How can you not be dressed the same way every day? If, like us, you watch red carpets and the news, you’ll have noticed that the big game is not to be dressed the same every day.
Our news anchors have to keep a familiar style, but not the same from one day to the next.
The question is a little different for us men, who don’t have the dressers and stylists of Yann Barthès (the host of Quotidien, who looks different for each show). When you’ve only got a few suits and a few shirts, how do you maximize the number of possible Outfits?
If you woke up this morning and said to yourself: “OK, I want a competition dressing room without mortgaging my house”.In this article, I’ll be revealing some tips on how to be stylish, stand out from the crowd, and find your perfect match. the happy medium between the one-color Ardisson style and the overflowing men’s wardrobe.
At Rives, we try not to be too dogmatic. There is no 1 absolute rule, to be followed on pain of stylistic excommunication.
We try to guide you towards the perfect men’s wardrobe, the one that suits you best, and which will often be the most versatile.
Understand: how to have as many Outfits as possible with as few parts as possible. It’s quite a challenge, but one we’re taking up for the pleasure of mix & match!
If we were to start with a timeless equation, I would say:
“Gentlemen, with 3 shirts and 3 tailor-made suits, you have 1 complete men’s wardrobe. “
Let me walk you through these choices.
THE TWO STAPLES OF THE MEN’S WARDROBE: THE NAVY BLUE SUIT AND THE MEDIUM GREY SUIT.
Obviously, we’re not going to start with chick yellow or Burgundy or green suits. Before going off in all directions and improvising, the great jazzmen also had to do their scales.
It’s the same for the men’s wardrobe: start with these two basics.
(And again, when I write basic, in my head I hear “but there’s nothing basic about these pieces! They’re great and a must-have for any good men’s wardrobe).
First recommendation for choosing your first suit: opt for a medium Grey. Why? Because mid-grey offers more versatility than Charcoal grey.
Navy blue suits are all-purpose. Normal, recognizable, indispensable, but not banal.
What about shirts?
If you complete this rough draft of a corporate men’s wardrobe with a white shirt and a sky-blue shirt, you’re in the clear. The basics are there.
Where it gets complicated (and that’s why we’re here to listen, advise and guide you in our boutique at 23 rue Pasquier in Paris), is when you choose a third suit.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE RIGHT THIRD TAILOR-MADE SUIT?
The first choice might be a seasonal suit: a winter flannel suit, in roughly the same color as the other two, that will look different, a different Outfit. The fabric has a lot to do with it.
But if you’re coming to spot your third summer suit, the colors will probably be the same as for the half-season, and for good reason: the summer suit doesn’t really exist in France.
In warmer, more Latin countries, such as Italy or Argentina, beige, sky-blue or pink suits, pastel tones, very light greys or camel, shock no one.
But back home, summer suits get a bad press. It’s almost a joke. Think of the white Trousers and blue jacket combo and that’s it, you’re in the middle of a yacht party. The beige suit is no more welcome. Maybe it’s too reminiscent of Eddie Barclay and his white suits, who knows?
However, one of our customers recently opted for a white wedding suit, white tshirt: it was perfect with the setting (he got married on a Greek island).
If we were to guide you in completing your men’s wardrobe with a third suit, we’d probably go for cool wools, in rather classic Rives tones, a lighter Grey, a lighter Blue, but we’d stay with these colors.
In fact, 80% of returning Rives customers who already own the Grey and Blue suit turn to the stripe.
Stripes are very British. Or very Italian, if you think of the Corleone dynasty…
AND NO, THEY’RE NOT RATP CONTROLLERS!
IS A MORE ORIGINAL MEN’S WARDROBE POSSIBLE WITHOUT TAKING RISKS?
Our great joy, apart from the acceleration of MBappé and the re-release of classic 1970s films, is to have succeeded in bringing dark green into the men’s wardrobe.
We started around 2016, very marginally, but it’s now much more common for our customers to look at this beautiful color.
Similarly, the rather dark Burgundy completes the wardrobe in a beautiful, refined and almost patriotic way (Burgundy, Saint Emilion, grands crus, got it?).
In short: with two suits, you can already mix and match your Outfits. By adding a third suit to your wardrobe, you can complete the ensemble and indulge yourself.
It’s possible to mix blue and Grey. Combine two different greys at the top and bottom too. It’s important to have a wardrobe that’s easy, versatile and timeless.
If you’re one of those men who refuse to take any risks :
Opt for a Navy blue suit, a medium Grey suit and finish off with a dark Grey suit. You’ll never be wrong, and it’ll all come together beautifully.
If you wear a suit every day, the change will be in the shirts.
WHICH SHIRTS FOR A COMPLETE AND VERSATILE WARDROBE?
With the suit as a base, you can now play with shirts to complete your wardrobe.
The most impressive order we’ve ever received: a lawyer friend who walked through the door one day and said, “I’m going to need your creativity! I need 6 white shirts and 6 blue shirts!”
He explained that he worked Monday to Saturday, and refused to bother with the dry cleaners for less than 10 shirts.
He alternates white, blue, white, blue for 10 days, drops his shirts off at the dry cleaner’s, who takes between 3 and 4 days to return his shirts clean and ironed!
We offered him everything we could do in terms of shirts:
Poplin, twill, a more casual chambray shirt, and we played with the shape of the collars for the last two.
So, without changing his suit, he could either dress it down for his casual Friday and Saturday or dress it up, depending on the shirt chosen.
When he’s alone in the office on Saturdays, he wears his chambray shirt, which is a thin, supple denim that’s somewhere between denim and poplin. He wears it with his Grey suit when no one’s around, so it’s less formal.
Directly, when he replaces the formal shirt with chambray, he’s more Robert Redford or Steve McQueen than Keanu Reeves in Devil’s Companion.
FROM THE MOST FORMAL TO THE MOST RELAXED? 2 EXAMPLES
Here’s a way to go from the most formal to the least formal by changing one element of your wardrobe at a time.
Let’s imagine a starting Outfit: dark Grey jacket and trousers, white shirt, black shoes. Top formalism. It could be Don Draper in Mad Men.
Let’s relax a bit:
With a dark Grey jacket, sky-blue shirt and brown shoes. We’re already a lot less classic.
Take another very formal Outfit: it’s blue suit, white shirt, black shoes, à la Harvey Specter, the star lawyer in Suits.
Let’s change the shirt for more relaxation: Blue suit, blue shirt, black shoes.
Change one more element: blue suit, blue shirt, brown shoes, and you’ve got a stylish, urban look that’s even less formal.
For greater versatility, you can opt for the 3-piece blue suit.
BONUS: DOES THE BLACK SUIT HAVE A PLACE IN THE CORPORATE WARDROBE?
There’s only one way to wear it. He’s quite definite. But that doesn’t mean elegant. With a white shirt and black shoes. It’s a reassuring purchase by definition.
Black suits don’t have a good image in France, and they certainly don’t tell the whole story.
It’s the child’s and teenager’s first costume. Close your eyes and you associate it with the waiter at Costes, the Uber driver, the greeter, the sales clerk.
Black is often associated with elegance, but it’s not exclusive. People may associate it with black tie, ceremony, certain occasions, but that doesn’t mean it’s a corporate suit.
Prefer the Navy blue suit, which is much more versatile, and will go with off-white, hard blue, pink, white, blue, striped shirts, brown or black shoes, and white sneakers.
Also available in Grey. From lightest to darkest brown