Listen up gents, this one’s dedicated to you! We all know that fashion trends come and go –– what’s in one season, is out the next season. So when it comes to building a solid, foolproof wardrobe (yes, there’s such a thing!), you gotta start with the basics. And if you’re like most guys I know, browsing racks and racks (or pages and pages) of clothing to find what you’re looking for is a total turnoff. Luckily, great style doesn’t mean owning or having to buy a lot of clothes. Rather, it’s about stocking your closet with a few select, classic pieces. Here I’ve curated a list of 10 closet essentials every man should own, aka your wardrobe arsenal. They’re your must-have items that won’t go out of style, you can mix and match and create multiple outfits with, and ensure you look effortlessly fly in any situation.
Whether you’re in need of a complete closet overhaul or you’re simply filling in the gaps, here it is:
1. White T-Shirt
The white t-shirt is as versatile as it gets. A high-quality white tee that fits you well is your best friend (think: sleeves end mid-bicep and wrap closely around your arm without being too tight, less than 2” of fabric when you pinch either side of your midsection, falls between upper to mid crotch). I suggest a crew neck style, but if you prefer a V-neck cut, just make sure it’s not a deep V (it doesn’t go past the top of your armpits). Once you find the “one,” I suggest you pick up an extra one or two.
If there’s one item of clothing that instantly elevates any outfit, it’s the blazer. Pair it with a button-down shirt for dressier occasions or a white tee for a cool, yet sophisticated look. Start off with a solid black or navy, then knock yourself out with a plaid or windowpane design.
3. Dark Denim
The go-with-everything staple that will be your go-to for years to come. Dress ‘em up with the aforementioned blazer and white tee or dress ’em down with a hoodie and white tennis shoes. Opt for a slim fit.
4. White Sneakers
Comfortable and timeless, you can’t go wrong finishing off any outfit with white tennies. Sport them on weekends and, if your dress code allows it, to the office (just make sure they’re simple and sparkling white). For the latter, reach for a button-down shirt, blazer, and slim fit chinos or dark denim. And don’t forget those no-show socks!
5. Navy Suit
The power suit of all power suits. Whether or not your job calls for it, you’ll be glad you have it. Sure, it’ll be your favorite threads for more formal occasions, but you can also wear it over a t-shirt, turtleneck or crew neck sweater. Why navy? It’s classic and flattering on everyone. Need I say more? And since you’ll be putting it to good use through the years, go custom. Trust me –– you won’t be sorry.
6. White and Blue Oxford Button-Down Dress Shirts
Combined with a suit, complemented with a blazer and jeans, or worn with sleeves rolled up and on top of chinos, they’re your year-round essential. What’s more, they come in a woven cotton, making them crease-resistant and soft, yet durable. You’ll also want to go the custom route on these –– they’ll fit like a glove.
If suiting and leisurewear had a baby, trousers would be it. No matter the style––wool, chinos, drawstring––they’re a great anchor for an easy, refined 9-to-5 or weekend outfit. Their versatility lends themselves well to be paired with a button-down, blazer, and dress shoes just as much as a t-shirt, bomber jacket, and white sneakers. Sharp, work-friendly, and comfortable –– what more could you ask for?
8. Crew Neck Sweater
The dressier cousin of your favorite cozy sweatshirt. Pair it with any other essential, or a combo of them, and you’re all set. Over a t-shirt or Oxford shirt? Yes! Under your favorite jacket? Love it. It’s great on its own, too! Delivering the warm factor, it’s a surefire winner in your fall and winter rotations.
9. Black Dress Shoes
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention these guys. They’re the finishing touch to any killer professional or formal look. Whether you’re donning your navy suit for an important meeting, job interview, or wedding, you’ll want to complete the look by slipping into them. While they come in many iterations, start with Oxfords or Derbies.
10. Underwear and Socks
The foundation of any good ensemble. Boxers, briefs, or boxer briefs? Whichever style of drawers you’re drawn to, they should be comfortable, durable, and breathable. Same goes for socks. Put your best foot forward by replenishing your sock drawer with some fresh dress and no-show pairs. You can thank me later.