How many suits do you buy for your first job?

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man's suit
Executive 2-button wool suit with center vent with pleated front trousers
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With a few basics, you can assemble an impeccable suit wardrobe for a first job

How many suits do you buy for your first job? How many can you afford? 

Most young men who are just starting out in the workforce do not have a whole lot of disposable income. If you ask a wardrobe expert, "how many suits do I need for my first job," the answer will most probably be that you are going to have to come up with the money for at least three quality suits.

Ideally, get your new suits tailored. A quality menswear store will generally have a full-time tailor on staff, or be able to schedule an appointment for your suit tailoring. The cost of tailoring should be minimal, or included in your purchase. Many dry cleaners also provide tailoring services.

If you purchase a three-piece suit - pants, jacket and vest - this gives you more versatility. Suits have one- or two-buttons generally, but can have more. For one of  your first job suits, the one- or two-button version is probably the best option.

When it comes to color, get a black suit for your first job suit because it can be worn anywhere. If you can only buy one suit, get a black one. 

After you purchase a basic black suit, find a navy blue suit. Navy blue is particularly good for the winter. You can wear a navy suit with black or brown shoes. When shopping for a blue suit, stick with the dark or medium navy colors. Avoid pale blue suits. They do not look as polished for an office environment, and don't make the grade as a first job suit. 

When determining how many suits do you buy for your first job, after a black and a navy suit, consider a gray suit. A gray suit is very adaptable as a first job suit. You can select a pin-striped gray suit or a solid light or dark gray one. 

If you can afford to purchase a fourth suit, find a tan or light-colored suit for the summer. In fact, any of the lighter colors look good in a pin stripe. Avoid buying a flashy patterned suit because they are rarely if ever fashionable or professional looking. Stick with the classics when first building your first job suit wardrobe.

Decide whether you want a double-breasted or single-breasted jacket. This boils down to personal preference; however, singled-breasted jackets tend to look better on slender men whereas a double-breasted jacket make big men look even bigger. If you want to look big, opt for double-breasted. Your jacket should, ideally, have vents. David Letterman wears double-breasted suits. Check him out. If you like his look, emulate it when you purchase your first job suit.

The pants usually come with the suit jacket unless you are buying separates. Pants come with or without cuffs. Cuff-less is more youthful looking but choose what you like. Pants should be well-folded while hanging in your closet and look crisp when you put them on but avoid pleats that can look puckered. Make sure the pants fit you well around the waist and hug your butt nicely.

You can change the look of your suit by wearing different shirts, ties and changing up your cuff links. If you are one of those real spiffy dressers and wear a handkerchief in your pocket, you can change the color, giving you a new look. 

You can also purchase suit separates for your first job, which are entirely appropriate for the office. Suit separates are just that - they are sold separately.

Have you had a chance to observe how the other men in the office dress? Do they always wear suits? Do they wear suit separates? Do they sometimes wear dress pants with a dress shirt and tie and forgo the jacket?

Professionally speaking, and maybe generally speaking, guys do not have the diversity in clothing options that women have. For them, it is a suit jacket and pants, shirt and tie and a pair of shined shoes. A good suit is a business man's uniform, and an integral part of the first job wardrobe.

Choose carefully and purchase suits that are quality, in a neutral or subdued color and pattern so that it is not obvious that you have to wear it a lot. Variety may be the spice of life, but when you are first starting out and on a budget, it is better to purchase excellent quality, basic suits, that to purchase lots of less expensive clothing.

As you move up the corporate ladder - which you will certainly do with if you have a good strategy for your suit wardrobe - you can add suits, colors and patterns, to your closet.


Buying a Suit: a Shopper's Guide

How to Buy Your First Suit

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