The little things mean a lot

Trading, and for that matter banking in general is like the real life Revenge of the Nerds.

Walk through a trading floor or the maze of cubicles in any office tower downtown and you’ll notice something interesting. Everyone is wearing the same thing. White or blue dress shirts, black or blue pants and black shoes. If there is a client meeting, replace the black or blue pants with a blue pinstripe suit. To be sure, these are the most expensive shirts, pants, shoes and suits. However, what these former math club captains don’t realize, is what we’ve known forever. Money can’t buy style.

For those of us with an eye for detail it can be irritating to hear others talk about how much they’ve spent on their wardrobe while clearly still being poorly put together.

You don’t need a million-dollar wardrobe to dress like a million bucks. Far more important than price are the details.

Being well put together is simple and inexpensive. It’s the little things that matter.

Collar Stays:

I don’t know of anything, besides sweat stains, that can make a dress shirt look cheap and unkept quite like a curling, misshapen collar.

Collar stays are used to keep the collar straight and maintain the shape. All shirts have them. But collar stays should be removed when the shirt is dry cleaned. The problem is, some men lose them or forget to put them back in. Hey, it happens. This is why it’s important to have replacements handy to ensure your shirts always have a fresh pressed look.

Note:  The metal collar stays below are heavier than plastic replacements. The added weight helps to keep the collar in place. This is especially important when wearing a suit. It prevents your shirt collar slipping outside of your suit lapels.

There is a limitless range of collar stays. From plastic to silver or gold. Stays can be engraved or diamond encrusted. Not sure I’d go there but style is personal.

Money Clip:

Yes. It’s possible that you’ll use that coupon for 10 free guitar lessons you keep in your wallet. But is it probable?

Here’s a simple solution to avoid carrying an overstuffed Costanza wallet. The money clip. The money clip is a classy and convenient way to hold your currency.  Combined with a slim card holder and you are set.

I’m always partial to Tiffany stainless steel, but there’s a full range of styles to choose from.

Tiffany 1837™ money clip in sterling silver.
$185 CAD

Cuff Links:

There is just something smart about French cuff shirts.

In the past French cuff shirts were restricted to formal black or white tie occasions. But more recently, men have explored the many informal ways of dressing them up or down. As far as cuff links go, I like simple and classy.

Pocket Square:

The pocket square is the perfect finishing touch.

I like to wear a very basic sharp clean edge with the hem in (edge up) or out (with a rolled hem pocket square).

Edge up – hem in
Hem out

Tie Bar:

Hope this isn’t just a fad. I really like wearing a tie bar with a slim tie.  I’m happy to see more guys wearing them.

I think simple, narrow and stainless steel, worn between the third and fourth button of your dress shirt is a classy look.

Shoe Shine: 

What can I say? This one should really be obvious. Why invest in an expensive pair of shoes and not take care of them?

I enjoy a shoe almost as much as I enjoy a good hair cut.

Cerruti Travel Shoe Care Kit


Your shoes and your belt don’t have to match perfectly, but light with light and darks with darks should be your aim.

By now you’ll notice a trend. As with the cuff links and tie bars, I like simple and stainless steel for my belt buckles.


I could go on and on. So maybe I’ll do a part two to this post with things like grooming, fit, alterations, socks and glasses.

There are just so many little details that make a big impact.


  1. I’d also suggest (somewhat unsurprisingly) that socks are a detail that shouldn’t be forgotten. A decent sock, matched to something like a pocket square, or a tie can really set-off a stylish outfit. At the very least stylish gents should avoid the cardinal sin of matching socks and shoes – i.e. wearing black socks with black shoes.

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