If every morning you wonder how to dress and that elegance is for you essential, then, you are at the right place. In deed, when you start working and you wonder how should you build your wardrobe, how many shoes, ties, belts and suits… well, here below some clues to help you getting out of this mess. As the title says: A gentleman wardrobe is his best friend.
Suits, the fine signature of your silhouette.
When you finally decide to start paying attention to what you wear, especially if you have a professional reason to do so, here are some great tips concerning suits. Probably the first question you might ask is
How many suits should I buy?
Many look-advisors will tell you, it is not a matter of quantity but a matter of quality. A cheap suit will make you look cheap. There are no miracles on this point. So take you time to build a honest collection of suits. As the budget might be consequent, you better start slowly but surely. A good suit will last for several years and probably will never go out of fashion. There are some basics that you can keep for a while. So if you need to start somewhere, we would suggest to start with 3 good suits. The first choice would be a grey suit. there are more than 50 shades of grey and you might want to pick up the one that you might like the most. Do not choose a very light grey as you might have troubles to accommodate with other colors. Of course this is very personal. You can accommodate a grey suit with black and white tones and also with browns and blues. It is a easy and timeless color any men should have one.
The grey suit also helps to play with more colorful ties, depending on the season and the humor. Right now, take the option of a 2 button jacket. The 3 button ones are a little outdated right now and the one with one button might sound you a little weird. If it is not the case you can always take the one button if you feel comfortable. It will give you a more edgy look. In any case please, never try to button the last button of you jacket. This is something you should not do. Several reasons: First because you will look all tied and a man needs to sound free of his movements. Second, because historically, the last button is just a decoration, so you should not use it. And last but not least: Because you don’t! Another important point is the size. Always try to be as fit as possible. Nothing more horrible than a man with an oversized suit. You will look lazy and even a little dirty in a certain way. If you are in between 2 sizes, choose the smaller one and try to make the trousers and the jacket bigger with a dressmaker.
The second suit would be a dark blue one. Very chic, it represented for years a certain symbol of elegance in finance and politics. It will always give you a hell of an allure. There are a few colors that might interest you. If it is your first blue suit, we would recommend to choose an intermediary blue, meaning not very light but not very dark. A good example is the one on the top left corner of the picture below.
The blue suit is a very elegant one. You can accommodate with a white shirt or with a different tone of blue, normally lighter than the suit. With brown shoes and belt is a more classy day-to-day look. If you accommodate with black shoes, you better have a sophisticated look as it might be a little tricky. More an more men wear blue shoes. It is a very interesting option but you better find the right blue that will go along with your suit otherwise it might go on the wrong way.
This summer, blue suits are getting lighter and electric blues are making their appearance. It is a good idea, but you better wait for the next round of blues if you are starting your wardrobe.
The last suit in our trilogy to start is naturally the black suit. It is a classical in men’s elegance. You can wear it during the day as in the evenings. It will never go out of fashion but you better look good in it. So you will need to find the right cut for you so it looks like it was made for you. The black suit can sometimes give you a sad look so you might need to play with the shirt and the tie to make it more friendly.
The black tie look is an unstoppable one. You will always look super elegant in your black suit. Of course it might be a little too overdress for the office if you work in a more conservative area. In this case you might want to keep it for a more formal occasion, diner, cocktail or any ceremony. The black suit can be used with several colors of shirts and ties. So that it will look less ceremonial and more appropriate to the day to day. It can be also a great way to highlight a beautiful tie you might have. If you wish to wear a white shirt, then you better play with a warm-colored tie. In terms of shoes, it is definitely black shoes. You can though play with different black textures, from flat black to shiny and textured like snake or crocodile. Just be coherent with the look of your black suit.
Suits, going further …
Once you have your 3 basic suits, your next goal will be to add 2 more in time. There are several options for you. Either you wish to keep your wardrobe under the grey-blue-black theme and you can add 2 more in a different tone or you can simply go for another color. Below you will find some examples of next colors you might like to buy. Brown will definitely be the safest, but up to you to decide which suit might be worth to purchase. You might get tempted for a little fantasy then.
In terms of taking care of your suits, there are a few advices you might want to consider. First of all, never wear 2 days in a row the same suit. You need to let a suit “rest” at least 2 days. This allow the suit to get its natural shape back and also from a hygienic point of view, it will allow your suit to breath. It will also avoid premature attrition. When you take out the suit you wore during the day, hang it somewhere before putting back inside the wardrobe. This will allow the natural fibers to breath and to get fresh again. If your suit has a lot of folds, you can iron it but you need to pay attention to a few things. First, if the suit is dirty, never iron the suit on the dirty area. It will fix the dirty spot for ever on the suit. Also, you never iron directly in contact with the jacket or the trousers. This might burn the fabric and your suit will be over. Always use a slightly humid protective fabric, so no risk. And the final question you could ask about a suit: How much money should you place in a suit? Here it will always depend of your ambition and your bank account. You need to see a suit as an investment. One good suit is worth 3 bad ones. If your money is tight, our recommendation would be between $800 to $1’200. It sounds a lot but be sure that you will have suits for at least 5 years. If you can place a higher budget, between $1’600 and $2’000
Shirts, your second skin.
You are building your wardrobe and you get along with the suits but now what about the shirts? How many should you buy and what colors’? or materials? To start, you should have at least 5 shirts, one for each day of the working week. In deed you need to change shirts everyday. Wearing the same shirt 2 or more days in a row is dirty. So be clean. To start the below choices would be the essentials that would allow you to accommodate them in several ways with your first suits and ties. 2 white shirts, one grey, one light blue and one stripped in a different color depending on your suits and ties.
Ideally you will need to have around 10 to 15 shirts which would allow you to make almost endless combinations. If you travel a lot, you might need to make some calculations to be sure of never lack of shirts. If your travel will last more than 2 weeks, you might find a local service where you are to have your shirts cleaned (sometimes even cheaper than home).
Should you have regular button shirts or Cufflinks shirts? Well, this is a matter of personal taste. Our advice would be to have at least one shirt to be wear with cufflinks, so you can use that one for very special or important occasions. Elegancy would tend to pretend that only shirts with cufflinks are acceptable but nowadays things are much more democratic in a certain way. Another important point on shirts, always choose a shirt 100% cotton. Or with a minimum of 65%. Otherwise you will not be comfortable. Avoid silk shirts or any fancy fabric unless you work in a circus or a cabaret. A beautiful shirt does not require a lot of decorative details, it is the beauty of the fabric and the cut that matters. In this sense, never buy a shirt that is too tight or too large. A nice shirt is a shirt that fits you like a glove. If you are between 2 sizes, buy the larger one and get it adjusted to your silhouette by a dressmaker. Of course you can also have personalized shirts. It will cost you more but for sure it will be a perfect result.
Another often question we see about shirts is the usage of an under-tshirt with your office shirt. Should you wear one or not? Frankly there are pros and cons. From an elegance point of view, try to avoid it as much as possible as it makes your look a little ruff. Many man with issues of perspiration try to make it less visible by wearing a tshirt underneath. Others are cold so they try to have an extra layer. So if you do not have any specific problem, just avoid it.
“Tie me or Tie me knot?”
Ties are always a factor of what is trendier: To wear it or to not-wear it? There are waves of every 5 years, more or less, that will push you to switch from one way to another. If your job does not require to wear a tie, you will probably navigate from one trend to another. If your job requires the usage of a tie, then, you might not care about trends. You will then care about which tie should you wear. And here are some specific advices.
How many ties should you have? Well there is a minimum between 5 to 10 ties that would allow you to make combinations almost endlessness. From this amount, then you will never have enough some how. The most important thing is to match your ties with your shirts and suits. If you need to start your tie collection, we put together here a wall of ties, you might find an inspiration. From top to bottom you will see the priorities in terms of colors and shapes.
Another important point about ties is the knot! Which knot for which tie, shirt and suit? Here again it depends as it is a lot a matter of taste, style and sometimes your shirt collar, etc.
Here is a recap of the main knots you can do with your tie.
Nowadays as ties tend to be thinner than before, the knots are also simpler than before. Windsors and double-windsors are less trendy as they make big knots. So if you wish to keep things tight, you might wish to keep it simple knot or half-windsor. As you wish. Some people tend to say that the more you are “fatter” the biggest the knot should be and the “thinner” you are, the simple the knot should be. It is a matter of proportions and aesthetics.
Shoes and Belts, essentials.
In terms of shoes, there are a few basics you need to have and to start with. You should have at least one pair of Richelieu and another pair of derbys or Mocassins. Make your choice with a full leather shoes, nothing plastic or fake leather should be taken in consideration. We are talking about your feet here. You can start with a black and a brown pairs of shoes. This will allow you to match all your suits and shirts.
Once you have your basics, make sure to take good care of them. Never wear the same pair of shoes more than one day. Try to alternate so that your shoes have time to rest and get its initial shape. Ideally 3 to 5 pairs are ideal as you can really change often. As for the suits, make sure you place a certain price. Good shoes should last for several years.
In terms of other accessories, there are a few things to know nit then, it is up to you.
For Belts, you need to start with leather. One black and one brown. You can also opt for a reversible belt but having 2 belts would make them last longer. From this base, you can match your suits and shoes with other belts. Just make it simple and discreet unless you are a cowboy. Cufflinks and tie clips are also recommended but not necessary. If you do not feel comfortable with these you can pass on these. Otherwise you can choose carefully. Always try to be qualitative and elegant.
A man’s suit is a man’s first visit card. Very often you just have one first single occasion to make a good impression. Now you have the keys to succeed it.
Info sourced LuxuryActivist editorial team. All images came from Google images mosaic images search. All images are used just for illustration purposes. All content is copyrighted with no reproduction rights available.