Sixteen Essentials for Every Guy’s Wardrobe
By The Editors

At some point, a man has to show up looking good. That means having the wardrobe fundamentals at home, in stock, and ready to wear. If all you've got in your drawers and closet are faded t-shirts and cargo shorts, it's time to go shopping. Here’s your list.

Sixteen Essentials for Every Guy’s Wardrobe


OK, you start naked and go from there. That means every choice you make...

will either make you look better or make you look stupid. Here's how to avoid stupid.

Society’s dress code for men has loosened over the years.

And in the realm of what is now permissible, the pandemic has our collective guards down so low that even fuzzy slippers from Crocs meet the new standards for some companies for work-from-home.

But sometimes, you just have to get back to basics and that time is now. 

First, some ground rules. We’re not talking about anything torn.

We’re not talking about anything made of fleece.

We’re not talking about anything with a hood (unless you are the billionaire CEO of Facebook).

And we’re not talking about anything that could be worn for a workout.

These may all be fine things and acceptable garb where you live, work, and play. But we’re not talking about them.

If you want to ask a woman for some style advice, Ashley Weston has tons. Meanwhile, Stitch Fix has a style quiz that might help illuminate what you need.

Or you can skip all that, and just start here:

Black & brown belt. Possibly the most essential of the essentials. Without a belt you might as well skip pants, too.

Loafers. For formal or casual-with-a-boost.

Lace-up shoes. Again, go for somewhere between formal and casual. 

Socks. The only rule you need to follow is match the sock to the pants, not the shoes.

Plain t-shirts. Whatever colors you like, but black or white work every time, which is why they’re essential.

Collar shirts. If it looks okay for the golf course, it’s fine everywhere else.

Button downs. White Oxford is the classic.

Slacks. You know who never wears slacks? Slackers. Never understood that one.

Dress jeans. The world is more casual than it was 50 years ago. Jeans are now street and suite legal.

Sweater. Cashmere? Sure, but a good old cable-knit works, too. 

Tie. “But I don’t need a tie hardly ever,” you say. One day you will. Pick three good ones and they’ll be there for you when you need them, like Buzz and Woody.

Leather coat. Length is debatable, black is beautiful, but brown works, too. Just watch out for biker styles. Classic will give you better mileage. 

Dark gray suit. Spot-on for your ex-girlfriend’s wedding or your ex-bookie’s funeral. And you’ll soar at any interview, be it for a job or the Feds. [link to our charcoal suit story]

Blazer. You don’t always need a suit, but a nice sport coat ups any ante. If you’re on the fence about wearing one to the next thing, err on the side of class. It can always come off.

Sunglasses. Yes. Essential. Because they both protect your eyes, give you a fake testosterone boost and also give others something to talk about.


Something that’s all you. Because your Three Stooges t-shirt goes great with the unbuttoned Hawaiian print. Sometimes ya just hafta be you. 

A final word on footwear, haircuts and career choices from Frank, our favorite fashion advisor: