How many suits does a gentleman need?
This is a question I am constantly asked. The answer is a hard one because all gentlemen have different needs and it depends on the line of work that you are in.
Let’s assume you work in the corporate industry and are required to wear suits five days a week, or you just have a general love for suits and want to keep a nice variety in your wardrobe. Of course the more suits you own, the longer they will last. It is best to rotate your suits and not wear them consecutively unless you have two pairs of trousers per suit. You will find that if you rest your suits between each wear they will not age as quickly.
Here is my carefully considered list of which suits to buy and in which order, the first two are what I call my staples but anything after these can be swapped around depending on trends or your taste.
My number one suit for every man is a classic Navy Blue or French Navy, a two-button jacket with a notch lapel. This is the most versatile suit you will ever own. I like to wear my navy blue suit with either black or brown shoes and I find every shirt and tie combination works. You should always consider an extra pair of trousers with this suit as you will find that this color and style will not date and you will extend the life of the jacket. A waistcoat may also be a nice addition, as it will provide you with options when wearing the suit in the cooler months.
Grey or Charcoal
Also a very versatile suit, I like to wear soft pastel colors with a grey suit, it looks fresh and dapper. I would recommend sticking to a two-button with a notch lapel however a peak lapel looks very sharp and elegant. If possible opt for two pairs of trousers with this suit, as you will find it will become a staple.
I am a big fan of a light grey suit, especially in a sharkskin weave or a cloth with a little bit of texture. It makes a great summer suit but can also be worn most of the year. It’s a nice contrast from the darker tones we tend to wear and can be worn with either tan, black or brown shoes.
Navy Check or Pink Stripe
If you are up to the fourth suit in your wardrobe it is time to have a little fun with pattern. I would now introduce another shade of blue or navy with a lovely checked pattern or pinstripe. You may find that this style might be a little more limiting with other shirt and tie combinations, but I have a little “Two out of Three” rule; if your suits have a pattern then only adopt a pattern in either your shirt or tie, not both. I also like to make sure that the pattern of the shirt or tie is finer than that of the suit, that’s a personal preference.
Charcoal Check or Pin Stripe
Similar in principle to adding the fourth suit, your fifth suit should introduce a new tone of grey or charcoal but with added flair and details. Have some fun with this selection; perhaps even consider a peak lapel or a contrast color in the stripe or check.
Brown or Bold
I love a brown suit; they are very much on-trend so if you are considering one, go for a shade of brown that works with your skin tone. I love every shade from fawn to chocolate. You may also want to consider a style that could double as a nice sports jacket also, as this could be your “Casual Friday” suit which you mix and match with a pair of tan or navy chinos.
Black Cocktail Suit or Dinner Suit
I am not a big fan of a black suit for business wear, but I love them for formal occasions. A classic black suit is a requirement for all men. I would always go for a peaked lapel with style, as it looks more formal. Alternatively, if you find yourself attending lots of black-tie events then you should invest in a good quality Dinner Suit (Tuxedo for the Americans) that fits well, nobody over the age of 30 should be renting a tux.