By Rosemary Dorsett > Senior > Journalism > University of Maryland
Finance and the Big Apple might seem like the easy fast-track combination to early retirement for some young collegiates. But for Brad Corona, 29, the opening bells of Wall Street grew monotonous and tiresome after six years of number crunching up to 100 hours a week. “There are elements of the lifestyle that are just awful. The hours are unimaginable, the tasks are often mind-numbing once you fully understand how to complete them, and even when you’re out of the office you’re a slave to your Blackberry,” Corona said.
Three months ago, Corona decided to ditch the shackles of his career in finance and partnered with Brown classmate Brian Nicholson, 28, to launch Jack Robie, a new luxury men’s shirt collection. The collection, named after Cary Grant’s role in the Hitchcock classic To Catch a Thief, is manufactured in Pennsylvania and available exclusively online. This keeps costs down and quality consistently top-tier because Corona and Nicholson directly oversee production.
The Ivy-league duo met on a spring break trip to Brazil their senior year and immediately found common ground over their shared love of Interpol. The two graduated and headed for the bright lights of New York City, but grew bored of their industry. “The main impetus was the desire to do something creative, entrepreneurial and fun—simply put, we wanted to start our own company,” Corona explained. “ I can’t ever recall a time where I said to myself ‘Wow, this is fun.’”
Now, the pair work out of a trendy Chinatown loft, traded their Wall Street Journal subscription for copies of Women’s Wear Daily and blast The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Clash all day long. “Our lives couldn’t be more different,” Corona said.
After college, Corona’s style became “significantly more buttoned-up” and detail-oriented as he entered the workforce, something he thinks is lacking in collegiate style. “The problem with males isn’t really a mistake, it’s more of a general lack of effort,” Corona said. Jack Robie is breaking the stereotype of the Wall Street uniform, which can be horribly boring at its worst.
“Despite the fact that business dress follows a strict code that limits men to essentially the same garments, you can spot the guys that ‘get it’ a mile away and everybody notices,” the shirt-maker said.
So, guys, button up and take some pointers from the professional. Here are Brad Corona’s top 5 recommendations (plus one of our own) for your closet that will set you apart from your graphic tee-sporting peers:
Brad Corona’s Packing List:
1. A great pair of jeans in a dark wash (get raw denim if you don’t mind the break-in process). I like J. Crew 484 jean ($98) and the A.P.C. New Standards ($165).
2. White button-down shirt — dress it up or wear it casually, it’s the most versatile shirt a man can own. Our “Alex” ($85) shirt is a great choice.
*College magazine recommends bringing more than one because this shirt looks equally sharp on girls.
3. A nice pair of lace-ups, black or brown depending on your preference, with a belt that matches. Alden’s are great.
4. A navy blazer — I’d favor dark navy or brown horn buttons in lieu of gold or silver buttons.
5. Grey cashmere sweater. Whether you choose light, dark, crew neck, v—neck, cardigan, etc. is up to you.
6. A navy two-button suit. There aren’t many circumstances where a navy suit is inappropriate.