6 Clothing Items That Most Men Don’t Know They Need

There comes a time in every man’s closet when the standard, go-to staples will no longer suffice. Yes, you’ve covered the bases with your classic suiting, button-downs, sweaters, tees, and trousers. But, to reach full maturity, your wardrobe has a bit more growing up to do.

Give your daily wear a boost with these six clothing items that you might not think you need — or that perhaps have never even crossed your mind. Welcome to sartorial adulthood.

1. Non-silk tie

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 18:  People shop at Macy?s department store November 18, 2005 in New York City. U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez toured the store Friday meetingt with retail business leaders at a roundtable sponsored by the National Retail Federation and hosted by Federated Department Stores, Inc.  (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Look at what else is out there | Spencer Platt/Getty Images

A dead ringer for a dated wardrobe, the wide, silk tie is no longer a suitable stand-in for any ensemble. You may have more of these on that tie rack than you wish to count, but that’s no excuse for not adding an upgraded tie (or three) to the collection. Many of the newest suit styles and jacket and trouser combos feature a more streamlined, European-inspired silhouette, which eliminates excess fabric and roominess. So, a large-and-in-charge tie simply looks more clownish than cool.

Sleek neckwear that matches the cut of the clothes is essential — although even the most traditional of suits can benefit from the update of a thinner tie. Look for ties made from more versatile and less, ahem, glossy fabrics. You may want to check out the aptly named Skinny Tie Madness label, which has everything from dapper checks to sophisticated solids and punchy, abstract statements — all of the thin-is-in, 2-inch variety.

2. Chambray shirt

Source: iStock

Chambray should be a staple | iStock.com

Denim should not just be relegated to your jeans — or to snaps-studded, boot-scootin’ western style, for that matter. The traditional denim button-down has come a long way from its thick, workwear roots. With that in mind, the lightweight chambray shirt should be a new closet staple. While it’s not technically denim, per se, the interesting thing about chambray is that it still goes with everything — from day-off joggers to business-casual chinos. The shirt even adds an unexpectedly slick, textural flair to a dark navy or black suit. Just make sure that you find one with a slim, tailored fit to avoid slipping back into that boxy look.

3. Colored pants

model walking a runway in green pants

Try a different hue | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

It’s high time you colored outside the lines of the khaki chinos and blue denim jeans. We certainly aren’t advocating that you retire these items, but you should up your pants profile with a few more vibrant hues. Keep your bottom half interesting with handsome shades such as deep purple, chocolate brown, and forest green. Denim in charcoal, black, and white washes also adds a fresh perspective.

Even a diverse color spectrum of trousers can generally be treated as neutrals and paired with contrasting shades and patterns for a new, versatile spin on your current rotation of tops. Ted Baker London always delivers on a rich, new palette, such as the brand’s cotton chinos that are appropriate for nearly every occasion.

4. Fashion sneakers

A good pair of sneakers should be in your closet | iStock.com

A good pair of sneakers should be in your closet | iStock.com

Sneakers should no longer come equipped with the gym-time stereotype. Yes, you should have some trainers to hit the treadmill and the squat rack. But another pair of lace-ups need to be added to your shoe collection. While these aren’t athletic-style performance shoes, fashion sneakers do perform oh-so-well when it comes to upping the style quotient of virtually any ensemble. A no-brainer to elevate a pair of jeans or chinos, these types of sneaks are also perfectly acceptable for suits and even tuxedos.

Practically every design house has hopped on the fashion sneaker train with options in glossy patents, rich suedes, luxe leathers, and more (Dior Homme and Lanvin currently have some particularly enviable varieties). But even the iconic, casual sneaker labels such as Vans and Converse have dressier versions, too. With polished, urban flair, these stylish kicks give you full permission to become a sneakerhead.

5. Statement socks

man wearing fancy socks

Man wearing fancy socks | iStock.com/sharpshutter

Socks are like the exclamation point to the outfit of the day. There is precious little real estate between your shoe and your calf, but it’s still a prime location to add major personality points. White athletic socks aren’t acceptable for anything outside of the gym, and basic black and navy dress socks are sorely lacking in inspiration. But there are a plethora of sock companies that boast all manners of alternative options including printed, paisley, patterned, and thoroughly punchy pairs. Foot Cardigan, Happy Socks, and Sock It To Me are just a few colorful brands to add a technicolor twist to your ankles.

6. Cardigan sweater

Source: iStock

Every guy needs a good sweater | iStock.com

Cardigans have gotten somewhat of a bad rap. But they shouldn’t be relegated to an uncool, negatively nerdy realm. You may think you don’t need one of these sweaters, but the right kind of cardigan functions beautifully as a less formal blazer to top off a business-casual look. Whether of the nubby, lightweight, or shawl neck variety, the piece enriches any outfit as a proper layering piece to add texture and visual interest. The best versions are less Mr. Rogers and more modern with a tailored, trim fit.

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