(“The Elegant Man: How to Construct the Ideal Wardrobe” via The Elegant Man: How to Construct the Ideal Wardrobe“>Amazon.com)
Are you lost in your wardrobe? I can be. (Happily, of course.) It would be hard for me to narrow down what is absolutely necessary at a bare minimum in constructing the ideal wardrobe. But there are a few pieces that I think are essential to build the foundation of the elegant wardrobe.
From idea by Tim Gunn, these are the ten things in my wardrobe that I cannot do without.
1) A chalk stripe suit. Most of mine are grey, ranging from light to charcoal, but two navy chalks have slipped into the lineup and I find them to be more formal.
2) A navy blazer. I’ve got six. Linen, “fleece”, wool… double and single-breasted. I love the MTM DB. It must be my Simon Templar fixation.
3) Grey flannels. Forward pleats, reverse pleats, flat front. They are the ultimate trouser formal enough for most affairs and casual enough to loaf around the house in. It’s hard to pick a favourite pair of trousers, but if pressed they would be these: MTM, side-straps, forward pleat and generous cuff. (A worsted pair of flat-front 120’s is a close second, but they’re really not flannels, so…)
4) Linen, natural coloured “jeans.” I know, I know. But this is my “go-to” casual travel/outdoor drinks party pair. Paired with a favourite sportcoat, blue shirt and Tod’s driving shoes, I feel ready for an impromptu flight to the Continent.
5) Linen or cotton/linen trousers. A must for steamy summers in Virginia. Mine are cut along the same lines as my favourite flannels. The side straps are far more comfortable than a belt when it gets really humid out. Since they are a bit heavier weight they rumple instead of wrinkle, which I find perfectly acceptable.
6) A classic tuxedo/dinner clothes. Those of you who read one of my answers to the tagged post will know that I own far too many dinner jackets. But, I never feel more elegant than when I am wearing my dinner clothes. My latest is midnight blue with grosgrain peak lapels.
7) Suede shoes. Usually in brown. A natural match for the grey flannels. I have about five pair, and it’s a toss-up between a full-brogued oxford Church’s and a monkstrap Bally. Because suede is inherently more casual than hard leather, a monkstrap is a good choice for a second pair of “casual” shoes that can look dressy if need be.
8 ) Good loafers. My Sebago Penny Loafers, in cordovan. Can’t beat ’em, they hold their polish very well and are as comfortable as slippers.
Which bring us to:
9) Belgian slippers, in black. They do double duty with dinner jackets. And there is nothing more comfortable to wear on a flight.
10) A crisp white shirt. Button-down, spread collar, straight collar, cut-away… it just doesn’t matter. Everyone looks great in a blindingly white, crisply pressed shirt. A spread collar with French (double) cuffs can also work under a dinner jacket in a pinch.
And yes, to quote the boys from Spinal Tap “this one goes up to eleven.”
11) A great coat. Mrs. E. has threatened me with serious repercussions should I come home with yet another coat. My full-length, double-breasted, peak lapel, half belted back camelhair polo is far more comfortable and warm than any of my dressing gowns… I’d really love a Chesterfield though… I wonder what are “serious repercussions” exactly….?
What are the pieces that you can’t do without?