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ratio of shirts, sportscoats, suits, shoes, ties

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by samnc, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. samnc

    samnc Well-Known Member

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    Can someone give me some guidelines about a good ratio of business clothes? Obviously, this figure would be skewed if I had to wear a suit each day, but I only wear an actual suit once in a blue moon. I am in a semi-formal business office where the man in charge dresses nice but not overly formal (i.e. top button not buttoned always, wool ties, chinos as opposed to dress pants sometimes etc...)

    Fridays are more casual, so no shirt/tie, so these are only worn 4x/week. Everything can pretty much mix and match well. Anyways, I have about this:


    Suits--TWO
    Ties-- TWELVE
    Dress Pants-- EIGHT
    Shirts--FIFTEEN
    Jackets/Sports Coats--FOUR
    Dress Shoes--FIVE
    Sweaters work over shirts in winter--TWO

    Does this ratio generally sound right? If not, what do you think, in general, I should concentrate on?
     
  2. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    I'm not sure how you can expect someone else to answer this better than you. When you're picking clothes in the morning, do you think "I wish I had more variety of [X]? If so, you need more of [X].
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  3. samnc

    samnc Well-Known Member

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    Ok, let me rephrase.

    I have about an equal amount of ties and shirts and my dress pants are about half of the number of shirts I have. Is this a reasonable ratio between ties, shirts, and pants?
     
  4. biged781

    biged781 Senior member

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    I'd say this still answers it. It really comes down to you; do you feel like your wardrobe is well diversified, i.e., is it hard to mix, match, and figure out what to wear? If the answer is no then, well, I suppose that ratio is fine. There is no golden rule here.
     
  5. Liquidus

    Liquidus Senior member

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    Sounds reasonable to me if you don't mind rotating your pants half as often as your shirts.
     
  6. msulinski

    msulinski Senior member

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    I think the pants are fine, if not a bit on the high side, assuming you don't wash/dry clean them very often. You may even want more shirts, with a definitive split over what you wear with a tie/suit/jacket vs without. The shirts for Fridays can have bolder patterns, button down collars, and coarser fabrics.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  7. samnc

    samnc Well-Known Member

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    thanks.

    Actually, I think my next pants will be linens and things like that for the warmer weather.

    The odd thing with my ties (and they are mainly all recent purchases in the past six months--weight loss has triggered a new sense of fashion) is that I already have favorites out of the 12 or so I have, even though I liked them all equally when I was acquiring them. I guess you never know how useful they really are until you wear some shirts...
     
  8. Trompe le Monde

    Trompe le Monde Senior member

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    pretty good baseline if theyre all versatile
    i would add more sweaters, then shoes and suits
     
  9. archibaldleach

    archibaldleach Senior member

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    First of all, congrats on putting together what sounds like a pretty decent work wardrobe. I'll say "buy more" a few times in this post as a suggestion, but it's not as if you aren't in good shape most likely. At some level only you can know what is right for you when it comes to clothes, but I'd say this looks pretty decent. I work in a business casual environment myself and do not have to wear a suit that often. Not sure on exact ratios, but I definitely think owning more sport coats than suits is a good idea. Trousers should always outnumber odd jackets since you need to get trousers pressed more frequently than odd jackets. Shirts should outnumber trousers. I have around a 1:1 tie to shirt ratio and I think that is ideal as it gives you access to a large number of looks and prevents you from always wearing one or two ties with a particular shirt. Sweaters is really a personal thing and depends on how much you like the sweater over dress shirt look or how much you wear a sweater casually. My ideal ratio (business casual or suit not required for work) is probably something like this:

    1:2:3:6:6 (i.e. for every suit, two sport coats, three pairs of odd trousers, six dress shirts and six ties). Note that this excludes casual pants, polos, etc.

    I actually think the number of shoes you need is defined more by your environment and taste than a ratio to anything else in your wardrobe. If you wore a suit everyday, you'd only need to be able to rotate enough suit appropriate shoes and could make do with three pairs (rotate three, then rotate two when you have to send the third to the cobbler). In a more casual environment, you need three pairs of shoes that you can rotate that work without a tie, plus something you can wear with a more formal outfit when the occasion calls for it. Add in any desire for variety (color, design, etc.) in shoes and your needs increase.

    Suits - If you wear one rarely, then two suits is going to be sufficient. It's not worth bothering with different fabric weights for different weather if you don't wear a suit that often anyways. Not sure what you have but the first two suits will ideally be navy solid and grey solid.

    Sport Coats - Four is a decent collection. If you wear these a lot more than suits, however, and like to wear a jacket during the summer, it might be worth your while to expand this number slightly. The key here is making sure your sport coats are versatile. If they're overly loud or noticeable, you need more.

    Pants - Eight is a good number provided you wear them all regularly. If you have a few favorites that you wear all the time, I'd suggest getting a few more pairs of them. In general, if you can wear a pair of pants once a week and let it rest in your closet for a week, that's pretty good.

    Shirts - Fifteen is a good number of shirts to own. You could buy more shirts, but it's not necessary.

    Ties - Get more. The number you have is fine if you liked and wore them all regularly, but it sounds like some just hang on the rack. We inevitably go through our entire shirt wardrobe even if we have some favorites but tend to gravitate more towards specific ties. Having more ties that you wear regularly lets you put together many more looks.

    Shoes - Five is fine. I don't really think that there's an ideal ratio for shoes compared to the rest of your wardrobe. You just need enough so that you never have to wear a pair two days in a row and that you have different styles for different levels of formality (e.g. AE Park Avenue or the like for suit and tie, perhaps a brogued blucher or monkstrap for less formal occasions and loafers if you like them).

    If you're looking to expand, I'd buy more shoes, a sport coat, ties and shirts. Linen pants are nice too. If you'd like recommendations, perhaps post some more details on what you own.
     

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