Here’s an old article I’ve been meaning to post. John Hitchcock, the managing director of one of Savile Row’s best tailoring houses, Anderson & Sheppard, talks about the five bespoke items that every man should have in their closet. Assuming, of course, that you’re even the kind of many who would have bespoke items in your closet. Nonetheless, I think it’s a good checklist to have, client of bespoke tailoring or not.
A navy pinstripe double-breasted suit: A fine navy pinstripe avoids the louder gangster look that some people associate with the double-breasted suit. The double-breasted suit is one of the most flattering garments that a man can wear as it creates a longer line and more defined waist. This hides the stomach and accentuates the chest and shoulders.
A herringbone tweed jacket in brown, blue or gray: Tweed is the easiest and most classic way for a man to bring color into his wardrobe. Depending on the color and pattern, the jacket can be worn in the town or in the country; with gray flannel trousers or with jeans; with a shirt and with a sweater, and throughout autumn and winter. [Good tweeds are] hard wearing and get better with age.
Mid-gray flannel trousers with turn-ups: Gray flannel continues to be a favorite with our customers in the creative industry as it has a relaxed feel. These trousers work with most jackets and even just with a shirt and sweater. Avoid belt loops and choose side tabs or brace buttons and a buttonfly. The width of the turn-ups is important, as it is better not to have any rather than thin ones.
A classic white cotton shirt: Gary Cooper and Cary Grant were champions of the white shirt, as it always looks fresh and elegant. I prefer mine with a semi-cutaway collar, double cuffs and mother-of-pearl buttons. [However] always [get one] without a breast pocket or a button down collar.
A single-breasted Chesterfield-style navy-blue herringbone overcoat with a matching velvet collar: You can put this over whatever you are wearing; even pajamas, and you will instantly look smart. The real tastemakers in the 1920s and ’30s wore theirs very fitted as they knew that the overcoat creates an immediate impression.
Kind of puts my 10 essentials list to shame. Note: that list is more about what personal items I have that get me through a typical day, and was written when the weather was still very cold in the Bay Area. Jesse also wrote two similar lists - The Essential Men’s Wardrobe, and a more personal one here.