7 Things You Need to Start Building Your Professional Wardrobe
Is your professional look a mess, or just non-existent? If so, it is okay. Or, actually, it will be okay (even if things are a shit show now). Really.
We can fix it and it will won’t take much work to get you looking sharp. Follow the steps below to get started.
Step 1 - Asses what you have.
There are lots of reasons to have to "start" building your professional look. Maybe you just got your first job that requires you to look traditionally professional. Gained or lost a of of weight? Slacked off and let you professional look go for so damn long that nothing you own is even remotely in style any more? Maybe you just decided to up your game and let your look become part of your brand, why not?
Start with a look in the mirror.
Put on what you have and get in front of a full length mirror. Be a man and be honest and critical here; if you are honest you are going to save lots of time and money and look better for it.
If you have NOTHING that works, you are starting from a clean slate.
If your body has changed, or you have neglected your look for too long, you probably have some things that work and some that don't. If you think you can make something work -even if it is with some tailoring- (remember, we are being honest) hang it back up, if not, trash it.
Now asses what you have that works. Here are a few questions that will help you.
How many suits do I have that fit? What colors are they?
How many blazers, shirts, pants and belts do I have? What colors are they?
How many pairs of shoes do I have? What colors are they?
Write your answers down and go to Step 2.
Step 2 - Determine what you need.
After you know what you have, figure out what you need.
Ask yourself these questions this time:
How many days a week will I need to be in a jacket, shirt and tie?
Do I need to be in a full suit?
Will I be wearing suits without ties?
What will I be wearing what I am not in a suit?
What does business casual mean in my world and what do I have that cover that?
Write you answers down, now use all your answers as a guide in Step 3.
Step 3 - Start Building.
Build your "base" professional wardrobe in this order. If you already have one of these things, THAT FITS (remember, Fit is the Golden Rule), move to the next. Once this list is complete, keep adding things in any order that you like.
Brown Dress Shoe. Choose a loafer or a lace up. This is your first shoe so you need it to be versatile. Buy a quality shoe and a pair of cedar shoe trees. If you take care of a quality shoe, you will have it for years. Brown is more versatile than black, so start there.
Three Pairs of Dress Pants. Go navy blue and medium/dark grey as your number 1 and 2. For number 3, go with something tan or a lighter blue or grey. Stay away from pinstripes or strong patterns at this point. You want something you can wear more than once a week without anyone noticing. Go flat front and a small break.
Brown Belt. Again, nothing flashy. If this is dress belt number one, you are going to be wearing it every day, something understated will let you do that without anyone realizing. The belt does not have to match your shoes exactly, but it needs to go with your one pair of brown shoes.
Five Dress Shirts. 2 white. 2 blue (one solid light blue, the other can be solid or have a mild check pattern). 1 audible (again, nothing too loud). The key here is FIT. Try to get a shirt with removal collar stays, a medium spread collar, no pocket and button cuffs.
Suit. Every grown-ass man needs a suit. Even if you only break it out once every few months, you need to have it. Start with a two button, single breasted navy blue suit. This will give you the most versatility. You can wear it during the day or at night. DO NOT START WITH A BLACK SUIT, it is not versatile enough for a first suit.
At Least One Tie. Go solid color or mild pattern. How many ties you need will depend on how you need to dress, but you NEED at least one. The more ties you add to your collection, the more you can switch things up with louder colors/patterns/textures.
One Blazer/Second Suit. Choose a blue or grey blazer that is going to work with the other items you have chosen, or a grey suit. Stay away from pinstripes at this point. Just like everything else, if you are just starting out, this needs to be versatile.
Once you have these covered, you have a solid base for a professional look. You will be amazed with how many looks you can get out of these items. Here are a few of mine using LESS than the list above.
Follow this guide and you will be set for any situation and now you can start building your unique style from here.
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