Every great wardrobe starts with a few key pieces. Consider these the building blocks, the foundation, for every outfit you put together. Regardless of your personal style, every man needs these five things.
1. An Oxford shirt
Defined by its unique weave, the Oxford shirt is worn nearly everyday by most men. It’s timeless, versatile, and absolutely essential. Whether you’re wearing it to a wedding, to a business meeting, or a child’s birthday party, fit remains key. The collar should be just tight enough, the shoulders wide enough but not to the point of being loose, and the chest should be breathable but not baggy.
Although it is a noteably traditional shirt, that doesn’t mean you don’t have options when it comes to colors and patterns. Of course, if we’re talking about a wardrobe staple, the white Oxford shirt is mandatory.
Pair this shirt with jeans, shorts, or a three piece suit. See what we mean by ‘building blocks’?
2. A Blazer
We first must point out that a blazer is different than a suit jacket and you can’t use a piece from #3 on our list to meet the requirements for this similar but still different style of jacket.
A good blazer will see you through casual events, semi-formal events, and everything in between. That’s because you’ll find blazers in fabrics ranging from tweed to linen, with 2-buttons or 3, and in patterns like herringbone, seersucker, and houndstooth. A t-shirt and jeans can be elevated with the addition of a fitted grey cashmere blazer and a green tweed blazer can add class to even the most basic outfit.
3. A Navy Suit
Every man needs a good tailor made suit. Navy – unlike black – can easily be dressed down for casual Friday or a first date and – unlike brown – can easily be dressed up for a job interview or charity event. While it’s most commonly worn overtop a white shirt, the versatility and subtle regality of navy pairs well with neckwear and accessories in a range of colors, from burgundy to green.
Your suit jacket should hang close to your body and in the case of a two-button suit, the top button should hit your belly button. Your shoulder pads should – not surprisingly – end at your shoulders and your sleeves should fall just to your wrist. To avoid overcomplicating things, here’s a simple rule: you shouldn’t look like your in your dad’s suit or your younger brother’s.
4. A Pair of Chinos
Tailored Chinos go with everything and somehow trump jeans in terms of how formal they are but are still just as cool. Recently, they’ve exploded and come in a variety of colors, from stone to khaki to blue. This is the one staple where we won’t dictate what color you must have in your closet as one is just as versatile as the other.
While chinos can’t be dressed up to the point of being suitable for a business meeting, they can be made to be more dignified if they’re paired with a collared shirt and blazer. On the other hand, a t-shirt and a pair of chinos is perfect for a casual night out.
Pulling off the look is easy, so long as they fit. Chinos sit slightly lower than dress pants so you might need to adjust your size accordingly. Likewise, keep in mind that you don’t have to wear a belt so make sure they’re tight enough to stay up on their own. Your footwear dictates how long the chinos should be. For a more lofty look, you can go for loafers without socks, in which case you’ll want a slight gap between the end of your pants and your ankle. To avoid having to buy several pairs in differing lengths, neatly roll the hem up as needed. Versatility is key!
5. A White, Blue, or Black T-Shirt
This should go without saying. Even the most sophisticated man needs a t-shirt or two. They go with everything, even if that means underneath something and out of eyesight. Like chinos, any color will do but we do insist that the shirt be one-toned, untattered, bright if white, and without logos. Because they’re (generally) inexpensive, don’t hesitate to update your collection of t-shirts often. Like anything else, they should be tight but not too tight and if you do go for a v-neck, modesty is always best.