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Style Talk: How To Build and Cultivate A Gent’s Wardrobe

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How To Build and Cultivate A Gent's Wardrobe

The appearance of any man speaks louder than his words and ensures he either demands attention or not. They say that first impressions matter…and that’s indeed true!

Every day, we pass by hundreds of people on the streets but even without saying a word to them, we tend to determine their trustworthiness and intentions by how they are dressed up, right? And this even becomes a bigger issue for a man. Imagine walking by a man dressed up in a huge black trench coat and black hat just lurking by a dark corner? Honestly, many of us would rather avoid that path fearing he might be some gang leader!

That sounds unfair but hey, if you dress like a thug, we are all going to treat you as one. And if you dress like a boss, we are going to give credits too.  So it’s time to show our men how to build and cultivate a basic gent’s wardrobe!

As much as the weather, occasion and interests can affect a man’s wardrobe, a gent’s wardrobe is essentially built around power since studies have shown that a man’s visual appearance is initially more powerful than what he says; this power will then reflect his doings.

As a man, it is also important to find your style and get it down in your 3-word rule too. This hack is just what will allow you to build your dream wardrobe that will perfectly compliment the whole of you!

Read Also: How to Describe your Style in a Three-Word Rule

Well, Charles Dickens, the fashion designer behind the brand, Built To Fit, Kenya alongside other male fashion enthusiasts show us just how to build a gent’s wardrobe. They share what best describes their personal style and how this helped them to build wardrobe spaces they are proud of.

Ride along…

1. How did you find your style?

Style Talk: How To Build and Cultivate A Gent's Wardrobe

Charles Dickens from Built To Fit, Kenya

Well, I’ll call it strategic stumbling! I started out as a lover of official wear before I struck balance between smart casual and official clothing. I must admit that it was not easy starting out. I recall my first coat was a borrowed one, the classic black, Italian style with no vents at the back. As a result, I was always forced to build my entire outfit around that one piece.

With time, I moved onto second-hand clothes, mostly from Gikomba market, Nairobi; I still get some classic pieces from the place to date.

Read Also: How to Bargain in Thrift Stores and Flea Markets

But at the moment, I am building my wardrobe from scratch, this time round with tailor-made clothing that is inspired from within. I thank God I have a tailor who understands my perspective of fashion and is able to produce the designs I hand him.

2. What is the three-word rule that perfectly describes your style?

Timeless, versatile and impactful!

3. Briefly share with us a description of your style.

Charles Dickens, the fashion designer behind the brand, Built To Fit, Kenya

Charles Dickens from Built To Fit, Kenya

My style is anchored on the 3-word rule above.

Read Also: How to Find and Define Personal Style 

My style is timeless due to the fact that I normally don’t go along with the immediate flow of fashion. In my opinion, fashion is general and style is personal. I came to the realization that to build your style, one needs to go for those pieces of clothing that are least affected whenever trends in fashion change; these ensure you remain relevant for quite some time.

Versatile my style is because I’m that kind of guy who loves interchanging several pieces of clothing within outfits, purely out of curiosity. This makes me go for pieces of clothing that can go along with a majority of other pieces if not all of them.

Impactful style since I enjoy dressing well; given that dressing by itself is a powerful communication tool, I am always mindful of the combination of attires I piece together.

4. Let us know about how to build on a gent’s wardrobe.

Quite honestly, building up a wardrobe is not as easy as many men would want to assume. There is quite a lot of trials and errors that precede that ‘perfect’ wardrobe that fits an individual’s taste. However, with the right information, this trial and error phase can be averted.

Several factors normally come into play, for instance: an individual’s budget, personal preferences, environment, bodily appearance to mention but a few.

In my opinion, one should consider the following six pieces as fundamental items when starting out.

a. Shoes:

Charles Dickens, the fashion designer behind the brand Built To Fit

These are the foundation piece of any solid outfit.

The very first one should consider are dress shoes (Oxfords, Derbys & Brogues) in either black or brown colours. However, for color options, brown is more versatile. In addition, sneakers are a great option for casual style, preferably black or white colours. Most importantly, the shoes you start off with should be able to give you varied options either in official, smart casual and casual wear.

Read Also: The Best Type of Shoes To Have This Season

b. Trousers:

Style Talk: How To Build and Cultivate A Gent's Wardrobe

Zack from Style With Zack

In this category, there are three fundamental pieces:  tailor-made dress pants, khaki trousers and dark wash jeans (skip the rugged jeans for starters).

Tailor-made dress pants will cover you for all your official wear. Colours to go for here are preferably black, navy blue and charcoal grey. Khaki trousers and dark wash jeans go along pretty well with both smart casual and purely casual styles. Here, colours are majorly a personal preference. Most importantly, the fit and length of the trousers must just be right for your body type.

c. Shirts:

Style Talk: How To Build and Cultivate A Gent's Wardrobe

Ernest Mugo from Diaries of a Modern Gent

When buying a shirt, one should not only consider the size or whether they like it. They’ve got to fit well. Your shirts should complement your appearance no matter your body type. Slim fitting dress shirts use less material so you have less shirt hanging loosely. The popularity of these shirts has grown because of how they make you look. They’ll give you the look and feel of a tailored shirt. White and blue should act as your foundation colours.

Most importantly, ensure they fit you in the shoulders and sleeves and that they are not too tight on your body.

d. T-shirts:

Melvin Kones

Melvin Kones

The white t-shirt has been part of the men’s fashion as known.

There are mainly two styles; the Crew Neck and the V-neck. Whatever option you choose, ensure that it is fitting to your body. T-shirts should have no designs on them (ideally plain); buttons make them more interesting and stylish.

e. Blazers:

Peter Kinyanjui from Dapper Man Kenya

Peter Kinyanjui from Dapper Man Kenya

The blazer is unbelievably versatile and classic in its own rights.

Black and navy blue colours are great to start with as they will complement most outfits. It must fit you good at the shoulders. The overall length should cover your butt; the blazer shouldn’t be too tight or too loose when you button it up. Overally, a blazer jacket will slim your waist, build your shoulders and make your torso longer.


f. Suits:

A suit will alter your self-image greatly and your perspective of things around you. You will have a sense of empowerment and confidence when wearing a suit. The psychological effect triggered with a well-fitting suit is quite immense.

Most importantly, a tailor-made suit in your favour is most preferred than an off-the-rack suit.

5. Give a list of five must-haves in your closet that ensure you achieve your personal style.

Dress shoes, a tailor-made suit, a white dress Shirt, a pair of dark wash jeans and a pair of sneakers.

* Charles Dickens is a fashion designer behind the brand, Built To Fit, a brand that talks all things men’s fashion. Built To Fit offers styling advice for men as well as design suits for men who want to look sharp.

Find Charles Dickens Online: Facebook Instagram

Cheers! Now we know how to build a basic wardrobe for any gentleman! Let’s learn what these male fashion enthusiasts had to say about their personal style and wardrobes too!

1. Khalifan Muslim Zack from Style With Zack

Khalifan Muslim Zack from Style With Zack

I guess my love for fashion and style runs through my DNA since my mum was a fashion model in her days while my dad was my first stylist and teacher. My fashion style is a classic incorporating a strong Italian flair with African touches. I just love suits mostly because you can never go wrong when dressed up in a well-fitting suit.

Must haves in my closet? That would be a Casio watch, my pair of glasses, the simple black leather Casio and a dark blue suit is a must have too.

Find Zack Online:  Instagram 

2. Ernest Mugo from Diaries of a Modern Gent

Ernest Mugo from Diaries of a Modern Gent

The aeronautical engineer describes his style as simple, adventurous and catchy.

Simplicity is the mother of elegance; not too much nor too little is just enough to keep your circle wondering. Owing to the fact I’m mostly in overalls during the day, I can go to work wearing sweatpants, suits, rocking business casual or even keeping it all time casual. Every day is an adventure in my wardrobe. All in all, I keep it classy and chilled!

5 must haves in my wardrobe include a decent watch, a proper black leather belt, a navy blue tailor made suit, a fitting white t-shirt and a pair of oxfords.

Find Ernest Mugo Online: : Instagram

3. George Mutala, The Voice In A Voice

George Mutala, The Voice In A Voice

My style is classic, modern and expensive. When it comes to that, I love keeping it bright and sapologie. My closet must haves include a quality pair of official shoes, a Full French or Italian suit, a watch, pocket square and a lapel.

Read Also: Why You Need to Invest in a Rolex Watch

Find George Online:  : Twitter  Instagram

4. Fred Anyona From So You Like Fashion 

Style Talk: How To Build and Cultivate A Gent's Wardrobe

I can perfectly describe my style as versatile, urban and minimalistic. Versatile because I am able to wear the same pieces differently , Urban because the pieces I try to wear pieces that are contemporary and are more dress down and Minimalistic because my pieces are usually in plain colors and are neutral coloured.

To achieve this style, my closet must have a pair of white sneakers , a black shirt, a brown pair of Chelsea Boots , a pair of Taupe Pants and a blue pair of jeans.

Find Fred Online:  : Facebook  Instagram

5. Peter Kinyanjui from Dapper Man KenyaPeter Kinyanjui from Dapper Man Kenya

When putting together an ensemble, I’ll keep it bold, sleek and comfortable.

Ever since I discovered how suits and sneakers pair so well that has been my style since its comfortable as it can get and i get to “run” (even literally if you know what I mean) errands with no worries at all. When it comes to being sleek  a tuxedo will most certainly help me achieve that I call it the James Bond look and trust me you can never go wrong in a tux.

Walking in a room and breaking necks is my kind of thing so I have to go bold in order to achieve this like walking in, in a floral suit be rest assured people will gaze safe to say that is one of my must haves in my closet- a floral suit following suit is tuxedos, sneakers, v-necks and polo t-shirts and finally a wrist watch to accessories it, I never leave without a wrist watch on.

Find Dapper Man Kenya Online : Instagram Youtube

6. Melvin Kones

Melvin Kones

I’m simple, sporty and cool. I dress very simply since a cool pair of sneakers, an Adidas t-shirt and a slim-fit G-Star jeans is all that I need. In my closet, you’ll never miss a pair of Nike or Adidas sneakers, an Adidas T-Shirt, slim fit Spandex jeans, a Fossil watch and the Armani Code cologne.

As I’m someone who loves sports, I always appreciate comfortable clothes and shoes. And honestly, Chris Brown inspires my sense of style too.

Find Melvin Online: : Instagram

7. Rony Andabwa from Style With Rony

Rony Andabwa from Style With Rony

Comfortable, classic and elegant! Those three words perfectly describe my style because when it comes to dressing up, I love to keep it as a sprezzatura ensuring I am very comfortable with what I have on, the look is as detailed, elegant and classy.

To keep this style, I must have a watch, sunglasses, a pair of white sneakers, clean underwear and cologne.

Find Style With Rony Online: : Instagram  Youtube

Well, it’s time to build a versatile and stylish wardrobe from scratch, right? All that’s left is for you to wear it and stay fresh!

Disclaimer: This is a collaborative post between Dalene Ekirapa, Charles Dickens  and all the fashion enthusists featured in the article who all gave their honest contribution. 


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  1. I will share this post with my friend – he only mentioned the other day he needs to start caring more about his fashion sense. I am sure he will find it useful!

  2. Having tailored clothes is always a great choice, but unfortunately not many people can afford it. You can never buy a suit that will fit you perfectly, and that is why it’s important to have a tailor. The way a man wears a suit says a lot.

  3. My dad was a sharp dresser. He carefully chooses the outfit he will wear every day and gets them ready the night before. I think he rubbed off some of that fashion sense to my son who is very meticulous in choosing clothes and shoes.

  4. while I cant picture my DH in these, a smart blazer I know has enhanced both my DH’s and my son’s looks everytime
    and i am going to keep these tips in mind

  5. I’ve never heard of the “three world rule” as it pertains to personal style. And all of the men featured in this piece have it more than three times over! (Also, a man that can accessorize with fun socks entertains me!!!) Although my gent isn’t necessarily the most fashionable, I would like to figure out the three words that matter that most to me when it comes to my wardrobe.

  6. Great styles! Every woman loves a dapper dressed gentleman. These men also have great fashion sense too!

  7. I definitely have to share that post with my husband. I love all of the styles and I am sure he will too.

  8. Style and fashion blends are definitely unique to all men depending on their mood, culture and what genuinely makes them feel good. My husband has a great sense of style. I love the confidence these men exhibit in their choice of fashion.

  9. Love the dressing styles here and I must say, these guys have an amazing dressing sense. These are some great tips. Thanks for sharing.

  10. I like a guy who knows how to shop and wear his perfectly tailored suit, wears leather shoes, and still looks dashing in a ripped rugged jeans. WE need more men who knows their suits!

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