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?
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.
1. A Navy or Black Suit
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.
2. Lace-up Dress Shoes
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.
3. A Blue Sports Jacket
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.
4. 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.
5. A Dress Shirt
In white or blue, with a semi-spread collar, not a button-down. (You will need both eventually.)
6. A Dark Dressy Tie
With a discreet pattern. It will work with both of your suits and your sports jacket.
7. Another Pair of Shoes
Perhaps a black or dark brown monk strap or a smart, structured loafer.
8. 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
1. 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.
2. Dressy Sneakers
In leather or suede. For spring, we suggest a white sneaker, or a blue or brown sneaker with a white sole.
3. Dressy Dark Blue Jeans
No rips, no distressing.
4. A Sport Shirt
You need a great sport shirt (a chambray or a small print or check pattern) to go with your soft jacket.
5. A Dressy Knit
For example, a lightweight crewneck knit that looks great with the jacket or on its own.
6. A Pair of Loafers
In suede or pebble-grain leather.
7. A Hybrid Field Jacket
This doubles as a jacket and as outerwear. Look for lightweight nylon or a cotton blend.
8. Flat-Front Chinos
In tan or cement grey.