City Workers For Fuchsia Pink, Say Tailors

06/08/2013 14:09 BST | Updated 06/08/2013 15:27 BST
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Speculator with gold ingot.

Bankers have had to sharpen up their act since the 2008 financial crisis, it would seem.

It's not just in terms of responsibility, but also in dress sense.

City workers have been shunning the garish red braces popularised by the 1987 film Wall Street, which starred Michael Douglas as the ruthless trader Gordon Gekko. According to Debenhams, they are opting for sober grey, dark blue and black colours in order to show off their serious credentials.

Debenhams spokesman Ed Watson: "City workers are abandoning styles once associated with flamboyant deal making and opting instead for colours which enhance the impression of being a safe pair of hands."

"Our sales figures show that bright red braces first went into decline in 2008 when so many banks collapsed."

"Suddenly flamboyance and risk taking became bad words, and City workers, eager to distance themselves from that culture, switched to conservative colours instead."

wallstreet

Michael Douglas sports red braces in the film Wall Street

A spokesperson from the high-street chain Topman tells the Huffington Post UK: "Braces in general are 71% up this season over last year. We do sell red braces but they are behind black, burgundy and navy in popularity."

While the department stores may note a dieing down of interest in red braces, fashion experts point out that bankers would be unlikely to shop there.

James Sherwood, curator and author of The Perfect Gentleman, tells the Huffington Post UK: "The masters of the universe - be they bankers or boutique financiers - don't tend to shop in department stores.

"That said, Anderson & Sheppard's haberdashery at No 17 Clifford Street has the largest selection of braces in the West End and red is no longer a popular choice. But lest we forget, Wall Street was released 26-years ago and Gekko's signature red braces have been a cliche only copied by junior financiers on the lower rungs of the ladder for at least two decades. Reporting their demise in 2013 is like a detective reopening a cold case."

Geoff Quinn, CEO of British shirtmakers TM Lewin, said: "The city fell out of love with red braces in 2008 when it suddenly no longer felt appropriate to make garish Gordon Gekko-style statements. But I believe their steady decline is much less do do with colour and more to do with functionality. There's a whole new generation of younger city workers who simply wouldn't dream of donning a pair. And why would they? Today's wardrobe is all about choosing clothes that fit really well. Style is signified by the size of collar, the cut of a jacket and the line of the lapel, not statement accessories."

Male tailors told the Huffington Post UK that bankers had been enjoying a sartorial renaissance, opting for "fun" colours like 'fuchsia pink' and navy.

James Sleater, director of the Cad And the Dandy on Savile Row, said: "If someone wears red braces today, people just say ‘oh he’s trying to look like an 80s banker’.

"People are now more than ever very concerned about how they look but almost want to stand out but in a managed way. The 80s banker pinstripe has died a death but the braces are now more popular. Our most popular include fuchsia pink and navy blue."

Stephen Williams, creative director at Bespoke HQ and formerly at Mayfair tailors Terence Trout, said: "There’s a lot of colour that has been introduced into the field. We've seen fuchsia pink, we've seen more velvet. I've been doing a lot more of the brighter colours as my customers are looking for fun pieces that can be worn nicely."