The worst possible feeling at night…
You've done the research, finished your kickass PowerPoint…
Ready for that big pitch tomorrow…
…but then you check your closet…
The one thing you didn't prepare ahead of time – your outfit – will make the whole thing FAIL.
That's the importance of a BASIC wardrobe… complete with all the essentials…
Never fall victim to a disastrous style. Ever.
So allow me to break down 10 items that the modern gentleman NEEDS ready at all times.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #1 – A Well Fitted Suit & Slacks
It's every gentleman’s suit of armor – the suit. It goes with many important occasions – weddings, fancy dinners, events where you’re a guest speaker or receiving an award onstage.
One good suit should be ready at all times – no excuses. So if you wear suits frequently, you want 1 particular suit in your closet that's only taken out for “emergency situations.” Trust me – you'll be thankful for it someday.
Narrow down your color options to medium gray, charcoal gray, and navy. Also remember to go for solids and avoid patterns. You can try a slight herringbone, but less is definitely more.
And then we have slacks – which are automatically a need for every suit you own (if they don't already come together). You'll want to keep 2 identical pairs. That way, the extra one can readily take over if the first gets damaged.
The best slacks are the worsted wool kind. If there’s a thrift shop nearby, you’re likely to find several options for these (but they'll be separated from the original partner suits). You might even find a few that have interesting patterns.
Any moment when people’s eyes are on you – you want to look your uber-best. You want to feel genuinely proud and good about yourself. So make sure you've got a good suit & slacks to own those 15 minutes of fame.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #2 – A Solid Colored Necktie
While most suits kind of blend in with each other, it’s the tie that lets you stand out a little more.
Ties are powerful in the competitive world of business. They draw greater attention to one's face. And they play a part in persuasion and influence.
You'll want to take turns using a minimum of 2 ties. Both should have a simple, classic design. Solid-colored choices with a small repeating pattern are also fine – and so are striped ones.
The color should be something more muted – so dark blue, dark green, or burgundy would be best. The key is to pick a color that isn’t distracting or drawing unnecessary attention to yourself (like when you're at a funeral). Always double-check if it respects the occasion.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #3 – A Sports Jacket / Blazer
Suits are chic, while sports jackets & blazers bring out the physique. They can make your hands, shoulders and chest appear big and strong. You end up looking taller and more masculine in them.
Now between the two, blazers would probably give you an edge in the bay areas like San Francisco. They're also part of the trend in Ivy League scenes. So do study your location and find out which one is prevalent, especially when you’re new in town.
For either choice – you ought to stick to blue, brown, green, or gray. These are the 4 most versatile colors (but they really depend on the pants you like to wear). It also helps to refer to your complexion when deciding among them.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #4 – A Few Dress Shirts
No explanation needed here. Around 3 dress shirts will do, and you want to keep them simple.
Whites or shades of blue are all you're going to need. To play it safe, make sure they're the type with a regular business collar.
You can explore other collar types if your face isn’t the average shape. It's a matter of proportions – round faces go with larger, longer collars whereas thin faces go with smaller ones.
You can try a slight spread, but this wouldn’t be best for those with a bit of extra chin. Spreads can make your face look wider than it already is – so be careful.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #5 – A Few Casual Shirts
Similar rules apply – about 3 casual shirts in total, simple in color and pattern. Polo shirts are a good example of these.
Oxford shirts – a close cousin of polo shirts – are another alternative for casual wear. Some guys think it’s a little more geared towards the dress shirt, but that's your call to make.
If you want to be more adventurous, you can consider buying a check-patterned type of shirt. But start off with a neutral color so it can easily match a variety of your clothes. A shirt that’s too bright may only go well with 1 or 2 trousers or jackets.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #6 – Perfect Fitting Jeans
Real style covers far beyond office ties and James Bond-like suits.
Denim jeans – especially those that fit your lower body like a glove – are a crucial component of the modern gentleman's wardrobe.
You need a minimum of 1 dark-colored pair at all times. Make sure it looks neither baggy nor saggy.
I recommend dropping by Levi’s – since there’s sure to be something available for all sizes. But you can also spend more on a custom-made pair if you prefer.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #7 – A Dress Watch
Yes, we have our smartphones and office clocks to tell the time. But that's not why guys need a dress watch. We need one the same way that women need earrings.
Watches are a way of showing class, responsibility – kind of like those men on TV who constantly look at their wrists and lead busy lives. You probably don't need to look at your watch that often, but it's always there as a highlight to your sense of style.
And who knows if a pretty woman might ask you for the time one of these days? That's when you get the chance to be a true gentleman 😉
Around 9 out of 10 times, your outfit doesn't feel complete without a dress belt (even when you're wearing your shirt tucked out shirt). So you'll want to always have one ready for any occasion.
A wise investment would be a set of interchangeable belts & buckles. This will give you the ability to make a quick switch for a more coordinated outfit. As for the buckle itself, check if it’s proportional to your body. The last thing you want is a buckle that makes you look bigger than usual.
The general difference between casual belts and dress belts is the range of height (1.5 – 2 inches vs. 1 – 1.5 inches). Not a major thing – so you have all the more reason to go with a dress belt. As long you’re rocking your casual clothes, dress belts are perfectly fine.
Essential Wardrobe Item For Men #9 – Dress Shoes
Every suit-and-slacks combo needs a nice pair of dress shoes to match.
You might think people pay the least amount of attention to shoes, but that's not true. The most impressive men look sharp from head to toe.
Closed-lacing types of dress shoes – Oxfords and Balmorals – reign supreme. You'll find that a lot of these come in black, although brown pairs are also available.
Dark brown shoes specifically go well with navy suits. But other than that, it's really about personal preference and some trial and error.
Last but not least – every guy needs a good pair of boots for walking through puddles, sleet or snow.
The bottom is leather-based, and it’s pretty much steadied with rubber soles to give you more traction. The best dress boots have the most resistance traction-wise.
You'll want to pick boots that are either black or brown. Style variations you can choose from include brogues, wingtips and cap toes.
But be very selective with your boots since they're not appropriate to wear all year round (especially during the summer). The key is a good balance between stylish, durable and comfortable.