The 4 Basic Building Blocks of Style (part 1)

When was the last time you sat on a stool? Either at the bar or in the breakfast nook, there are always four legs that keep you from breaking your tailbone on the floor. And, making a fool of yourself. Sure, with enough balance, an amount of which I will never possess, you could sit on three . . .or maybe even two legs.

Menswear is the same way. You can make it five days a week on two suits, but adding a few more items to your wardrobe will go a long way in keeping your bank account from breaking it’s tailbone on the zero balance.

Over the next few articles, I will outline the four legs of the stool to help get you started and always looking good.

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1: The Charcoal Suit

This is a bit of contention with some of the more conservative people in the industry. It used to be that the first suit you would get, regardless of age or profession, was a black suit. It is what you wore to weddings, funerals, bar mitzvahs, or your sister’s dance recital. Today, however, the black suit is a little too formal for the workplace.

The alternative? A charcoal suit. It is dark enough that is still brings a level of formality to the occasion, but it is also light enough to be appropriate at the end of the table when in full view of the boss.

Keep it simple- The place that a lot of guys get in trouble is when they try too hard. One of the hardest things to do is to reign in the compulsion to buy something trendy. You want to look good, therefore, what looks good at the time is the first thing one goes to. However, what is trendy today, is not trendy tomorrow. Keep the lapels at a medium width, too narrow and you look like you are channeling your inner Justin Timberlake, and too wide looks like you want to be Ross Gellar (token FRIENDS reference). There is an entire conversation on the style and details surrounding the suit, which I will get into next time. Just remember, people remember the suit if you get too flashy, which means it limits how often you can wear it. So, basic charcoal.

Flash it up- Now, for the times that you want to stand out. There will, inevitably, be a time that you want to be the center of attention, you want to show off your ability to elevate your look. The best way to do that, with any basic suit, will be the shirt and tie. Brighter colors and patterns are a great way to grab the eye. Also, consider wearing tan dress shoes to brighten the whole suit up.

Continued in part 2…

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