How to Build a Basic Wardrobe

There comes a time in a man’s life when he needs to elevate his fashion game to the next level. Most men are unaware of their ability to be well-dressed with a relatively modest amount of clothing. Depending on your occupation, only a couple of basics are necessary, like a charcoal or navy suit. However, others wear suits every day of the week and therefore require a more substantial wardrobe. Your wardrobe should offer a choice of appropriate clothing for a variety of occasions, and it is easy to build one sufficient to your requirements. Click here for our Visual Guide, or continue reading for further detail. By understanding these tips, you will possess the first building blocks of impeccable style.

Suiting

The most expensive garment in a gentleman’s wardrobe, suits should be made from high quality fabrics in conservative colors and patterns. Your basic wardrobe should consist of 5 suits to offer a full week’s worth of clothing options. By utilizing accessories, you are able to achieve multiple different looks with the same suits, and they provide flexibility in personal style. Your basic selection of suits should include:

  • Dark Grey Solid
  • Navy Blue Solid
  • Medium Grey Semi-Solid
  • Grey Pinstripe
  • Navy Blue Chalk Stripe

Once you have built your wardrobe with these basics, you can further expand with a less formal sixth suit, for wear on Fridays or less formal weekend occasions.

Shirts

Men constantly wonder, “What shirts do I need in my closet?” While a gentleman can never have too many dress shirts, there is a magic combination of shirts that each man should have in his wardrobe. This is to ensure you are prepared with fresh shirts for any situation, whether that be a regular day at the office, a surprise business meeting, or a much-anticipated date.

For the greatest flexibility, choose an assortment of shirts in semi-solids and simple patterns. A palette of blues from pale through periwinkle to navy, blue stripes or checks on white, gray stripes or checks on white, and pink shirt fabrics are the most basic and easy to wear. The magic combination is as follows:

  • 3 White Shirts
  • 3 Blue Shirts
  • 3 Stripe or Check Shirts
  • 2 Pink Shirts
  • 1 Fun/Casual Shirt

We have tested it out and arrived at the magic number of 12. Twelve shirts give you a range of choices and also minimizes your trips to the cleaners. Wear 6 one week, drop them off, and pick up the next 6 for the coming week. Repeat.

Accessories

At this point, you are able to use accessories to creatively expand your wardrobe, even if it is modest in size. By changing shoes, ties, pocket squares, and cufflinks, you can transform your 5 suits and 12 shirts into a year’s worth of outfits.

To start, every gentleman must have good shoes. Generally speaking, you should have at least 3-4 pairs of dress shoes that you can rotate through. However, the total number of pairs a man should own entirely depends on his personal needs. The essentials a gentleman should possess are:

  • Black Calf Oxfords
  • Brown Calf Shoes
  • Brown Calf Monk Straps
  • Brogues
  • Slip-on Casuals
  • Evening shoes

For ties, gentlemen should work towards a robust collection of at least 12 ties. Blue, green, red, and gold are classic tie colors, while striped, dot, plaid, club, foulard, and paisley are classic patterns. Start with simple solids and stripes; when you move past a half dozen ties already in your wardrobe, it is safe to purchase more fashion-forward ties.

Cufflinks and pocket squares are a creative way to show your own personality and style. Bright pocket squares can illuminate a generally boring grey suit, while heirloom cufflinks can be a conversation starter. Don’t be afraid to be stylish – just choose your investments wisely!

Building a wardrobe does take time. In order to expand, you will need to acquire more suits each year than you wear out – a formula that varies according to the frequency that you wear each suit and the quality of its construction. As you expand your basic wardrobe, keep in mind the objectives: extend the lives of your existing suits, provide choices for different occasions, and acquire clothing that will be comfortable in a broad range of temperatures. You may want to add a flannel winter suit or a linen summer suit once the basics have been covered, for example. And, of course, don’t forget that every gentleman needs a tuxedo for those special occasions! (Related posts: 5 Reasons to Invest in Custom-Made & BITNB)

Similarly, you should also continue expanding your shirt wardrobe by acquiring new shirts on a regular basis. When selecting new dress shirts, consider current fashion colors, and mix things up by adding a few options with French cuffs. Keep in mind that your daily white and blue shirts will need to be replaced more often, as they tend to wear out faster.

Remember, professional wardrobe acquisition is a career-long routine. It will continue to build over the years, and you will constantly need to replace items you already own. To stay ahead of wear and tear, you will need about three new suits and six new shirts per year. However, once you have covered the basics, you will have plenty of options to continue dressing for success while your wardrobe slowly expands.