These 10 closet essentials evoke a timeless look, can be worn almost year round and don’t follow any particular fashion trends. Every man should have these men’s wardrobe basics as the cornerstones of their wardrobe. Chances are you already have most if not all these wardrobe basics, but regardless of your age group or profession, your closet should always have these garments hanging around.
“The goal I seek is to have people refine their style through my clothing without having them become victims of fashion.” Giorgio Armani
1. White Polo Shirt – It’s safe to go with a classic logo, such as an Alligator or a Horse. The material should be made out of pique cotton while having banded arms and a shallow shirt tail so it can be worn untucked. Don’t be afraid to use Clorox to keep the white bright, and hang dry it to maintain the crisp look. Strive for a spectrum of colors as if your closet was a store display.
2. Versatile Blue Jeans – Whether it’s a pair of classic Levi’s denim or hand-spun Japanese selvedge, you should have a pair you can wear casually or formally. Aim for a straight-cut finish, as boot-cut swallows your shoes [unless you’re actually wearing boots] and slim-cut makes you look like you’re an Emo band frontman. You should only have paint splatters if you’re a painter, and similarly only have carpenter jeans if you’re a carpenter.
3. Dark Solid Suit – If you only have one suit in your wardrobe, make sure it’s a resourceful one. You should be able to wear it to a wedding, job interview or even a funeral. Furthermore, if there’s only one item you choose to get tailored, it should be this piece. You don’t want to look like you’re borrowing your older brother’s jacket and pants. Also please don’t have more than 3 buttons unless you plan on shaking David Stern’s hand at the podium. You can buy a really great custom made suit online for $350 with free shipping.
4. Power Tie – You should have a tie that exudes confidence. You may not be in a position of power, but the proper tie can propel you on to the fast track. Don’t be afraid to mix a bold colored tie with your dark suit, as the contrast conveys self-assurance. A power tie is pretty debatable [I've yet to see power levels on any of my neckwear], so the other elements of your particular outfit can make it seem like one.
5. French Cuff Shirt – Formal cuffs can add a touch of elegance to a drab outfit. Like you would with your bedsheets [or probably not], pay attention to the thread count of your French cuff shirt. Spread collars will also give the shirt better symmetry. The sleeves should be slightly longer than your traditional dress shirt to give allowance for the corresponding cuff links, but if you go to a quality men’s boutique, they should tell you everything you need.
6. V-Neck Sweater – V-neck sweaters [either a patterned or solid color] provide the ultimate layer and middleman between a shirt and jacket. Go for a banded waistline for a better segue to your pants. Make sure you have a stiff collar underneath if you plan to layer it over this type of shirt. Although parallel, do not wear a V-Neck shirt along with a V-Neck sweater. The only double V’s belong to a vulva and vagina.
7. Grey Wool Trousers – Similarly to the other bottoms on this list, grey trousers allow for maximum versatility – they’re work-appropriate, can be worn during a night out on the town or even at Church [that is, if you still go]. They coordinate well with light or dark colored tops as well. Faint designs such as light pinstripes or a herringbone pattern can make an otherwise dull garment more stylish. Try to stay away from cuffed bottoms though, as this will give you a heavier look.
8. Khaki Pants – Just because you can’t always wear jeans. Avoid pleats and a tapered cut. Since these aren’t your father’s pants, definitely stay away from an elastic waist. Opt for a softer cotton fabric for comfort and a darker khaki color for maximum wearing opportunities, from the golf course to your office.
9. Winter Coat – For those harsh winters or just a cold day, winter coats can vary from a ¾ length trench to a double-breasted pea coat. These jackets possess similar traits, as their functionality is adept for both business-formal or casual Friday attire. Please note that ski jackets are not an acceptable substitute.
10. Black Loafers – Out of your whole outift, the shoes can tell most about you. Go for a rounded-toe and leather sole for a smoother look. You might pay a premium for quality genuine leather, but it’ll be well worth it. Your waist line and neck size might change, but your foot won’t, so invest in quality footwear. Keep shoe trees in them and give them an occasional polish to maintain a spit shine.
These ten basics are pillars you can craft your wardrobe around. You can still create individual style by complementing your various garments carefully. Basic rules of paying attention to fabric, material, color and fit still apply. As you would with your car and stereo equipment, clothes require maintenance and care to preserve their clean look, so be sure to read the care label for instructions. Above all else, just remember it’s the person who makes the clothes and not the other way around.