How to look cool in Shoreditch & The City in one outfit
I had a fantastic question sent to me by my dear friend and client, Shamus Rae (Head of Innovation & Investments at KPMG) to kick start a new series of "Ask Roberto". We think the best articles are the ones that answer questions you - our fabulous clients - need answered! So here we go with today's question:
"How do you look cool in Shoreditch Silicon Roundabout in the morning and the City in the afternoon?"
For those of you that don’t know, Shoreditch Silicon Roundabout is the area between Old Street & Shoreditch formally known as East London Tech City. Amazingly it’s the 3rd largest technology start up cluster in the world, behind San Francisco and New York City!
An increasing number of my senior clients are frowning more frequently when they realise part of their busy day is going to involve venturing into Shoreditch to “mix it” with the seemingly hip tech crowd. But dressing down for the tech crowd might not be appropriate for other meetings in your day, for example if you need to then cross town to visit a bank or law firm…
So Shamus actually asks a really good question – when in doubt we always tend to dress up, but this can make things feel a little awkward when you walk into a tech hub in Shoreditch, needing to appear to be at least slightly relatable to a bunch of 25-35 year old hipsters (but coming across more like an FBI Agent).
How on earth do you dress ONCE but for seeing two completely different audiences on the same day, while keeping true to your own style & personality?
So here are a couple of options:
1. WEAR A SUIT
For the suit option, invest in a good THREE PIECE (yes a suit with a waistcoat) with some sort of subtle check or texture in the fabric. Your amazing tailor can guide you
If you’re due in Tech Nirvana in the morning, keep your tie and jacket folded in your bag (“What? You don’t own a bag? We need to talk.”), and just walk in with an open neck shirt collar (you only need to undo the top button Romeo) and a smart tailored Raincoat over the top of your outfit.
You can even (carefully) roll you shirt sleeves up to the elbows if you think it’s appropriate.
Then once you’re done, get out of there and in the back of the cab on your way to Lloyds of London or wherever, roll sleeves back down, bang your tie and suit jacket on and by the time you arrive you’ll look like a serious business man again.
2. THE SMART CASUAL OPTION
This is like a magic trick and you need to select your outfit simply but carefully. If you don’t have a smart navy blazer, tailored dark grey trousers and an ice blue or subtly checked blue shirt in your wardrobe we need to meet hasta pronto.
Put these three items on (and obviously your underwear, socks and shoes), no tie for the Hoxton meeting, add tie for your more discerning audience. Simple.
The subtle contrast between the jacket and trousers and the fact that everything is neatly tailored, means that even when you walk in to that serious board meeting later, despite not being in a suit it won’t be as noticeable and you’ll look like your outfit was carefully thought through regardless.