The Bare Necessities
While the bare necessities of which Balloo sang in the Jungle Book, my favourite children’s film of all time by the way, may be more be more essential to one’s survival, the prerequisites of a well compiled wardrobe are tantamount to an easy life, particularly if you must get dressed every day in order to conduct your business; whether that be as Bristol’s local tailor, or otherwise.
Clearly there is a resurgence among men for the micro wardrobe, as I have been asked for my assistance in building one several times in as many weeks. So I thought it might be of use to scribe the garments which I think will get you through life, the year, the week or your next business trip, as follows;
The Two Piece Suit
Whether you’re a suit-a-day kind of guy, or not, at some time or another in the next 6 months, you will have cause to wear a suit; get it right first time and you will save yourself the pain and anguish of not getting it right first time i.e. having to buy another next time around, incurring unnecessary expense, or, indeed, having to go shopping (shudders..).
Commissioning a suit should be an enjoyable pursuit, a luxury for some, and simply the only means of ensuring that you will be furnished with a garment that fits, and, provides the wearer with the design details and attributes which he favours and which he knows are the most flattering.
And if we are to consider what would be the most versatile, then, as with all things Brown in Town, we must first consider which colour is most flattering of the wearer and as a general guide, a cloth colour which matches either your eye colour or hair, or, indeed, beard colour, if, indeed, you reside here in Bristol. Or at least a colour which is works well against your skin tone – the girls are often a good source of inspiration where colour is concerned, so listen to your personal style advisor, after all, they will have to look at you wearing it more than you will look at yourself, I hope (vanity is not becoming of any man).
With regard suit design, the contemporary classic is sure to continue to stand the test of time, and so is a good go to if you are in any doubt;
Single breasted, 2 button fastening, double vented, 4 button cuff, notched lapels, straight or slanted pockets (other jacket designs and styles are also available). Weights vary but a cloth weighing between 8/9 0z – 11/12oz should cater for most tastes.
Slanted hip pockets, single right (or left) back pocket, hip adjusters, single pleats and turn-ups to taste, albeit pleats add something in the way of comfort, whereas turn-ups, unless you are tall and endeavouring to anchor your trousers to your shoes, bring little in the way of utilitarian functionality.
The blazer, sport coat or jacket (call it what you will) and grey flannels, worsteds, or, most commonly these days, chinos and jeans, is a timeless staple. Harrisons and H. Lesser offer the best of the best with many colour variations to suit all palettes.
Whether worn with the traditional brass buttons or not, the blue (jacket) is almost certainly certainly the most versatile colour. Bright colours are perfect for the summer months, but avoid a cloth colour which can be mistaken for a suit jacket i.e. grey, black or pin striped: not a good look. A dark blue jacket will work with khaki or pale blue chinos, denim, grey worsted or flannel trousers, and even dark blue tailored shorts.. enquire within.
With the exception of the cut, the design of the classic blazer has changed little over the years. The cut of today’s jib is typically a closer fit, and, aside jetted pockets being more popular than patch pockets, and the single vent more popular than the double vent, the design of single breasted (rarely am I commissioned to cut a double breasted blazer, and more’s the pity), two button fastening, 4 button working cuff, is, for Brown in Town patrons anyway, the most popular, and, I would say, versatile.
Slacks, trousers, jeans, chinos
I would suggest that owning one of each of these garments will you stand you in good stead. If I had to choose only two, or even one, then chinos, followed by grey worsted trousers, are, for me, the most versatile.
Worsted, or Flannels
The cut of this most timeless of wardrobe staples will be based on your own personal taste, naturally, but if I were to make a suggestion for the most versatiles design, then a pair featuring slanted side pockets, a single right (or left) back pocket, forward, or English pleats, will almost certainly see you through any, and all, occasions.
Typically worn without pleats, but feel to experiment, after all, if you find pleats comfortable in your suit trousers, or slacks, why not incorporate them in your chinos, if you have the option. Belt loops are more popular than hip adjusters, not least because many of us have spent years building up a collection of belts to match our shoes. But again, if you fancy a change and are feeling like you want to raise the bar on this otherwise utilitarian garment, then we are only going to encourage you to do so!
Finally, a shirt in each of the following colours will see you through any and all occasions; white, pale blue and pink. If you wear ties with your suits, or indeed jackets, then you will have to decide on which collar to use as the semi-cut away collar will not work as an open neck (shirt), as the collars will disappear under your jacket lapels. If you are able, have one of each made; those to be worn with a suit to feature a semi-cut away collar and double cuffs, and those to be worn open neck a Kent collar and single cuffs.
And there you have it, in essence. For sure we might have a wish list which includes summer suits made of linen, and tweed jackets for Autumn/Winter, but these staples will see you through thick and thin. Then, once you have realised just how simple the male (or micro) wardrobe can be to achieve, the bear neccessities of life of will come to you.. and then we can discuss what additions would make it flourish!