Suit enthusiasts usually wonder how many suits they should own.
Although it’s hard to pinpoint, two to three suits are good numbers for most gentlemen to start.
These would cover almost every formal occasion, simultaneously providing versatility.
However, factors like usage, lifestyle, and budget can impact the suits you should have.
So, this article will help you account for such factors and once-and-for-all answer how many suits you should have.
Why Should a Man Own a Suit?
A quality suit is a hefty investment, after all. So, why should you own one in the first place?
Well, there are plenty of reasons. And a suit is the men’s best armor when dressing up.
Foremost, as a gentleman, there are many life situations where wearing a suit is inevitable.
Job interviews, weddings, funerals, galas, or attending high-status meetings are such examples.
Not wearing a suit in these situations will make you look completely inappropriate, no matter how hard you try.
Secondly, a suit adds a vast diversity to the wardrobe, especially when your closet is full of regular slacks and t-shirts.
Another reason to own a suit is how you feel about it.
A suit projects masculinity and confidence and, when aided with style, puts toward your best version.
So, you’ll feel good; people will take you seriously and ultimately foster success.
The last reason to own a suit is its timeless appeal. Suits have been prevalent for centuries and will never go out of style.
Unlike other items, once you own a quality suit, you can enjoy it for the rest of your life.
The Basic Suits a Man Has to Own
Next comes the question, “which suits to own.” Generally, darker suits are the best bet.
Navy, grey, and black are the three most basic suit colors every stylish gentleman should have in his wardrobe.
All these suits are formal and pair with every color you can think of. If you intend to keep only one or two suits in your closet, these should be the first ones you should buy.
You can also consider other suit colors like brown and blue. These are less formal than standard dark colors but quite versatile overall.
The navy is the staple and arguably the first suit you should have.
A navy suit is dark enough to be formal, while the blue tones provide liveliness.
It is a versatile suit you can wear on many occasions. This could be anything from dressing for a black-tie optional to a semi-formal and cocktail dress code.
Similarly, a navy suit is relatively easy to dress up or down. And there are a lot of matching opportunities, from colors to patterns and accessories.
So, you can try different shirts, ties, patterns, and fabrics per occasion or style.
In addition, a navy suit has strong separates. It means you can maximize your options by pairing the jacket and trousers separately.
I recommend going through my dedicated guide on color-matching the navy suit.
Black will be your most formal suit. So, weddings and other formal events such as dinner parties are appropriate occasions to wear it.
Similarly, you can get away in a black-tie event wearing a black suit and a black bow tie. Note that the traditional choice here is a black tuxedo.
Although a black suit is not as versatile as a navy, it still has a lot of matching shirt and tie options.
You can wear a white dress shirt and black tie for a dressed-up look.
Or ditch the dress shirt and tie, and wear a white crew neck t-shirt for an extreme twist.
Like the navy, the black suit has strong separates. And you can utilize this for multiple outfits.
Note that a black suit is not great for everyday/office wear.
In a three-suit collection, the grey suit is a must-have. Many consider it an alternative to navy, especially if you want to dress a little modestly.
Plus, the grey suit makes the gentleman look grown up. Hence, it’s the most sought-after suit for business settings.
You can consider grey as bridging the gap between navy and blue. It’s a little playful, formal, and exceptionally versatile.
However, the shade of the grey suit itself can change things a lot. That said, charcoal grey is the most formal and traditional option.
On the other end of the spectrum, light grey suits are more versatile and lively but more casual at the same time.
Other things like color matching and patterns work great with grey.
White, light blue, pink, and black, all shirts make a great combination with a grey suit. Similarly, patterns in shirts and ties go equally well.
The rest of the accessories can vary depending on the occasion. You can take inspiration from this grey suit guide.
Things to Consider When Deciding the Number of Suits
The requirement to own a particular number of suits may vary among individuals.
For example, a gentleman working in a tech startup with a casual dress code might require a single navy suit.
In comparison, a wall street stock broker might need ten or twenty suits.
So, to answer how many suits you’ll need, I’ve jotted down a list of things.
Occasions You Usually Wear a Suit
The places you wear a suit are the most important determiner of the number of suits you should own.
You’ll probably need more than two suits if you wear a suit to work, either as a work uniform or standard business attire.
Five suits are a good number to start. Besides navy, charcoal, and black, grey or brown suits would also be appropriate.
In comparison, the three-suit collection would be ideal if you don’t wear a suit to work but relish dressing well.
You can enjoy wearing them at any cocktail or semi-formal event. You’ll be glad you have them in your collection when such an occasion comes.
Lastly, if you’re like Barney Stinson and always looking for creative ways to “suit up,” there is no limit.
You can even wear non-conventional colors like maroon, burgundy, green, and all sorts of suit patterns.
Patterned Suits are More Casual than Solid Suits
Many gentlemen love to have a patterned suit, even in the three-suit collection.
Although there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just that patterned suits are slightly less formal.
A patterned suit has somewhat lesser matching options than a solid suit.
However, this matching will depend on the type of patterns.
Subtle patterns such as hopsack are as good as a solid suit. In comparison, bolder ones, like tartan or madras, are slightly sporty.
Some suit patterns have their own league and society. Pinstripes, for example, make excellent business suits.
So, avoid patterns if you have a small suit collection, like one or two suits. Try at least one patterned suit for a five-suit collection, e.g., window pane or glen check.
Always Choose a Suit That Fits Well
A single perfectly-fitted suit is better than a dozen poorly-fitted ones.
Only the right fit can project the charisma and confidence you expect from a suit.
So, whether you are going with a one-suit collection or have multiple ones, always prioritize finding a suit that’s right for you.
To accomplish this, I always recommend investing time in learning the art and aspects of a well-fitting suit.
Also, avoid dead giveaways of a bad fit, even if the suit is not super-luxury.
These could include shoulder divots, extreme lengths, and wrong suit cuts.
How to Buy Your First Suit
Here is a simple road map to buying the first suit.
First, define your suit’s purpose and what you want from it. This includes asking yourself about the event’s dress code and how often you’ll wear the suit.
Also, probe whether you need versatility or focus on a formal suit.
Next, specify a budget for your suit. Your budget and purpose will then dictate fabric, styling, craftsmanship, and type of suit.
Made-to-measure suits are my recommendation for the first suit. These suits are not overly expensive and provide quality too.
However, you can also choose off-the-rack if you’re on a budget and then make alterations.
Try double-breasted and three-piece suits to extend your options.
Alternatively, you can choose a half or full-canvas suit for craftsmanship and luxury if budget is no issue.
Finally, always decide on your brand carefully, and find a good tailor for possible alterations.