11 Essential Pieces for Building a Stylish and Manly Wardrobe
It’s the new year and you decided you want to dress better. The problem is money. The trick to building a wardrobe is to focus on classic styles and where possible, get pieces that can serve double duty. Here are 11 basic items to help you build a stylish and functional wardrobe.
1. The Traditional Blue Suit. An alternative is a Grey suit. The suit can be worn at the office, for interviews, date night, funeral or any situation where you need to look your best. The jacket can be worn with jeans or khakis for a stylish casual look. The key is to keep the suit simple – no pleats and single breasted (two or three buttons). The fit is also essential. You can get an off the shelf suit with minor alterations to make it look like a tailored suit.
2. White Dress Shirt. A classic white shirt can be used for any occasion. Dress it up with a tie or unbutton it and wear with jeans. You’ll get a lot of mileage out of it. Make sure you get a good quality one (100% cotton) and don’t go with button down (too casual).
3. Dark Jeans. Jean styles have changed a lot over the years but a classic dark jean has been constant. This means no funky designs on the ass or crotch. Think Levis 501. A five pocket dark jean can be worn at casual workplaces, clubs, nice restaurants and anywhere that allows for a more casual look. Go with a regular fitting jean as opposed to baggy or slim.
4. Chinos / Khakis Pant. This is a great alternative to the jean. Make sure its 100% cotton twill with a flat front.
5. The Grey V Neck Sweater. V Necks are great with dress shirts, polo’s and t-shirts. This means a great deal of versatility. Make sure the V is not too big for t-shirts but big enough to wear over dress shirts. The fit should be tight to the body and the cuffs ribbed. I like Merino Wool because it keeps you warm in cool weather and cool in warm weather. Very breathable and durable.
6. The Black Dress Shoe. Shoes have really changed over the years with sole designs. You can get dress shoes that you can wear casually nowadays. The difference is the soles – leather versus rubber. Most guys I know don’t like leather soles (too slippery) and prefer rubber. Women take interest in what men wear on their feet, so it’s important to get a good quality pair and keep it clean. Stay away from pointy or square toed shoes (too trendy) and keep to a rounded toe shoe (classic). The black dress shoe will match any colour pant.
7. The Black Leather Belt. Same idea as the black dress shoe. Keep it simple.
8. White and Black T-Shirts. A plain, fitted t-shirt can be worn as undershirts (in case you sweat like a pig), under sweaters and on its own. You can’t go wrong with a 100% cotton t shirt. A white and a black shirt will give you the versatility you need.
9. Polo Shirt. This works well with a lot of occasions and can be worn on its own or under a sweater. Get one that is good quality and comfortable.
10. Watch. There are not many accessories that let men express their individuality. If you have too much ‘bling’, you’ll look like a pimp. The best option is the watch. A watch helps to reflect your personality and is a personal statement of your style.
11. The Man Bag. I am a believer of carrying things in a bag. Why shouldn’t guys use a bag given everything we carry around these days – wallet, pen, notebook, netbook, phone etc? The Man Bag or a ‘murse’ (man purse) has received varying opinions from men and women – the negative being feminine. I think if you keep to a simple design that’s not too small, has a shoulder strap and its made of ‘manly’ fabrics (ballistic nylon, leather etc.), then you’re probably safe. Here’s, in my opinion, the ultimate man bag. When in doubt, think Indiana Jones.