Where do we start?
At the beginning, a lot of people would reply.
I agree but do we even know where the beginning is?
I did not mean to be too philosophical but how do we create a list of items that we should have in our wardrobe that is going to produce a consistent result over and over again.
A wardrobe that we steadily rely on, no matter what.
The aim of this post is to address that. Create an evergreen list of items (with links) that will keep us going and stylish forever…or at least for another two years.
Many lists like that have been created, but my list hopefully addresses all the shortcoming of the other lists and tackles all the doubts that men have when they are buying their own clothes or whether their better half is buying it for them.
I have a vision that this list could be taken everywhere and every time when a decision about a purchasing something have been made.
Let’s get into it.
Let’s start from the bottom.
- Brown/Black Leather Dress Shoes
Ideal something that is 100% leather and is not made in China.
Aim for shoes made in Europe or USA.
Aim for shoes that have actually stitching through their sole.
Aim for shoes that smell like leather.
Aim to spend £80 - £130.
- White Sneakers
Ideal you want to aim for plain white sneakers, something that doesn’t necessary scream who is the manufacturer of those white sneakers. I would personally have two pairs, in case one gets a bit grey and I need another pair of white sneakers as a bit of a backup.
They need to be comfortable.
- Other Shoes – Loafers/Chelsea
Ideally, you would want another pair of other shoes, mocks, loafers, and boat shoes, Chelsea shoes, which would complete your wardrobe essentials. Could be a different colour, different material, but I would think that a budget of £60-£90 is enough for that.
There are mainly two types of socks I would deem essential - Tall and colourful and no-show socks.
- Tall and colourful.
There is plenty of shops selling colourful socks that are slightly longer than average sock length. It is worth looking at those as men generally tend to have hairy legs, and believe me no one wants to see your hairy legs.
- No-show socks
Ideal for summer time, to your white sneakers, loafers, or even double monks straps.
Next up from shoes and socks are trousers. Different kind and different types we need here. Jeans, chinos and some solid wool trousers. Each pair should be no more than £50-£90
Ideally, we would want some solid dark wash jeans that fit well. What do I mean by saying that they fit well? They should break on the shoe, should be slim fit (not skinny) and they should be of good quality jeans. If you want to take the guesswork out of the quality bit, buy something that is a good brand. Price up to £90.
They are the most versatile of them all. Buy 2-3 pairs of different colours. Blue, Yellow, White, Tan, Brown, Navy. Buy them all if you can. One rule here is that they need to fit you well. Ideally, you must be looking for a Slim fit. You can buy them online, but it is much easier to pop over to the store, as there is ample of them. Next, H&M, Zara, Debenhams, etc. all of them have got it.
- Wool trousers
Wool trousers that are just an addition to your wardrobe could be used from your suit or you could purchase them separately. You should not spend more than £40 - £50 on trousers. Unless they are made to you, £50 should be enough.
You have to start paying attention to the most minute of things. Going to the gym doesn’t release you from an obligation to look stylish. You have to pay attention what you are wearing and how it shows your body. There is one brand I have been suing for a while and they are great.
This is a big one since there is plenty of types of shirts we need to look at. There dress shirts, casual shirts, and solid colour shirts. Shirt varies tremendously between manufacturers. You can spend as little as £20 and as much as £300. Let's look at some options where you would not spend more than £50 per shirt.
- Dress Shirt
You should have lots of dress shirt. I say at least one for every day of the week. So at least 7. Two major colours – White and Blue. You could include Pink in that if you are brave enough. I would, so let’s call it three different colours.
Ahh, and by the way, you should only buy slim fit. If you buy anything else it most likely hangs on you, they are but in a way to give you maximum space, and they will even if you buy slim fit.
- Casual Shirt
Casual shirts are also an essential part of your wardrobe as they fill in the gaps between t-shirt scenario and dress shirt option. What do you when your printed t-shirt would be not enough and your button down shirt is too much…you go the casual shirt way.
Don’t spend too much on the t-shirt, because chances are you are going to wash it on the wrong settings and with the wrong colours anyhow, so you are likely to damage it. V-Neck t-shirt because I am mainly talking about them should be disposable. It is one of those items, same as socks, and underwear that you should buy often and have got plenty of.
There are lots of companies making Polo t-shirts. Different quality, different price point. I particularly like:
Sweater (Jumper), Cardigan
- Sweater (Jumper)
I like when a cardigan or sweater fit you like a glove, so I highly recommend buying nice fitting sweaters, slim fit in solid colours. There are few shops that have got a good selection.
Cardigans are a just different type of sweaters. Usually, the only difference is that cardigans have buttons, or generally can be opened. But the same rule applies here, where they need to be slim and be of a decent quality.
- Single Breasted Navy
There is only one place I would purchase any of my single-breasted suit from – SuitSupply. The quality to price ratio puts all the other high street brands to shame. They have probably one of the easiest methods to return your suit as well. Awesome, simply awesome!
- Double Breasted another colour
This section should have been really called SuitSupply suits, not just Suits because for my second suit I’d choose also one from suit supply…for now. Until I have got my own suit line and take over the double-breasted section of this guide.
I discovered a company recently that made the buckle and the holes that you make in your belt obsolete. That company name is Anson Belt and since my discovery, I have not been wearing any other Belt.
- Leather bag
I have purchased some leather bags in recent years from various of companies but it looks as if I am always coming back to classic styles and shapes. I recommend spending a bit more on your bag. It is going to last you forever.
- Other material travel bag
When I travel I need something that is handy, I can pack a lot of stuff in and it is going to look stylish. Gone the days where I would travel with some horrific looking two wheel canvas fit-in-the-cabin wheelie bin.
- Trench coats
There is only one brand that truly represents the Britishness of Trench Coat and that is Burberry. Their Coats are ranging from £500 to £1500 and are awesome. Very timeless and classic.
But I f you can’t afford or don’t want to spend that much on a coat, what is the alternative:
We have got two very strong candidates here. Denim Jacket and any sort of Bomber jacket. First one is definitely on point and on trend now, with Denim being back big time. Denim on Denim is all of a sudden a thing. However, Bomber jacket could be of different colours and it can give another dimension to your outfit. It could range from Greens to Browns to Tan colours.
Watches are the exciting part of dressing up. It is the finishing touch that makes all the difference. It is the details that make you stand out. Invest in watches – lots of them. They don’t have to be original and don’t have to cost thousands of pounds. I have got more than 10 watches.
- Bow ties
Bow ties should be fun. Use them wisely, cause if you wear them every day, you may actually like it and people will start noticing you and you will get compliments. The compliments are going to stop as soon as you stop wearing them. Have some self-tie and some pre-tie depends on how you feel. Have at least 5.
- Pocket Squares
Many People think that pocket squares are just additional, accessory that you can live without. Not True! You should know by now that should never leave home without a pocket square. Never. Have at least 10-15 different kinds.
It is not only to protect yourself from the UV from our Sun but also to look stylish in the process. Hats and any other head covering pieces of clothing, like caps, scarves etc. have to become part of how we plan and organise our wardrobe and outfit.
That concludes that list. Essential items that have been tried and tested. I probably at this stage own 90%-95% of it. My wardrobe is nearly complete, but it never is. Nor it should be.
Try to go through that list, one item by one item and see how many items you have got and how many of them you still need.