Dressing well for work requires a number of versatile, trusty wardrobe-staples. A good foundation would include a well-cut navy or grey suit, several smart shirts in different colours and collar options and two or three pairs of classic black and brown shoes. A number of silk ties in a variety of patterns and cufflinks in complimentary styles will give you enough options to make it through the work week without working too hard at it.
The DOs and DON’Ts of dressing to impress at the office:
- DO make sure that you buy the right size. Most men make the error of buying one size too big.
- DO look for alteration options when buying a suit. It’s the easiest way of making an off-the-peg suit look like a made-to-measure one.
- DO wear your suit with pride. Make sure it is always cleanly pressed and presentable, so that you’re always ready for action.
- DON’T over-clean your suit. Quality wool can only withstand so many blasts of dry cleaning chemicals. To ensure you get maximum value from your suit, spot clean it with regular brushing and pressing.
- DON’T ever button the bottom most button on your jacket. When wearing a two-button jacket, just button the top bottom. On a three-button jacket, always fasten the middle one and sometimes the top button.
- DON’T be afraid to play with your look. A little bit of individual flair, an expertly folded silk handkerchief or uniquely designed cufflinks will mark you as a man of distinction.
- DO invest a range of collar options. Make sure you have at least one shirt in cutaway, Windsor and button-down options. A pin or tab collar can be an exciting alternative for more formal occasions.
- DO remember to tuck it in. No exceptions.
- DO make sure the collar fits perfectly. You should be able to slip both your index and middle fingers side by side between your neck and collar.
- DON’T mix your casual shirts with your work suit. It’s sure to look sloppy every time.
- DON’T be afraid of a slimmer fitting shirt – it can shave pounds off of you.
- DON’T let your patterns clash- unless you know what you’re doing!
- DO think of shoes as an investment. Well maintained shoes that have been regularly cleaned, polished and resoled will last a lifetime.
- DO keep a range of classic shoes in rotation. Purchase a brogue, a cap toe and a loafer and you’ll have every situation covered.
- DO invest in a pair of wooden shoe trees. Using shoe trees after a hard day’s work is the number one way to ensure the longevity of your investment.
- DON’T forget the polish. Nothing looks worse on a man than scruffy shoes.
- DON’T wear suede shoes in the wet weather; rain will ruin them. Take precautions by gently applying a suede protector in case you get caught out.
- DO learn how to tie different knots for different occasions. Master the four in hand, full Windsor and half Windsor [look out for our upcoming tutorials] and you’ll have plenty of options to see you through the work week.
- DO build up a flexible collection of cufflinks. Simple sterling links suit all men, but some opt for fabric knots or links inlaid with colourful enamel or semi-precious stones. If you go for fabric knots, match them to a colour in your shirt or tie. Embellished links should be reserved for formal occasions.
- DO have a number of handkerchiefs on hand. By folding one into your breast pocket, you can inject a bolt of colour into an otherwise sombre outfit.
- DON’T ever tuck your tie into your waistband. It should neatly lie with the point just grazing the top of your trousers.
- DON’T get too fussy. Most men look better in understated options.