We are already two months into the new year and there's no better time than now to make sure your wardrobe is on point, A good start is to make sure you have the essentials down pat. So what are the essential wardrobe items every modern man should own? What are the default items that will help you get through the scenarios of your busy life, including workdays, date nights, special occasions and a plethora of events throughout the seasons of the year?
The concept of less is more, applies here, I have curated list of 8 versatile pieces of clothing that can be easily dressed up or dressed down to suit different occasions;
The secret to your wardrobe staple items, involves "keeping it simple" and versatility.
1. BASIC WHITE TEE
You do no need to go out and spend $$$ on one. Just make sure you have a few in the wardrobe that are well suited to your body shape and are always clean. My go-to basic tees believe it or not cost under $20, so they are easily replaceable when they start to take on a yellow hue or simply get worn out. White tees are so versatile and can be worn with jeans, casual shorts, or coloured chinos, they also happen to be my draw card when I need to dress down for an occasion, I often wear them under a blazer for a more relaxed yet dressy look. There's no need to overspend here.
2. TAN CHINOS
A pair of tan coloured chinos is possibly the most versatile type of trousers out there, They can be dressed up, or dressed down effortlessly by rolling up/down the hems, you can wear them with sandals, sneakers, lace up shoes or even boots.
A classic combination is tan coloured chinos paired with a white shirt, navy blazer and your choice of footwear.
Aside from tan, navy is the next most versatile colour for chinos, olive green then follows as a little more daring colour. However all three are great all year round colours, and chinos are a great way to introduce the colours into your wardrobe,
3. SINGLE BREASTED SUIT
Every fashion expert will say the following, the two must have suits are Black and Navy, in block colours. no fancy pin stripes of windowpane checks (I know right Mr. Gumbatron..?, here me out...). for your essentials remember the rule was to keep it simple. The versatility of a single breasted silhouette means it can be worn for multiple occasions. The block colour canvas will also allow your accessories (ties, pocketsquares, lapel pins etc) to add character and depth to your overall outfit. Remember this editorial is about 'The Essentials', once you understand the basics, there's nothing stopping you from being more creative with different swatches and patterns for your jackets and trousers.
In addition if you invest in some quality suiting, the blazers and trousers will be able to stand alone strong enough without the other, allowing you to create multiple individual looks from the one suit, this is always something I consider when I'm purchasing a new suit.
Tailoring is an art, it should be respected and understood by all modern men, I will discuss this topic in greater detail in the future, as it is a strong passion and interest of mine.
4. WHITE BUTTON UP SHIRT (LONG SLEEVE)
If I was only to have one type of shirt in my wardrobe, it would without doubt be a woven white number. Explore different collar types for they all express a different look and will suit particular occasions and not others. Consider whether you will be wearing a tie with the shirt or if you wish to go with a more casual unbuttoned look.
White shirts are versatile like a white T-shirt, they can be worn with the same shorts/trousers combo. On the same token your white button up shirt will need to be cared for correctly as they will be prone to taking on a yellow-hue especially on the collars. Also make sure your shirt is properly ironed and crisp, theres honestly nothing worse than a crinkled white shirt, even if the rest of your outfit is on point.
5. DENIM OR CHAMBRAY SHIRT
Personally I don't always feel comfortable in a denim (twill weave in coloured yarn) shirt, therefore I have suggested an alternative Chambray (plain weave in coloured yarn ) shirt. They are lighter in both appearance and materiality because of a more relaxed weave. Both Denim and Chambray elude a masculine and sexy tone, roll up the sleeves for a meaner look. Denim and Chambray shirts pair especially well with black jeans or olive green chinos. I tend to not double denim, but when I do, I ensure the top and bottom pieces are several shades apart for the contrast. If you need any more convincing about adding denim garments to your wardrobe just refer to David Beckham.
6. NAVY BLAZER
This is the ultimate, must have. I learnt from a very early age the versatility of a well fitted navy blazer. The colour navy works with all skin tones and body physiques. And as a blazer it can be dressed up or dressed down effortlessly. If you want to do 'smart casual', a navy blazer is your best friend, It works well with t-shirts, dress shirts, jeans, chinos and trousers. I personally like to pair a navy blazer with a pair of tan or ivory coloured chinos, you can never do wrong with those combo. Ralph Lauren is infamous for their navy blazers which have contributed to the preppy american spirit of the brand.
7. TAN BROGUES
The British classic brown/tan coloured brogue shoe is a great way to begin to show some personality in the way you dress, Brogues at first may seem like a big jump for the average man's shoe game, but trust me, it is a staple for the modern man, the detailing on the toecap the shoe begins to shows a bit more character, after all we all know that females tend to first looks at a mans shoe for what ever reason. Brogues are versatile and can be worn for both casual and more formal settings.
8. WHITE SNEAKERS
It doesn't matter if you don't play tennis or know anything about tennis, a pair of understated white sneakers are a great asset to everyones wardrobe. My personal favourite are a pair a Adidas Stan Smiths or Common Projects Achilles. White sneakers go especially well with denim, shorts and chinos. make sure you pair them with a pair of low ankle or invisible socks if you are wearing them with shorts. Personally I am also intrigued with the sneakers and suits look, it's very hard to get right, but when its done right the wearer just emits out of this world confidence (I will write an article about this at a later date).
The emphasis on essential wardrobe items is versatility, the ability to achieve more with less, One key piece of advice is to invest a little more for suits, coats and footwear for they will last you many seasons and you will get plenty of wear from them over the years.
The above list of 8 essential wardrobe items for the modern man sets a solid foundation for you to begin to explore and express your individual style through layering some personality into your outfit, whether it be through combining different pieces together or through the use of accessories.
dress well, drink well, live well.