“So, I’ve just scored my first professional job, and I need to buy clothes to fit the role. How many suits is enough for me? I own one for nice occasions, but it isn’t really appropriate for everyday making sales calls and working with the team. Advice?”
Congratulations on your new job. You’re on the track to success and now it’s time to dress like you mean it.
If you’re like most guys just getting out there, you likely aren’t made of money, so making your purchases count is important.
Here, we’ll cover some of the most basic tips for stretching your clothing budget while crafting a great, professional image.
It isn’t necessarily the number of suits you own that counts most, but instead what really matters the most, is simply how you craft your wardrobe. Below, we’ll explain in further detail.
The biggest problem men face when it comes to clothing is that, unlike women’s business attire, the options don’t tend to vary much. You don’t want to go to work in an dazzling green pants suit. It wouldn’t be well received.
What you do want to do is craft a wardrobe that is versatile and helps you to vary your appearance from day to day. A few good suits can function as your canvas, and you paint a different picture by using shirts, ties, and shoes.
A good suit is an investment.
That means it’s crafted to last, to be dry-cleaned, and retain its good looks. That also means that quality suits tend to be the most expensive aspect of your business couture. Don’t balk at this. You can get by with one or two suits for work. We suggest going with a charcoal and a navy option. If you like the look of a chalk-stripe detail, don’t hesitate to snag one for your closet.
Now that you’ve selected your suits, get them tailored. A big part of a great-looking suit is making sure it fits you like it was made for you. Don’t settle for off-the-rack saggy pants, because it makes you look sloppy and cheap. That’s not the impression you want to create with either clients or your coworkers.
Invest in a good tailor’s services, and develop a relationship with them. If you know your tailor by their first name and nurture a positive interaction with them, they’ll be more likely to take a rush job or give you a discount now and then. Think of it as practice for business networking and for selling yourself as a good bet.
A well-tailored, dark-toned suit that bears no dating features, such as flairs or other fashion quirks, will stand you in good stead in any situation.
Now that you have got your suits selected, it’s time to turn two suits into many. Beyond the quality of craftsmanship and tailoring of a suit, choosing your accessories is the next most important consideration. Not only are shirts, ties, and shoes important for variation, they are also cheaper to purchase than the suits themselves.
But before you rush out to buy a shirt of every hue on the shelf and raid Brooks Brothers for their golfing ties, take time to consider some crucial points.
What colors look great on you? While a particular shade of green may be all the rage this season, appearing on everything from dress shirts to coffee mugs, it may make you look like you should have called in sick. As well, you want to make sure your new shirts, ties, and shoes tone well with your new suits.
While not everyone will be able to put a finger on what’s not quite gelling about your outfit, it will keep an interaction off-balance, and may even lose a contract for you. Human beings are visual creatures, and respond to the subtle, nonverbal cues sent by color without giving it much thought.
With this in mind, make your selections with care and purchase enough shirts to have a clean one each day with several for emergency needs. While patterns and vivid colors can work well, keep at least a third of your shirts simple and all business with the timeless white or pale blue and single barrel cuffs.
You really shouldn’t have fewer than fifteen good-quality dress shirts hanging in your closet, but you can get by with fewer, depending on how frequently you want to visit the dry-cleaners.
Just remember, it’s not about the number of suits you own, it’s about quality and style. You should have a suit that is ready at a moment’s notice and suitable for any venue. As well, there should always be a clean shirt and a great tie to go with it. You can build your wardrobe over time, but, especially at first, focus on getting the most bang for your buck.