Building a smart suit wardrobe starts with the basics
It’s the age-old question. How many suits does one guy really need?
What it comes down to is your lifestyle. What do you do for a living? Obviously, a lawyer working in Manhattan is going to need more suits than a construction worker in Seattle. But how many suits do you really need?
For the average man, having a boardroom-appropriate wardrobe is more of a luxury than a necessity. At the very least every man should have at least one suit. At some point, you’re going to need it for a funeral, a wedding or a job interview. If you only have one suit, make sure it’s navy since that’s as versatile as they get.
But let’s look at the guy who wears a suit to work every day. How many suits does he need? The answer might surprise you.
After graduating from law school, the average lawyer will have two or three suits. When we looked at the forums and Reddit, there were numerous discussions about how many suits a corporate executive or lawyer should have in rotation. The answers ranged from three to 20-plus. Our answer is five.
With five suits that pair harmoniously with each other, you can effectively gain enough outfits to make it look like you’re wearing a new outfit everyday of the month. After that, you can add-on some of the more rakish jackets to complement your wardrobe. Here are the suits you need.
The Navy Suit
If you’re buying the first suit, forget black. Black is reserved for funerals and even then, these days navy and charcoal are just as appropriate. Focus on a classic navy suit that fits you really well. A single-breasted, notch lapel. Not too fitted, not too broad. Focus on a classic look, not a trend because, inevitably, trends always go out of style, whereas a classic suit will look good in five, 10, or even 30 years from now.
The Gray Suit
This is that second suit. Anything from a mid-gray to charcoal works well. Single-breasted to play it safe, double-breasted if you have more rakish tendencies. Plus, the gray and navy suit complement each other if you’ve chose the right fabrics. So instead of thinking of them as suits, start looking at them as separates. Now, not only do you have two suits, but you can alternate the trousers and jacket to create two new outfits; one with gray pants and a navy jacket, and the other with navy trousers and a gray jacket. You’re now fitted for four out of five work days.
The Subtle Pattern
Whether gray or navy, adding some patterns brings new life to your wardrobe and gets those thinking you keep alternating the same suits wondering if they’re wrong. We’re not talking pinstripes here. Forget 1930s New York. Instead, opt for a subtle check in blues or grays but either a shade or two lighter or darker than your first two suits. Not only will you be able to alternate the pants and jacket from this suit with the other, but you can even pair it down with jeans or chinos for casual Friday’s.
On The Lighter Side
If you already have a dark charcoal or sharkskin suit, now is the time to go with a cooler birdseye gray. If you have a dark navy, opt for a pastel or royal blue. The cool thing about having a really light blue suit and a dark navy is that you can even wear them together. Just use some caution with the grays.
Breaking The Mold
Browns, tobaccos, or even a linen coral suit, opting for something bold mid week allows you to break up the monotony of the dress code. For those who don’t notice the details, having a really rakish suit in a noticeable color will make even the programmers look up from their desks. The key is ensuring that the fabric looks great with your skin tone and hair color and that it pairs harmoniously with all your other suits. This way, you can put the coral linen pants with your light blue jacket, or the shiny tobacco jacket with your navy trousers. Get creative and have fun.
One Final Tip
Spend more time buying shirts and ties. Having a good core selection of dress shirts will make dressing each morning a little more fun and a lot more effortless. Just switching up the shirt and tie can make your outfit look like new. The goal is a lean and versatile wardrobe. Not a packed closet full of nothing that works together.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style