I didn't forget about the men! They too require basic pieces in their wardrobe that are versatile and can easily be mixed and matched. Just like the must-haves list for women, these wardrobe essentials for men are pieces to build upon to create a functional and stylish wardrobe.
1. White Dress Shirt - This shirt can be worn in professional settings under a great tailored suit or with jeans for a dressed down occasion. Dress shirts should be tailored to your body to avoid looking over-sized. These days, you can find a variety of styles (classic, slim, fitted) for the best fit!
2. Navy Blazer - A suit isn't always going to be necessary for every event where a jacket is required. You may not always want to wear a full suit in the office. A blazer is a great alternative. Navy is a neutral, which means it can be paired with just about anything.
3. Tailored Navy or Charcoal Suit – When it comes to suiting, tailoring is key! While some men can buy suits off the rack, there are many more that cannot. Make the investment to purchase a suit and have it tailored if necessary. Not only is a suit necessary for a professional work environment, but having a suit in your closet will come in handy when you have to attend weddings and evening events. There are a variety of options available (i.e. polyester vs. wool). I'm recommending sticking with the classic: wool suit. Although more expensive than polyester, it's breathable and can be worn all year-round.
4. Dress Pants - While you'll have pants from your suits, you should also have pants that do not have a matching jacket. This will help you avoid wearing out your suit pants. Along with navy and grey, you'll want to add black pants to your closet. Having pants outside of your suits will allow you to create more business casual outfits.
5. Dress Shoes & Matching Dress Belt – One of the first rules of men’s fashion we all ever learned. If you can’t find a perfect match for shoes and belts in the brown color family, the two items should be very similar in color.
6. Chinos - On most lists, you'll find khakis, but I'm going to recommend chinos instead. Why? The stitching on chinos is hidden which gives them a higher-quality look and they have a flat front (no pleats please)! They are a littler dresser than khakis. They are also made from lightweight 100% cotton or a cotton blend and they are cut slimmer than khakis, giving you more versatility in styling them (rolled up vs. rolled down). Personally, I think they look better dressed up with blazers and dress shoes than khakis. The first pair of chinos you own should be a lighter shade of brown; after that pair, have fun with various colors!
7. Dark Tie - Stick with a dark tie that will pair well with the suit you choose to add to your closet. Paired with the white dress shirt or a variety of dress shirts you have in your closet, you can't go wrong with this wardrobe essential.
8. Casual Shirt - Casual shirts like polos or casual button downs (they look nice with the sleeves rolled up) are a great option for casual Fridays in the office or for weekend outings. They'll look great paired with chinos and jeans.
9. Cashmere or Merino Wool Sweater - These wool sweaters are soft, classic and will keep you warm during the fall/winter months. Talk about a versatile piece! You can wear a sweater with jeans, chinos or trousers. In the office under a suit jacket or on a casual Friday. V-neck sweaters give you the option of wearing a dress shirt underneath. Start with solid colors like black, navy, grey and dark red.
10. Dark Denim Jeans - Slim/Skinny jeans (yes for men) are a trend for many, but a classic straight cut dark denim jean will last trends and seasons. Dress them up with blazers, sweaters and dress shirts or dress them down with a graphic tee and sneakers. A dark wash jean will allow you to wear them to a variety of events.
11. A Nice Watch - AKA a grown up watch! You're an adult now which means when you out and about, your watch should reflect that! Invest in a watch with a clean face, leather or metal (gold or silver) band and pairs well with more professional or formal clothing.
12. Fashionable (or Casual) Sneakers - Save the running shoes for running! Add a pair of fashionable or casual sneakers to your closet. These are sneakers you would not wear to partake in any physical activity except to walk to and from your final destination!
13. Solid Crew Neck Tees - For some casual days, you're not always going to want to wear a polo or casual button down shirt. This type of shirt gives you another option. These can be worn with jeans and shorts on weekends or can be dressed up when worn under a blazer.
14. Overcoat - For men that live in areas where they experience temperatures below 50 degrees, you'll need an overcoat! In the winter, this wool piece is the perfect finishing touch to an outfit. Overcoats do not have to be full length. You'll find that overcoats can also be knee length or stop above the knee.
There you have it! These are my recommendations of must-have items men should have in their wardrobe. Take inventory of your closet and see where you may need to fill in gaps!