Building the Millennial Closet

As our wave of 20-something year-olds realize the real world requires preparation like polishing the resume, refining conversation skills, rehearsing elevator speeches, exploring housing options, dating, and crash-course cooking - being educated about building an efficient, effective, and versatile wardrobe can be quite the Herculean task. How can you quickly procure all of the things you’ll need to be well suited for going to work, venturing out, and attending sporting events, while on a tight budget? The answer: prioritization and patience. Ryan Gosling’s hair wasn't cut in 15 minutes, and your closet probably won’t be fully racked and stacked during  your first year having a salary.

This series will examine the wardrobe basics of today’s gentleman in three key areas: Work, Home, and Athletics. We will assign numbers to what we would buy first in a perfect world, yet as is true with the pirate code, “these are more of guidelines than actual rules.”

The underlying theme for in this series is quality. It is always tempting to buy in bulk at a discounted price, and, yes, we have all shopped at stores like Express and H&M to fill wardrobe gaps in a pinch. However, your decision to invest in an article that truly serves its purpose will return its value over and over throughout the life of the garment.

Suits One, Two, and Three

In our perfect world, a man should have at least eight suits in his closet, each of which is reserved for certain occasions.  We have grouped suits one, two, and three as they are our standard group of suits. Every man, regardless of their occupation, should have the following three standard suits, tailored to fit:

The Medium Gray

This suit may be the most versatile of all the suits in your wardrobe. A medium gray suit in a solid or quiet pattern (like micro dot) can be made to look casual or more formal based on the shirt and shoes it is paired with, and it can be worn subtly so that one can sneak wearing it twice in one week (with a change of shirt and shoe). The medium gray takes nicely to almost all standard shoe colors as well. Think of the medium gray suit as the blue jeans of the suit world.

The Navy Blue

If you work in an office or have a presentation or are holding an event where you will be in front of anyone other than those who you are comfortable with, the Navy suit can work wonders for you. While this highly adaptable suit can be casual or more ostentatious, it all depends on what you wear or don't wearwith it. Add a pocket square and tie for a more refined look, or keep your top shirt button undone for a relaxed appearance. The navy suit in a solid or small pattern (like a delicate pin stripe) is a great wear for most weddings because most grooms and groomsmen wear black or gray, and if you are not in the wedding party, matching can be a bit awkward.


This is the suit that most folks have ready in their closet, however, the emphasis on the charcoal/black suit is fit. A dark colored suit that does not fit properly, and sags in places it should not, automatically gives the wearer the “college career fair” look. We have all seen it and can most likely look in our closets back at our parents’ house and find it there, waiting, lurking, haunting. If you are in need of a black or charcoal suit, make sure you are getting a fit that is right for you. This suit works best for award ceremonies (for killing it at work), black tie parties you attend (or host), and of course, the regrettable funeral.