How to Build Your Wardrobe

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Our appearance
speaks louder than our words…..

Every day we
pass by hundreds of people on the subway, in hallways, or on the
streets, never saying a word. Yet despite the lack of verbal communication,
decisions are being made as to the trustworthiness and intentions
of those around you. Doubt this? Try wearing a ski mask and trench
coat while gesturing wildly with your arms. In the 15 minutes you
have before the police show-up, take note that despite not saying
a single word your appearance has sent a message.

Yes, what I
just said is unfair. Right now you may be thinking “Judge me
not by my clothing, but by the integrity in which I live my life”
– and I couldn’t agree more. But life isn’t fair,
human beings have and will continue to judge others based on the
information presented to them – and in most situations this
is at first our physical appearance. Dress like a thug and people
treat you like one; dress like a professional and you’ll have
doors opened for you.

A Man’s
Wardrobe

There are many
things that we can’t control; the weather, the economy, the
fact that college football needs a playoff system. How we present
ourselves to strangers and new acquaintances, however, is not one
of them. When you shake hands with a potential partner, they form
an instant impression of you which is not easily dislodged. First
impressions are powerful because until we begin to speak, they are
the only bits of information we have to make a snap decision as
to whether we like or trust someone. Countless communication studies
have shown a man’s visual appearance is initially more powerful
than what he says; ignore your wardrobe at your own risk.

There will
be three articles in this series –

Part 1 –
How to Build Your Wardrobe – Making the Commitment & Understanding
Your Needs
– Before a man begins anything that will require
substantial time and resources, he has to be committed to the change.
In this article we break men up into defined groups based on their
lifestyles and we then address their specific needs. The goal is
to give you a quick checklist of items you should consider investing
in depending on your career choice and personal requirements.

Part 2 –
How to Build Your Wardrobe – Clothing Specifics

In this article we address specific menswear questions such as the
order in which you should assemble your clothing, which suit colors
and style should you choose if you only own one suit, which shoe
styles you will get the most wear out of, and how you mix casual
wear into the wardrobe. We’ll also talk about where those on
a very limited budget should invest the bulk of their money if they
are starting from scratch.

Part 3 –
How to Build Your Wardrobe – Accessories, Maintenance, &
Storage
– In this final article we’ll cover the often
neglected points of a man’s wardrobe such as how to incorporate
hats, watches, & other accessories along with clothing storage
& protection.

Part 1 –
How to Build Your Wardrobe – Making the Commitment & Understanding
Your Needs

1st –
Learn and then Commit to Improve Your Personal Presentation

First, before
spending a dime, you must commit to making the change. Do this by
going through your current clothing and setting aside everything
that you 1) have not worn for two years 2) is noticeably stained
and 3) fits so poorly not even a master tailor could adjust it to
fit. Package it all up and mark it for the Salvation Army or EBay.
Now over the next week verbally inform a few close friends and family
member as to what you are doing – perhaps even promise a new
profile picture on Facebook of you decked out in your new clothing.
The goal here is to create a network of supporters and audience;
this puts pressure on you to fulfill your promise.

And do not
forget to gain the support of your spouse or the person who will
be helping you to pay for all this. I find my clients’ wives
are ecstatic and fully supportive of their husband’s efforts
to dress better. If you keep your partner out of the decision, however,
you could be met with unexpected resistance.

2nd –
Understand the Basics of Style and Your Specific Needs

You have to
understand why you need professional clothing in your wardrobe.
I’ve written about this point quite a bit; if you need further
convincing check out past Art of Manliness articles such as Your
Personal Appearance: The Importance of Being a Sharp Dressed Man

or explore the writings
of former FBI counter intelligence agent Joe Navarro

he blogs extensively about the
importance of proper presentation
and the power of your curbside
appeal.

Next, build
a foundation in understanding the rules of dressing well. I can’t
stress the importance of a man taking control of his own image.
Handing the responsibility over to your wife or girlfriend, however
well meaning they may be, is a dangerous option; you may end up
looking like a Ken doll. These resources will give you the basics:

And make sure
to supplement these guides with modern style blogs such as Street
Etiquette
, Put This On,
Image Granted, and
Young Man/Old Man.

Types of
Men and Their Clothing Needs

The Constant
Professional’s Wardrobe

You wear a
suit Monday through Friday, often find you are having dinner with
clients, and even on the weekends dress well as you might run into
colleagues and clients out on the town. Your image is tied closely
to the reputation you have carefully crafted over the years –
a man who pays attention to the details and can be trusted to handle
others people’s affairs with professionalism.

Items that
should be in the Constant Professional’s wardrobe:

  • 6+ Suits
  • 3+ Pair
    Dress Shoes
  • 2 Pair Casual
    Leather Shoes
  • Belts that
    match above shoes
  • 15+ Dress
    Shirts
  • 15+ Ties
  • 1 Pair jeans
    that fit – no holes
  • 4 Pair Slacks,
    Dark & Light
  • 4+ Button-up
    collared sport shirts
  • 2+ Solid
    Polo Shirts
  • 5+ Sweaters
  • 10+ Undershirts
    V-neck
  • 2+ Sports
    Jackets
  • 1 Navy Blazer
  • 10+ Pocket
    Squares
  • 2 Simple
    Dress Watches
  • 1 Overcoat
  • 1 Pair Leather
    Gloves
  • 1 Trenchcoat
  • 1 Hat
  • Presentable
    Athletic Clothing
  • Collar Stays,
    Cuff Links

Items that
would be helpful for the Constant Professional to have:

  • Full black
    tie ensemble – A onetime investment enables you to have a
    perfect fitting and better quality tuxedo that has paid for itself
    after 5 wearings.

The Business
Owner’s Wardrobe

You occasionally
wear a suit when meeting with clients or investors but in the confines
of your office you are more casual while still maintaining a level
of professionalism around your employees. In the evenings with friends
and family you are much more relaxed, and even if you head to the
office Saturday morning, you’re going in jeans and a polo.

Read
the rest of the article

May
5, 2010

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