ONE YEAR LATER, as the Occupy Wall Street movement made headlines this week, protesters claim they have witnessed a different mode of dress in their banker counterparts. A recently uncovered memo reveals a style ploy among their capitalist foes.
The memorandum supposedly originated in the Wells Fargo brokerage division, by a junior banker named Jinsky. Titled, “Corporate Sagging: Reputation Begins in the Pants,” it suggested that if bankers adopted the hip-hop fashion of wearing suit pants below the buttocks, it would align them with the youth culture, ultimately restoring their reputations. The suggestion was as brash as it was absurd, and the board of directors called for Jinsky to explain his fool self.
“The kids call it ‘sagging,’” Jinsky began.
By way of PowerPoint presentation, Jinksy explained with the state of the economy bankers are generally viewed as the enemy of youth and progress, which is spurring all the negative sentiment around the banking industry. And it originates with the stodgy corporate mode of dress.
“Folks will see that we’re not so different,” explained Jinsky, undoing his belt, “if we let our buttocks hang out our trousers.”
He slid his Brooks Brothers suit pants mid-thigh. Walking back and forth to demonstrate, he fell into a casual saunter that had not been there a moment ago. He was quickly thrown out of the boardroom and told to get his fool self back to work.
But Jinsky, see, was intent on moving up the corporate ladder without earning it through actual work. If this fashion trend took hold, he would be the talk of the financial world. The next morning he arrived at headquarters sagging a $4,200 Bottega Veneta, which raised some eyebrows although no one corrected it. It would have passed if not for Stuart Ogleby, a member of the executive leadership team – Old Stu, as the young bankers reverently referred – who used to work pantless before the bank hired all the women and homosexuals. He began sagging a handmade Fioravanti, attaching the suspenders over his bulbous stomach because he did not know where else to hook them.
By lunchtime, several members of the investment banking arm were sagging. By late afternoon, the entire leveraged finance desk sagged, Jay Cos and Armani and Ralph Lauren coats hanging over quivering trousers. Banker reviews were in:
“Removing the belt really opens up the blood flow.”
“Strangely, no one threw anything at me when I went out for lunch.”
“Goddamn refreshing,” came Old Stu. “My ass feels like a spring morning.”
Before long, corporate sagging went companywide. After a month, profits at the bank were on the rise. Crowds of protesters dwindled outside Wells Fargo headquarters. By the end of the fiscal quarter, sagging had infiltrated every sector of the financial industry – from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange to the boardrooms of JP Morgan and Citigroup. Female bankers were not immune, sagging their suit pants as to not seem less savvy than their male counterparts. Suit makers began hemming mid-thigh pants tailored for the hip corporate sagster. The belt industry went belly up. Jinsky was promoted to Fashion Analyst, which went straight to his head, roaming the floor with a ruler making sure everyone’s pants adhered to the corporate sag dress code.
“You call that a sag! I saw a better sag on a bank teller over on Broadway!”
Meanwhile, the protests were running out of steam. According to one young man –a Caucasian college graduate of twenty-five who came from a middle class background in Montclair, NJ, and who had never sagged his trousers but saw the fashion as an expression of a hip hop brethren he respected and identified with musically, mostly via Eminem – the banking industry had somehow stolen the movement’s mojo.
“With the sagging suits, they just look,” and he did not finish.
Like most fashion trends, it might have fizzled. But bankers being bankers, the dress code turned into a greedy one-upmanship. If Wells Fargo sagged four inches below pubic onset, JP Morgan took it to four and a half. Bank of America went five, Citigroup went six and three quarters, then some hotshot from BNP Paribas sagged her $3,500 hand-knit Earl Gray Gucci to the knees. A week later, every banker who gave a damn about his or her job dropped their suit pants to the ankles.
Most financial pundits predicted the downfall of the banking industry would reside with careless lending; as it turned out, it was ankle sagging. Say what one will of the ethics of the industry, bankers work hard. Sagging tailored suit pants around the ankle whilst running for a train, or shuffling across the stock exchange floor, or hustling through an IPO – it was impossible to get anything done on time with pants around the ankles.
The folks keeping tabs on American dollars faltered. Tardiness, pulled hammies, fatalities followed. Without the extra layer of fabric deterrent, banker-on-banker sex became commonplace during the workday. Lawsuits ensued, then illegitimate children. Old Stu died of a heart attack while shuffling to the bathroom. Someone beat Jinsky to death with his ruler.
–Jon Methven is the author of the novel This Is Your Captain Speaking (Simon & Schuster, 2012). Visit www.jonmethven.com for information.