Video chat: How to build a wardrobe from scratch

Friday, June 26th 2020
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This is the third in our series of reader-question videos, with the subject this time being wardrobe building. 

Specifically: “I am building up a wardrobe from scratch. What do I buy first, and how much should I spend?”

It’s a popular question of course, and one that the entire section of PS - Wardrobe Building, here - is designed to break down.

Being so big, it’s not something that can be dealt with comprehensively in a 15-minute video. Let alone for every type of office, lifestyle and personality. 

But, there are some good principles. And that’s what Aleks and I try to explain here. 

The need to plan, so you know what level you should be spending at. The sense of buying classic, foundational pieces like a navy blazer (it’s really not too corporate). The way that accessories can stave off your impatience, keeping things fresh for a while. 

I know from the number of consultancy clients who ask about these things, that this will be a popular video. But I also think there’s something there for everyone - no matter how far along they are in that wardrobe-building process.



Our main points are captioned during the video. But for those reading this before diving into the film, they are:

'How do I build up a wardrobe from scratch?'
  1. Plan over three or four years
  2. Planning sets your item budget
  3. Don't worry if you can't afford the top end
  4. Buy a good navy jacket
  5. Classic pieces are a blank canvas
  6. Shoes are particularly satisfying
  7. Narrow down your categories
  8. Accessories can freshen up a wardrobe
  9. Buy things that go from smart to casual
  10. Capsule wardrobes are travel wardrobes
  11. Look at an interesting brown

Other videos we’ve produced recently are (also all on the YouTube channel):

And the clothes worn in the video are:

  • Me: PS Striped Oxford shirt, with knitted silk tie from Tie Your Tie, under Ciro Zizolfi jacket in Holland & Sherry tweed. Plus Yard-O-Led silver pen
  • Aleks: Stevenson Overalls moleskin western jac-shirt (via Clutch Cafe), over John Smedley merino mockneck