Step 1: Get a Tailor
Whether you buy off the rack or have joined the Big Boy Bespoke club, your tailor should always be your first port of call. If your body is a temple, your tailor is the architect – the smallest of alterations can make the biggest difference because let’s face it, most of us aren’t born with the body of a sample size model. Good department stores will finish your trousers as a complimentary standard service, ask your sales rep to recommend their best on site tailor. Minor nips and tucks are to be expected but if you find yourself stuck with more pins than a pincushion try a different suit, or branch into made to measure as a less expensive alternative to bespoke.
Step 2: Get in Shape
Leave saggy, oversized suiting where it belongs, back in the 80s, today’s silhouette is slick, sharp and clean. Jackets should fit neatly across the shoulders and taper at the waist. Go double vented if you routinely stand with your hands in your pockets. Formal trousers should break only once at the front and hang just above the sole of the shoe at the rear. Putting on a suit should give you an instant uplift, if you’re not comfortable you need a different suit. Armholes are a key area to consider, different brands all have slight variations – try on a few different options before deciding what feels best. If this is routinely a comfort issue for you make sure to go out of your way to try on a Neapolitan jacket that features a ‘grinze’ sleeve, these are hand stitched by Neapolitan artisans and give greater range of movement in tailored jackets due to an additional small pleat in the sleevehead.
Step 3: Get Your Own
Successful corporate dressing is equal parts knowing what is appropriate attire in your environment and creating your own identity within those parameters. Choose interesting cloth and colour variations. Silk and linen hopsack blends are a great alternative to wool for Spring sportcoats and alpaca gives a lux hand to outerwear come Fall. Green and high blue shades are universally flattering and significantly more memorable than basic (read boring) black. Collar bars are seeing a comeback and are an inexpensive but effective way to update your look. Casual environment? Keep your denim classic and straight legged. Make it contemporary by adding a rolled up cuff and invest in a modern colour palette, but keep bleached washes and ‘distressed’ pairs for the weekend. Crew neck sweaters, layered under knitted sweater jackets are a great way to transition through the unpredictable Spring weather. Make sure you keep these well maintained and remove bobbling with an old razor blade. Novelty socks have been done, focus on your whole look, not your feet.
Step 4: Create a Capsule
Lastly but most importantly, no matter what your occupation, or lack there, of you should always have the following in your wardrobe, ready to go at a moment’s notice:
- A Killer Black Suit
- A Navy Blazer
- A Crisp White Shirt
- A White Crew Neck Tee
- A Tie
- A Pair of Classic, Straight Legged, Dark Wash Jeans
- A Good Quality Pair of Oxfords/Brogues (Leather Sole, Not Rubber)
- A Pair of Sneakers That Are Not Ridiculous. You Are (Probably) Not As Cool As Kanye West.
- A Navy/Black/Camel Wool Overcoat
These items are routinely on best seller lists across the nation for a reason, versatile and timeless, with these in your closet you will never have an occasion you don’t at least look prepared for.