There’s a reason why so many people pick out their clothing the night before. It can be overwhelming! As you stare into your closet, it might be hard to pick out what to wear. Honestly, it might even be a struggle to fill up your closet with the essential items in the first place. Every man’s closet might be different, but when it comes to men's wardrobe essentials, these are what you should have on hand to choose from.
Men’s Common Wardrobe Essentials
It’s time to fill out your closet. The problem is that it can be difficult to choose the essentials for every season. You might even want to reduce the number of items and get rid of things that just don’t matter to you anymore. Having just the essentials, or building your wardrobe around these essentials, will make all the difference.
Button Up Shirts
You probably have a few button-up shirts already. Button-up shirts are a key part of your wardrobe in any color, but here, we’ll talk about white button-up shirts. Having a solid white-colored shirt is a must, since it can be paired with anything. It looks great for any season, and will generally keep you cool. Having additional neutral colors is good as well to wear these shirts in any almost any situation.
This White Dress Shirt will be a great option for you, since it has a broadcloth weave that gives you minimal shine and texture—making a shirt like this perfect for any occasion.
Jeans are a pretty safe option for any wardrobe, no matter where you live or what job you do. Even if you work in an office and need some nice slacks, you’ve got to wear something on your off days.
Jeans are casual, can still look great while adding a little style to your outfit too. Pick out a cut of jeans that you like, in a color that you feel comfortable in. While everyone has blue or denim jeans, having a pair of black jeans is nice for events that aren't quite formal, but require a touch more dress-up than a casual night out.
Pair those jeans with a good pair of lace-up boots. These are a great option for your wardrobe since they not only feel comfortable, but they add just a little bit of style to your clothing. You can wear these boots in colder weather too, since they have enough traction on the bottom to keep you from slipping.
This is the perfect kind of shirt for the summer. Pick out an oxford shirt that’s made from cloth that’s not too heavy, and that will match with any outfit. You can usually find an oxford shirt in any pattern, any color, and it can pair with most ties. It’s best to think about something in a neutral color that will be light and breezy for the summer.
We’ll start this by saying that you don’t need flannel if you live somewhere that doesn’t get too cool. If it’s hot year-round, you don’t need a warm flannel shirt. If you live in the cold, however, a soft flannel shirt will keep you warm. Not to mention that a woven flannel shirt is the perfect blend of casual and comfortable, and can be found in any color or style. You should have at least one long sleeve, and a flannel is always a great option.
If you don’t want to wear jeans, try picking out a pair of chinos. These casual but comfortable pants can be found in a couple different colors to match your wardrobe, and can be paired with a tee shirt or something more formal like a button up shirt. Try pairing your chinos with something like this Light Blue Floral Dress Shirt, which buttons up nicely for both casual and work events.
Many guys have a hard time finding the right pair of shorts to wear, but whether it’s summer and you want to stay cool, or winter and you have the heat on high, you’ll enjoy having a good pair of comfortable shorts. Choose an option that you can wear anywhere, and while shorts may not be the most formal item of clothing, you won’t regret having a pair in your closet.
Finally, make sure you have a good sweater. Even if you live in a warmer area, a sweater doesn’t have to be incredibly heavy and hot. You can get a sweater that’s a little lighter in material, but that can still be worn for casual and more formal occasions. Go for more neutral colors, and definitely avoid ugly sweaters if you’re not going to a holiday party.
Now let’s talk about accessories. The right accessories should be part of your wardrobe essentials. You can have your neutral essentials in your closet, but it’s the accessories that will really make your outfit unique. Small touches make all the different.
Pick out a good watch, which will never go out of style and will match with any outfit. There are truly any number of watches available to you, but think about something like a Weekender, which is simplistic, has interchangeable straps, and can be switched out depending on your outfit. Just take a minute to be sure that the ticking isn’t too loud for you.
You can pick out a belt in any style or color to match your clothing or your shoes. You should try to choose a good leather option though, since a belt is something you will need probably almost every day.
Leather is sturdy and durable. It is something that you can use for the foreseeable future if you get a good one.
Sure, hats are not for everyone. That’s okay, but don’t be afraid to pick out a fedora to look a little stylish, or to try a wool option when it’s colder outside. If you’re choosing something like a fedora, choose a classic option rather than something cheap that can be found anywhere.
Finally, pick out a casual jacket for yourself. It can be something simple and cool that you’ll be able to wear for any occasion, although it would be best to get something a little warmer if you need to wear a jacket for the winter. Long sleeve jackets are perfect for the colder months.
You can never go wrong with a denim jacket or leather jacket if you want to still look classy during the colder months. For some people, a bomber jacket can look great, but it depends on your own personal style and body type.
Men’s Wardrobe Essentials for a New Job
A suit is one of the most essential parts of men’s wardrobes. A suit, along with a matching pair of shoes, a button down and a tie, is part of the basic dress code for going to a job interview or attending important business meetings. It helps to have a variety of suits to wear for any occasion.
Although it is more expensive than buying a regular suit at a shop, many people recommend buying a custom suit so it will fit perfectly to your body shape. Suits are always in style and there are hardly any ways you can go wrong with a nice business suit.
You will want to have a few pairs of dress shoes to rotate between to coordinate with your outfits. Different seasons and occasions will require different types of dress shoes. You do not have to bore yourself by wearing the same pair of dress shoes every day when you have a variety of shoes in your wardrobe.
Shoes such as black oxfords and penny loafers are good examples of dress shoes that will do an amazing job of complimenting the rest of your outfit.
It is definitely a good idea to stock up on dress shirts for your job since you will need to wear one every day. Getting custom made dress shirts are also recommended along with custom made suits, but there are plenty of dress shirts you can find in a variety of colors that you can buy off of the rack that may fit you just fine.
Whether you decide to stock up on plain white dress shirts or collect them in many different colors, you will be able to mix and match plenty of options to go along with your suit and tie.
Find some ties that match your suits and dress shirts. It is important to have a variety of ties that you can sort through and match with the rest of your outfits so you will not have to tire yourself wearing the same tie every day.
Unless you are prompted to wear silly ties for an event or you work for a business that encourages unique patterns or ties with cartoon characters, it is best to avoid them so you will not give off the wrong impression to your employers or co-workers.
Socks are a commonly overlooked part of business attire, but they are also very essential. You can buy socks in a variety of styles and colors to display a bit of your personality, but refrain from going too far with color choices and designs. Some businesses will prefer that you wear solid colored socks that match the rest of your outfit.
Professional looking accessories will do an amazing job of adding to the overall appeal of your outfit. One of the best options you can go for is a versatile wristwatch. Wristwatches are both functional and stylish, and you only really need one of them if you want to wear one every day.
Once you find an accessory that is within your budget, you will be able to utilize it to enhance your professional appearance.
Men’s Style Tips
If you are dressing up for business-related events, you will want to avoid clothes that include graphics or logos to give off a more mature vibe.
When you are starting to put a professional looking wardrobe together, you may want to momentarily replace all the graphic tees and wildly printed shirts with solid colors.
Dressing Well Takes Effort
Dressing well is a skill that requires effort and has to be learned over time, like cooking or riding a bicycle. The more you practice, the better you will be at coordinating stylish outfits everyday.
Dressing professionally is a few steps above dressing regularly, so it is good to do a bit of research and experimentation to see which styles suit you best.
Work Your Way Up to Developing Your Own Style
When you are just starting out trying to figure out which stylish outfit combinations suit you best, you will want to start slow and work your way up at your own pace. You learn by observing and practicing, and eventually you will be experienced enough to start developing your own unique style.
It is rare for anyone to start out with a unique style of their right off the bat. So take as much time as you need practicing with classic styles to gain some experience.
This also applies to different trends. Trends can rise and fall depending on the climate of the fashion industry and the individual personal tastes of different people. You can follow a trend or make one of your own, but that will also require time and practice instead of diving right in.
Casual wear typically involves a more relaxed style of clothing that you can wear outside of business events any day of the week. There are no real restrictions on what you can wear for casual attire and you can experiment to see which styles fit you best.
Casual style clothes can include anything from denim to polo shirts, and you can even utilize different accessories to add to your casual look.
You definitely want a white t shirt, a white v neck, and a black v neck.
Consider Your Budget
Whether you are going for a casual look or a more professional look, you will need to keep your budget in high consideration. Having the best style does not mean you need to break the bank to have it.
Search for options you know you can afford and build upon that so you can build your style within a reasonable budget.
Take Advice from Experts
Taking advice from experts, either online, in magazines, or in person, can really help you learn how to build your style and set your own trends. They are the ones who know best about what they are discussing so they will be able to help you take a step forward with your own fashion.
Search for some of the best pieces of advice while filtering out the not-so-useful posts. Over time, you will have the best chance at learning progressively.
Ideas for Organizing Men’s Wardrobe
Have a Place for Everything
One of the hardest, and most important parts of organizing your wardrobe is having a designated spot for everything. It’s the biggest part of organizing you’ll undertake, but it’s worth it. If you have an upper and lower rail in your closet, it’s easier. Start by separating shirts and pants. Ideally, shirts should hang on the top rail, while pants hang on the bottom rail.
If you don’t have an upper and lower rail, put shirts in the front, and pants in the back, or vice versa. Nobody likes wasting time shuffling through hangers of shirts to find a pair of pants wedged between them. Use shelving for items like shoes or things that can be folded, like sweatpants or casual shorts.
Organize Your Shirts
Next, organize your shirts. There are two different ways to do this, or you can choose a combination of the two. Some guys prefer to organize by color, while others organize based on how casual the shirts are. If your work wardrobe is significantly different from the clothes you wear on your off time, organizing by type of shirt may be easier for you.
You can separate more professional shirts from more casual shirts (i.e. button down, polo, t shirt, etc). For instance, if you have to wear dressier shirts more often, put those near the front, and casual shirts near the back.
The next way to organize your shirts is by color. You don’t have to separate your shirts into a rainbow by any means. The idea is really to have them in order from dark to light, or vice versa. For guys that have to wear button up shirts to work, it’s a good idea to combine the two methods, at least for less casual shirts.
Organize Your Pants
Organizing your pants is a lot like organizing your shirts. You can separate them based on how casual they are, what style they are (such as jeans, khakis, slacks, etc), or by color. Again, for guys with a stricter work dress code, it’s a good idea to keep work pants and casual pants separated. For your less casual pants, i.e. work pants, sorting by color is a huge timesaver.
You don’t necessarily have to organize by color for your casual pants too, but it does help keep you coordinated.
Make Extra Space
One of the best things you can do is free up extra space in your closet. No matter how well organized your clothes are, if they’re all crammed together it’s difficult to see one item from another.
There are two things you should do to free up closet space. First, look at more seasonal clothes. Is it the middle of summer? If so, there’s no reason to have that heavy wool sweater hanging up.
Likewise, if it’s winter, you probably don’t need your summer clothes taking up space. If you know you’ll wear it again, but not for a couple months, go ahead and store it. Clear storage bins are your best friend here, since you can see exactly what’s in each bin.
Next, get rid of some stuff. Even the most minimalist of guys usually has some things in their closet they haven’t worn in at least a year. If you’re holding onto clothes you’re not wearing, it’s time to get rid of them. A good rule of thumb is that if you haven’t worn it in the past year, you don’t need it.
Budgeting Tips for Men’s Wardrobe Essentials
Getting a great style doesn’t always come at a great price. However, if you shop smart and know what to do, you won’t break the bank to look good. Here’s how to do it:
Focus on Key Items
Not all men’s apparel is created equally. There are some items you can go cheap on, and it doesn’t make a big difference. The staple items of your wardrobe are worth spending a little extra on, since they’ll last you forever.
Key items include a good suit, leather dress shoes, an overcoat, and a nice button up or button down shirt. You don’t need multiple items of each, just one or two that are easy to match with other items.
Coordinate Your Apparel
Instead of buying tons of different pieces that only match with one or two other things, focus on items you can pair with almost anything. Not only does it make getting ready easier, it’s a big money saver too. If you can wear the same dress shirt with five different pairs of pants, that’s not one outfit, it’s five.
A good way to start is by looking at what you already have, and finding new pieces that work with it. If everything goes together, you can wear different outfits using only a few different items.
Be Patient and Thrifty
Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a good wardrobe on a budget. It’s okay to slowly add to your wardrobe inventory, and it’ll save you a ton of money. Get essential items first. If you don’t have a single suit but your new job requires one, get that suit first.
For non-urgent items, be patient. Keep an eye out for sales, and use discount codes whenever possible. Sometimes waiting a single week can be the difference between saving hundreds of dollars, or spending hundreds more.
Use Small Items to Add Variety
You’d be surprised how much a new pocket square or necktie can change how an outfit looks. Luckily, these are also some of the most affordable items you can get for your wardrobe. Of course, you should still make sure they match with the items you already have.
Looking smart is important, no matter where you’re going. Organizing your wardrobe is the first step, so you can see what you have. Once you have that done, you’ll be able to match items easier, and save time. Then, see what you need to add, based on what you have. Don’t worry about taking your time, it’s worth it.