Sartoria Lab


You've got the basics in your wardrobe, now what?

The majority of clients that come to me, don't dress badly, but would just like some fresh ideas as to how they could expand their wardrobes. It's not so much of a transformation they're after but some tweaks here and there, and a few side steps from their normal default style. I've deliberately kept the advice as simple and easy steps that you could incorporate into your wardrobe, rather than super bright colours or extreme styles. The things I'm recommending are the sort of things I frequently shop for with clients when I take them on a personal shopping trip.

So, let's have a trawl through your wardrobe shall we?

It's likely you already have a wardrobe full of white t-shirts, jeans, brogues, a peacoat, a navy blazer, and basic chinos but where do you go from here? Carry on reading to find out.....


Adding to the basics in your wardrobe - Sartoria Lab styling tips

I’ll bet my life that you have some shirts in pale blue and white in your wardrobe?! And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that - all men need these no brainer items in their wardrobe, but perhaps now and again you'd like a change? Let's have a look at how you could do that:

Business and formal

If you work in a formal environment you can't deviate too much from blues and whites, but you could try out some pastel pinks, pale green or lilac couldn't you? These are still easy to put with navy or grey suits or formal trousers and blazers so won't require too much thinking about.

For more formal occasions like a wedding, consider trying a pin or tab collar in order to make it feel more special than your business shirts.

Smart casual

When I did a wardrobe edit with a client earlier this year, we discovered the thing that opened up a lot of possibilities in his wardrobe was a dark coloured shirt. When we tried out a navy one it went really well with the lighter coloured trousers he had and the blazers, whereas the white or pale blue ones he had looked okay but were a little insipid. It doesn't have to be navy - you could also try out the darker tones of burgundy, or forest green though I'd steer clear of black which is harsh on a lot of skin tones and can easily look cheap.

The other thing I'm surprised more men don't have in their wardrobes is a chambray shirt. I find these are very versatile as you can put them with jeans, chinos, cords and wear them in summer or winter. They also look good under tailoring to make it more casual and you can wear it with worn a cotton, linen or wool tie if you like. See above for a great example of how it goes well with more formal items to make them look fresh and modern.


It's possible you may be more experimental in this section of your wardrobe but if it's full of check shirts or you wear your business shirts for weekends too then perhaps you could do with a shake up! Some of things I've bought with clients recently include a grandad collar shirt, a camp collar shirt, shirts with small prints on (including a mini flamingo print!) and needlecord shirts. So, you don't have to go completely wild but just by adding some print to your casual wardrobe, choosing a different fabric or a different collar shape it will ring the changes and give you some variety. If you're a conservative dresser, then change one thing at a time ie: the colour, print, collar, so you're more likely to wear it.


Paul Smith sweater - Expanding your wardrobe - menswear tips from Sartoria Lab

Yes I love a navy crew neck as much as the next person but sometimes even I get bored of navy! If you too have a wardrobe full of navy, grey and black sweaters then start by looking for an alternative colour like deep purple or a brighter or lighter blue so you can easily incorporate it into your regular wardrobe and wear it with your white t-shirt and jeans or your white shirt and navy chinos. Alternatively you could add some coloured stripes to your navy (like the Paul Smith one above). If you're unsure what colours suit you, then find out by having a Colour & Style Consultation with me.

If you can't bear to be parted from your beloved neutrals then try a different neckline. A fine knit shawl collar, or a polo shirt style or a roll neck can be worn in replacement of your regular crew or v-neck and you can layer them over shirts or t-shirts.

Or for casual, a chunky knit shawl collar cardigan, or vintage style fisherman's jumper will make an alternative to a half zip style to wear with jeans and boots.


Altea chinos -How to add to the basics in your wardrobe personal styling for men

Already have some plain wool suit style trousers in your wardrobe? Then try some of these to break out and have some fun!
A different colour - a subtle green - khaki or a sage green switches things up a bit and they will go just as well with a white or pale blue shirt and navy blazer as a pair of grey ones. Same goes for camel and tan - it's a default for chinos but what about a slightly smarter style like I showed on last week's blog.

Or try out some texture - seersucker for summer, herringbone for autumn and tweed for winter. This will add some interest if you're wearing a plain shirt and / or blazer or sweater. Or you could try out some with a tiny pattern on them - see a previous post I did on this for examples.

The other thing you could do is switch the shape you've been wearing for a new shape. So if you've been wearing your trousers baggy, then you could try some slimmer leg ones which have become the new classic, if you've been wearing slim cuts for ages and you're fed up with them then try progressing into a pleat front, tapered pair with turn ups. Check out this blog post for some examples of different shapes.


What to buy now youve got the basics in your wardrobe -personal shopping for men

As I've mentioned before on this blog -  you are allowed to have more than one belt in your wardrobe! It often doesn't occur to people to buy some alternatives to a formal black one or a tan casual one but the woven ones or canvas are really useful for casual and smart/casual looks.

Let's look at shoes. You’ve got brogues and Oxfords and maybe some Derbies, so what else do you need? Well as with the other items, a different colour could be a good starting point. I sometimes buy burgundy with clients as it's close enough to brown to not make them feel too self conscious but a touch different at the same time.

Or if you'd like to have a change in a formal style then something like a Monkstrap could work well. One area I often find a gap in, is the smart casual area -something that sits in between your black Oxfords and sporty trainers. The type of shoes that I look for to fill this gap are soft soled brogues - often in suede, leather trainers - sometimes in colours, and now is the ideal time to buy boots - a brown or tan Chukka style is really versatile to wear with jeans or smart trousers.


How to switch things up in your wardrobe - personal shopping and styling for men

And lastly, how is the selection of jackets and coats in your wardrobe looking? This is another area I often find men are a bit short of in their wardrobes. They will  have a smart winter coat and a waterproof casual jacket but not much in between. So, we add this to the shopping list and frequently buy styles like bomber jackets, peacoats, or lightweight zip up styles for summer.

As we head into winter (I know....sorry to remind you) there are lots of workwear style 'chore' jackets around (like the one above where he's done an expert bit of layering!). They're great for weekends and tend to suit people with a heavier build which is excellent news for those of you who are quite sturdy.

What steps will you take to introduce some alternatives to the basics in your wardrobe this coming season? Would you like a hand and have me make some suggestions for you? Then get in touch and I can book you in for a personal shopping trip.