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The Trader's Dress Code for L.A.

The email went out late yesterday.

"Button down shirt (no polo's or tee shirts) and dress slacks."

You're not on Wall Street anymore.

The email went to traders, salespeople, and investment bankers at Imperial Capital in Century City. I spent Wednesday on the trading floorof this full service investment firm which focuses on the middle market, companies worth $2 billion or less.

Imperial Capital covers the ninth floor of a tower overlooking Avenue of the Stars. The place is filled long before dawn, like all trading floors west of the Rockies. Bowls of cereal and cups of coffee are still being consumed as Wall Street moves on to lunch.

But a Wall Street dress code? This is LA.

A tie is something you wear to a funeral.

One salesman who used to work for Western Asset Management in Pasadena says the standard uniform there was a Hawaiian shirt.

If CNBC wasn't here doing live shots, the room might be filled with guys wearing polos and jeans (the women, interestingly enough, were not instructed to clean up their act. They apparently don't need to.)

"John the IT guy"
CNBC
"John the IT guy"

One man, however, didn't see the email. "John the IT guy is hiding," someone told me. "He's mad he didn't know how to dress."

So I hunted John down.

Slouched low in a chair behind a monitor I found him, John Flade. "Yeah, I didn't know," he says sheepishly.

The IT guy didn't see the email? That's like the mechanic whose car never runs.

So...what was he wearing? Jeans, sneakers, and a T-shirt promoting Throwdown, an MMA brand.

Now that's LA.

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