What does a man really need to have in his wardrobe? What pieces make the rest of what he owns look its finest and make him stand out from the crowd? Here are seven basic pieces every man should own. Whether you’re a lawyer, a stay-at-home dad, or even a professional video game player, all of these garments should be hanging in your closet. While you might wear some of these more often than others, all of these are absolute necessities.
1. Nice jeans
Every man should have at least two or three pairs of jeans that he cannot live without. Good jeans will coordinate with almost everything else in your closet. Most importantly, jeans need to fit well. They should flatter your body, not work against it and should be a proper length, so don’t be afraid to get them hemmed. Wash is also key. Jeans that are too light can look dated and jeans that are too dark can look overly trendy. Don’t know where to start? Lucky Jeans are designed to be universally flattering on all body types and come in a variety of rinses. Try them on until you find the best fit and don’t be afraid to ask a sales associate how you look in them.
2. Quality white T-shirts
Sure you can buy cheap multi-packs of white T-shirts at the local drugstore or even in bulk at Costco, but a fashionable man should own good quality T-shirts to wear underneath everything from dress shirts to sweaters. T-shirts will keep your other clothes in good condition, create clean lines, and absorb sweat. They will actually save you money in the long run because you won’t have to dry-clean as often. You don’t have to plunk down a lot of cash for good undershirts either, just don’t be cheap. J.Crew makes white undershirts in both crewneck and V-neck styles. You should have several of each style because nothing looks worse than when your undershirt sticks out.
3. Polo shirts
A polo shirt is the perfect way to look casual, but neat. It can be worn by itself or used as a layering piece. While Ralph Lauren is known for his classic polos featuring the pony logo above the breast, nearly every clothing designer and brand makes their own version of this shirt, so go for the color and style you like best.
4. White oxford dress shirt
A white oxford dress shirt is incredibly versatile. It can be worn with a suit or underneath a blazer. You can even wear one with jeans to a dinner party or out on a date. Invest in a quality shirt, take care of it, launder properly (and immediately if you stain it), and a quality white dress shirt can last for years. You can’t go wrong with Brooks Brothers, which sells a variety of styles and fits.
5. A versatile suit
Even if you work at a casual office or from home, every man needs to own at least one good suit. You might feel as if you never need a suit, but you never know when you have a wedding, funeral, or job interview — so learn to dress for success. Most importantly, make sure your suit fits right and is properly tailored. A good fit can make a less expensive suit look more expensive, but a bad fit can make an expensive suit look cheap.
6. A trench coat
At some point in your life, you’re going to encounter cold or rainy weather. Why not be prepared in style with a classic trench coach? Don’t forget your umbrella!
7. Swim trunks
This doesn’t sound very basic, but even if you don’t live in a warm climate, you should have at least one decent pair of swim trunks on hand at all times. You never know when you might need them.