For some men (not me) it’s very hard for them to keep up with the ever-changing fashion trends and are clueless on how to architect an outfit. Well men, it’s time to start wearing the clothes and stop letting the clothes wear you! Rid yourself of wardrobe anxiety with these 5 essentials that will serve as the building blocks to a functioning versatile closet.
1. Slim-fitted, white, button-down oxford dress shirt
The white button-down shirt is a forever staple in a man’s wardrobe, and probably the most essential. It’s extremely versatile and timeless. However, I take it up a notch with the oxford. With its distinct basket-weave pattern, almost always buttoned-down collar, the oxford shirt is both laid-back and professional. Pair it with a skinny tie and navy blazer for a nautical look, or keep in untucked over blue jeans and sleeves doubled rolled, this shirt simultaneously conveys comfort, sleekness and style.
My pick: Slim Vintage Oxford, J. Crew- $69.50
2. Well fitted, dark blue jeans
Guys, y’all do know that jeans come in various cuts, washes and styles, right? **crickets** That’s what I figured. The fit is the most important aspect to take notice of when shopping for jeans. Depending on the length of your legs, the stretch of your torso and the width of your waist, the jean selection varies across the board. Just like the oxford, having the right pair of dark denim proves more versatile than lighter denim because of their ability to go from casual to dressy. As a general rule-of-thumb, look for jeans that sit slightly below the waist, and are narrow through the seat and leg; this cut elongates your stride for a lean and sleek look. If you’re sitting there looking like a deer in headlights, here’s a guide on how to buy jeans that actually fit.
My pick: 513™ Slim Straight Jeans, Levi’s-$50
3. Unconstructed fashion blazer
Dress it up. Dress it down. Pair with khakis. Pair with jeans. Wear over a button-down. Wear over a v-neck. From lapel to hem, the blazer can turn a simple outfit into a show-stopping ensemble. When searching for that perfect blazer you want one that’s unconstructed and snug, hugging the shoulders like a second skin. You can confidently go from the boardroom to the bar with the perfect blazer, having to MAYBE only switch what you pair it with. As start, shoot for classic neutrals like navy, charcoal grey, khaki and black; these blazer colors heighten the amount of versatility you’ll have to wear in different styles.
My pick: Slim-fit blazer, H&M-$69.95
Not dress shoes, wingtips. By definition “wingtip shoes feature a toe cap that comes to a point in the center, and spreads out toward the sides of the shoes, in a shape that somewhat resembles wings. This part of the shoe is sometimes perforated with small holes around the edges, but not always.” More casual than a traditional dress shoe, wingtips follow the common theme of the aforementioned items being that they’re both causal and dressy. The perforated etching that forms the wing-like design along the shoes provide a very subtle detailing without being too flashy.
My pick: Lenox Hill Wingtip, Cole Haan-$198
How the smell of bacon reminds you of mama’s Sunday morning breakfast, or the smell of the ocean brings you back to that summer you spent in Miami, a scent triggers a memory. What smell would you want people to associate with you? Well, to make sure you’re choosing the right cologne, take an inventory of your personality traits because your cologne should be complimentary to your persona. A guy with an active, sporty lifestyle might pair best with Versace Pour Homme, and its playful mixture of musk on the bottom and bergamot riding over the top, while a young professional working downtown may be more compatible with The One by Dolce & Gabbana that’s injected with strong base notes of cedar wood, a classic professional scent and tobacco as the foundation for coriander and basil. Bottom line, your cologne should blend perfectly with your natural scent. “Don’t choose a cologne because it’s what you want to smell like. Choose it because it smells like you” (Esquire).
My pick: Green Irish Tweed, Creed-$330
Consider yourself officially upgraded and Queen B approved!