Buying random clothes is easy. Creating a thoughtful wardrobe of essential pieces on the other hand, requires some skill. The ultimate goal here is to make it simple, enjoyable and well-organised.
Take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and start by clearing the wardrobe of unused and unworn items so that you can start fresh, free of clutter, with only the items you love and wear regularly.
At Nicholas Jermyn, our rule is - go with quality over quantity. Why? Pretty simple. Quality clothes last. You can wear your favourite pair of leather oxfords every other day and even after three years they will still look great. Items like these are certainly worth the investment.
Another good reason for choosing quality clothes is that in the long run you actually save money. You see, it’s all about cost-per-wear. If you buy a suit that costs twice as much as you usually pay, the chances are that it will last twice as long, if not more. It’s all about the right fit, superior construction and quality fabrics.
But even when all your clothes fit and look well, figuring out precisely what to put on every morning can be a challenge. Which is why having a properly organised capsule wardrobe makes life so much easier!
In a nutshell, your perfect minimalist wardrobe is a collection of the bare essentials. It consists of the most important pieces that go well together and have you covered for any occasion - plus it takes all the effort out of putting looks together - because everything goes with everything else!
Now it’s time to divide and conquer. Let’s break down the official business wardrobe and its more casual cousin into two capsule wardrobes - Formal and Smart Casual.
The Formal wardrobe
Whether it’s an important business meeting, another day at the office, or a wedding, it really pays off to have that versatile selection of quality clothes.
#1: The Grey suit
A plain two-piece single-breasted wool suit is one of the pillars of your formal wardrobe. As for the fabric, we recommend finding an option with a bit of texture - in order to make it look more interesting without being too loud. Birdseye, for instance, is a good choice here.
#2: The Navy suit
A subtle herringbone fabric texture, formal dark colour and double-breasted style - let’s raise the sartorial stakes for the navy suit. Because, “essential” doesn’t necessarily mean “basic”.
#3: Formal shirts
A small collection of good quality formal shirts is a true necessity when we build a proper formal wardrobe. We recommend simple plain or micro-patterned fabric styles in white and blue, with structured collars. For the most formal occasions feel free to add a double-cuffed option or two to your more common single-cuffed selection. Try these options from the Nicholas Jermyn collection: the Herringbone Blue, Luxury Weave White, Miles Plain Blue, and the Fine Herringbone shirt in White.
#4: Black oxford shoes
When it comes to the most formal occasions, nothing beats a pair of well-polished black oxfords. Closed lacing, minimum details, good quality leather - this style is a must-have.
#5: Brown derby shoes
If you are planning to have a regular day at the office, brown derbies would work perfectly. With an open lace design, light colour and a slightly more casual appearance, this style is a great alternative to the more sombre black oxfords.
#6: Leather belts
Let’s add a couple of belts to match the shoes - one in black leather and one in brown. Go for a simple metal buckle and no excessive details. Take note that neither the leather type nor its colour need to match the shoe leather exactly. For instance, you could easily combine a mid-brown belt in grain-textured leather with your dark chocolate plain leather derbies.
Your capsule tie collection can include a small selection of the most formal to the most casual. We picked the following: a plain silk navy tie, moss-green silk polka dot tie, a lightly-patterned glen check grey wool tie, and a silk burgundy tie with a bold paisley pattern.
#8: The Pocket square
Some might say that a pocket square is not essential to a gentleman’s wardrobe. However, we consider this accessory an invaluable addition to a formal look. Add a pinch of sophistication to your outfit by choosing a plain silk option, either in navy or burgundy.
One pair of cufflinks should be sufficient for all your double-cuffed shirts. Go for an interesting yet understated design, just like these Nicholas Jermyn Gunmetal Knot cufflinks (coming soon)
Nicholas Jermyn style advice
The great thing about having a couple of plain suits in grey and navy is that you’re easily able to wear them separately - a navy jacket goes perfectly well together with grey trousers and vice versa.
The Smart casual wardrobe
#10: The Blue blazer
A bit of structure is great for your blazer as it means you can wear it either with a t-shirt or with a tucked-in shirt. Blue is a good versatile colour that you’d be able to combine with pretty much everything. Having patch pockets would help to emphasise that this style doesn't necessarily mean business.
#11: Brown desert boots
Good leather, round toe, high quality make - do invest in your shoes; it will pay off in the long run.
Your knitwear should be something you can easily throw on. We recommend a simple cardigan in a versatile moss-green colour. It is casual enough to wear unbuttoned with jeans, but would also work as a part of a smart outfit.
You can wear chinos almost anywhere. Stick to classic colours – just like the army green and tan options that we’ve picked here.
Jeans are perfect for more casual occasions. Just go with something simple – a slim-fit style in indigo would look smart with a blazer, casual with a jumper, and anywhere in between. And having a pair in mid-blue would simply give you more freedom in your style choices.
#15: Smart casual shirts
A proper smart casual shirt goes with everything from a blazer to jeans. Feel free to experiment with colours and patterns. We’ve picked a couple of fine patterned Nicholas Jermyn styles in blue and white (one checkered and one striped) as well as a plain lilac one. Because sometimes we all need that pop of colour in our lives.
The right tee is the spine of your smart casual wardrobe. The key things to consider here are the style – generally, crewnecks are more versatile and flattering – and a good fit. Start with basic block colours - navy, grey, and white.
#17: White sneakers
Your sneakers must work equally well with your chinos and your jeans. So stick to something clean and simple. Good white leather trainers are the best option here as they’re fashionably acceptable everywhere - from a casual Friday at the office to a morning stroll, to your favourite coffee joint on a Sunday.
Shop the shirts featured in this article:
The Herringbone Blue - available in Classic, Slim Fit and Super Slim.
The Luxury Weave White - available in Classic, Slim Fit and Super Slim.
The Miles Plain Blue - available in Classic and Slim Fit.
The Fine Herringbone in White - available in Classic and Slim Fit.
The Carson Stripe - available in Classic and Super Slim.
The Bauer Herringbone - available in Classic and Slim Fit.
The Thompson Check - available in Classic and Slim Fit.