Traditional business attire doesn’t have to restrict a man’s personal style. How you coordinate your clothing reveals a lot about your individuality. In a sea of blue and gray suits, a great way to enhance your wardrobe is with color.
“It’s about building a look and knowing how to work with color, patterns, and texture,” says haberdashery specialist Anthony T. Kirby, who started his own accessories collection, Anthony T., in 1992. For Kirby, experimenting is essential. He suggests playing with different looks and fabric. “The days of the clones are gone. There was a time in the work world when men wore a navy suit, a white shirt, and a navy tie. That look is gone. It’s all about individual style.”
While there’s no single set of style rules that works for everyone, Kirby believes: “A man should be confident in what he has on. Your clothing represents you.”
1 Suits: The suit is the foundation of any man’s wardrobe. Kirby suggests outfitting your closet with the basics — a navy, charcoal or medium gray suit; a pinstripe in gray or navy; a classic Glen plaid; and a dark brown pinstripe, nailhead, or houndstooth. Another essential, says Kirby, is a black suit, traditionally reserved for formal occasions. “This is how you build a foundation,” Kirby stresses. “You have to have these key components. Maybe have one double-breasted suit, and you should always have a classic navy blue blazer.”
The most important aspect of suit selection is the fit. Full-cut suits are ideal for a heavier man; a modern slim-fit suit works well for a tall or slim man. Suits should fit properly in the shoulders and chest and sleeve length should be correct.
Suit fabric is equally important. Kirby suggests having a variety of suits that can be worn nine months out of the year. This means selecting mid-weight wool and other transseasonal fabrics. Add a winter and summer suit, and your collection is complete.
3 Shirts: A classic white or blue shirt with button or French cuffs is a great staple, and a shirt is the first place you can experiment with color. You can extend your wardrobe with shirts in an array of fits, patterns, and colors that complement your suits.
Pocket Squares Pocket squares are classic, fun, and full of style, and “they’re for showing, not blowing,” says Kirby. They can add a delicate or dramatic accent and can be especially elegant complementing a subdued shirt. A classic white-linen hand-rolled pocket square is a must-have. Pocket squares and ties should not match. Contrast them by matching patterns with solids.
Ties Ties present a great opportunity for men to express their personality, says Kirby. He suggests acquiring a minimum of two dozen, which add variety and flair to otherwise plain attire. Because each tie can produce a different look, owning several gives the illusion of possessing a vast wardrobe. According to Kirby, stripes, dots, and solid satins give a man a classic look. Patterns bring vibrancy to an outfit. Caring for your ties is imperative. To