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 – 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 & Sheppard to NYC tailor Vincent Nicolosi.
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.
Personally, I sometimes find his outfits 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.
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?