The great thing about the male wardrobe is that it can be broken down to the bare necessities and still keep you looking stylish. As long as the fits and the colors of your clothes are spot on, you can keep your closet relatively simple and still look great. It's one of the best parts of being a man.
We like to keep things simple. The way I do it is when one item goes in, another usually comes out. If I haven't worn an item in a year, it's getting donated, no matter what I spent on it.
When you are developing your closet, things can get tricky. You want to give yourself the most options and versatility as possible, while not cluttering things. If you know that everything piece of clothing you own has a color that works for you and a fit that flatters you, you'll have no problem getting dressed.
To help you shape up your wardrobe, I've outlined a few staple pieces that every man should own at a bare minimum. Keep in mind these suggestions are merely guidelines for the average man. The clothing that you own is going to be largely depended on your lifestyle. Let's dive in and make sure your closet is working for you. Here's the short list for those of you who don't like to read:
- 2 pairs of jeans
- 1 dark suit
- 1 great jacket (jean, leather, suede)
- 2 pairs of straight-leg pants
- 2solid white button down
- 1 pair of oxfords, black and brown
- 2 knit sweaters
- 2 packs of flattering underwear (seriously)
- 5 T-shirts, both v-neck and crew neck
- 2 great watches, one casual, one dressier
Two Pairs of Jeans
Two should be darker and one should be a lighter wash. Dark jeans can be dressed up or down very easily and can slim down your legs, making you appear leaner. Then can be worn with everything from a T-shirt to a suit. This is why I like jeans so much for guys: versatility. The lighter wash can be worn for more casual occasions.
One Dark Colored Suit
You need a suit. People get married, people die, and sometimes you need to impress. You need to be prepared for these occasions as a grown man. Having one (well-tailored) suit you know works well for you alleviates the stress of last minute shopping when the time comes.
Go for charcoal gray, seconded by navy. Both are versatile and can be worn on ma different occasions. They both can be styled for different seasons as well.
Check out Macy's suit separates like Bar III or Calvin Klein. Another good option is Suit Supply, but it's going to be a tad pricier. Just make sure whatever purchase get's tailored to fit you perfectly.
One Great Jacket
Grab a cool leather, jean or suede short coat. Something that adds a little flash to an otherwise basic outfit. My favorite combination to throw this on top of is a T-shirt and jeans or flat front chinos. Speaking of...
Two Pairs of Straight Leg, Non-Pleated Pants
Get two different colors, preferably darker. Gray's work great. A perfect example is some modern slimmer fit chinos. These can come a little higher than the ankle if you'd like to add some flair. Perfect with a pair of loafers.
Two Solid White Button-Ups
The most crisp and pure piece of clothing a man can own. A great white shirt provides a beautiful blank canvas that you can decorate upon. It'll make you feel clean just by putting it on. Again, make sure it's tailored or that it fits you perfectly off the rack.
One Pair of Oxfords
Black or very dark brown to go with your corresponding belt. You can go with a lace up or monk-strap. Spend the money on a well constructed pairs. They'll last you years.
Two Knit Sweaters
You can choose either a crew-neck or V-neck, but I'm partial to the V. You can wear these by themselves or pull them over a great button-down. I would add some color here. Try some deep reds, navy's, greens, stripes, whatever.
Guys never pay attention the what they're wearing underneath the clothing. Having some great underwear saves you embarrassment when it comes time to take off the clothes and it makes you feel pretty damn sexy.
Buy two 3-packs of the brands you like in varying colors. It makes it life easier.
Mostly crewnecks. Make sure you hit the staple colors for men: black, white, charcoal gray, and navy. You can do so much with T-shirts and if they fit you well, they can really enhance your physique. I personally think one of the coolest things a man can wear is a black V-neck T-shirt. This probably comes from my days as a bartender where that was the standard uniform for most guys.
Two Great Watches
You need one to dress up and one to dress down. Sport and business. Work and play. Go for a stainless steel, silicone, or nylon band for a more casual look. Opt for a leather band when you want to dress things up.
You can find great watches that come in a kit with a few interchangeable bands if you want to save some dough.
The goal of most men should be to put together a foundational wardrobe where everything in your closet pairs well together, looks good on you, and you’re happy to wear. If that’s not the case, there’s work to be done. I’ve put together the online session for guys like you who want straight-to-the-point answers to what they should be wearing. In these sessions, I personally workshop your appearance with you from head to toe. If you want that level of personalized advice, then explore more here.