Wardrobe essentials for successful men

5 minutes read

At Alexandra Wood, we discuss how to invest in your wardrobe and what key pieces you need to focus on, by the expert.   

We’re going to keep this simple. You’re here because you don’t have the time or vision to give your style as much thought as you’d like to.

Considering which clothes to wear every day has likely become rather tedious – because your clothes don’t work together, don’t fit and don’t look as great as you’d like.

And, no – staring into the abyss of your wardrobe, hoping inspiration will eventually spring upon you, is not the solution.

You might know how you’d like to look – but that’s no good if you don’t have the clothes in your wardrobe to match that vision of yourself.

When we work with our clients, often to begin with, we don’t even discuss clothes. We want to know all about who you are, what your lifestyle is like, where you work, live, socialise, travel. We then ask you how you want to look, and feel, and how you wish to be perceived.

These things are key. Knowing this will stop you from continuing to buy clothes you simply ‘like’, with no real understanding of how they can be worn together, and if they will fit or even suit you.

So, first things first. In your head, or on a piece of paper, consider where you spend most of your time – i.e. the office, travelling, on holiday, smart/casual settings or working from home.

This gives you the all-important initial context around what you really need to invest in.  Using the list below, start looking at which items you have, and where the gaps are.


Business wear

A crucial element to most men’s wardrobes – when done correctly, a tailored suit can make a strong impression, and therefore getting it right cannot be underestimated.

For the most part I encourage men to choose more blue suits than grey. Why? Because blue is both more flattering and has been psychologically proven to be the most effective colour for endearing others to you. Whether hoping to win a large contract or a big court case, you can’t go too far wrong with several shades of blue.

These are my go-to options for anyone wanting to complete their business attire collection.

  • Plain navy blue: a simple go-to suit for several occasions
  • Petrol blue: a little softer and ideal for those more relaxed work days
  • Textured blue: has a little more vibrancy. Ideal for moving into spring/summer and those wishing to add a little more personality to their attire.
  • Navy herringbone: a herringbone fabric adds an interesting extra dimension to a business suit and is ideal in a corporate environment
  • Mid grey: this is deal for corporate events, just ensure you don’t go too dark
  • Raincoat: A raincoat is one of life’s essentials, it can be worn with a suit for a lighter layer to protect them, and also you, from the rain. What’s more, a tailored raincoat can be worn as part of your smart/casual look too, so it’s an investment well made. I’d go for a classic navy here, the best option for flexibility.
  • Overcoat: Again, overcoats work well for both business attire as well as smart/casual. Choose an overcoat that is well-tailored, yet offers enough room to fit over your suits. Choose between a navy, charcoal or camel. Charcoal and navy tend to work best with darker suits, where camel works best if you wear more sports jacket/trouser combinations in lighter colours.

Smart / Casual

For smart/casual there are a few important things to consider, so that you can allow this look to be used for everything from laid back business meetings to events such as Wimbledon or dinner parties.

The key is to have a combination of key pieces such as sports jackets, chinos, smart jeans, trousers and casual suits. It’s the clever mixing and matching of each that will be crucial to your style success.

I’ve listed a mixture of smart and casual pieces, which will help you transition through a busy social calendar, from formal trousers, tailored shirts and sports jackets at formal dinners during the week to smart jeans mixed with a sweater and a sports jacket at the weekend.

FYI – a tailored sports jacket is a patterned jacket that coordinates with trousers that are not made of the same fabric, or have the same pattern. A blazer is a solid colour jacket with contrasting (often metal) buttons – although choosing metal buttons is very rare these days. The modern choice is to opt for natural horn buttons with a subtle contrast for a fresher, modern look.

Tailored Sports Jackets

  • Classic navy blazer
  • Check sports jacket
  • Casual blue sports jacket
  • Tweed sports jacket
  • Seersucker sports jacket
  • Flannel sports jacket

Tailored Trousers

  • Lightweight chinos
  • Smarter chinos
  • Smart jeans
  • Formal tailored trousers ie pure wool and flannel trousers are a great start


  • Organic cotton t-shirts
  • Ten casual shirts
  • Merino wool knitwear: quarter zips, crews and roll necks

Tailored Casual Suits

  • Cotton Suit
  • Linen mix blend suit
  • Wool suit in a non-corporate colour such as a petrol blue
  • Jersey stretch ( made to leisure at its finest)

Casual wear 

This is a list of casual items which any man should have in his wardrobe, which can then work well when blended with your smart/casual looks as needed. Wearing a pair of sleek, tailored  flannel trousers with a roll neck and leather jacket looks uncontrived and therefore ‘sexy and stylish’, and it’s a great casual look. It’s about wearing the conventional, and applying your own set of rules to them that makes for a more effortlessly stylish look.

  • Jeans
  • Chinos
  • Harrington or bomber jacket
  • Leather jacket
  • Shacket: a blend of a shirt and jacket
  • Unconstructed jackets

Holiday wear

When it comes to holiday attire – it’s amazing how often even the most stylish of men abandon their usual style and opt for a horrifying pair of zippy cargo shorts. But actually, as you arrive at your Six Senses Retreat, you’ll want to show up looking hot, while staying cool.

So, think tailored shorts, breezy and relaxed (but fitted) shirts for an effortless look, that looks and feels comfortable, but well thought out. You can keep the colour palette simple and replicate much of what you already have in your wardrobe in subtle shade changes.

Travel Essentials

  • Linen blend shirts
  • Casual lightweight shirts
  • Organic cotton tailored t-shirts
  • Polo tops
  • Lightweight chinos
  • Drawstring trousers
  • Cotton tailored shorts
  • Drawstring shorts

Events & Occasions

There are a few key items for formalwear that, once invested in, you can reach for time and time again without fear of ever looking outdated. Keep it sharp, simple and beautifully cut.

  • Black dinner suit
  • Morning suit
  • White tie jacket
  • Smoking jacket
  • Velvet dinner jacket: (FYI, a velvet dinner jacket is different to a velvet smoking jacket and is for wearing to at-home dinner events and private member clubs, over black-tie events. More relaxed but suave, this is a great piece to own for classy, yet slightly more laid-back events
  • Evening shirt either with studs or concealed buttons. This is a case of preference.
  • Evening shoes
  • Black oxfords
  • Black bow tie: self-tie or ready-tied

I hope this helps you to see where your wardrobe might be lacking. You don’t need to get everything at once. Look at where you have the most gaps, and then decide on which pieces to invest in first, before building out your wardrobe with items that complement or complete a look.

And if you start to realise you need more help, then that’s where we come in.

A little more about Alexandra Wood

“I’m a big believer that how you dress should reveal you as your finest self – a moment of confidence, clarity and effortless style.” (Alexandra Wood)

Renowned for doing tailoring differently, Alexandra Wood is at once designer, tailor and stylist. Rather than merely replicating what a customer thinks they want, she expertly steers them towards braver, sharper and more colourful sartorial choices that turn heads for all the right reasons.

One of Savile Row’s first female tailors exclusively designing for men, Alexandra Wood has been described as a ‘tailor of the 21st century” by GQ and named one of the best Savile Row tailors of 2020 by Esquire. The editor of The New Statesman said: “She has a great eye – as well as technical expertise as a tailor. We have developed a good rapport, and I trust her judgement, which is essential. She won’t bullshit me – and I appreciate that.”

Having dressed hundreds of high-profile men, helping to transform their image, and confidence, for Alexandra it is the moment of seeing customers rediscover their own style and a newfound sense of themselves that excites her the most. The process above is how she begins her design relationship with each customer and is a great place to start to identify missing pieces and create a wardrobe that works for you.

Book a friendly, relaxed call to discuss your wardrobe requirements here 

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