You read the phrase ‘wardrobe builders’ a lot in fashion magazines. This is what it means…
Possession of the below items by no means your wardrobe is complete. But with these essential items as the base, you can build around them with complementary pieces to achieve layering, convey personality and individuality, and ensure you never look less than well turned out.
A Classic White Oxford Shirt
Timeless, classic, versatile… it doesn’t get much more essential in a man’s wardrobe than a crisp white collared shirt. Whether you have a wedding, a barbecue or a court appearance, there will always be a time you need one… so buy a few and keep them well maintained.
Crew Neck T-shirts
Obvious, yes, but worth restating – everyone owns t-shirts and wears them through the seasons, either on their own or under layers. But they can get tatty and worn-looking pretty quickly, impairing your overall stylishness. In which case we advise turning them over fairly regularly. Our preference is also for basics – white/black,/grey, with no logos. It makes them more versatile with a greater range of your other clothes.
A Navy Suit
No man can be without one. The signature masculine colour that works with a range of shirt and tie colours, not to mention black or brown (or tan or burgundy or camel) shoes and belts. Just make sure it fits right and maintain it by spot cleaning. Refrain from constantly dry-cleaning to extend its life. The right navy suit can work for a whole range of occasions from dressy to informal.
Dark Blue Denim
Why dark blue instead of any other hue of denim? Because it adds versatility to your wardrobe, able to be paired with a blazer or suit jacket and still look elegant, or dressed down with pullover and check shirt… and still look elegant. Washed or lighter denim is fine, it just usually screams, “I’m off to see a band”, which is not always the look you’re after.
A Pair Of Chinos
For when you’re over jeans, chinos are that semi-casual alternative that work with nearly anything else in your wardrobe, from collared shirt to polo and t-shirt. The range of colours for men has obviously exploded in recent years as chaps have got bolder with their choices, but we still recommend a khaki or stone colour which will allow you to be more expressive, colour-wise, when it comes to shirts and trainers, etc.
Note: we don’t mean a suit jacket. We mean a separate. A blazer or what your grandfather would call a sportscoat, to be worn with jeans or chinos or dress pants and suitable for casual events as well as gallery openings and even certain red-carpet events. Fit, like a suit, is all important and we suggest you choose a colour which works with the majority of shirts in your wardrobe.
A Pair Of Oxford Lace-up Shoes
Yes, they’re traditional and yes, you can rock much more progressive forms of footwear these days but somewhere along the line there will always be occasions where you can’t beat the formality of this style of shoe. They can really finish the overall look of your outfit. A black and a brown pair, please, and broguing is a good idea for one pair to add variety.
A Pair Of Trainers
A highly personal choice but a key item in the modern man’s armoury, as trainers invade workplaces and even formal events as an acceptable and highly fashionable style of footwear. Not sure where to start? We’d suggest a pair of bright, high white trainers are a must, again because of that aforementioned quality of “versatility” – they work with jeans, they work with chinos, they even work with a suit, if the styling is right.
A Reliable Timepiece
You can spend a lot of money, you can spend a modest amount of money, but a masculine looking piece of wristwear is highly recommended for completing your look. Consider its colours, and how it looks against your belt, bag and shoes when putting together your outfit. Pictured here, the Breitling SuperOcean 44 Special.
A Man Bag
Men’s accessories is an ever growing category and the range of rucksacks, satchels, document holders and the like continue to expand. You’re after function as much as fashion so ask yourself the question of what you need it to do, then make a selection based on what colour and material will work best with the other things you own. Brown, tan and camel tones are usually the most reliable and manly when it comes to men’s accessories.