Questions From The Readers, V (Building A Suit Wardrobe)

Questions From The Readers, V (Building A Suit Wardrobe)



Hey dude, been reading your blog for a few months now. Really like everything you put out, especially stuff I can apply to my day job.

Wanted to pick your brain… I work in Private Banking so suit and tie everyday.  In need of another suit. I like my stuff to be stylish but also practical given that I’m in a suit 5 days a week. Have 4 suits now and am in the market for another. Color are:

Navy pinstripe from z-zenga
Dark charcoal gray from a shady guy in midtown
Sharkskin blue from mysuit
Light gray/charcoal from mysuit

I like a European look and feel in my clothes (thin lapels, no belt loops, high armpits, someone skinny pants, etc). I am shorter at 5’8″ with a thin athletic build, played baseball in college but some of this has morphed into a finance body after 4 years of work.

Was thinking of picking up a 1 button suit. What are your thoughts? All my suits now a 2 buttons.  Given the nature of my business I need to stay pretty traditional, but at the same time I like to push the boundaries a bit and I enjoy having that image in the office.

Happy to spend around $600-$800 on this suit.  What are your thoughts? Was thinking of a standard light navy color.




Nice to hear from you.  And thank you for reading the blog, please feel free to spread it around.

Regarding your dilemma, let’s get to it.  Sounds like you definitely need to invest in a few more suits.  You may want to try to up your budget and get two, as opposed to one suit.  Logic being this; sharkskin is really only a spring summer fabric, which cuts you down to three suits in the fall/winter and 4 in the summer.  But of the 4 suits in the summer, really only one is a summer suit.  I am guessing all of your suits are fully lined, which would make the grey ones, except for the light grey, too hot for days like today [on that day it was 80+ degrees and quite humid].  Building a suit wardrobe is like building any collection.  You start with something basic and then make it more well rounded and comprehensive.  Eventually you get things that are more rare and specialized.  Transferred to suits I mean this.  You want to have enough of the basic suits (solids and pinstripes) to cover most purposes.  But you also need more specialized suits for specific things; like flannels for the winter and linens and frescos for the summer.  And by the way, definitely go the made to measure route on the suits.  It’s all I will touch really, but it seems you’ve started that with your MySuits.  Anyway, I have a few recs for you.

1 – Get 2 suits. one summer and one winter.  For the summer suit get something that is half lined, preferably in either a lighter color (tan, light grey, lighter blue) or with an open weave (ideally a fresco).  MySuit does half lining for no extra charge, but they do not have frescos, you’d have to hit the high end of your price range for that, but chances are the fresco would lie outside your budget.  So since you’ve already worked with MySuit, I’d go there for the half lined.  The benefit of half lined is that it allows more air circulation, which in the hot and humid summer months can make or break your commute.  For the winter suit go for another classic; pinstripe, windowpane, solid etc.  This would give you 4 suits in the winter and 2 in the summer; and obviously you could use some of the winter/fall suits in the spring/summer as well.  So, by pushing it, you could have 6 suit when needed in the summer.  2 suits from MySuit would be about $1,100; which although above your budget, could be worth the extra 300.  You could also opt for Black lapel for the winter suit (they don’t do half lining), their construction is a step above MySuit and the price the same.  Or you could opt for Indochino, which also doesn’t do half lining but suits are $400; quality is not as high as MySuit or Black Lapel but you get what you pay for here.

2 – Get 2 suits, just don’t get both now, get the summer now and the winter in a few months.

3 – Get 1 suit.  If you had to get just one suit I would recommend getting something half lined.  It’ll save your ass in the spring/summer and will still be wearable into the fall.  Since you already have a few fall/winter suits I think the larger void is in the spring/summer realm.  A light navy is always a great choice, but will limit how far into the fall you can wear it, as it is more of a spring/summer color.

Hopefully one of these three options help on the suit front.  Regarding buttons and such.  I have a few 1 button peak lapel suits.  They look sick, but are quite aggressive and can give of wrong impression; so you have to be careful in how and where you wear them.  Know your audience; especially if you’re in private banking…  What may be of better use for you is a 2 button peak lapel.  They are a little edgier than a 2 button notch lapel but still conservative, pair it with the right fabric and it can be great.  I tried the 1 button notch lapel look and didn’t really like it, but that was my preference, feel free to try it.

Let me know if you have any further questions.


Justin L. Jeffers