Ed Hayes - Probably New York's Best Dressed Attorney

Ed Hayes – Probably New Yorks Best Dressed Attorney

When I met with Rose Callahan and Kelly Bray, we talked about well dressed gentlemen in general and I mentioned that my friend Ed Hayes would be a great subject for The Dandy Portraits!

Most of you have probably never heard of Eddie Hayes, who is one of NYC’s most renowned VIP lawyers, a genuine character, and an enthusiastic clothes horse (he even has a wikipedia entry). Years ago, I had the chance to spend a few weeks with him during an internship and I had an absolute blast. Therefore, I want to present to Ed Hayes in our series about Gentlemen of Style.

Ed Hayes in His NYC Office

Ed Hayes in His NYC Office

Ed Hayes – The Character

What do Daniel Liebeskind, Si Newhouse, Anna Wintour, R. Kelly, P. Diddy, Jennifer Lopez and Rudy Giuliani all have in common? Well, when they were in trouble they all claimed: “Get me Hayes!” In NYC, Ed build a reputation of being the man you want on your side when something goes terribly wrong or somebody wants to sue you – and right fully so. But before I will elaborate on the character of Ed Hayes, let’s look at his biography.

Ed was born as Edward Walter Hayes on November 3, 1947 in Queens. After a rough childhood, an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, and a law degree from the Columbia University Law School in New York, he decided not to pursue his career ” in an airless office” where he would have to “account for every six minutes of his time,” as lawyers often had to do. Instead, Ed took his first job in the Bronx as an assistant district attorney in 1974. At the time, the Bronx had an extremely high murder rate, lots of issues with drugs and violence, and President Jimmy Carter had labeled it “the worst slum in America”. But for Ed, this felt like the right place to be. Shortly thereafter, the opportunity arose to work in the homicide department and Ed Hayesthrived in what most would consider to be an extremely difficult environment.

Bespoke Outfit - Note His Sleeves and Cuffs Match

Bespoke Outfit – Note His Sleeves and Cuffs Match

After 4 years he grew tired of the low wages and decided to switch to private practice. From the get go, he prospered because he was well known in New York’s nightlife scene, but unlike most, he was drug-free and reliable. Consequently, he got a call whenever someone had a problem – and there were lots of them. Eventually, he was entrusted to manage Andy Warhol’s estate after his unexpected death. Ed received a percentage of the estate as payment, and what initially turned out to be a great deal eventually almost ruined Ed because of valuation issues with the estate.

Edward Hayes Debating What Tie To Wear

Edward Hayes Debating What Tie To Wear

In any case, he managed to recover from the incident but along the way, he made a lot of friends. One of them, if not his best, is novelist Tom Wolfe, who dedicated the best seller Bonfire of the Vanities to Ed Hayes and even modeled the attorney character Tommy Killian after him. In 1990, Ed’s friend Robert De Niro got Ed a role as an attorney in the mafia movie Goodfellas, and he was named to the Best Dressed Hall of Fame in 1994.

Overall, Ed is an illustrous and energetic character who always has something interesting to talk about. Despite all his famous clients, he still maintains a rather modest office off Madison Avenue. Although it is full of paperwork and the cacti are a little dusty, it is all authentic and that’s what I like about Ed – he doesn’t make a fuss about things but tells you how things are.

The Clothes of Ed Hayes

One of the first things I learned at Ed’s office is that your outward appearance has a strong impact on a judge and especially a jury.

Suspenders Collection

Suspenders Collection

As such, he always paid particular attention to his clothes and looks, but Ed would not be Ed if he did not also enjoy it. He is a true dandy because he not only loves clothes, but he is also willing to try new things. For example, the shoe model ‘Hayes’ from Gaziano & Girling was the result of a bespoke commission Ed placed with Gaziano when he still worked for Edward Green.

Monogram Medallion on Two Tone Oxford

Monogram Medallion on Two Tone Oxford

Other than that, let’s take a look at his outfits he wore when Rose photographed him.

First, he wore a navy checked suit with a purple overplaid, purple socks and purple shoes! Of course, the lining was purple as well, but on his sleeves you could see a turn back cuff with cloth-covered buttons, which is something you will only find on bespoke suits. He employs a wide array of tailors ranging from Anderson & Sheppardto NYC tailor Vincent Nicolosi.

Purple Bespoke Shoes with Purple Socks

Purple Bespoke Shoes with Purple Socks

Unlike many other men, Ed is willing to experiment in color, fit and style. For example, his glen plaid shirt has double cuffs with a cut-off corner and he had the same done with his suit cuffs. Also, his fabrics are usually not something you will see on every corner. Who else do you know that wears chartreuse socks?

Although he owns a substantial collection of clothing, the size of his closet has not changed in years and therefore he uses every available inch of space, as you can see in the pictures.

Matching Cufflinks with Turnback Cuffs and Cloth Covered Buttons

Matching Cufflinks with Turnback Cuffs and Cloth Covered Buttons

Personally, I sometimes find his outfits a a little eccentric, but in general I have great respect for Ed’s style because his outfits are always unique and under no circumstances boring. If you always try to create new looks, you will end up with some ensembles that look better than others and a few will probably be outstanding. But without experimenting you would never reach that point.

Ed Hayes' Closet

Ed Hayes’ Closet

So, if you take away just one thing from this article, then you should remember that trying out new styles and combinations will help you create your own personal style, even though you may end up with a few outfits that are not spot on. At the end of the day, you will be able to know what works well and what doesn’t, and it will be your own unique creation!

In case you are now interested in Ed Hayes, you may want to read his biography Mouthpiece: A Life in – and Sometimes Just Outside – the Law.

What do you think about Ed Hayes’ style?

5 replies
  1. w. adam mandelbaum esq,.
    w. adam mandelbaum esq,. says:

    With all due respect to his ability as an attorney, to call this gentleman a “best dressed attorney” requires an immense leap of faith, and a healthy dose of blindness. As I am not an infrequent visitor to the New York Metropolitan Area justice system, I have seen a multitude of attorneys better dressed than this particular style icon. Given some of the examples here, I think the proper additions to the outfits of Mr. Hayes would incorporate large floppy shoes and a red nose. Style is not flash, class is not clash. If anybody should object to this manner of men’s dress, I would heartily say “objection sustained.”

    • Sven Raphael Schneider
      Sven Raphael Schneider says:

      Dear Mr. Mandelbaum,
      Thanks for your comment. These photos were shot by Rose Callahan for her blog The Dandy Portraits, not the The Best Business Outfit. As such, Mr. Hayes dressed of course more flashy than he usually does. This is not his only style and judging by just a few outfits would probably not be unfair. In Goodfellas, he wears a proper business suit with pinstripes and muted accessories. However, we would be happy to publish an article about your outfits or styles of people that you consider the epitome of elegance. Please feel free to contact me.

  2. Brad Miner
    Brad Miner says:

    I’ve know Mr. Hayes for quite a few years, although I haven’t seen him much lately, but this is certainly the Ed I recall, and — contra Mr. Mandelbaum — I never seen an attorney who dresses better than Ed. I’m not sure what I think about those purple shoes, although if I ran into him on the street I’m sure I couldn’t resist calling him Bishop Hayes.

  3. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken
    Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    There is no doubt that Mr. Hayes has invested quite some time in creating his very own and undoubtedly original style. That suit with turnback cuffs and cloth-covered buttons is really a great creation. Besides, his outfit is very well balanced, as his shirts and ties are much more simple and conservative than his quite excentric footwear. I must confess I would not wear such, but Mr. Hayes is undeniably a real gentleman of style.
    Thanks a lot for this article.

  4. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken
    Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    By the way, I’ve never been to New York, so it’s hard to judge wether he is N.Y’s best dressed attorney, but still the best dressed attorney I’ve ever seen.

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