Chinos are a staple because they can replace jeans for casual days, pair nicely with a collared shirt and sweater for a smart, simple look, or even look well with a sport coat for a semi-dressy look.
Go for a couple pairs in neutrals first, and then add a colored pair or two. Make sure that they are not too baggy and avoid pleats; a flat front is more flattering.
If you are tall or have a long inseam, look for brands with an unfinished hem (J. Crew online is great for this) and have your tailor hem them for a perfect fit.
3. TeesDefinitely buy at least one of each in black, white, and gray. A note on gray: If you have cool skin tones (reddish or blue undertones) then go for heather gray. If you have warm skin tones (yellow undertone), go for a dark pewter. If you are neutral (veins might appear to be green) the you can most likely wear both dark and light shades; choose what you like best. Look for styles that fit well and skim your body. No clingy, too small shirts! After you get a few solid neutrals, you might want to add in a couple colors that complement your wardrobe. Even adding in a few graphic tees or printed tees (like a stripe) can help ramp up your style. Just make sure you cover your basics and have solid colors before you add in your funky items. Be sure to buy a few long sleeve shirts for cooler months as well. Henley tees are great options for long sleeve shirts.
4. Collared Button Up Dress Shirt
A crisp white collared button up is essential. It goes with everything. The white shirt can be dressed up or dressed down. It can be paired with a suit, jeans, or even shorts, worn open over a tee with the sleeves pushed up . It works year round.
Quality and fit of this staple item is also essential. Collared button up shirts are available at various price points and in several different fits, including slim. If you are a slim guy, Hugo Boss is a great brand. If you are looking for something high end and unique, you can have shirts custom made online or through your tailor.
When selecting your perfect white collared button up dress shirt, be sure the sleeves are long enough, that it doesn't pull across your back uncomfortably when you cross your arms, drive, or do your daily activities, and doesn't dig into your neck (allow enough room for one to two fingers to slide in between your skin and your collar). The same goes for the front buttons: If they pull or gap across your chest, size up. Pay attention to how the shirt fits in the shoulders: The seam should sit right on the edge of the shoulder, but no farther. If the shirt is baggy in the torso (if you have a broad chest or shoulders and have to size up but have a slim torso) then find a good tailor. As long as the shoulders fit well, fabric can be taken in to create the perfect fit.
Adding in a couple more shirts in solid colors that complement your wardrobe is a great way to keep things interesting. Once you have a few quality solid colored shirts, add in a couple with a simple print, like a vertical stripe, gingham, or plaid.
5. PoloPolos are classic, all-American, and are available in various fits. They are great shirts for casual days when you don't want to wear a tee. Paired with chinos, they are even work appropriate in a casual office culture. Wear your polo with denim, shorts, and even your sport coat. Get a couple in neutral colors (black, chocolate brown, gray, navy, cream) and a couple in fun colors (the Venetian Red is nice). 6. Sport Coat/Blazer The sport coat or blazer adds style and a bit of class to any look. It is reminiscent of the days when men wore more formal clothing for work and leisure and is essential for the modern man's wardrobe as well. Even if your office is casual, you might need to have a coat on hand to meet with your boss to ask for a promotion or meet a potential client for lunch. Even if your social calendar isn't booked with events requiring a formal wardrobe, you will probably go on a date worthy of dressing up for or have a friend's wedding to attend. Having this piece in your closet is definitely important and is an easy way to really pull a look together in a snap. Go for one in a neutral that complements your existing wardrobe. It doesn't even have to match exactly. If you are wanting to make a statement, look for a glen plaid in a neutral color. The sky is the limit. 7. Well Cut Dark Suit There is nothing more attractive than a man in a well cut, well fitting, dark suit. Nothing. Ask any woman on the planet. What is not attractive is a guy who looks disheveled, schleppy, or like he is a little boy wearing his dad's suit with an oversize jacket and pants that drag on the ground. Or, even worse, an ill fitting, too small suit. No. Fit. Is. Everything. Most men can not just buy a suit off the rack and call it day. But many do it anyway. If you are short, look for a shorter jacket. If you are tall, you can get away with a longer one. Thin? Be sure to go slim. Not so slim? Get a suit that is fitted, without a lot of extra material (that actually makes you look bigger). Find a tailor you trust to help you achieve the best fit and look for you. One way to do this is to ask around. If you see a guy on the street wearing a well made, well fitting suit, ask him who is tailor is. Most people love to talk about themselves, especially when they get to show off a little. Invest in a black, dark gray, or dark navy suit to maximize wear. Also, be sure to order a second pair of pants. And don't forget about a tie and a pocket square. If you don't find something you like in the stores, you can always have your suit custom made. 8. Sweater Whether you choose a pullover or a cardigan (or both!) choose quality. Focus on fit and versatility. Sweaters are great and can be worn as a top or bottom layer in cooler months. Cardigans can be worn casually or dressed up. Just be sure that there is not excess fabric or a baggy appearance in the torso. The sweater should be fitted but with enough room for layering over a button up shirt. Cashmere is a great choice as is merino wool. 9. Jacket Jacket requirements will vary by region. Some of you will need something light and some of you will need something with a little more warmth to get you through the next few months. To make it easy, here are a few different style options. The military style is here to stay, so it seems. It is a little vintage, a little utilitarian, and a whole lot of cool. The leather bomber. Much like a well cut suit, a really great fitting leather jacket paired with a white tee, jeans, and boots (among other things) just looks amazing. It is masculine, stylish, effortless. The denim jacket is an iconic piece that has been around for, well, it's been around forever. Pair it with chinos, colored denim or a lighter wash denim for a sporty, casual look. The wool overcoat is probably the most valuable item in your wardrobe (for outerwear, that is) if you live in a cold climate. Choose one in a complementary neutral or an unexpected color to get you through the cold weather blues. If you are still looking a for a warm classic jacket but don't need a full length overcoat, a pea coat is a great alternative. 10. Boots
There are several seasons where boots are appropriate: Fall, Winter, and Spring. So invest in a high quality pair that will last for years to come.
Wear your boots with jeans and your military jacket, a tee, and a scarf for a cool downtown vibe or pair them with rolled chinos, stripes, and a cardigan for an updated classic look.
11. The Dress Shoe
Lately, dress shoes like brogues have made a serious comeback. That is a great thing. They look good worn casually sans socks, a la J. Crew, as much as they do with a suit. Brogue on.
Oxfords are another wonderful choice. They are clean, classic, simple, and sophisticated that have an understated elegance.
And guys, avoid slip on dress shoes. They say something about you, whether you realize it or not. Shoes with laces tell the world (especially future employees, business partners, and romantic partners), "I care about the details". Care about the details, ok?
12. The Casual Shoe
Whether you like the classic casual style of Chuck Taylor's or are digging the comeback of the classic throwback sneakers, you need a pair of casual shoes in your wardrobe.
So, there you have it, the 12 things every guy should have in his wardrobe!
I would love your feedback! Let me know what you think.
Did I miss anything? Do these items align with your style? Would you wear these?
And, if you need style help, leave me a message below!
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