In Style + Design

A Gentleman’s Guide To Dressing For Success

In the corporate world, first impressions count. And one of the simplest ways to control that first impression is how you dress. Personal style is not the only measure of your talent or ability, yet it does have a surprising influence on how others perceive you – especially in the workplace.

The cut of your suit, the crispness of your shirt, and the shine of your shoes say more about you than you might think. A sharp dresser, for example, is often considered to have a sharp mind, while a sloppy dresser raises the question of whether you’ll bring the same attitude to your work.

To help you put your best foot forward, we’ve asked three men’s style experts to share their tips on looking good, feeling confident, and, most importantly, making the right impression.

Find your style and don’t be afraid of colour

men's style

Image: Montagio / supplied

For Jatin V, the founder and creative director of custom tailors Montagio, the essential first steps is finding a style you like, which flatters your body type, and suits the workplace.

“You want to look sharp, but not to the point that you’re on a fashion runway,” Jatin says.

“Look to the higher ups for some initial inspiration and then adapt the style to suit your age; don’t go too old school. A person in their 20s is not going to dress like a 60-year-old.”

In terms of colour, Jatin says you can’t go past a dark navy suit, as it’s the most versatile.

“If you stick with three-inch lapel and two-button jackets, those will never really go out of style. You can pair navy with any colour shirt or tie, and it’s not going to look dated five years later.”

men's style

Image: Montagio / supplied

“You can then bring out a bit of boldness and personality with your colour choices, whether from a tie or a pocket square. If you have a navy suit, you may want to pair it with a baby pink shirt and a bold, red tie with a pattern – it really sharpens it up.”

For a more casual working environment, the Italian term ‘spezzato’, which refers to when you’re wearing trousers from one suit and a jacket from another, is always a winner.

“On top, you might have a blazer and an open-collar shirt, and on bottom you have trousers which don’t match the top. A navy blazer with a beige chino or trouser and a white shirt is a really nice, smart casual look. There are plenty of ways to experiment with that as well.”

Experiment but don’t forget the staples

Lewis Unterrheiner, Brand Manager for fashion brand Van Heusen, says your style should also reflect your character, and some of the best often come from experimentation.

“Look at what your aspiring role model or influencers are wearing or take note of how your favourite brand is merchandising their products,” Unterrheiner suggests. “That can be the base of your inspiration but add your own flair to it. Don’t be afraid to experiment.”

He also believes there’s a specific number of items that are essential in your wardrobe.

men's style

Image: Van Heusen / supplied

“Every modern businessman needs 38 key pieces,” he says. “Three suits, two jackets, five business shirts, nine casual tops (a mix of t-shirts, polos and button-ups), two pants, eight pairs of underwear, seven pairs of socks, one pair of boots or leather oxfords, and one pair of classic white sneakers.”

“Basically, you want enough clothes to get you through your working and social weeks, wearing different outfits each day without having to deal with washing until Sunday or even Monday night.”

Unterrheiner says choosing a cooling and crush resistant fabric, such as Van Heusen’s new locally designed COMMUTER range, will help maintain a sharp look throughout the day.

Confidence is king 

Rami Mikhael, director for made-to-measure tailors The Bespoke Corner, believes personal grooming and style can play a huge part in a man’s personality and corporate success.

“Appearance, grooming and presentation are a must for any man,” he says. “Remember the saying, ‘You can tell a lot about a man from his shoes’. You can also tell a lot about a man from his suit.”

men's style

Image: Alora Griffiths / Unsplash

Mikhael recommends custom or tailored suits as a good way to give yourself an edge in the office, while also developing a personal style that flatters your specific body shape.

“Styles come and go, but when a suit is tailored to your body, it’s very difficult for them to go out of fashion. For example, a suit that is a single breasted with an 8cm notch lapel and two flap pockets, paired with a nice well-fitting trouser, will never go out of style.”

“Your clothes are there to emphasise your natural qualities, not be a costume. When you look good, you feel good and perform to your maximum ability. People will take notice.”

(Lead image: Montagio / supplied) 

Published 11 September, 2019