February 11, 2011  ·  mail  ·  style

Mailbag: starting a suit wardrobe

Mike writes: "I'm just out of college entering the work force for the first time. I'll need to wear suits now and then, and I have none. I don't want a 'starter suit', I'd rather pay more for quality. I can start with one and get one more every few months. What would you buy for a first suit, and then what?" Answer: Congratulations, and good on you for wanting to make proper investments in your work clothes. Since you're going to be living with a limited number of suits for the first year and a half, we'd do it in this order:

1. Medium grey wool, solid, notch lapel. It'll work in the day with light colours and for evening events with dark. 2. Navy wool, pin or chalk stripe, notch lapel. Classic and versatile work wear; also will serve you well for daytime events in the summer. 3. Black wool, peak lapel. At this point you need a proper suit dedicated to dinner and formal events; this is it. 4. Depending on the climate where you live, add a neutral-coloured seasonal suit of cotton—olive or brown corduroy if cooler, light grey or khaki twill if warmer. 5. At this point you have a solid basic wardrobe, so add something interesting that reflects your personality and lifestyle. Plaid, flannel, herringbone, a cashmere blend, an interesting multi stripe, whatever expresses the essence of Mike to the world. Have fun and enjoy your clothes.

Fabric photos: ModernTailor.com (1-3). Indochino (4-5).

Also See