Reader Questions: How To Restart A Wardrobe

Reader Questions: How To Restart A Wardrobe



Dear Justin, 

I have been following your blog for the past half year and have enjoyed reading through your entries. What I would like to ask of you is if you could help me with some ideas on how to develop a wardrobe. 
Currently I have the pleasure of residing in what is called the fashion capital of central europe, Prague, and so I have access to many resources regarding fashion. I am a student, but it being Prague as well as Europe it is expected to dress up if you are going out. Be to a dinner, the opera or orchestra or even to a night club/party. Basically, dressing up if a very key aspect of Prague life and since I moved here from Canada, 6 years ago I have learned a lot about fashion but I still would like to ask for your opinion when it comes to restarting my wardrobe. Recently I have moved out of my parent’s house and started studying at a local Czech college. While the living costs are relatively low (thanks greatly in part to my parents), I have been able to secure a job that doesn’t interfere with my academic life and thus save up some money that I wish to spend on building up this wardrobe. 
What I wish to do is something similar to what you said in one of your older posts, (I think it was called Building a Basic Wardrobe) however, me being in Europe I would like to ask your opinion of any european brands/tailors. I am a person that enjoys dressing up for currently I do own one suit; a dark grey Hugo Boss with a light pinstripe and 4 dress shirts from T.M. Lewin, all with french cuffs. Also I wear braces for I have one pair. What I am predominately asking for, in term of advice is for advice on suits for I would like to have more than one, as well as advice on braces and cufflinks. While money right now is not really of question, (I am in Europe now and I don’t know when I will be back, if I happen to leave) I would not spend outrageous amounts on any of mentioned above articles.
Dear Reader,

It sounds like your off to a good start and good job on going for suspenders and favor of dressing up.  It sounds like a second suit should be your next acquisition.  Start with the foundational pieces and build out from there.  That said, definitely go for a solid navy or gray, you will get the most use out of one of those.  They will prove to be more practical and wearable than your current pinstripe.  If you have the opportunity to go custom, do it. Unfortunately, I do not have much knowledge on the european MTM and bespoke suit scene (but there are plenty of online operations like Black Lapel, Matthew Aperry, Dragon Inside and A Suit That Fits).  I would also recommend picking up a few custom shirts if you can, Cottonwork is where I get most of my shirts from.  TM Lewin sells some good shirts for the price but I, as you know, am a big fan of going custom.  You didn’t mention shoes so I dont know where you are with those but some nice dress shoes are crucial to a good look. I think burgundy is the most versatile shoe color, although many people don’t agree with me.

Once you have a solid base of those three things then focus more on accessories – ties, pocket squares, suspenders, socks etc.  Like with suits and shoes, start with a few basics here.  White linen or cotton pocket squares then some with simple designs and common colors; the idea is to get some that can be used more easily with a wider variety of items.  I am a huge fan or silk knit and grenadine ties.  They are the most practical ties you can buy, and they always look good.  For socks, go for over the calf only with your suits.  And for suspenders, go for whatever your heart desires.  I wear mine mostly for myself because I see them much much more than other people see them.  This often results in some pretty aggressive combinations, but whatever.  I find that accessories are the easiest way to change up your look and help create a signature style. They help set the formality of your outfit along with a suit, shoes and shirt.