Start To Build Your Business Wardrobe

You have a new job – now you need something to wear. What are the first three things you should buy to start creating a work wardrobe? Then how do you scale it up from there?

By: JOSH MACTATEDate: 2019-06-20

Create and Scale

Here’s a checklist for a man starting out in an office where suits are often worn, and another for someone working in a more casual environment. We’ve listed items in the order of importance, and both come with the same words of advice: keep it simple at the beginning. Start with a foundation of three basic items that are versatile, compatible and comfortable and that you can wear all year round. Then gradually build up your wardrobe.

These are colours that work for day and evening and look good with any shirt colour. Choose a well-tailored example (quality is always a sound investment) and look for a modern silhouette. This is the suit you’ll wear to conferences and seminars and to company social events. In black or dark brown. Look for a classic oxford or derby with a cap toe or plain toe, without any broguing. Brown is more sophisticated than black. Again, quality gives you a greater return on the investment. Cheap shoes don’t last and soon lose their shape. A couple of tones lighter than navy and with only the subtlest of patterns, if any. Dress it up for the office with a dress shirt and tie; dress it down for evenings and weekends.

A Grey Suit

When you’re ready to add a second suit, this is the one. The same advice applies here as for the first navy or black suit.

A Dress Shirt

In white or blue, with a semi-spread collar, not a button-down. (You will need both eventually.

A Dark Dressy Tie

With a discreet pattern. It will work with both of your suits and your sports jacket.

Another Pair of Shoes

Perhaps a black or dark brown monk strap or a smart, structured loafer.

A Coat

A three-quarter-length coat in lightweight nylon will take you from spring to late fall. Look for something smart enough to wear over a suit but also appropriate for weekends.

For A More Casual Workplace

A Soft Jacket

It could be a mid-blue or navy or another classic colour. More casual than a classic tailored sports jacket, a soft jacket works well with all your sportswear.

Dressy Sneakers

In leather or suede. For spring, we suggest a white sneaker, or a blue or brown sneaker with a white sole.

Dressy Dark Blue Jeans

No rips, no distressing.

A Sport Shirt

You need a great sport shirt (a chambray or a small print or check pattern) to go with your soft jacket.

A Dressy Knit

For example, a lightweight crewneck knit that looks great with the jacket or on its own.

This doubles as a jacket and as outerwear. Look for lightweight nylon or a cotton blend. Pair with flat-front chinos in tan or cement grey. Add a pair of loafers in suede or pebble-grain leather.
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