Apparently, Einstein developed a system. He had seven identical suits, one for each day of the week, so he never had to waste time thinking about what to wear. Compiling a business wardrobe is kind of like that. Everything you have should go with everything else, so you can mix and match with minimal adult supervision and still look great, regardless of what you pick.

The goal is to have one outfit for every day of your workweek and a couple more besides—that’s pretty much the bare minimum. Any less and you become predictable in the eyes of your coworkers, and stuff like that is notoriously hard to live down. Thursday, for you, could forever be known as Blue Tie Day.

The following seven sections are a general guide to what every sharp-dressed man’s closet ought to contain.

1. SUITS

Suits say that we are sober men of serious intent, reputable in business and trustworthy in all things. They’re the standard uniform of The Professional and everyone, male or female, needs at least one — something to get married in and buried in.

Your first suit (the all-purpose version) should be a classic cut in navy, charcoal or black. Plain is preferable. Depending on your shirt and tie, it’s as good for business as it is for semi-formal functions. Your second suit should be gray. It’s less formal but useful all the same. Don’t be afraid of pattern. Suit number three should, once again, be navy, charcoal or black, a color you did not opt for in step one, with a different pattern or texture from your other two suits.

For your fourth suit, try something a little racier. Have fun. Express yourself in as much as you can while coloring firmly inside the lines. After that, it’s wild-monkey free-for-all. Do whatever you like, but, bear in mind, these are suits we’re talking about. Try to keep the roof on.

2. JACKETS

If your office has a particularly square dress code with an equally uptight casual Friday policy, a sober-enough sport jacket paired with sensible trousers and a sport shirt might be an appropriate response. Who knows, you might even get away with the occasional knit top. In less draconian circumstances, however, a superb jacket with some stylish pants and a cool shirt can be worn in lieu of whatever garment you like, on any given day.

Accordingly, every modern-day office-workingman needs a blazer. Even now, at the dawn of the 21st century, these articles of clothing are extraordinarily versatile. They can be dressed all the way up with shirt, tie and trousers, or all the way down with jeans and a t-shirt. A proper blazer will not only solve your casual-Friday problems, but also, at the same time, open up whole new realms of sartorial possibility.

Blazers, however, are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to jackets.

We carry a wide variety of different styles, with seasonal, ever-changing, selections of worsted, cashmere, cotton and linen, in a wide array of weaves, details, patterns and tone-on-tone variants. They come from some of the finest design houses in the world, each and every one exemplifying simply exceptional value.

3. DRESS PANTS

Dress pants aren’t stand-alone items. Not typically. They’re made to go with sport jackets or blazers and, for this reason, it’s best to stick to basics. Decoration should be subtle, if at all. This means small weaves, details and tone-on-tone patterns. From a distance, your trousers will wallpaper right in, but, up close, they’ll be infinitely more interesting.

There are a multitude of appropriate styles to choose from, from classic sport jacket to five-pocket casual, but your palette should never stray too far from black, navy, gray or tan. Wool is always your best bet. It takes dye beautifully, cleans up nice and lasts and lasts. There are, however, all kinds of other fabrics available — a wide variety of natural materials, quality blends and synthetics that feel wonderful and perform most admirably.

Ideally, you’ll want to pick something that’s as multi-purpose as it is marvelous.

4. SHIRTS AND TIES

It’s good to have at least seven dress shirts—one for every workday and a couple more to mix up the roster. That’s kind of the minimum. Otherwise, you run the risk of once more repeating yourself again.

For maximum wearability, one should be white, another should be mid to light blue and both should have regular collars and cuffs. The other five should be in various colors, patterns and styles, all of which go with your various jackets and suits. It’s also good to own at least one white shirt with French cuffs for semi-formal occasions. Be advised: this necessitates the possession of actual cufflinks.

When it comes to ties, however, it’s the Wild West out there — lawless and gutsy. Whatever you do is perfectly acceptable. There are, however, some basic principles that apply: sober, solid-color ties, or those with a very small, neat pattern, are considered more formal. Stripes, geometrics and abstracts are for business. Bow ties are for when you need to express your inner nerd, ascots are for yacht club socials, knit ties are old-school favorites, and neckties always look dressiest when worn with a white shirt.

If you employ a pocket square, think of it and your shirt and tie as throw cushions, and your suit as the sofa on which they lie. They should all go together in the same way.

5. SHOES AND BELTS

Every sharp-dressed man needs three or four pairs of dress shoes in black, brown or chili. You’ll also need a few or more black, brown or chili belts to go with them. That’s the basic toolkit. Of course, it’s infinitely scalable. On one end you’ve got this, on the other you’ve got Imelda Marcos.

It’s considered proper form to coordinate the color or your shoes to that of of your belt, and, also, your socks to either your trousers or your belt and shoes. The world, however, is not as rigid as it once was—a blue suit with brown shoes and belt works very nicely, thank you, despite what your dad says. And then there are days when you just need some extra color. That’s where chromatic socks come in, and decorative belt buckles, and comfy shoes. So, push the envelope, why don’t you? Live a little.

6. TOPCOATS

This is Canada we’re talking about — the place with lethal winters. You’ll need a proper topcoat to keep you warm. Traditional ones end eight or so inches below the knee, but more and more often you’ll see car-coat lengths, ending about mid-thigh. They come in a variety of styles, with set-in or raglan sleeves and all kinds of collars. Fabrics range from pure wool, to wool blends, to ultra-deluxe cashmere.

You’ll also need a good raincoat to keep the weather off during the spring, summer and fall. Some have removable liners and wool collars, and are warm enough to wear on milder winter days. Styles range from trench coats, to mackintoshes, to single-breasted fly fronts, to everything in between. Fabrics can be treated cotton or micro fiber, or a blend of both.

7. FORMAL DRESS

If the invitation says: ‘black tie,’ your dark suit won’t be enough. You’ll need a tux. How else will you commune with your inner Double-O Seven?

A tuxedo can be worn with a cummerbund or a vest, a bow tie or a long formal tie. Your shirt will have French cuffs and, quite likely, a cutaway collar. It’s not all that simple though. There are all kinds of different shirt styles to choose from, with varying degrees of fanciness. Some have crystal studs and colored trim. Others have pleated fronts and wing collars. And, it’s the same with tuxedos—elegance piled upon sophistication, variety upon selection, with all manner of lush fabrics and refined silhouettes.

Executive-length socks are the only kind that will work, and jet-black, patent leather shoes exist almost entirely to be worn with a tux. They’re your first and best choice, but mirror-polished, very plain, black shoes can substitute in a pinch.

That being said, schmancy’s the only way to go. Attention to detail is the only hope you have of standing out with distinction in a ballroom full of penguins.