Whether you are just beginning your first real office job, or simply feel like your style of dress doesn’t compare to that of the people you work with, reevaluate your wardrobe to make sure that you have all of the essentials. Here’s what every working man’s wardrobe should contain:
- Dress shoes. Leather dress shoes will last forever and always look classy. Black is a must; brown is also suitable. These classic business shoes should ideally be lace-up, although slip-on loafer style is also acceptable. No matter your choice, always keep them polished and clean.
- Long-sleeved, collared business shirts. Always have at least five, although if you must wear a button-up shirt every day, it is useful to have more than five, so that you can go more than a week between washing and ironing. These can be in nearly any color or pattern; blue is a color that looks nice on most men, especially when paired with a suit that is dark grey or black.
- Ties. Ties should always be chosen with the colors and patterns of your dress shirts in mind. Ties can be used to change your entire look, so that it doesn’t look like you are always wearing the same thing even with the same suit and shirt. Choose a tie that has just a little of the shirt’s color in its pattern. If you feel color-challenged, enlist the help of colleagues or a woman.
- Dress pants. Every man should own at least three pairs of flat-front pants in versatile colors. Black, grey, or pinstripe pants are all classics. Avoid pleats, which can create the illusion of added weight, and look outdated.
- A suit. Even if you don’t have to wear suits every day to the office, there are bound to be occasions where you are required to don a suit, or will feel under-dressed without one. A good classic suit in either black or dark grey, in a single breasted style worn with flat front trousers, will typically last for years. Of course, if your job requires you to wear suits very often, you should also invest in other colors, such as tan, dark blue, or pinstriped styles.
- Casual shirts. For casual Friday, your outfit should still look professional. A polo shirt worn with a pair of slacks or dark jeans is a good choice for this look.
- Knit shirts. For a little extra warmth, or on occasions you won’t be wearing a suit jacket, a few knit shirts or sweaters will go well over your collared shirt. Make sure that they fit over your collared shirts but aren’t too heavy.
- A nice coat. This is particularly important in cold climates and if you often travel outside of the office with colleagues or clients. Invest in a quality trench coat or wool coat instead of a casual windbreaker or raincoat.
- Accessories. First you’ll need a leather portfolio or other method for carrying papers and possibly a laptop. Your decision will depend on your needs here. Choices include a leather portfolio or leather laptop bag. Although briefcases are still available, they can look outdated, depending on the mood of your office. Don’t forget a professional-looking watch and at least five pairs of standard black socks to match your shoes. Finally, you’ll need an elegant black leather belt.
Although your wardrobe depends on what constitutes proper attire for your office, most men who work in an office would be well served by this list of classic business apparel. Depending on the formality of your office, you may need to alter this list slightly. Watching your colleagues’ attire can help you determine what would be appropriate for your office.