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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.



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.