The 10 Essentials to Building a Basic Wardrobe by Ella Bing
This list is meant to be a starting point for the basics or perhaps a reboot to center you back to the essentials. Once you establish the basics, we will cover the next phase, which is how to add key pieces for spring 2014.
- The Blazer: The Blazer is the quintessential, must have piece for any man. Start with a solid color as in natural or earth tones, topes/tans , grays, or navy blues work wonderful here. Gray especially will allow you to pair back to things in your wardrobe that have blacks, browns and navys more easily. Ensure the cut of your blazer is fitted to your body or a modern fit. If you need to get it altered, then do it, spend the few extra bucks and make it happen. Remember your look is all in the details. Ensure your blazer is multi-functional, it not only can be casual, but is also a key piece for dressing up and going out.
- The Dress Shirt: Definitely go for white, a white dress shirt is crisp and ready for all occasions. White goes with everything. Remember we are keeping things simple and giving you the basics here. Ensure the fit is trim, trim doesn't mean slim, it means fitted to your body. We aren't going for that box fit look that makes you look like Jerry Seinfeld in the early 90s.
- The Crew Neck Tee: We've all seen the commercials; do you think Michael Jordan really wears Fruit of the Loom Tee’s under his blazer when he goes out? Every guy should own a sweet variety of high quality crew neck Tee’s. They go excellent with Blazers, cardigans, lite weight jackets, etc. Go for basic colors such as blacks, grays, white and navy blues. The fit should be trim fitted, nothing super tight, but nothing super loose or baggy.
- The Dark Denim Jeans: Dark denim will instantly clean up your look and give you a polished appearance. Dark denim truly is a wardrobe staple, even allowing as a dress pant alternative. Definitely a go to piece and a must have. A good middle of the road fit is the straight leg, which will add height and slimness. You can role the cuff for an updated look.
- The Chino Pants: Chino’s are a classier look than the traditional khaki pant. You want the trim to be fit, as with all pieces on this list. Typically chino’s are crafted from a blend of cotton, which provide a great modern feel and fit. Khakis do not count, they are a loose fit, too traditional, and are too predictable. Also stick with the earth tone colors for your basic wardrobe.
- The Shorts: Flat front shorts work well. The traditional cargo shorts went out of style years ago. There is no need to carry a bag of rocks in your shorts. With that said the cargo short is making a comeback, as a slim pocket, design over function. Find the trim, flat front shorts you love and buy the living hell out of them, in all colors, patterns, and fabrics. The Fresh Prince of Bell-Air wore his shorts well below his knees, we’d suggest against that. Show a little leg and always have shorts above the knee.
- The Shoes: Every guy should own a pair of dress, weekend, and casual shoes. But sticking with the basics as we are, purchase a nice pair of leather Oxfords. Simple, classy and a staple in a man’s wardrobe. Go with brown as they are more universal and can be dressed up and down.
- The Belt: Leather, you will need two. Every guy needs a decent black and brown leather belt.
- The Watch: Investing into your accessories will show you have a great attention to details and finishing your personal appearance. Go with a leather strap as it is more classic and timeless. For the essential go to watch, stick with the basic colors for the face, earth tones work well, as this will allow you to pair it with almost anything.
- The Man Bag: Face it; guys carry a lot of shit, although we don’t want to admit it. Phones, sometimes two, a wallet, keys, sunglasses, eye glasses, a note book, pens, tablets, laptops…etc, etc, etc. We also must carry our nagging GFs crap too when they ask. In today’s world it is a necessary tool, in your day to day life. They are the perfect complement for the modern man’s wardrobe. Stick with a classic bag, allowing you to match with both business and casual wardrobes. There are many styles of man bags, but we would suggest starting with the messenger bag. It comes in canvas and leather, although we suggest picking one up that is soft leather as it can be dressed up or down. Allowing for work wear and weekend fun.
So there you have it, our top 10 list for building a basic wardrobe. Do you agree with us? What pieces would you add, or take away? Let us know.
- Brent Kraus