Build With a Plan: Men’s Professional Style Tips

Business man in grey suit and briefcase

Tip #18: Build your wardrobe with a plan. 

I spent years building my wardrobe without a plan or I had a plan but I was buying cheap quality materials which meant I was spending my budget on replacing cheap shoes or shirts. It was a cycle where I couldn’t get past a certain level. Here are the key lessons I have learned over the past 15 years when it came to building my wardrobe. 

Quality Clothing 

Choose quality every single time, the only exception is if you see a piece you love but understand it will only last for so long. Cheap, low-quality garments might seem like a good idea at the time, but they will quickly wear out and need to be replaced. This will not only be a waste of money, but it will also be a waste of time, as you will constantly be searching for new clothes to replace your worn-out ones. My example is buying $60 shoes. When I had a small clothing budget, I would replace those shoes after 6 months which meant my budget was spent on those same pair of shoes. If I spent triple that ($180) on shoes I found that they would last me 3-5 years. In the long run it would save me about $180. Which gave me an extra $180 to spend on other key pieces. 

Build With a Plan 

If you are only buying pieces you love you will never have anything to wear. Usually, pieces we love are unique, they have a stylish pattern or color but if that is all we buy our clothing will clash and be full of color which most guys hate. You need to build with a plan and that plan should look like this: 

Step 1 – The essentials 

These are pieces that are not flashy but ones you wear all the time. 

Essential pieces:  

  • Dark wash denim jeans 
  • Chinos or dress pants in neutral colors 
  • Neutral color t-shirts, polos, long sleeve t’s, button down. 
  • Sweaters 
  • Bomber or lightweight jacket 
  • Base color socks that match your pants, grey, black and blue 
  • Navy suit 
  • Brown round-toe dress shoe 
  • Everyday casual shoe 
  • Dark ties – Maroon, navy, charcoal, black 
  • White pocket square 

Once you have the essentials in place you can bring in fun colors and styles. Wear one fun color or pattern with the essential pieces. 


  • Pants: Dark wash denim jeans 
  • Socks: Dark blue 
  • Shoes: White casual shoe 
  • Shirt: White t-shirt 
  • Bomber jacket: Crazy pattern or style 

We always mention that many of our clients don’t like to stand out or stick out, they want to look good but not be the center of attention. An outfit like the above example allows you to do that. You have neutral, well fitted clothes with one statement piece. You will receive compliments but not be the center of attention. 

When it comes to professional attire, the same principles apply. Starting with a standard navy and white dress shirt will give you the versatility to mix and match with different suits, shirts, and ties, making it easy to create different outfits for different occasions. From there, you can add bold-colored dress shirts and patterned ties to create a professional wardrobe that is both stylish and functional.



Building a wardrobe that is stylish, versatile, and functional is all about choosing quality materials and having a plan. The end goal is to make choosing your outfit in the morning simple and easy while keeping you stylish. Fit is the number one key and having the essential pieces that are mentioned above will help you purchase anything with confidence knowing you have the pieces to go with it. 


Derek Burbidge - Owner/Founder of Cardero Clothing

In 2014, Derek rented a suit for his wedding only to later discover the advice he received was terrible and the fit of the rentals was way off. After travelling to Thailand and Europe soon after his wedding he was introduced to bespoke clothing and various timeless styles. As a lover of all things men's fashion, he started Cardero Clothing to keep men from making the same mistakes he did.

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