Section: Building Your Wardrobe - Blog
As you're building a basic men's wardrobe without bankrupting your budget, you may wonder how many shirts you'll need. Should you focus on solid colours for utility, or add in some patterns, semi-solids, stripes etc. for versatility and flair? Here's tips for building a work-friendly wardrobe on a budget.
Master French painter Francis Picabia said: “If you want to have clean ideas, change them as often as your shirt.” While that isn't the reason we'd advise you to fill up your wardrobe with business shirts, we'd like to focus your attention on how to keep your wardrobe budget friendly without tossing out all your shirts and starting from scratch.
Your core business shirts should be:
Buy your first threebusiness shirts in solid colours; preferably, white or blues as these pair well with almost any suit. You'll always look stylish yet classic in shirts with point collars and cuffs that match.
To minimise costs during your building phase, choose single barrel cuffs for your first three business shirts. Add variety by simply mixing in single or two-button barrel cuffs. As your income grows, and you want to add more flair to your outfits, add some shirts with French cuffs.
To get the best fit, the shoulder and the neck measurements should be perfect – or as close to perfect as possible. If you are buying your shirts off-the-rack, remember each brand manufacturer uses a different set of fit models to design their clothing, so a medium-size in one brand is probably not the same measurements as a medium in another brand.
You can avoid sizing problems altogether by wearing bespoke or tailored business shirts. Since the tailor takes your exact measurements as part of the tailoring process, you'll always end up with a perfectly fitted garment.
Most quality tailored business shirts have a split shoulder yoke, which provides a natural shoulder cut and fit for the shirt. How do you know if a business shirt has a split shoulder yoke? Look for a vertical fabric seam in the middle of the shirt between the shoulders. Split shoulder yokes are constructed from two separate pieces of fabric.
Lastly, if you cannot find a business shirt to fit you well, err on the side of caution and opt for a larger size. Why? Because your tailor can alter a larger fit by shortening the sleeves or tucking in the stomach fabric.
It doesn't make sense to spend money on a smaller shirt in the hopes of someday losing enough weight to fit into it, does it? Buying your clothes to fit the body you have today is always your smartest, most economical move. If your weight changes, you can buy new clothes or have your current items altered to fit, if possible.
As your budget allows, complement those staple solid business shirts with a variety of:
Remember, though, plain fabrics are considered more formal than fabrics which feature complicated patterns. What this means to you is you'll have a more versatile, interchangeable wardrobe if your core shirt collection doesn't contain too many shirts with memorable patterns or features.
Choose shirts to compliment your body type; don't be a trend fanatic. Stick with basic styling options like:
Do take your body type into consideration before making a choice. For example, if you have a round or extremely thin face, choose a collar that balances your facial features.
Avoid shirts made from fabrics with more than 50% manmade fibre need. Why? These fabrics do not wick moisture away from the body as well as natural fibres do, so you'll feel hot and uncomfortable in them.
Instead, choosecotton fabrics, which have inherent wicking properties. If money is no object, and you don't mind paying exorbitant drying cleaning bills, go ahead and invest in silk business shirts as well.
Owning custom made business shirts will spoil you, but in a good way. Once you've experienced the sheer delight of wearing a perfectly fitted shirt, with no excess fabric billowing over the top of your trousers, you'll never put on an ill-fitting garment again. If you're ready to experience that kind of luxury, schedule apersonal consultation with one of our master tailors today. Your body will thank you.
Original idea for article from Antonio Centeno, author of the internet's most actionable men's style guide. We recommend a read!
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