katie trout_MJ_DSC5302

You might not expect a staffer at a financial advisory firm to be particularly fashion-savvy, but then again, Katie Trout didn’t come to the finance industry in the traditional way.

This fashionista – whose closet holds a surprisingly well-organized array of bright colors and Lilly Pulitzer prints – studied fashion design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before pursuing a master’s in fine arts from Washington University.

Guided by her training in fashion, Trout curates her unique wardrobe mostly from vintage stores. She says the NCJW Resale Shop, which benefits the National Council of Jewish Women, and ScholarShop, operated by The Scholarship Foundation of St. Louis, are among her current favorites. “Tailors are my best friends ... I never pay retail for anything.”

There’s one exception to her rule, though: Trout is getting married in October and commissioned her wedding gown from an up-and-coming Los Angeles designer.

Trout’s other most-prized clothing item is a Philip Treacy couture hat that the designer created for her in London. She met him when he presented to a millinery class she took at the Art Institute, and when she traveled to Europe a couple of months later, she couldn’t wait to visit his shop. When Trout arrived in the tiny store, “he emerged from the back, where all of the shop processes were going on,” she says. “He remembered me from two months before. I’m sure he got a kick out of having a 21-year-old fan girl!”

It was by chance, at a yoga class, that Trout met the financial services professional who introduced her to the industry. In the end, she found a great fit, and today, she is an executive assistant at Hill Investment Group. Trout loves being at a small office where she knows all her colleagues. And lucky for her, most of them are pretty into fashion, as well, she says. “It’s probably the only registered investment adviser like that,” she says. “We all talk about fashion. They’re all very philanthropic too.” The team supports each other’s nonprofit affiliations – Trout recently joined the board of the Saint Louis Fashion Fund, and is chairing Gateway to Hope’s KaleidoHope Gala on Sept. 25.

Speaking of Gateway to Hope, the second thing you’ll notice when you meet Trout – after her brightly colored wardrobe – is the streak of pink in her hair. That’s been a part of her look for several years now, and started when she became involved with a breast cancer nonprofit in Chicago. “They did pink hair extensions every October, and eventually I decided to die it that way and have it all the time,” she says, adding, “It’s also convenient that it’s my favorite color!”