How do I build a professional wardrobe?

Many young professionals ask me this questions all the time.  I instruct them they need to be smart about it.  I am very happy my firm has a formal dress policy (Jackets & Ties) for the professional staff.  The first thing someone needs to do is purchase the book “Dressing the Man” by Alan Flusser  (the “Book”), which you can get at  The Book is important because it will walk you through the various body type and face structure to see what looks best on you.  for example I love a spread collar, however I have a 19 1/2 inch neck.  If I wear a spread collar my head would look gigantic. So I wear a straight collar, because it looks the best on me.  So buy the Book it will be the best money spent on building your wardrobe.

After you read the Book its time to start buying.  Here is what you will need:

  • Four suits (Black, Navy Blue, Dark Grey, and Navy Blue Pin Stripe).  I would recommend single breasted suit with notched label.  You should get an all year fabric.  Get a traditional suit (not a Skinny Suit, I will explain later).
  • 6 White Shirts, 2 Blue Shirts, 1 Tan Shirt, and 1 Grey Shirt .  The shirts should be Plain No Patterns, I recommend French Cuff, but for your first go around buttons are fine.  You will have time to purchase other colors and patterns once you have the basics.
  • 3 Ties for each Suit (12 total).  By getting 3 ties for each suit you can go 12 business days without wearing the same outfit twice and give the appearance you have a larger wardrobe than you do.
  • 3 Satin/Silk Pocket Squares, 1 White, 1 Tan,  and 1 Blue .  The Pocket Square (Its Not a  Hanky) is the single most important accessory that a man can have.  It makes an ordinary suit look classy and expensive.  They are easy to fold so don’t be intimidated.  You have the Book and there is a chapter just on how to fold a pocket square.

These four little steps will help the new college graduate begin building his wardrobe.  Please note that this is only the beginning, if you are like me your wardrobe will never be finished.  However this is the foundation that everyone professional man needs.

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