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Help needed creating a business wardrobe - Seeking advice

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by CharlieChaplinC, Apr 24, 2013.

  1. CharlieChaplinC

    CharlieChaplinC New Member

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    Apr 24, 2013
    Hello SF,

    First off, i'm quite new to being 'stylish'. I put my hand up to being terribly dressed most of the time. Jeans and a polo shirt man with a pair of addidas.... i know. The shame.

    However, you can call it a renaissance or whatever you like, but i'd like to shake off this bad habit. Especially at work. The last 2 years i've bought RTW suits from Boss & Paul Smith after having terrible experiences with local tailors whilst working out here in Beijing, China.

    I’m 31, 6ft 3inch, 95kg and with a reasonable physique, more rugby player than football. My stomach is flat(ish).
    It's time to up my game and dress 'the part'. I work for a financial instition and i'm starting to feel that i could apply more effort as I am very client facing. I had planned to do some shopping in either Singapore or Hong Kong, yet i've decided that a shopping trip back in my native England would be best.

    Current wardrobe
    ill fitting Paul Smith suit and a uninspiring james sharp Boss suit. Local chinese 'tailored' shirts, fake cufflinks and a pair of Churchs New Yorks and a pair of Olivier Sweeny's. I have a nice Ferragamo belt bought as a gift to me and a few assorted ties (including a yellow Hermes silk number, again a gift).

    Complete overhaul! I've set a budget of around £10,000 excl VAT for a new business wardrobe. I can push the boat out a little more if needed.
    I want to get 3 Suits, 5-7 shirts, 2-3(?) cufflinks, 3-5(?) ties, Breifcase, Gym bag, 1-2 belts, 2-3 Shoes and socks. Is there anything else I should consider?

    Living in China the climate varies from -10c in winter to 35c and humid in the summer. What material weight should I use? I’d like to be able to wear the suits all year round and to be honest, when I’m at work I don’t spend much time in the elements as I have a car etc.
    For the suits I was thinking (again, looking for advice):
    1) midnight Navy with light pinstripe, 3 piece, 2 button – traditional English style
    2) Charcoal Gray, 2 piece, 2 button – Italian style, modern.
    3) Dark Charcoal gray with light pinstripe, 2 piece, 2 button
    As for where to get them made I’d like to use (open to suggestions/opinions?):
    A Saville Row Bespoke and/or MTM (Hardy Amies, Kilgour and RichardAnderson). £3000-3500 excl VAT?
    Tom Ford - MTM – Selfrdiges? Any idea on price?
    Suitsupply and/or Cad & The Dandy for one. £700-1000?

    Is this a good combination? Would a Saville Row tailor be open to discount 3 suits? Is it vulgar to ask? I guess if I could get 3 for 7,000 or 8,000 excl VAT I’d do it all there? Or would 3 MTM Saville Row be the better option? Would you use Tom Ford? I do really like the look of those though as an alternative to a traditional English style suit.

    3 White, 1 light blue and a light Salmon? What and where would you get them from? I’m guessing around £150-200 per bespoke shirt? What combination would you choose?

    Cufflinks, Ties, pocket squares and socks?

    Where is a good place to get these? What would be a good combination of these?

    Was looking a Bottega V or a Mont Blanc? Any less known brand that produce a nice modern, leather briefcase?

    I’m set on a pair of Gaziano Girling Deco Papworth’s in black (pig skin?) and also a pair of Santoni brown brogues. Should/can I wear the (dark) brown brogues with all 3 suits I have in mind? Or just the Navy pinstripe?
    I also bought a pair of Barker Johnny online recently.

    I have a Rolex Submariner at the moment but it’s far too big and chunky for work/suit wear. Any suggestions on a nice leather strap or ceramic watch? This isnt included in my budget and I don’t really have a price in mind, I’m open to suggestions – $5,000? $10,000? $15,000+?

    Is this a good choice? Can you think of a better option? What would you do if your wardrobe was burnt down and you had to start again from stratch?

    Thanks in advance for your advice SF!

    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013

  2. CharlieChaplinC

    CharlieChaplinC New Member

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    Apr 24, 2013

  3. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Distinguished Member

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    Nov 20, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    You might get better replies if you edit your post a bit (too much detail is better than too little but your post is a lot to read and that probably puts people off). Here are some things for you to consider (search function may be your friend on specific points too):

    1. How often do you plan to wear a suit? If you're wearing a suit once a week, two is sufficient. If you want to wear a suit everyday, you're going to need a lot more. In any event, stick to solids.

    2. You left odd jackets off your list. I find odd jackets helpful for when I am dressed more casually (grey flannel trousers and a dress shirt for example) and want to dress a bit nicer in the evening without changing into a suit. Having a few odd jackets that you can throw on in settings where you don't want to wear a suit is very useful for a well dressed man IMO.

    3. If you go the custom tailored route (either made-to-measure or bespoke), only commission once piece at a time (unless you want to try a couple of tailors, in which case you can get one from each). Also, Hong Kong is perfectly fine for shirts / suits and you can probably save some money in addition to being closer and able to possibly do more than one fitting.

    4. Do you have problems fitting into off the rack clothes? If not, made to measure may be a better option for you. Bespoke will get you a better product over time, but made to measure is a lot less expensive and could be a good way to build up a wardrobe for a reasonable price.

    5. Get more shoes. They are the foundation of your wardrobe. If you are spending what you suggest, I think five pairs of shoes is a minimum. Loafers and derbies are more casual; oxfords are best with suits. Darker colors are more formal than lighter ones. Pick your shoe models out based on this.

    6. There really is no such thing as a year-round suit. Summer suits really don't work outside of summer and most fall / winter suits are too warm to wear comfortably in summer. You can get away without winter weight garments since you throw a coat on anyway when it is cold, but being too hot in the summer is just not fun.

    Just some things to think about. If you can edit your post down a bit, that will probably help you get more detail.

  4. GBR

    GBR Distinguished Member

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    Mar 15, 2006
    Too much thinking and too ling a post.

  5. ajmanouk

    ajmanouk Senior Member

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    Dec 13, 2010
    Unfortunately while you've clearly taken the time to write out a really well written post there are just too many questions to be answered, and most people willing to answer would probably not know enough to be able to adequately answer ALL of your questions.

    For a start, it is really important to know how often you will wear a suit.

  6. aravenel

    aravenel Distinguished Member

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    Oct 25, 2006
    New York City
    If you're up for traveling, go to WW Chan in Hong Kong. Great bespoke suits, for about $1500-$2000 each (about 1200 GBP?). Dont order them all at once if you can avoid it--get one, make sure its right, then get the others. They probably do shirts as well. Drop in The Armoury while in HK as well.

    Get a solid navy, solid charcoal, and maybe a solid mid-grey or lightly patterned (birds-eye, prince of wales check, etc) mid-grey. Even better, get four suits, and get a navy and mid-grey in a light cloth for summer (Minnis fresco is the forum darling) and get a navy and charcoal flannel for winter.

    Too many white shirts--light blue is better. Get 3 light blue, 1-2 white. To start, youll need more shirts than that eventually.

    Dark brown shoes go with everything, and those are some nice shoes youve picked. Make sure you have at least three pairs so you can rotate them.

    Think about odd jackets unless you have to wear a suit every day. They are very useful. I personally wear them more than suits.
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013

  7. Balfour

    Balfour Senior Member

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    May 27, 2012
    Can't be bothered to read such a long post, but on this general theme (in a climate with significant temperature variations), this was a good post:


  8. David Reeves

    David Reeves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    Feb 16, 2009
    New York
    I didn't read it either but really it's simple. People buy or build up business wardrobes all the time. The best solution go to a good maker drop some cash...it's easy really and you don't have to be Cary Grant to do it. I was talking to Mike Hill from drakes a while back about Prince Charles being a style icon, I said that while he was well dressed I wouldn't consider him a style icon, michael replied "well David, he gets his suits from Anderson and Shepherd and his shirts from Turnbull of course he's going to look good.

  9. MikeDT

    MikeDT Distinguished Member

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    Jun 24, 2010
    China, Mongolia and UK

    Sanlitun Clothing Market was it? You might want to try Hong Kong instead.

    Can't be bothered to read the rest.
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013

  10. Stiva

    Stiva Senior Member

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    Mar 15, 2013
    Dear Charlie

    We will have to break this down.

    Re suits:

    If you're working in finance, you will presumably need more than three suits. As you have already identified, climate is an important consideration. You might wish to start by considering the thread below. Some posts are tongue in cheek, but most are very useful and informative. I don't suggest you need ten suits, but this will give you food for thought. Cogburn's thread extracted above is also great, but one man's experience.


    At 6' 3", as am I, you will only get a proper fit and silhouette with bespoke. You will get better bang for buck in HK than in SR. And it's probably better to refine your tastes before you commit to SR. In HK, WW Chan, A Man Cheong or Gordon Yao - and, as recommended above, one at a time. The consensus is that HK is better than Shanghai for bespoke.

    For comparison of HK tailors see series of 3 articles by Jonathan Lai on A Suitable Wardrobe.

    Also, before you go any further read: http://www.throughtherye.com/flusser/index_current.html

    Re shirts:

    Different views expressed, but see:


    And there are others.

    I used to wear white shirts predominately. I have evolved to the light blue school of thought. I have 10 white dress shirts and now only wear one at most once a week. Light blue is more versatile and suits most skin tones - plain blue, gingham and bengal stripe. Get them made at Ascot Chang in HK.

    Re shoes:

    I would have thought if you are working with an English company, the expectation will be black shoes for business - but that might be different in China.

    Generally speaking, there is a difference between English practices on the one hand, and American and Italian sensibilities on the other hand. In England (and generally in Australia), the conventions of conservative business dress dictate black shoes with dark suits. In the US and Italy, brown, oxblood and burgundy are acceptable and even preferred. Even allowing for these different approaches, dark suits require a dark shoe - whether black, dark brown, espresso, ebony or deep burgundy. Light brown, tan and cognac shoes are for light suits.

    Your suggestion of G&G is upper end, and so expensive. Also consider, depending on foot width, in no particular order:

    Church's Custom Grade
    Crockett and Jones
    Alfred Sargeant
    Lobb and EG (if you are in that price bracket)

    Re ties:

    At your height, and depending on the length of your torso, circumference of neck, etc you will probably need something 62-64" long. Four in hand knot only. You will need made to order. Best choice is Sam Hober - see website and Appreciation thread here:


    Nuff said.

    For combinations see:


    Re pocket squares:

    For mine - white linen, the last thread above, and this - http://dieworkwear.com/post/44790355312/by-intelligent-design.

    Re watch:

    This is a highly personal choice, and I suggest you wade through the Watch Appreciation Thread paying particular attention to Dino.

    For me, the One Watch which would do both sport and suits would be the AP Royal Oak. But it's not to all tastes. IWC Portuguese, Rolex Datejust, PP Nautilus, the list goes on. Best start with a Sinn 556 on a metal band and see whether a mechanical watch actually suits your needs.

    Hope this helps.


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