My wife got me a Patagonia vest last year. I wore it quite a bit for a while. Doesn't look half bad on me, if I do say so myself. 

It was also a bit of a joke, because these vests had become the "unofficial uniform" of Manhattan "finance bros" and other Wall Street types--especially co-branded versions of the vests with investment bank or tech company logos. 

There's even an Instagram account: @MidtownUniform. It's quite amusing.

But, you know who apparently doesn't think it's so funny? Patagonia itself.

The company confirmed Tuesday that it will now focus its co-branded corporate "merch" partnerships with "mission-driven companies that prioritize the planet," a spokesperson told Bloomberg.

I can imagine a lot of people in these finance and tech circles are quite upset to hear this, but current finance bros need not fret. Patagonia said it will honor existing contracts. 

Still, it's also quite ironic that these vests became such a trend in the first place:

  • Last summer, Esquire described the "uniform as including the vest, along with, "the crisp oxford shirt: almost always white or blue, though sometimes pink ... [and] slacks. [I]nvariably navy or khaki."
  • The story quoted one analyst who said he first saw the uniform in 2014, and another who started the vests to copy his boss.
  • Another theory: The guy behind @MidtownUniform credits the Showtime series, Billions (debut: 2016), since the "Dollar Bill Stearn" character is partial to them.
  • I think they really took off after Jeff Bezos was spotted wearing one at a conference in Sun Valley, Idaho in July 2017. With his bare arms exposed, he looked like he'd spent the last few years in the gym.

Anyway, fashion is fickle, and we're probably due for a change anyway.

As it happens, I forgot my vest at my parents' house in New England, but it feels like we've gone well past cliche on these things, so I'll just get it next time we're up.

Besides, now that Goldman Sachs announced its employees can dress down a bit, wouldn't it be hilarious if fashion trended back, and we all started wearing suits?

Maybe that's an idea we can all get behind.

Here's what else I'm reading today:

Published on: Apr 4, 2019
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.