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23. March 2018

The pleasure of a well put-together wardrobe


Maximilian Mogg

When I recently talked to the owner of a venerable Savile Row tailoring shop *cough* Henry Poole *cough* (“I was only saying to the Queen the other day how I hate name dropping.” – Douglas Fairbanks Jr), he told me of the rule of seven. When I asked him for a definition of this concept, he explained that Henry Poole recommends to its customers that they should try to build a functional, simple seven-suit wardrobe before they start with experiments.

“How do you want your jacket to be cut?”

Constant investment in your wardrobe

Of course, it should come as no surprise that a man like Mr Simon Cundey, a man who has been dressing London’s crème de la crème for decades, knows what he is talking about. In any case, those who follow this approach to building a functional, yet elegant and timeless wardrobe are always impeccably dressed and will feel right at home at Henry Poole. The question remains whether this approach is universally valid. In short: yes and no! That being said, I personally believe in this approach for most men.

I generally like to get an idea of my customer’s existing wardrobe and their lifestyle to create a roadmap to building their ideal wardrobe step-by-step. The goal is to achieve a unique, functional, and high-quality outfit for each day of the week through constant small investments. Essentially, this means that we need seven shirts, seven suits, and seven pairs of shoes. This allows for some flexibility but also insures that you will be elegantly dressed – without having to expend too much energy – whenever you encounter your fellow man. This also provides ample opportunities to allow your clothing to rest and not wear it out too quickly.

Analysis of the existing wardrobe and getting an idea of the preferences is key!

For example, I personally – contrary to the belief of those who see my outfits – take great care to achieve “aesthetic efficiency” in the morning. I put a great deal of thought into cut, colour, material, degree of formality, etc. when deciding on my suit, shirt, and shoes. Thankfully, through careful management, I do not stand in front of my mirror with three outfits and cry: “I do not know what to wear!” every morning. Each of my shirts, suits, and pairs of shoes is already sorted by degree of formality and this determines its scope of application. In other words, I just need look at my calendar and at the weather and I know what I want to wear.

Generally, I would recommend an honest analysis of one’s own wardrobe, followed by some personal research, followed by a longer conversation with the tailor of your choosing (or purveyors of made-to-measure clothing *cough* Maximilian Mogg *cough*).

The inverse model – spontaneous buying

However, spontaneity is exciting. And are we not all hunter-gatherers? Of course, we are! I am the last person who would advise against being spontaneous. Especially when it comes to accessories such as ties, socks (over-the-calf, of course), braces, belts, cufflinks, lighters, (discreet) jewellery, and any other item that tickles your fancy can give you a real kick and can drastically improve any outfit. However, in my humble opinion, spontaneity is rather foolish when it comes to your big-ticket items, i.e. good suits, overcoats and shoes. You are in serious danger of wasting money and space in your closet with things you don’t love or won’t be able to wear regularly. That being said, a wise man once said: Danger is my middle name, baby!

Danger is my middle name, baby!

For anyone who is currently in the process of analysing their wardrobe and still finds it lacking, have no fear! Until we have finished our move to Charlottenburg (in August 2018), we will provide every client who buys a two-piece suit with a complementary shirt worth €200.

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Further information

Firstly, it is a small detail, but I enjoy it when a gentleman swaps his daytime tie for a darker tie in the evening. Secondly, one must never forget that clothing is and will always be just clothing. Nice clothing does not make a gentleman. A gentleman shows himself and his surroundings respect at all times. Manners maketh man. Finally, gentlemen do not strive to wear a uniform and I am not trying to suggest that such a uniform should exist. This article merely seeks to provide help in building a functional wardrobe. This is a system that works. However, even those who disagree may ask for advice. MM/DC