Say what you will about his character, but Patrick Bateman has style. American Psycho is defined by its fashion minutia. Banker-chic tortoiseshell specs (Oliver Peoples, of course), perfectly coiffed hair, and—most of all—immaculate '80s suiting are as much responsible for the film's staying power as Christian Bale's delightfully deranged turn as a status-obsessed, misogynistic ax murderer. Of course, American Psycho's outsized obsession with sartorial ephemera hints at the main character's disturbed mind (Who could forget Bateman's mental breakdown in the face of a watermarked business card superior to his own?), but the fact remains: This psycho looked good.
That being said, Bateman's boxy cuts, matching suit-and-tie, and nondescript oxfords aren't exactly high fashion fodder. The styles that dominated Wall Street in the '80s and '90s are just about the only pieces from that era not to come back in style—that is, until now.
We're still only partway through, but it looks like it's about to be a very Wall Street fall if Fashion Month is any indication. The 2022 shows have featured plenty of the much-discussed trends we've come to expect from TikTok's nostalgia-fueled algorithm (see Paris Hilton embodying the Y2K resurgence as a Versace party-girl bride in bright pink sparkles). However, full suit-and-ties are having a surprising moment with the fashion girlies, being spotted on celebrities, runways, and street style stars in the past month.
The first harbinger of Patrick Bateman's return appeared backstage at the Eckhaus Latta show in New York City on September 10. While the clothes were all quirky knits and subtle pattern play (staples the brand is known for), the beauty was straight out of Bateman's fanatical (but honestly, ahead of its time) skincare regimen.
Models walked down the garden runway with a "plastic glass" sheen that immediately recalled one of the film's most strikingly creepy scenes: Bale peeling off a skin-like face mask as part of his thousand-step morning routine. Makeup artist Fara Homidi even confirmed to Vogue that Bateman was the inspiration, explaining the famous scene has "always just been something in my mind."
However, American Psycho fashion truly arrived when Irina Shayk showed up at Armani's Spring 2023 show on September 25 in a fully decked-out suit. Wearing a matching boxy jacket and trousers, a navy tie, and a pair of office-appropriate dress shoes, the supermodel would've looked more at home downing a martini lunch at Dorsia than posing for photographers outside a Milan runway show. Given Shayk's style is usually more in-your-face than banker-inspired (she's been known to wear metallics, cut-outs, and sheer dresses on the red carpet with impunity), a play on stodgy corporate wear is all the more unforgettable.
Bella Hadid, whose knack for wearing a trend right on time (never too early, never too late) should be studied in a lab, had her own Bateman moment at Burberry's afterparty just one day later. To celebrate London Fashion week's conclusion on September 26, the model wore a long leather duster, crisp white dress shirt, and black tie. Complete with a pair of giant shades and pointy boots, the look took American Psycho staples (tie, dress shirt, Burberry trench) to a cool, futuristic place.
Outside of celebrities, the suit-and-tie combo continues to crop up throughout fashion's biggest month. Ralph Lauren, a designer for whom the preppy banker aesthetic is well-worn territory, has more than a few Patrick Bateman-worthy outfits in the line's fall campaign. Most surprisingly, the distinct Prada tie (distinguishable by its triangle-housed logo front and center) continues to have quite a street-style moment.
I counted no fewer than six separate women captured outside shows on the streets of Milan, New York, and London sporting the tie in fashion week galleries, and that's by no means a comprehensive survey. Plus, boxy suiting paired with a sharp dress collar was the backbone of Prada's SS23 collection.
After Vogue announced famous black suit-and-tie-wearer Karl Lagerfield as the focus for the next Met Gala last week, it's safe to say that not since Avril Levigne made them punk rock have ties been such a popular style among fashion folk.
Don't get me wrong, female suiting has a long and storied history (just ask Fran Lebowitz). Still, womenswear designers usually offer a playful take on the silhouette—whether that's by adding a colorful shade, offering a sleek cut, or creating an intentionally oversized blazer for an "effortless" vibe—rather than a literal interpretation.
Suits have undoubtedly already had their fashion moment in the past decade, but the girl boss "power suiting" of the 2010s was tailored, vibrant, and paired more often with a blouse or graphic tee than a collar and tie. This is a different look entirely. It's subdued, masculine, and, to be honest, a little sinister. But, that's part of its charm. In a world dominated by dopamine dressing and low-rise jeans, there's something alluring and transgressive about a boxy, corporate suit.