Your Sartorial Foundation

“Dear Santa, thanks for the fabulous presents.  Cashmere sweaters, shirts, ties and accessories…  You sure know how to make me happy!”

But before you put those new clothes…  Well, wherever there is room, we’d like to do something super-important for a sartorial guy like you.

Your closet, my friend, should be as sartorial as you.  This means it should always be impeccable, and when we say impeccable, we don’t mean just nice and tidy.  We mean clothes in it are properly hung and folded neatly, properly placed as to be more productive when it comes time to pick an outfit.  There’s nothing worse than needing to get out the door but instead finding yourself buried in your closet looking for clothes.

Why should you deal with this right now?  Well,because now is the perfect time!  You already got goodies from Santa, and this means you’ll be adding and replacing things in your closet anyway.  Which makes it a perfect time for inventory control.  Not to mention, it is the last week of the year, and it should always be in your New Year’s resolutions to be, at all times, dressed for success.  That starts in how you organize your wardrobe.  After all, you never know who you will meet or who you will run into in a given day.  You should always look your best!

Your closet should be a reflection of who you are and what you do.  For instance, if you have meetings during the day and then take clients out for drinks and to dinner, your wardrobe should make this transition with as much ease as you do.  We hope your wardrobe is where it needs to be so you will only need to reorganize it to make it functional and appealing, so that when you look at it, you feel like shopping from it, not just grabbing whatever clothes fall into your hands first.  Most definitely, you will always find the right outfit this way.  Remember, not finding one in a closet full of clothes is a huge red flag in terms of you having the right garments.  If you spend five minutes in there and see nothing you like, something is amiss!

So, on that note, we figured we’d make a list of what your wardrobe must have.  Obviously, some of us have more of a certain item than others (we’re slightly biased when it comes to accessories, we’re sure you can’t tell, *cough*), but there will always be staple sartorial foundation pieces like the navy blue suit, white dress shirt and black Oxford lace-ups.  We are not born with flawless sartorial sense, so feel free to get inspired by your best dressed contemporaries.  You probably think a wardrobe of this caliber will be very extensive, and this probably intimidates you.  Again, remember, we want you to think of the very basics.  A solid wardrobe with pieces that serve you well from the boardroom to the after hours bar.  Seamless from dressy to casual, in which every piece coordinates successfully with most of the others . A trendy but mismatched closet does not serve anyone well.

The foundation of your wardrobe:

-Suits.  7 full suits should be considered the minimum (remember, you should never wear the same suit two days in a row).

  • Black, for formal occasions.
  • Navy, the most versatile.
  • Medium grey, a versatile suit that can be worn throughout the year and paired with most colors.
  • A mix of herringbones, pinstripes, shadow stripes and solids to add versatility through the month.
  • A tan or brown suit should make its way into everyone’s closet.  A very flattering color on most men.
  • Throw a flannel or tweed suit in the mix for those cold winter months.

-Sports coats: a minimum of 4 should be in your closet at any given time, ready to go.  They can be a variety of dress-up styles for business or more casual to turn heads in a social scene (just add a pocket square).  Every man should have at least one navy sport coat, and a variety of plaids, tweeds and solids.

-Trousers.  Fill your closet with as many as you can, to make you look lush and successful.  15 is probably a good number for the well-dressed man in addition to pants that are part of a suit.  Your mix here is basic wools, flannels, and cotton.

-Jeans.  At least 2 pairs of dark jeans, and make sure they are crisp and able to be worn with a t-shirt, button down or with one of your sport coats.  Or go a step further and pair with a jacket from your suits.

-Dress shirts.  3 dozen is by far the most appropriate number.  It will give you a good rotation.  Remember that at any given time, there will be an X amount of dirty shirts and X amount of shirts at the cleaners.  No need to be running to the cleaners to get a shirt.  Build your wardrobe to have about 12 ready to wear at all times.  At least 5 whites, about 4 in the blue family (lights, mediums and darks), ivories/pale yellows, pinks, lavenders and grays.  Always have in your collection some patterned shirts: striped, checkered and plaids should have you looking sharp and switch you up from the typical solids.

-Ties.  Select them with care so that they complement your suits and shirts.  Pick fabrics and patterns that are versatile and stylish.  There are classics: plain navy, regimental stripes, subdued paisley or pattern.  10-25 is a good amount.

-Shoes.  Here you should have a great variety as well (shoes need a day off, too).  But these are some basics.  One pair of black Oxford lace-ups in calfskin are a great pick to transition from day to night.  A pair of chestnut-brown wing-tips goes well with pretty much anything.  Also, throw a camel-colored monk strap or slip-on in the mix.  This color can add flavor to any suit, especially those navies in your closet.  And don’t forget a pair of loafers and a pair of boots.  Bonus style points if you add a pair of suede bucks!  Also, don’t forget a good camel colored shoe.  An amazing touch to any suit, especially navies.  Don’t forget to coordinate a matching belt!  And to state the obvious, coordinating belts for each pair.

-Tuxedo and accoutrements.  Here is where you should get the best quality you can afford.  This, my friend, is a life investment, because one should know…  You always get what you pay for.

-Tuxedo shirts. Please have at least 2 different styles to add variety.  Always be prepared for formal occasions.

-Knitwear.  Cashmere and merino wool are great additions.  A mix of crew necks, v-necks, vests and cardigans should help you look tres chic even on weekends.

-Casual shirts. At least 5 (think of Friday nights!).

-Over coat.  At least one, and invest in a fine one.  Navy or camel colored wool, cashmere, camel hair, or a blend of these.

-White, gray and black t-shirts.  Great for a timeless casual look paired with jeans, or to wear under shirts, sweaters or even a jacket.

As to how to place these items?  This is as important as how to properly maintain them so that they always look crisp and ready to be worn.  We’ll have another blog just on that very soon.

We hope this was helpful.  Always remember, classic, simple and understated equals timeless, long-lasting and recession-proof.  Whatever the item, it should be made of fine-quality fabrics and materials with superior manufacturing construction and techniques.  And, most importantly, it should fit you as perfectly as possible (we will tell you this a million times more).  No amount of fine cloths or material will make up for an ill-fitted garment, advice that every man should live by.  Last, but not least, being the stylish man you are, you shouldn’t be afraid to add occasional zing to your closet (à la Italian, Sprezzatura).  With a sensible wardrobe like this as a base, adding to it is not rocket science.

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