I got a couple of Christmas gift cards from decent stores. I figure it’s a sign that I should stop dressing like I’m still in high school. If I am going to spend on quality and buy one thing to start with, what should I be looking at?
One word: Cardigan. If you want to get maximum utility out of a quality piece of attire, that is the place to start. A good cardigan works with a shirt and tie, a shirt with an open collar, with a jacket, on its own, with slacks or trousers or jeans. Make the right choice and you walk away with an item that will do you triple or even quadruple duty for years to come. The trick, therefore, is making the right choice. If you are just venturing out here are some tips to get the most bang for your cardigan buck.
Stick with a solid colour to start. Something in a dark grey or deep brown is probably going to work with almost everything you own. Get something as thin as possible – look for cashmere, merino wool, or a silk-cashmere blend – because this is for style and not warmth. You want to be able to wear this at any time and not notice any extra bulk or thickness.
When you find something thin and in the right colour, your only other quandary is buttons. Large buttons or buttons that contrast with the fabric are more striking, but definitely give you a more casual look. You might not want to wear that to the office or over a tie. Small matching buttons aren’t as flashy but they finish with a more formal look, and still work well in a casual situation. As with most things in life this is a trade-off, so with the option that you think is going to work best for you.