Keeping A Professional Wardrobe: How Many Suits Do You Really Need On Rotation?

It's always fun to fantasize about the day your company finally doubles your salary and tells you that you can work from home, or anywhere really. You'll undoubtedly save money on your dry cleaning bills, and you'll be able to take conference video calls with only a shirt and a tie, so long as your computer's camera is above desk level. The only downside is that you might end up foregoing most outside activities, and your weekly wardrobe may devolve into the clothes still sitting in the dryer after a few laundry cycles. But until that happens—if it ever does—you'll still need a functional wardrobe to give you enough style variation throughout the week. If your office requires a little bit more formality than most workplaces, it's important to have a sufficient number of suits in your rotation. So how many do you need?

As a minimum, professionals should have at least three suits in their closets, and this is true even if your office is lax in the dress code department. You'll never know when you might be required to dress up for meetings or important interactions with clients, and even if you're not required to wear a suit every single day, three is generally agreed upon as the magic number. Some professions, in particular the legal one, may require more, somewhere around five or six suits. If you're shooting for the bare minimum, it's always a good idea to have a classic black suit, a navy one, and something in charcoal grey or even a subtle crosshatch pattern in neutral colors.

If we're discussing tuxedos, at least one is a good start. You will almost always have to wear a tuxedo only sporadically, so anything that matches up perfectly with black-tie attire is a good choice.

Here at Enzo Custom, we hold the mantra that the more choices you have, the better off you'll be. And while an assortment of shirts, shoes, and ties might give you enough variation you need with a handful of suits in your closet, it's usually best to go the extra mile. In this piece, we'll examine the best ways to enhance your wardrobe by delving a little deeper into style options other than your typical black and grey all-purpose suits, so you can really wow your clients, your coworkers, and the people upstairs calling the shots, for now.

Classic Suits

Of course, we really wouldn't be able to discuss a proper wardrobe without going over the basics first. Regardless of your profession, you'll want at least one or two suits in your wardrobe that you could wear to any event or into any office. A properly tailored custom black suit will always carry out this function. Whether you're heading into the office for an important meeting or going to an after-work event that requires some formality, you'll never go wrong with a black suit.

While a grey suit might be considered inappropriate for a select few applications, it still can have a great deal of versatility. Weddings, office functions, job interviews, and formal dinners are just some of the places a tasteful grey suit can really bring out your personal sense of style without being too loud or ostentatious. If you want to accentuate your style even further, consider going with a pinstripe or crosshatch pattern, as their subtlety will complement rather than detract from your overall ensemble.

In addition to black and grey suits, navy blue is considered a must-have by most people in the professional world. It's slightly less formal than a suit in jet black, but a navy blue suit is a great way to vary your everyday office attire. If you're considering more than three suits for your wardrobe's rotation, one of the best things about black, navy blue, and grey is that so many shades of each color exist, so you can add variety to your clothing selections without having to look too hard to do so.

As we've covered the staple classic colors black, navy blue, and grey, you should also consider various shades of brown, including tan and beige. Suits in these colors can add a nice touch of informality to otherwise formal settings, and they are still appropriate for most occasions, save black-tie dinners and wedding parties where the dress code is more rigid.

Seasonal Attire

If you've already added a modest selection of classic custom suits to your wardrobe and still feel like you could use a few more, consider adding something a little more seasonal to your rotation. Depending on how the climate is where you live and work, suits of either lighter or heavier materials can certainly come in handy.

While the majority of custom suits are fabricated from wool and wool/cotton blends, linen is a very popular material for the summer months, as its light structure will keep you cool and comfortable when the weather gets warmer. The more laid-back attitude of summer also means that you can get a little more creative with your color selections, and if you pay attention you'll likely notice an uptick in your coworkers opting for pastel colors after March or April. Having one or two custom summer linen suits is a good strategy for adding more pizzazz to your wardrobe, and keeping more suits on rotation means that each one will wear out at a much slower pace than they normally would if you had, say, only two or three to choose from. As summer suits tend to be more colorful, you'll also be able to get away with more in terms of your selections of dress shirts, ties, and even socks if you're feeling extra bold. Blue crosshatch shades are perhaps the most popular for linen suits meant to be worn in warmer weather, but the possibilities are truly endless. You just have to figure out what works best for your personal style.

The same goes for fall and winter months. If you live and work in a place where people are more prone to stay indoors once October rolls around such as New York, Minneapolis, or Chicago, you may want to add an additional suit to your rotation that's made from a heavier wool such as flannel. While fall colors tend to be more subdued and softer than the bright pastel colors of linen suits ideal for summer months, one of the benefits of a colder climate is that you can get away with more from a style standpoint, simply because you might be required to wear more articles of clothing on the way to work or when you decide to venture out in the evening.

Double-Breasted Suits

While they're not as common as they used to be, at least one double-breasted suit makes a fantastic addition to your wardrobe, considering the style of the jacket will stand out in contrast to your other more common single-breasted suits. The added benefit of a double-breasted suit is that it will almost always keep you warm when temperatures drop, and in some cases, you may be able to forego any bulky overcoats or scarves if you want to keep your style to minimalist specifications. Double-breasted suits can also positively accentuate your personal style outside of work settings, and others will certainly take notice. Even though they are less common, by virtue of this they will stand out, and the way in which custom double-breasted suits are cut can add a tinge of classic charm to your ensemble without resorting to anything over-the-top or out-of-place. If you opt to add a double-breasted suit to your wardrobe, consider adding a double-breasted vest as well. A vest can be worn with or without a suit, and when the weather gets a little warmer you can still retain that extra edge of style without over-dressing.

Coats, Shirts, and Accessories

 

In addition to a rotation of custom suits, it's always a sound idea to keep various other items in your professional wardrobe to further extend style variation.

When it comes to dress shirts, the rule of thumb is that you should have at least 10 of them in your closet of various patterns and colors, with two or three white ones at the very minimum. You should keep a few light blue ones at your disposal as well. As for the rest of them, don't hesitate to get creative with the color patterns so long as you can match them to your suits, ties, and sport coats.

The great thing about custom suits is that the jacket component can also function as a sport coat, and this is beneficial if the dress code in your office is a little more relaxed and does not require you to don a full matching suit. But to maximize your wardrobe's mileage, we recommend having an additional three or four bona fide sport coats hanging up in your closet. With sport coats, you can go a little wilder with the designs than you can with a suit, and because they are not expected to be the same color as your trousers, you'll have options when you're expected to present yourself in a manner on the more casual side of things.

There is quite a bit of variance of opinion regarding the number of ties one should keep. Some swear by needing at least three ties per full suit, while others are comfortable with only three to five ties altogether. The exact number is less of a concern here, but you want to make sure that you have options. Compared to the rest of your wardrobe, ties are relatively inexpensive, and because they don't take up much room at all, you can accumulate a wider variety of them over time without breaking your bank account too much.

In short, the general guidelines are as follows: try to have at least three classic suits, at least one tuxedo, around 10 shirts, one or two extra suits that get a little more creative with colors and patterns, a few sport coats, and enough ties to keep your wardrobe interesting. As Enzo Custom not only provides quality custom suits but also tuxedos, shirts, sport coats, and the various accessories that complete a functional wardrobe, make sure to browse our complete selections the next time you're looking to increase your wardrobe's variety. If you're unsure about something in terms of style or what you might need for your individual specifications, feel to stop into one of our physical showrooms, and our expert clothiers will be able to answer all of your questions.


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