Whether you’re a seasoned fashion vet or are just starting out on your sartorial journey, there are two great lessons everyone should know: It’s essential to have good tailoring and plenty of basics. Although we’ll be focusing on the latter, it bears repeating that no matter what you wear and no matter how much you paid for a particular item, if it’s tailored to fit your body shape then you’re going to look like a million bucks.
In terms of the type of clothes you buy, investing in pieces that are classic, simple, and versatile not only allow you to justify how much you paid for the item, but you’ll be able to get enough wear out of them because they can be mixed and matched with almost anything in your closet with minimal hassle. The is why knowing the basics and subsequently owning them will leave you with little room for any fashion faux pas.
Owning the basic items you need is the foundation of your wardrobe, so it’s important that you get them down pat. Here is a quick rundown of the basics you should have readily available at your disposal, so you can always build the perfect, appropriate outfit.
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention this basic of the basics first: the T-shirt. It is the building block of any outfit. A well-fitting tee should finish mid bicep, while the body should be slim through the torso and end just a couple of inches below the waist. Tee’s work well by themselves, under a leather jacket paired with slim fitting denim and boots, or they can be dressed up with an unstructured blazer and pair of chinos. It’s best to go for the basic versions of tees, such as ones that can easily be used as an undershirt. Your go-to colors for this classic basic are white, grey, navy, and black. Black looks great if you’re going out for the evening. When it comes to long sleeves and/or Henley’s, make sure they’re no too tight in the arms and look for a similar fit as you would a normal T-shirt.
Yet another style basic, jeans are worn with practically every outfit you own, meaning for this basic, fit is key. Make sure you’re opting for slim-fitting jeans as they’re the most flattering for an array of male body types. A warning: Never purchase or wear a pair of skinny jeans — you are not the lead singer of a rock band so they’re totally inappropriate to wear and can be very unflattering. Don’t be afraid to have your jeans tailored so they fit just right. The obvious choice for denim are darker washes, with no logos sticking out or nothing too distracting. If you’re looking for a great quality pair that will only get better with age, and if you have a little extra money to spend, try a pair of selvedge denim. They’ll last you much longer than a pair of other store bought denim.
‘Tis the season for knitwear, which is also what most of your outfits will be centered and built around. Whether you’re jumping for a cardigan or a roll neck, a crewneck, or v-neck sweater, you need to make sure that they aren’t overly tight, while keeping them slim cut through the sides. The most common materials range from mixed knits to merino wool and cashmere, which is the most luxurious and expensive. When it comes to style, v-neck sweaters communicate a more formal tone, while crew necks look great over a shirt or by themselves under a casual jacket. As for roll-necks, which tend to be warmest of the bunch, make sure they don’t fit too tight around the neck and can be worn in a similar way to a cardigan, which by the way, a nice thick knit one looks great over a tee.
Ready to shop? Here are our picks of where you can find the best basics for your wardrobe:
- Uniqlo: We love the simplicity of the brand, and it is the perfect go-to place to stock up on the basics. Great quality for a very affordable price.
- J.Crew: Although a little pricier, J.Crew is on-point and offers muted, rugged alternatives to your basics.
- Zara: Our personal favorite for quality, it gets major points for finding new and interesting ways to tweak the basics and keep them unique. Zara is affordable and is anything but basic — yet it nails the basics.
- American Apparel: This store is king of the basics.
- H&M: This fast-fashion fave is a given.