When it comes to styling, I have spent a lot of time talking about my brides and my female clientele but I haven’t said as much about my male clients. I’ve touched on grooming for grooms and the suit versus tuxedo debate but not day-to-day styling. When it comes to men and their clothing, there is no need for an extensive wardrobe but instead a refined and versatile one.
So, where do we start? Just like when we are building a woman’s closet, we look at lifestyle. If you spend most of your week in a suit, you will want to have a good selection of shirts and ties but if you work in a more casual environment, the same won’t be true for you. The reality is there are no hard rules when it comes to men’s wardrobe essentials. Knowing that you likely own, t-shirts, socks, and underwear, here are a few thoughts on building a foundation wardrobe that leaves lots of room to build on it.
The Button Down
The button down comes in more colours than white and off-white. The button down is so versatile, made in a variety of colours, patterns, and fabrics there is truly a perfect shirt for every man. In addition to the sheer variety of button downs that are available, it is a shirt for all seasons with a spectrum of applications. In colder month choose a heavier fabric in warmer months keep it lighter, wear it with a suit or a pair of jeans – you see what I mean when I say versatile?
In North America, you need to keep warm. A good quality sweater in a neutral colour is a piece that can be worn time and time again and dressed up or dressed down. Every man should have a cable-knit sweater, a wool sweater and one or two Henleys. What’s the difference? Cable knits are a chunkier sweater, great for colder months and it is their texture that sets them apart from other sweaters. Wool is lightweight but warm. Go with a cashmere, merino, lambswool or shetland for softness over itchiness. Now, a Henley may be a stretch on the sweater category but a long-sleeve Henley in colder months can be layered with a t-shirt underneath or worn on its own in warmer months. A Henley is basically a collarless polo shirt made from cotton and works both as casual or business-casual wear.
There are three types of pants that I would consider essential, a well-tailored pair of dress pants, jeans, and chinos. For special occasions, invest in a nice pair of dress pants. The key here is fit, know your measurements, waist, rise, and in-seam, or go to a store where the staff will measure and guide you. Jeans, you likely already have a pair but there is a lot to consider when looking for a nice pair of jeans. Think about fit, think about wash, and think about cut. The jeans you wear to paint the house aren’t the same jeans you wear to dinner and it a good idea to have at least one stylish pair of jeans reserved for special occasions. Chinos are an effortless solution to looking more put together and like the Henley are perfect for business casual and casual wear.
Have fun with footwear – buy all of the shoes! I’m sort of kidding here but it doesn’t hurt to have some variety here. For foundation footwear you are going to need to balance function and fashion here. Three excellent basic shoes that every man should have are a Chic Sneaker, a Desert Boot and an Oxford. Sneakers aren’t just for the gym and a chic pair is a fun way to incorporate some personality into your outfit. Look for quality materials and a nice silhouette. A Desert Boot pairs well with Chinos and Jeans, it’s comfortable and stylish. The Oxford is your classic dress shoe, look for a quality leather and lace.
There is a lot more that goes into a man’s wardrobe than what I have covered here. Outerwear and suiting are whole articles unto themselves, as is accessorizing. If you are looking to build your wardrobe and you don’t have the time or patience for shopping, or maybe you do, but you don’t know where to go from here, hire a stylist.
For questions, or to set up an appointment, contact me.