Your Business wear buyers guide
With business wear, it’s safe to say that this is a great place to invest in timeless classics, the trick is to look for the key components to making it look as successful as it should.
Style and details
With a preference towards classic, at Alexandra Wood we feel that business wear that looks truly professional must be non-ostentatious and always elegant. This means no jazzy lapels - especially not skinny ones. This isn’t a place to let your inner style god to shine, but a place to display professionalism and confidence.
A classic lapel is measured at 3.125’ and is a notch design unless of course you’re opting for a double breasted style. However, double breasted suits are rarely seen in business these days, with a single breasted design being the more effortless route.
Fit and cut
The cut of business clothes should always be that they fit impeccably, but do not cling. Your clothes should glide on and should hug you and have shape wherever possible. A clean, smooth silhouette looks far more elegant than something that is either far too tight or too loose.
Comfort, practicality and durability are key elements to a successful business wardrobe. The fabric of your suit will determine its longevity. A lot of people think that a suit fabric must be heavy in order for it to stand the test of time, however, that isn’t always the case. What you should be looking for is a fabric with a ‘high twist’ So whether light or heavy, the fabric won’t crease and will simply bounce back into place. High twist means that the fabrics fibres are tightly twisted so that they are able to quickly bounce back with no strain on the fabric itself. That being said, a high twist fabric can be a little coarser so if you like a smoother, more glossier appearance, you may wish to compromise by opting for a pure wool or a super 120’s wool. Whichever fabric you do choose, always ensure that the fabric has no polyester in, not only does it cheapen a suit but it can make you hotter than necessary (Not in the good way ;-) ) as it traps heat in your body which makes for uncomfortable wearing. Natural fabrics drape in a way that is far superior, so always invest in your professional image.
Fabrics of preference for business suits:
High twist wools, Pure wool 9-12oz, Super 120’s wool (Any higher and the fabric becomes too delicate)
Your business wear essentials:
Tailored suits We advise having between 2-5 business suits to hand, depending on how often you’re in a formal setting. For example, if you’re a barrister, you’ll likely be wearing suits to court frequently, so will want to be at the higher end of the scale. Rotation is key. Wear your suit one day, then allow to rest for two days and so on.
When buying your suits, think about the colour you navigate to most. If you always end up wearing a classic, navy suit and your charcoal suit is left hanging in the wardrobe then choose a full collection of blue suits. Even a classic navy has a range of tones, so you can always mix these up by choosing a herringbone for one, a texture for another and a plain suit.
Business shirts We advise having between 5-10 business shirts, with a blend of plain, textures and stripes, depending on your own personal style. An easy choice is to choose a few plain white shirts and blue. However, if you venture a little outside of your comfort zone it can look great while still looking professional. For example; a plain navy suit with a thin Bengal stripe and a tie with a subtle pattern can look effective.
Fabrics of preference for business shirts
While it’s compelling to choose ‘non-iron’ shirts, there is a reason why they say that and its usually because they contain a synthetic component which ensures that minimal effort is required on the maintenance side. However, for fabrics to really feel comfortable, they must always be made from high quality fabrics. When choosing a business shirt opt for pure cotton. Fabrics that are a little glossier tend to iron far easier than drier fabrics like an oxford cotton.
Ties From a plain, silk tie to a patterned tie, much fun can be had even in the world of business. However, we will always steer you firmly away from overly ‘jazzy patterns’. Subtlety is always key when dressing for business. By all means details, quality fabrics, textures and subtle patterns but never ‘loud.
Great shoes It’s amazing how much of an impact (or lack of) shoes can make on your professional image. An unpolished, clunky pair of business shoes can ruin a sleek suit in mere seconds so it’s important to ensure your image is immaculate from head to toe. Sleek, Italian styles are preferable with minimal detailing and no heavy soles. Black shoes do tend to work best in a professional environment and if you simply don’t like black shoes, then make sure they’re very dark brown.
In conclusion, image is everything in a professional environment and is well worth investing in. Once you have all of the foundations laid down, it’s likely that (provided you look after them well) they last for years to come. What’s more, if you ever need any hands on advice, we’re always here to help.