No man should be without his wardrobe essentials, so to help you along your way we’ve established five of the best things every man should own to create a unique and simple wardrobe.Read more Men’s Style Guide features and check out our Store.
Regardless of your budget, style or shape these classic pieces will transport you from day to evening, summer to winter and bedroom to boardroom with the smallest of efforts. It’s all about embodying a transitional style aesthetic through investing in clothes that will withstand the test of time and keep you looking sharp all year round. We’ve broken it down into five straightforward categories: jackets, suits, shirts, trousers, shoes and accessories. Read on to learn the wardrobe basics.
The key to a simple wardrobe is to begin with the foundation, and in most cases that starts with a jacket. The type of occasion you wear a jacket to is detrimental to the style, fit and colour of its design. Above all else jackets are key in elevating a man’s outfit.
Leather Jackets for Men
If you want James Dean vibes or to simply inject some rock ‘n’ roll attitude in your capsule wardrobe for men then a leather jacket is the way to go. Choose between biker, rocker and aviator styles in leather treatments that range from classic black to brown, blue and tan. A leather jacket is ideal for attending music gigs, and is a perfect accompaniment to the basic white T-shirt and jeans combination. To change up the style status quo during the summer months the alternative is to dress a leather jacket up with tailored pieces.
If you invest wisely then a leather jacket will last you a lifetime, especially if the design you’ve opted for is a classic cut like the Schott Perfecto double rider jacket, crafted from full grain leather. Also worth considering is the racer design – a minimal centre front zipper jacket, and the aviator which usually has a shearling lining and collar.
Bomber Jackets for Men
Bomber jackets have been big news all year thanks to design houses like Gucci and Louis Vuitton repping the sports-meet-fashion vibe these closet staples give off. The bomber jacket is a men’s clothing staple for the summer and/or a winter wardrobe essential as a layered look, and an ideal piece for those fashion forward guys looking to stand out from the crowd.
The classic bomber jacket shape has a cropped crew neck collar, centre-button enclosure, ribbed cuffs and is usually made from cotton, but this season it has been reworked in silk, suede and leather. If you’re not in the mood to throw on a formal blazer, or if the occasion just doesn’t call for it, then the bomber jacket should be your go-to outerwear option whether to dress down an evening outfit or sport up a piece of tailoring. Bomber jackets, like shoes, are a signature wardrobe piece and are essential in elevating an outfit, so think wisely about the finish and colour you choose.
Denim Jackets for Men
The denim jacket is a quintessential summertime staple that every guy should own in his wardrobe. Benefiting from a light and breathable cotton finish, the denim jacket is casual enough to don during the day and incredibly durable just in case the British weather decides to turn. Save yourself from the dreaded denim-on-denim faux pas by mixing up the denim washes you decide to pair together. Black or dark indigo jeans work best on the bottom, but that doesn’t mean you’re constricted to wearing a bleached denim jacket up top. It’s all about balance. Denim jackets are fairly inexpensive which is ideal when transitioning your wardrobe from spring to summer.
Wear it with a slouchy knit jumper and chinos, go for a sportier look with a pair of track pants and high-tops, or dress with summer festivals in mind with a vest and cargo shorts.
Blazers for Men
Single-breasted, double-breasted, no lapel or a full satin collar, a man’s blazer is the definitive piece in his wardrobe a definite classic wardrobe essential. The main reason for a man to opt for a blazer over a full two or three-piece suit is versatility. A blazer can be paired with jeans for a casual everyday look, or like a suit, paired with tailored trousers to don during the evening.
The important thing to consider when buying a blazer as a staple for your wardrobe is the fit. Investing in a tailored blazer that aligns with your measurements, and is made from a decent fabric, will ensure it will last longer than anything bought off the rack. However, we all know how expensive a ‘Saville-Row-like’ jacket can set you back, so if you do wind up looking for a more affordable option then consider when and where you’ll be wearing it. The best scenario would be to pick up a jacket in three classic colourways - black, blue and tan. However with weather permitting you can also experiment with material, such as donning a linen blazer with a crisp white shirt in the summer, and a wool blazer beneath a coat in the winter.
A suit is perhaps the biggest investment for a man’s essential wardrobe. You can opt for either a two-piece or three-piece design in a variety of materials, colours and silhouettes suited to any specific occasion. And you can get it tailored to your exact body measurements, ensuring a design that is unique and bespoke to only you. Today suits have been reworked from the classic shape to include longline blazer designs, cropped trouser lengths, rolled cuffs and brocade suit jackets. But as we’re talking about only the closet essentials there should be two suit designs you should most definitely own that will carry you from work to play.
Work Suits for Men
We get that being confined to wearing a suit everyday in the office can become a little mundane, but if you choose a design that fits your body perfectly in a colour way that can easily compliment shirt and accessory changes, styling a suit can become less of a chore and more of an experiment. The majority of boardroom-approved designs include a suit jacket with either a one button or two button single-breasted enclosure with a slight lapel and a space for a pocket square. As for trousers it’s either a no break or half break design that will sit just above your shoe heel. Choosing a suit that is snug to the body without being too tight, or even worse, too loose, is paramount.
Instead of black opt for a grey or blue suit that can layer over white, light blue, pink and pinstripe shirts. Elsewhere you can experiment even further with a Prince of Wales check design, or with herringbone in thicker wool and cotton material depending on the season.
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