How Many Suits Does A Gentleman Need

How Many Suits Does A Gentleman Need?

Let us once and for all, definitively, answer the question on how many suits a man needs.

It all depends on your environment, your budget, and other considerations that you have to make. So that’s not very helpful and because of that, we put together four different profiles of different men with different needs and requirements, and we walk you through exactly what kind of suit you need, what style, what color, what fabric, so you always look the part and you have exactly the right suit for the right occasion.

Is It Necessary To Own A Suit In This Day And Age?

I have to unequivocally say yes. We all go to interviews, we go to weddings, we go to funerals, maybe sometimes galas, or evening events, where a suit is required. Also, it’s not a good idea to just borrow a suit last-minute because that will always go wrong and an ill-fitting suit even if it’s a $10,000 suit will just look really bad and disadvantageous.

OUR LATEST VIDEOS

Just the other day, I got a call from an entrepreneur friend who had to attend an evening event that required at least a suit. Now, he didn’t have one. He had a sports jacket and he just thought he can walk into a mall, buy a suit, and that’ll be it.

The problem is, a suit always requires tailoring and alterations which in turn take time and so it pays to always have at least one suit in your closet that fits you at any given point in time.

Four Archetypes Of Men

In this guide we distinguish between 4 types of men who covered the entire population. The man who normally never wears a suit, the chap who sometimes does, the gentleman who wears suits daily and last but not least the suit lover. Which cateogory do you fall into?

1.The Man Who Normally Never Wears A Suit

You’re a student, maybe an IT professional, or just in a job where a suit is not required of you, ever. Maybe you work in a very casual office, or you work from home, but a suit is just never something that has come up. In that case, I suggest you invest in one dark suit.

I suggest you go with a single-breasted suit in a medium to lightweight that you can wear year-round so I suggest between 270 and 300 grams or about 10 ounces. You also should invest in a worsted wool which is a very fine wool but it’s very different than a flannel wool.

Why Do You Need A Dark Suit?

Well usually, the only events that require you to wear a suit are in the evening or they’re quite formal such as a wedding or a funeral, in that case, dark is always your friend. Because of that, I suggest a dark navy suit or a dark gray or charcoal suit. Pretty much between those two colors, you should choose. Do not go with a black suit because black is harder to combine with other items and in a suit, it looks bad when combined with blue tones which are very predominant in menswear.

If you choose a suit that is too heavy, it will drape well but you’ll be too warm in the summer and if it’s too lightweight, it will wrinkle too easily and you look disheveled. Because that, invest in a solid dark suit; make sure you get notched lapels not peak lapels with your single breasted one because it is very traditional. I suggest you go with two buttons, you can also go with three buttons that roll on two. It’s a very classic silhouette.

For your trousers or pants, I suggest you go with either a pleated front or a flat front and cuffs because the weight of the cuffs pulls down the pants. If you want to, you can also add a matching vest or waistcoat which allows you to wear a three-piece suit which is more formal. You can also skip the vest and just have a two-piece suit and it simply gives you more options but it doesn’t cost a whole lot more to upgrade.

Unless you go with a custom tailored suit, you will always have to have alterations. They’ll cost you usually between 50 and 200 dollars depending on where you live and what extent you need in alterations.

2. The Man Who Rarely Wears A Suit

You maybe work at a very casual office but every once in a while, when you have client contact or a business event, you’ll need to get out some suits. In that case, it pays to have at least three suits otherwise, it would look like you only have one suit and you wear the same outfit over and over again which is never advantageous.

Navy DB suit with pink shirt and black double Monks Polo SS 2013

Navy DB suit with pink shirt and black double Monks Polo SS 2013

Dark Navy & Dark Charcoal Suits

I suggest you get one of them in double-breasted because it’s more formal and another one single-breasted with notch lapels because it’s less formal. Ideally, you want maybe the navy suit to be double breasted because you can wear it as a blazer separately. With those two suits, you’re covered for summer and spring weather, as well as for fall and for a winter, they work very well, they’re unpretentious, they’re very professional, and you’ll always be well respected and look at the part. For the gray flannel, you want something a little heavier about of 350 to 400 grams. For the worsted navy suit, you go something with a little lighter about 270 to 300 grams just like in the other suit before.

 

A More Casual Suit

Brown tones are ideal for a more casual suit. It could be a Glen check with an over plaid, it could be a small houndstooth or just something that’s a little lighter in color that has a pattern.

3. The Man Who Wears A Suit To Work

You need a larger rotation of suits because you can always get them stained and if you let your suits rest, they will actually last you longer. No, by that I don’t mean that they just last longer because you wear them less frequently but let’s say you have a rotation of 10 suits, they will last you about twice as long as if you would buy an individual suit, wear it out, and buy nine more. Yes, you invested the same money in the same number of suits but with the rotation, that will last you just longer. That aside, you will also look better and that’s the reason we wear a suit in the first place.

So if you are a VP, an executive, or a white-collar professional, suits are your office attire, or your uniform, or the wardrobe that you have to wear. For most men in this category, it’s enough to own 10 business suits because that’s a two-week rotation. With ten suits, different shirts, ties, and shoes, you can create many outfits and it will never look like you’re just repeating the same one over and over again. If you’re starting out, you may not be able to afford 10 quality suits right from the bat and because of that, it pays to slowly build up that rotation, starting with the most versatile solid ones that we mentioned earlier. So what are those ten suits?

 

Suit Staples: Charcoal Flannel Suit & Navy Worsted Suit

First of all, again, the charcoal flannel suit, maybe in single breasted or the navy worsted suit in double-breasted. They’re just staples and classics that you can wear over and over again.

Navy Suit With Peak Lapels

So if the first suit was Navy and single breasted with notch lapels, the third suit should be Navy with peak lapels and double-breasted. You always want to maximize different kinds of looks you have and being able to choose between those two, you can just make a difference on how it’s perceived. Peak lapels look more powerful and are more formal, notch lapels or a little less formal.

Glenn Check Suit with a Glenn Check tie from Fort Belvedere

Glenn Check Suit with a Glenn Check tie from Fort Belvedere

Glenn Check Suit

If you want versatility, I suggest going with a more muted overplaid or without one in the first place. Also, I think it’s a good idea to go with a worsted fabric here and whether it’s single breasted or double breasted, is up to your taste. Ideally, you have an even number in your wardrobe but of course, you can choose if you prefer double-breasted, you can have maybe seven double breasted and three single breasted or the other way around. Some people even go all single breasted or all double breasted. It’s a preference. I suggest though that you have at least one double-breasted at least one single breasted suit in your wardrobe that way, you’re just more flexible.

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit, purple paisley bow tie and cornflower boutonniere from Fort Belvedere

Sven Raphael Schneider wearing a DB flannel suit, purple paisley bow tie and cornflower boutonniere from Fort Belvedere

 

Medium Gray Suit

The fifth suit should be a medium gray, can either be a solid or a fresco or maybe a herringbone pattern.

Fresco Suit Mid Grey

Fresco Suit Mid Grey

Lighter Gray Or Lighter Blue Suit

Again, it can be in a fresco if you’re in a warmer climate or something with a little more texture such as a sharkskin or hopsack.

Chalk stripe suit with navy tie and White Irish Linen Embroidered Contrast Framing Pocket square

Chalk stripe suit with navy tie and White Irish Linen Embroidered Contrast Framing Pocket square

Striped Suit

Generally, I suggest to go with a lighter stripe on a dark background, a very popular one is a white or off-white stripe on navy, sometimes you also see gray, but Navy is definitely a classic. If you go with a double-breasted pinstripe or rope striped suit, a lot of people will have associations with the 30s or some gangsters, so keep that in mind when you make your selection. If you want more subdued stripes, I suggest going with chalk stripes which are less pronounced, softer, but very elegant, sophisticated, and classic.

Brown Suit

If you want to wear it more to casual outings, I suggest going with a medium brown maybe with a herringbone pattern, something that is distinctly different from your dark office suits. On the other hand, if you still want to wear it to the office, maybe a charcoal brown suit with a needle head or pinpoint is the better choice.

Windowpane Tweed Suit with cuffs

A unique windowpane tweed suit with cuffs

Casual Suit In Tweed, Fresco, Linen, Or Cotton (Depends On Location & Climate)

If you live in a colder climate, a tweed suit is really perfect. If you live in a warmer climate, again I suggest going with a fresco suit or a linen suit or a cotton suit. In terms of colors, you can be a little more daring; you can go with something in green, or petrol blue, or maybe cream, or beige. Keep in mind that lighter colored suits are more prone to stains and adjust your selection accordingly.

Sven Raphael Schneider in Black Tie Tuxedo

Sven Raphael Schneider in Black Tie Tuxedo

Tuxedo

If you’re in this position, chances are you’ll have to go to evening events where black tie is a dress code and then a tuxedo is the right thing to wear.

4.The Suit Lover

At this point, we can’t talk about need anymore and the sky is the limit. It’s all about how many suits you want and the limiting factor is likely the amount of closet space you have. You guessed it, that’s me and I’m a suit lover. My goal has always been to build a complete wardrobe not just for suits but overall. So I have a complete white tie outfit, I have several black tie outfits, I have several morning coat outfits, I have a stroller outfit, I’ve suits, overcoats, and so forth; and to me, dressing and clothing in suits is just a hobby. Of course, it’s also a big part of my business so it’s very easy to justify more purchases.

How many suits do you own? Share your favorite looks in the comments section below!

Summary
How Many Suits Does A Gentleman Need?
Article Name
How Many Suits Does A Gentleman Need?
Description
A definitive guide on how many suits a gentleman needs in his wardrobe.
Author
Publisher
Gentleman's Gazette LLC
Publisher Logo
22 replies
  1. W. ADAM MANDELBAUM says:

    Twelve suits, which I no longer wear since retiring from law practice. Favorites were DB pinstripes for the gangster look which was de rigueur for some of my more “interesting” clients. Now, my favorite suit is a jogging suit, which I certainly do not jog in.

    Reply
  2. RODNEY says:

    I have eight classic pattern made to measure suits acquired over the past 12 years. I need to have the pants adjusted since I’ve “matured” a bit since they were made. I’ve always received compliments when wearing them. If you have to be presentable in your daily life you can’t have too many suits. My next acquisition will be a dark blue tuxedo since all I ever see is black. Great article. I really look forward to your posts.

    Reply
  3. Mark Mansour says:

    Thirty one suits, the majority of which are bespoke. I have suits that were made in the early 90s that look great and still fit. What can I say? I love suits.

    Reply
  4. Michael Patterson says:

    Great article. Especially liked the suit suggestions in priority. I currently have 12 suits and about as many odd jackets. I’m not one for DB suits since I like to wear odd vests in the fall/winter and spring/summer is just too hot. Currently looking for good linen suit that’s won’t break my bank for the summer. Routinely gets over 100 degrees here in Texas.

    Reply
  5. David Galbraith says:

    Many men need to see this video.
    I notice you buttoning the lower button on the suit you are wearing throughout. I wouldn’t be inclined to do that any more than on a single breasted jacket. I tend towards a smaller pant cuff to avoid making me look any shorter than I am already.

    Reply
  6. Fred says:

    12 Suits, with 7-8 in my current rotation… plus 5 blazers. I have become more daring since subscribing to this site and reading many of the articles. Sometimes, I struggle to walk out the door with some of the combos in prints, patters and colors I have chosen for the day. But, I believe I have developed an eye for style and usually get complimented when I wear something beyond business professional. There are still times when I think it all looks great laid out on the bed, but just don’t have the courage to take on the world wearing it… yet!

    Reply
  7. William Wright says:

    I own four tuxedos-two of which are custom and one in midnight blue. I own two Navy suits that were off-the-rack and fit me great due to good alterations. In all cases, alterations were the key to having everything look its absolute best. I prefer dressing formally, although I am a bow tie wearer exclusively. I also prefer French Cuffs and prefer white dress shirt over any other color. It seems to work for me now I’m older. But what puzzles me is why companies won’t make suits a requisite item for their male employees if you work inside. I mean I worked as a laborer outside for twelve summers and I wouldn’t have dared wear my good clothing on the job. But even when I managed to work a phone bank on the inside, I still couldn’t wear suits as the rest of my firm also didn’t require men to dress better than t-shirts and jeans. (ooh I cannot stand denim to this day) I guess I’m weird in that respect but most who see me dressed up usually compliment me on taking time to look better than a teenager looking for trouble. That makes me feel much better for putting forth the effort to put on a proper suit and bow tie and looking proper. So I also feel that dressing up still has a place in this more ‘casual’ world gone mad. So far my suit rotation works although I am wanting a light grey tux very much for many other events and situations. We’ll have it one day I’m sure.

    Reply
    • Jason Gould says:

      I work in a job that does not require the wearing of a suit though I still like to do so. I get many complements on the way I dress. I always wear a pocket square and tie with my suit. I just think it finishes off the outfit nicely.

      Reply
    • David says:

      I’m a rare person that still dresses in suit, sports coats on planes.
      I have a full closet of suits, blazers and sport coats. There are scads of shirts in different styles, solids and stripes. The tie inventory is in multiple hundreds though only keep out around 100 or so.

      Reply
    • David says:

      I was seeing a video onboard Air Force 1. Each President though away from public eye; stayed fully dressed with tie right up to the collar and wearing their jacket. They were in meetings or relaxing with entertainment. Ronald Reagan would never take his jacket off as he felt it was being disrespectful to the office.
      Meanwhile, I see bank tellers wearing jeans and sweatpants.

      Reply
  8. EVAN EVERHART says:

    I have an extensive collection of suits from my Great-Great-Grandfather, Great-Grandfather, Grandfather, and Father, assorted sizes…..I mostly wear the Brooks Brothers suits though, and the English stuff. Predominantly they’re sack suits anyway. I only wear sack suits, even my DB suits are sacks. I hate darting…It looks stagey to me. My current rotation is 13 Brooks Brothers sack suits (one of which is a tuxedo); 1 olive green and gold micro hbt tweed, 1 cream with rust, oxford blue and yellow windowpaned glen Urquhart tweed suit, 1 gray glen Urquhart with red blue and yellow windowpanes, 1 warm gray with pearl gray chalkstripe suit, 1 black sack, 1 olive green wool Summer sack, 1 cotton poplin sack, 1 dark royal blue mohair wool blend sack, 1 navy blue with chalk stripe flannel sack, 1 solid mid gray flannel sack, 1 3 piece light mid gray pinstriped sack, and a navy blue DB worsted sack, 6 top coats, 1 rain coat, 16 sport coats; 1 camel hair sport coat, 1 avocado green Palm Beach cloth with white pearl button sack sport coat, 1 purple mélange Brookstweed sack, 1 gray HBT tweed sack, 1 jumbo glen Urquhart Norman Hilton sport coat in brown and cream and rust, 1 mid blue gray with red and powder blue windowpanes lambs wool Southwick sack, and 1 mid brown broken hbt Southwick sport coat, 1 1920s cream linen sack safari suitable sportcoat, 1 bottle green Brooks Brothers blazer and one navy blue one, one golden rod colored Harris tweed HBT sport coat of Grandfather’s, with rust and green stripes, one cottage cloth sport coat in sand with lime green lining, 1 matte golden rod silk sport coat with the softest shoulders in existence and no padding or interlining whatsoever, with over windowpanes of rust and green, and there may be a few more that I’m not remembering. Also assorted trousers, knitwear, neckwear, shirts – about 60 or so – in regular rotation, socks, and about 25 pairs of shoes and boots, and formal wear (frock coat, morning coat, tail coat), and hats and caps.

    Reply
  9. EVAN EVERHART says:

    I also forgot about my 3 piece caramel-mustard yellow striped seersucker suit. The poplin is simple British Tan cotton.

    Reply
  10. Heinz-Ulrich von Boffke says:

    Suit lover here! 24+ suits in various weights, from linen and cotton for the warmer months to heavy flannels and tweeds for late fall and winter. Quite a few are 6×2 double-breasted since this is my particular favorite. And this is not even counting the odd blazers and sports jackets. My university teaching gig certainly does not require dressing this way, but I enjoy it.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.

    Reply
  11. Studiosuits says:

    Good article. A good suit should be in every man. But the number of suits for each man is individual. All depends on several factors. 1. What style of clothes do you prefer? A men’s who prefer a classic style of clothes, they will have more suits. But if you like a “street” style, you will have one or few suits. 2. A type of your work. Office workers, bankers and all the other “white collar” should wear suits. Since this is their official dress code. 3. Places you often visit. If it’s theaters, galleries, restaurants, etc. then you definitely need a good suit. But now a large selection of different costumes that you can wear for any event. The main thing is that you like this style and you picked the right suit.

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] buttons and no belt. So if you want to present a clean contemporary look or emphasize what suit you’re wearing when you have the coat open, they’re a fantastic […]

  2. […] jeans, no trainers, no hoodies, or no sweatpants. At the same time, it also means no neckwear, no suits, no pleated pants, and no black dress […]

  3. […] is required even though you’re in a warmer climate. At the same time, it means that a dark suit or tuxedo would be inappropriate because it would be […]

  4. […] is required even though you’re in a warmer climate. At the same time, it means that a dark suit or tuxedo would be inappropriate because it would be […]

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *