Men Used to Have Wives. Now They Have Stylists.
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    HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $1,623,020 (+0.08%)       Melbourne $974,710 (-0.81%)       Brisbane $992,583 (-1.37%)       Adelaide $896,270 (+0.26%)       Perth $892,481 (+0.31%)       Hobart $726,595 (-0.35%)       Darwin $664,958 (+1.76%)       Canberra $1,012,150 (+0.04%)       National $1,048,965 (-0.14%)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING PRICES AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $751,258 (-0.23%)       Melbourne $495,378 (+0.24%)       Brisbane $583,696 (-1.32%)       Adelaide $453,443 (-0.76%)       Perth $458,999 (+2.21%)       Hobart $509,191 (+0.99%)       Darwin $362,436 (+1.68%)       Canberra $497,643 (+0.69%)       National $536,245 (+0.06%)                HOUSES FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 9,903 (-109)       Melbourne 14,181 (+71)       Brisbane 8,075 (-54)       Adelaide 2,184 (+36)       Perth 5,723 (+16)       Hobart 1,216 (+3)       Darwin 275 (+14)       Canberra 888 (+5)       National 42,445 (-18)                UNITS FOR SALE AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 8,719 (+28)       Melbourne 8,357 (+7)       Brisbane 1,747 (+49)       Adelaide 405 (+23)       Perth 1,442 (+5)       Hobart 211 (-1)       Darwin 399 (-7)       Canberra 1,018 (+16)       National 22,298 (+120)                HOUSE MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $800 (-$20)       Melbourne $620 ($0)       Brisbane $635 (-$5)       Adelaide $610 (-$10)       Perth $675 (-$20)       Hobart $550 ($0)       Darwin $700 (-$30)       Canberra $680 ($0)       National $666 (-$12)                UNIT MEDIAN ASKING RENTS AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney $750 ($0)       Melbourne $595 ($0)       Brisbane $625 (-$5)       Adelaide $510 (+$10)       Perth $630 (+$5)       Hobart $470 (+$5)       Darwin $560 (+$30)       Canberra $550 ($0)       National $597 (+$4)                HOUSES FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 5,884 (-132)       Melbourne 6,585 (+256)       Brisbane 4,488 (+137)       Adelaide 1,589 (+2)       Perth 2,880 (+283)       Hobart 411 (+13)       Darwin 93 (-4)       Canberra 632 (+17)       National 22,562 (+572)                UNITS FOR RENT AND WEEKLY CHANGE     Sydney 10,906 (+381)       Melbourne 6,312 (+294)       Brisbane 2,339 (+54)       Adelaide 371 (+21)       Perth 797 (+18)       Hobart 143 (+3)       Darwin 126 (+3)       Canberra 816 (+23)       National 21,810 (+797)                HOUSE ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND         Sydney 2.56% (↓)     Melbourne 3.31% (↑)      Brisbane 3.33% (↑)        Adelaide 3.54% (↓)       Perth 3.93% (↓)     Hobart 3.94% (↑)        Darwin 5.47% (↓)       Canberra 3.49% (↓)       National 3.30% (↓)            UNIT ANNUAL GROSS YIELDS AND TREND       Sydney 5.19% (↑)        Melbourne 6.25% (↓)     Brisbane 5.57% (↑)      Adelaide 5.85% (↑)        Perth 7.14% (↓)     Hobart 4.80% (↑)      Darwin 8.03% (↑)        Canberra 5.75% (↓)     National 5.79% (↑)             HOUSE RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.8% (↑)      Melbourne 0.7% (↑)      Brisbane 0.7% (↑)      Adelaide 0.4% (↑)      Perth 0.4% (↑)      Hobart 0.9% (↑)      Darwin 0.8% (↑)      Canberra 1.0% (↑)      National 0.7% (↑)             UNIT RENTAL VACANCY RATES AND TREND       Sydney 0.9% (↑)      Melbourne 1.1% (↑)      Brisbane 1.0% (↑)      Adelaide 0.5% (↑)      Perth 0.5% (↑)      Hobart 1.4% (↑)      Darwin 1.7% (↑)      Canberra 1.4% (↑)      National 1.1% (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL HOUSES AND TREND       Sydney 29.8 (↑)        Melbourne 31.6 (↓)     Brisbane 30.4 (↑)        Adelaide 25.3 (↓)       Perth 35.7 (↓)     Hobart 33.0 (↑)      Darwin 43.9 (↑)      Canberra 31.9 (↑)      National 32.7 (↑)             AVERAGE DAYS TO SELL UNITS AND TREND       Sydney 30.2 (↑)      Melbourne 31.7 (↑)        Brisbane 27.1 (↓)       Adelaide 25.5 (↓)     Perth 37.5 (↑)        Hobart 38.0 (↓)       Darwin 37.9 (↓)     Canberra 41.2 (↑)        National 33.6 (↓)           
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Men Used to Have Wives. Now They Have Stylists.

By JACOB GALLAGHER
Thu, Feb 15, 2024 8:31amGrey Clock 5 min

Jay Buys’s wife changed his life with 10 words: “You know, you don’t have to just wear band T-shirts.”

Shirts from Nine Inch Nails and Thrice—for years, this was the bulk of Buys’s wardrobe. Were they awesome ? Yes. Did they make him look like the CEO of a successful web design firm? Not quite. “If I looked better, I would’ve felt better,” said Buys, 44, of San Diego. So he hired someone to teach him to look better.

For most, the term “stylist” brings to mind a celebrity dresser putting Timothée Chalamet in a bombastic red carpet outfit. But there is also an industry of white-collar stylists helping hapless corporate types find the right shirts and trousers for their daily lives.

For Buys, that guy was Patrick Kenger.

Kenger runs Pivot, a personal styling service, charging as much as $5,000 to remake your wardrobe. Kenger’s job is part Marie Kondo, part therapist and large part a personal shopper. He helped Buys retire the band tees at work, subbing them with Suitsupply blazers and Bonobos trousers.

The switch had a Superman-bursting-out-of-the-phone-booth effect on Buys. “​​I look like I know what I’m doing.” Strangers seem to think so, too. He was startled when a random 20-something at the grocery store saw his leather John Varvatos jacket and chirped, “I like your drip, bro!”

Today, strivers in tech, law and finance are wealthier than ever, but corporate dress codes have collapsed. The hoodie-clad billionaire has become a cliché. In the C-suite, Loro Piana sneakers have trounced dress shoes. Fleece vests have vanquished ties. At the same time, we’re in a new era of boardroom boasting.

Executives crow about their pay packages, their workout routines (looking at you Mark Zuckerberg!) and the rarity of their sneakers. To look like you haven’t bought new clothes since we all clutched BlackBerrys is to risk being lapped on the corporate ladder.

So, if you’re sitting there confidently dressed and accepting compliments on how well your pants fit, congrats! But there are many men who lack the skills to piece an outfit together. Stylists say their work has ballooned in the past decade as the range of options on what’s office “appropriate” has waylaid even confident corporate leaders.

“Men are very confused right now with the dress codes that have blurred the lines of formality,” said Jacci Jaye, a white-collar stylist in New York City for two decades, whose services start at $3,800 plus expenses. Jaye, who works solely with executives, said that many of her roughly 50 clients knew what they liked in terms of style, but had no idea how to achieve that look.

“I looked sloppy and I didn’t want to look sloppy,” said Raj Nangunoori, 36, a neurosurgeon in Austin. He spent working hours in scrubs, but out of them, he was adrift. “Even shorts, like I was never great at picking out shorts,” Nangunoori said.

Around a year ago, he googled in search of a stylist and hired Peter Nguyen, a former menswear designer turned $10,000 stylist. Nguyen’s entrepreneur- and tech-type clients are long on money, short on time and scant on clothing knowledge.

Nguyen’s first step is a lengthy questionnaire: What music do you listen to, what are your hobbies, where do you vacation? “I view my clients like they’re characters in a movie,” he said. They give him their background and Nguyen’s job is to outfit that character.

The pair landed on a neat framework for Nangunoori’s new look: What would Ryan Reynolds wear? Prosaic tees were swapped for polo-neck sweaters and James Perse chinos were tailored to fit properly. Nguyen got Nangunoori into a pair of Common Projects minimalist $500-ish sneakers. Most importantly, he convinced him to ditch his shopping mistake paint-splattered jeans.

“I can’t pull off what Travis Scott’s wearing,” said Nangunoori, relaying all his hard-bought wisdom.

Like working with a trainer, some clients are wary of admitting they enlisted a fashion guru. One CEO I spoke with who hired a stylist told his business partner he had done so, only to be mocked. After that, he decided “I’m not talking to anyone.”

“I never had my own confidence in going shopping and buying suits or dress clothes or even my weekend stuff,” said Nate Dudek, 42, an executive at a software company living in East Hampton, Conn. A “technology nerd,” Dudek wasn’t born with a strong visual sense. “That goes from everything from picking a wall color in my house to the way I dress.” His tees-and-jeans wardrobe was as spicy as a glass of milk.

In 2022, about one year before co-founding his own company, Dudek “set out to invest in myself” by hiring Cassandra Sethi, a New York stylist behind the company Next Level Wardrobe whose services currently start at $5,500. Dudek’s wife, who has “killer style” and occasionally shopped for him, took some warming up to the idea. “She was like, ‘Why? I’m so good at buying you clothes!’”

But Dudek wanted an objective outside advisor—someone who didn’t know him as intimately as his wife—to overhaul his closet. (His wife has come around, and is relieved to not be his unpaid personal shopper.)

He never even had to meet her in person. Sethi shipped him boxes of clothes and over a three-hour Zoom session they deduced what suited him best. The transformation, Dudek said, “was fairly obvious.” Colleagues commented that he was carrying himself differently in his new gray Ted Baker blazer, and Save Khaki United’s trim tees. “I felt it too,” he said.

It is a cliché—but a factual one—that in many relationships, the wife or better-dressed husband is the begrudging fashion consultant. Supreet Chahal, a personal stylist in Oakland specialising in tech guys, says many clients come in saying “my girlfriend tried to help me, my wife tried out on me, but she keeps dressing me the way she wants me to look.”

Marco Rodriguez’s former girlfriend didn’t shop for him, but did steer him towards Nguyen a few years ago. “She was like, ‘Hey listen, I know you hate shopping,” said the 39-year-old musician and entrepreneur in Austin.

And oh, he did. Rodriguez could never find pants that fit his “interesting physique.” When he needed new clothes, he had to force himself to buy them. His style was directionless.  I knew what I wanted but I just didn’t know how to get there.”

With Nguyen’s assistance, Rodriguez landed on a sort of “Soho boho, I hate to say rockstar” look of low-key Justin Theroux-style leather jackets, Chelsea boots and pieces from Parisian label Officine Générale. The experience “got me out of my comfort zone,” Rodriguez said.

The mindlessness that comes from working with a stylist is enticing to efficiency-obsessed tech workers. “I don’t want to spend a lot of time thinking in the morning,” said Michael Peter, 53, a principal architect at Google in cloud technology. Previously, he dressed like your standard tech worker—jeans, tennis shoes, the odd Batman tee—but a lightbulb went off during one meeting when he watched a better-dressed colleague take charge.

“He walked in the room, he had gravitas,” said Peter. Striving for that same effect, he hired Sethi of Next Level Wardrobe. She directed him toward a “refined elevated casual look” of slender-but-stretchy Vuori pants (which accommodate his gym-rat legs) and James Perse polos. Rather than his girlfriend telling him what to buy, he says, she’s stealing his clothes “all the time.”

To be sure, all of this comes at a cost. Businessmen I spoke with view the hefty fees as an investment, like renting a well-appointed office.

“The cost didn’t faze me a bit,” said Aaron Preman, 48, who owns a roofing company in San Diego, and hired Kenger at around $3,500.

“He taught me a lot in a short amount of time,” Preman said. He discovered that wintery colours suit his olive complexion and that he really likes Theory suits and Zegna ’s $990 triple-stitch sneakers—he now owns several pairs. The cost of everything—the guidance, the clothes—has been worth it to Preman. “He could’ve told me $10,000 and I would’ve said, ‘Okay, when are you coming over?’”



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Is the Stock Market Near Its Top?

Don’t let the hum of the bull tune out signs warning that a bear may be lurking.

By ANDY KESSLER
Mon, Jul 15, 2024 3 min

The third season of the terrific show “The Bear” blends family dysfunction with the ups and downs of high-end restaurants. With markets chasing new highs—get out those Dow 40000 hats—this column is about a different kind of dysfunctional beast. Is the market bear dead, or is it about to sneak up on us?

A U.S. equity strategist told me the story of a Japanese portfolio manager who sat in his office in July 1987 asking for stock ideas. The strategist’s model was based on a proprietary survey of investor sentiment, though it never really worked. Nonetheless, he read off a list of dozens of stocks. The portfolio manager then asked if he would kindly put in an order for 20,000 shares of each. The Dow Jones Industrial Average peaked at 2722 in late August and crashed 22.6% on Oct. 19.

A friend was a portfolio manager of a massive growth-stock fund in 1999. He told me he bought shares of Yahoo, Cisco, F5 Networks, Infosys and others every day because money flowed into his fund every day. The tech-heavy Nasdaq index peaked on March 10, 2000. As money began to flow out, he had to sell every day. By year’s end, Nasdaq had fallen by more than half.

I met Cathie Wood as she was filing papers for her “disruptive innovation” funds—to “change the way the world works.” Her ARK Innovation exchange-traded fund, ARKK, launched in October 2014 and charges 0.75% management fees. In 2020 it was up 153% as stimulus money flew in, driving more buying. ARKK peaked in February 2021 with $28 billion in assets. Since then, its net asset value is down 70%, even amid a roaring bull market, especially in tech. Morningstar recently calculated that Ms. Wood’s Ark Invest funds have destroyed more than $14 billion in wealth. One of my favorite Wall Street sayings is, “Don’t mistake a bull market for brains.”

In almost every bull run, stock momentum lures in investors at the worst moment, I call them momos, ensuring they get burned when the buying stops. Since 2009, excepting a few brief sell-offs, cash has been trash. That made some sense during the era of zero interest rates. But now with higher inflation and short rates above 5%? Confusing. Maybe investors are already anticipating another Donald Trump antiregulation pro-growth presidency, forgetting that he is married to a growth-killing pro-tariff agenda. Is the bear dead, or does it have a long fuse?

Predicting stock markets is a fool’s errand. My Series 7 test for General Securities Representative Qualification lapsed long ago, so you won’t get investment advice from me. But there are warning signs.

Have we run out of buyers? Sometimes there are triggers that scare them away: oil shocks, viruses, bank failures. But sometimes they simply collapse from exhaustion. More than 40% of households reportedly own stocks—a higher percentage than in 2000. It was 20% in 2010. Some market indicators also point to asset managers being fully invested. Who’s left to buy?

Market breadth is concerning. The 1973 market peak was driven by stretched valuations of the Nifty Fifty, which included IBM , Coca-Cola and GE but also Polaroid and Xerox . Fifty? Now it’s the Magnificent Seven: Alphabet , Amazon , Apple , Meta , Microsoft , Nvidia and Tesla . Seven? Artificial-intelligence hype, way ahead of even the rosiest of realities, drove Nvidia to make up almost a third of the S&P 500’s first half gains. Another quarter came from Amazon, Meta, Microsoft and Eli Lilly . Maybe fat bulls need Mounjaro.

Stock values feel divorced from reality. The so-called Warren Buffett indicator—the ratio between total stock-market value and gross domestic product—was 138% in March 2000. It’s now 196%. Certainly not a buy signal. And Bitcoin, my go-to bubblicious bat signal, is down about 20% since March. A dead canary?

“Don’t worry, be happy,” the bulls sing. Inflation is slain, and the Fed will cut rates. But investors won’t like the reason for those cuts. We’re already seeing earnings disasters—Nike, Walgreens , Lululemon , Delta and Wells Fargo . If the economy slows, earnings glitches and stock implosions become contagious. Plus, banks’ exposure to commercial real estate is scary, with buildings being dumped at huge haircuts almost weekly. This is now infecting rental buildings, and there are signs of a private housing glut. Inventory in Denver is up nearly 37%. Sure, markets climb a “wall of worry,” and bull markets tend to last longer than people expect, but sometimes the nightmares are real. Recessions are like honey to bears.

Even writing about the bear is bullish. Bull runs end when everyone is a believer. Still, another favorite saying of mine is, “No one’s ever lost money taking a profit.” Someday, cash will be king again. I prefer to buy stocks when everyone hates them.

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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