5 Shirts Every Man Should Own

Building a stylish, versatile wardrobe starts with a solid foundation, and with shirts, you want to find simple, versatile options that are timeless and go with everything. Don’t be afraid to buy multiple colors of the same shirt to take out over-thinking about wardrobe. These are the five essentials shirts that every man should own!

Don’t forget to check out our shirt Fit Guides for more info.

1. White dress shirt

Simple, timeless and will go with everything.  Every man should have a few crisp white dress shirts in his closet. Wear with everything from a suit to jeans.

2. Oxford

Another classic, make sure to get these in blue or white.  Oxfords are the ultimate casual staple for jeans or chinos and can be easily dressed up for business casual with a blazer.

3. Black T-shirt

I love the versatility of a black t-shirt.  It can be casual with jeans and sneakers or even dressed up with a blazer or suit.

4. Chambray shirt

This shirt has a cool, denim-like vibe and is perfect with chinos or as a more casual substitute for a dress shirt with a blazer and a tie.

5. Solid colored polos

Make sure you have a good rotation of solid-colored polos in basic colors like black, grey, navy, and white.

Bonus: Henley

A henley shirt is only recommended if you have a trim to medium build.  If you’re a bigger or athletic guy it’s not the right shirt for you.

Shirt Picks

White Dress Shirts:

Burberry

Brooks Brothers Milano Non-Iron

The Tie Bar

Uniqlo

Zara

Oxfords:

Norse Projects Oxford

Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Oxford

Club Monaco Oxford

JCrew Oxford

Uniqlo Oxford

Chambray:

Brunello Cucinelli

Saturdays NYC

JCrew

Banana Republic

Amazon Goodthreads

T-Shirts:

James Perse

Rag & Bone

American Apparel

Uniqlo

H&M

Polos:

Brooks Brothers

Lacoste

James Perse

H&M

Uniqlo

Henley:

Rag & Bone Classic Henley

Rag & Bone Giles Henley

John Varvatos

James Perse

J. Crew

H&M

Men’s Crewneck Sweaters and Cardigans

My favorite sweaters for this time of year are crewnecks and cardigans – either regular or shawl collar styles. They’re great because not only do they keep you warm, but they allow you to create a bunch of new looks depending on how you layer them with the other items you own.

Before I go any further, I want to make sure you’ve already seen my v-neck sweater article and video, because:

  • You should already own some v-neck sweaters since they look amazing on every body type and can be worn year-round.
  • You know the do’s and dont’s with sweaters and how they should fit your body type because I’m going to discuss  crewnecks and cardigans as if you already know these guidelines.

Crewneck Sweaters

Brook's Brothers Golden Fleece Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck

$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Charcoal Crewneck Sweater

I like crewnecks because they can be worn over t-shirts, unlike v-neck sweaters which look weird with t-shirts under them, and they look great in casual outfits or can take a more dressy outfit, like a suited look, and dress it down, while still adding a nice, warm layer to your outfit.

The two things you have to do, though, and I’ll say this forever, is:

  1. Really nail the fit
  2. Know how to wear them, based on your body type.

If you are a broader guy, then crewnecks 100% of the time have to be worn as a layering piece only. So underneath a jacket, blazer or suit – never on their own because, otherwise, it’ll create a huge swath of fabric on your torso and accentuate your size. Trust me, you don’t want this. (Watch my video at the top for examples).

Fit

For any body type, you always want to make sure your crewneck sweater fits like a glove. Make sure you can’t pinch more than an inch of fabric on the back of your tricep and no more than 2 inches of fabric on one side of your belly.

As for length, ensure the sleeves generally stop around the bend of your wrist, and make sure it is no longer than just past your belt buckle area.

The thing that drives me nuts is when I see guys wearing crewnecks with big bunchy sleeves and rolled or rippled mid-sections. Bleh!

Budget Friendly

$26 – Zara Basic Fine Knit Sweater
$40 – TopMan Grey Ripple Textured Raglan Slim Fit Sweater 
$50 – H&M Merino Wool Sweater
$55 – TopMan SELECTED HOMME Black And White Woven Long Sleeve T-Shirt
$70 – H&M Textured Knit Cashmere Sweater 
$158 – J.Crew Lightweight Italian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater 

Designer

$190 – A.P.C. Bros Sweatshirt 
$230 – John Smedley Marcus Crew Neck Merino Wool Sweater (3 colors)
$300 – Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
$375 – Vince Heathered Cashmere Sweater
$675 – Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewneck Spa Sweatshirt
$950 – Prada Cashmere and Silk Blend Sweater 

Cardigans: Regular and Shawl-Collar

J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Navy Cardigan

$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Navy Sweater

Now let’s move on to cardigans – specifically, regular and shawl collar styles.

Just like crewnecks, they’re great worn over most shirts (even with ties) except v-neck t-shirts (unless it’s a really shallow “V”, otherwise it just looks weird with the double “v”) or polo shirts because the collars never lay or look right with cardigans.

Regular cardigans can pretty much be worn underneath everything up to a suit, while shawl collar cardigans, since they’re usually made of thicker wool or cotton, are typically worn on their own. Think of shawl collar cardigans as knit jackets, basically and wear them in their place.

If you’re a larger guy, regular cardigans are to be worn buttoned up AND only underneath another item as a layering piece. If you were to wear it on it’s own, it’ll make you look super big and wide. (examples shown in the video at the top).

If you have a regular or slim body type, then you can wear regular cardigans on their own, but almost always buttoned up – leave the bottom button undone so it lays nicely and doesn’t look bunched up while you’re sitting. I think when they’re worn unbuttoned, they lose their structure and get really floppy and messy looking.

For shawl collar cardigans, if you’re a broader guy, you should absolutely wear them on their own, but never buttoned up. Leaving it unbuttoned breaks up your width nicely and looks great and hides those problem areas around the midsection and upper body. I really love them for this body type.

If you’re any other body type, you can wear your shawl collar cardigan buttoned or unbuttoned, but remember to leave the bottom button undone, of course.

FIT

As to how your cardigans should fit, the same crewneck rules apply:

Pinch no more than 2 inches on one side of your stomach and no more than an inch on the back of your tricep.

It should hit pretty close to past your belt buckle and the sleeves should end somewhere around the bend of your wrist.

Regular Cardigans

Budget Friendly

$30 – Zara Viscose Cardigan 
$90 – J. Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan Sweater (3 colors)
$120 – Club Monaco Soft Wool Cardigan

Designer

$230 – Club Monaco Cashmere Cardigan
$300 – Vince Mixed Rib Cardigan 
$415 – Boglioli Cotton Cardigan

Shawl Collar Cardigan

Budget Friendly


$30 – Only & Sons Shawl Neck Cardigan with Mix Yarn Detail
$118 – J. Crew Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater
$150 – J. Crew Cotton Shawl Collar Cardigan Sweater 

Designer

 

$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Navy Shawl Cardigan
$275 – Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Army Green Cardigan
$598 – Brooks Brothers Cashmere Shawl Collar Cardigan
$1,590 – Tom Ford Iconic Shawl-Collar Cardigan

Colors

As for colors, I mentioned them in the series intro video, so check that video and article out for details about the colors that will go well with your skin color.

MATERIALS

And lastly, before I show you how I’d style these sweaters, let’s go over the best materials for your sweaters.

If you run warmer, you want your sweaters to be cotton blends, otherwise wool and cashmere are my two favorites.

Best ways to wear your sweater

fallwinteressentialsovercoatcamelsweaterashleyweston

H&M Double Breasted Coat
H&M Merino Wool Sweater
A/X Pima Tee
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Johnston & Murphy Jennings Wingtip
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

MensFallWinterEssentialsSweatersCardiganAshleyWeston

Topman Light Brown Wool Coat
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Webster Medallions Tie
J.Crew Slim Merino Wool Cardigan
John Varvatos Grand Sunglasses
J.Crew Ludlow Suit Pant in English Donegal Tweed
Johnston & Murphy Nolen Double Monkstrap Shoes

1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Collar Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Decatur Ave Casual Belt
Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka 

Fall and Winter Casual Jackets

The best jackets for the Fall (and Winter if you live in a climate like Southern California) are bombers, trucker & flight jackets, as well as utility (aka M65 aka Safari aka Field) jackets. Now, which one you should wear depends on your body type and how you’ll be wearing it. But I’ll get into that shortly.

The goal with your jacket, just like everything else in your wardrobe, should be to create a sharp, polished look and not draw attention away from the rest of your outfit. With that being said, your jacket is a great place to insert those Fall colors ( I specifically like dark green, camel, navy or black for these jackets) I was talking about in the series intro.

If you want something a little more formal or heavier, check out my Men’s Overcoat, Topcoat and Peacoat article and video.

Trucker/Flight Jackets

todd-snyder-x-private-white-pilot-bomber-ashley-weston

$735 – Todd Snyder x Private White V.C. Shearling Melton Wool Bomber Jacket

I love a good wool or suede trucker or flight jacket for the Fall. I’m lumping these together because they look very similar. A trucker is basically a denim jacket but in a different material. I’m not going to discuss denim jackets because those are really a spring/summer item because they’re not very warm.

A trucker usually has buttons on the front and a flight jacket has a zipper front. You want to make sure your jacket stops at hip level, like a bomber would, and is fitted through your shoulders and torso. There are a ton of trucker jackets out there that have shearling or fur collars, which I really love, but I’d recommend choosing a jacket where you have the option of removing the collar, that way, you can get two different looks out of one jacket.

If you’re a broader guy, I wouldn’t recommend this jacket because the combination of the collar and shorter length of the jacket will make you look really top heavy. With your body type, whenever you have a jacket that stops at hip level, you want to make sure it’s as streamlined as possible, like a bomber.

Budget Friendly

$160 – TopMan Charcoal Wool Rich Formal Jacket
$160 – TopMan Khaki Wool Mix Flight Jacket
$150 – TopMan Black Faux Fur Collar Flight Jacket
$90 – Zara Oversized Denim Jacket 
$77 – TopMan Kahki Faux Fur Lined Flight Jacket 

Designer

$900 – Vince Suede Trucker Jacket
$950 – Vince Suede Flight Jacket
$540 – All Saints Sol Jacket 
$285 – All Saints Stram Denim Jacket 

Bomber Jackets

A.P.C. Louis W Suede Bomber Jacket

$1,455 – A.P.C. Louis W Suede Bomber Jacket

Speaking of bomber jackets, I consider them the utility infielder of the jacket world. I use them all the time with clients because they look great on every man, regardless of his body type. They break up your body at the waist nicely, keeping everything proportional.

If you’re a guy with a larger midsection, the one thing to watch out for with bomber jackets is zipping it up. If you do that, you just created a large swath of fabric that’ll actually accentuate your mid-section. So if you’ve got a bit of a belly or are just a bigger guy, do not zip up your bomber jacket, ever. And I’m not joking about that, either.

Budget Friendly

$138 – J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Boiled Wool Bomber Jacket
$100 – TopMan Navy Bomber Jacket Containing Wool
$100 – TopMan Stone Bomber Jacket Containing Wool 
$80 – Zara Faux Suede Bomber Jacket (Stone and Navy Blue)
$80 – Zara Faux Suede Bomber Jacket with Stripe

Designer

$1,495 – Rag & Bone Gallagher Leather Bomber Jacket
$795 – Hugo Boss Embossed Suede Navy Bomber Jacket 
$700 – John Varvatos Burnished Leather Bomber Jacket
$650 – PS by Paul Smith Bouclé-Panelled Wool-Blend Twill Bomber Jacket

Utility Jackets

Parajumpers Genesee Urban Anthracite

$800 – Parajumpers Genesee Urban Anthracite

The last type of jacket I love for Fall and Winter is a utility jacket, aka Safari, Field, or an M65 jacket.

This jacket differs from my other favorites because if it fits well, it’ll hit somewhere between mid to lower crotch – so it’s a great option if you want a longer jacket. But please, nothing longer or shorter than that, otherwise it’ll throw off the proportions of your body.
I really like this style for heavier men, almost more than a bomber or trucker style because the slightly longer jacket length and pockets on the front break up your broader torso and will make you look smaller.

And if you’re a thinner guy – just beware of this style of jacket that has a hood in the collar because it will look too bulky/heavy around your thinner frame, especially the neck area, and will actually make you look skinnier. Instead, you need your jacket to have a standing collar or at least a collar that’s free from any puffiness.

Regardless of your body type, this type of jacket needs to be very fitted throughout so it doesn’t look like you’re swimming in a bunch of pockets and fabric. This is important because it can make a thin guy look skinnier and a broader gentlemen look even heavier than he is.

Budget Friendly

$200 – J. Crew Field Mechanic Olive Jacket
$200 – J. Crew Field Mechanic Navy Jacket
$180 – TopMan Grey Bonded Wool Blend Parka
$130 – Calvin Klein Four-Pocket Utility Jacket (2 colors)

Designer

$7,400 – Tom Ford Suede Military Jacket
$1,600 – Todd Snyder Suede Quad Jacket in Tobacco
$1,500 – Moncler Ampere
$750 – Club Monaco Golden Bear Field Coat 

Materials

I like suede or leather for Fall/Winter because it’s visually heavier, but just be careful about wearing suede in wet or snowy weather. But if you don’t want leather or suede, you can use a cotton or wool bomber or trucker, as well.

For utility jackets, anything but leather goes. They look a little too 70’s pornstar-ish to me.

Best Ways To Wear Your Fall Jackets

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston2

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston

J. Crew Wallace & Barnes Boiled Wool Bomber Jacket
Brook’s Brothers Golden Fleece 3-D Knit Fine-Gauge Merino Wool Brown Crewneck Sweater
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots
Rolex Submariner Date Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston3 fallwinteressentials-bomber-jacket-ashleyweston4Topman Khaki (Green) Wool Flight Jacket
H&M Premium Cotton Shirt
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers
Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots
Rolex Submariner Date Watch
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses

fallwinteressentialsutility-jacketashleywestonoutfit22

fallwinteressentialsutility-jacketashleywestonoutfit2

Parajumpers Genesee Urban Jacket
H&M Premium Cotton Shirt
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Black Poplar Dress Belt
Allen Edmonds Long Branch Wingtip Boots
Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

Chiwetel Ejiofor Style – The Martian

This article & video is part of the Celebrity Style Inspiration Series, where Antonio Centeno from RealMenRealStyle.com and I pick out great outfits from movies and tv shows and demonstrate how to recreate and incorporate them into your wardrobe. 
As Antonio and I discussed in our other video about Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfits to emulate, I love how unexpected this one was because who would watch a space movie and think they’d have amazing outfits in it? I thought Chiwetel Ejiofor’s style in the film hit the perfect sweet spot between dressy and casual that’ll be great for any man, regardless of his age or body type. I also wanted to include this one, because I’ve gotten a lot of questions from readers and viewers about how to wear shades of the same color. So I felt this was the perfect opportunity to show how it works.

Here’s the full outfit I’m going to recreate. I wish the full length images were a little brighter, but these were the best shots I could find. Also, they never fully show his shoes, so I’m having to guess a little bit on this one.

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston4 Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston5

The Cardigan & Shirt

Chiwetel Ejiofor The Martian Ashley Weston8

Chiwetel is wearing a blue knit shawl collar cardigan with an oxford button down dress shirt. I put my model in a sweater by Rag & Bone and a Brooks Brothers Oxford shirt since they’re just so damn good. Check the outfit details at the bottom of this page for images and links.

Now, as I said in the video, you can either go with a white or blue Oxford button down, like I have my model wearing or you can go with a semi-spread collar dress shirt, or if you wanted to dress it down, you can go with a white v-neck or crew neck t-shirt.

T-Shirts-V-Neck-Crew-Neck-Ashley-Weston-Mens-Wardrobe-Essentials-Outfit-2

Funny enough, I created a similar look for my t-shirt story.

Pants, Shoes & Accessories

As for the pants, here’s wearing olive chino pants – which are just fine. But I don’t think olive is such a universal color and it’ll be hard to put them into other outfits. Since I’m a huge fan of dark wash jeans, especially for creating a more monochromatic look like I did with my model, I went with those instead. I also did this because it allows me to use some of my favorite shoes ever. Please follow my chino pants fit guide or my jeans fit guide so they’ll look amazing on you, regardless of your body type.

Like I mentioned in the intro, his shoes are never shown with this outfit, but to me this was an easy choice to go with some beautiful brown chukka boots. Blues like this are begging for a nice rich brown leather shoe and accessories, so I had to go with them.

Check my outfit details below to see the chukkas and accessories I’d pair with this outfit.

My Version of this outfit

Here’s my slightly modified version of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s outfit from The Martian. I hope you enjoy it!

Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston3 1Chiwetel Ejiofor Martian Style Ashley Weston2

 

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
The Frye Company James Chukka Boot


Designer Options

 

Brooks Brothers Shawl Collar Cardigan
Dolce & Gabbana Shawl-Collar Virgin Wool Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
Burberry Cotton Oxford Shirt
Diesel Buster 0845G
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit Stretch in Tumble
Oliver Peoples Feldman Glasses 
The Frye Company Phillip Chukka
Allen Edmonds Dundee 2.0 Suede Boots

 

Budget Friendly options

 

Club Monaco Shawl-Collar Elbow Patch Merino Sweater
J. Crew Cotton Cardigan Sweater
Uniqlo Easy Care Oxford Long Sleeve Shirt
J. Crew Vintage Oxford Shirt
J. Crew 484 Stretch Jean
Levi’s 511 Slim-Fit Stretch Jeans
Warby Parker Watts Glasses 
Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka
Johnston & Murphy Grayson Chukka

Outfit Inspiration For Dark Wash Denim

James Bond Casual Style

This article & video is part of the Celebrity Style Inspiration Series, where Antonio Centeno from RealMenRealStyle.com and I pick out great outfits from movies and tv shows and demonstrate how to recreate and incorporate them into your wardrobe. 
As Antonio and I discussed in our other video about James Bond outfits to emulate, I really love the casual outfits Daniel Craig wears, so I wanted to recreate this one from Quantum of Solace, because it’s clean, simple and looks amazing on every guy, regardless of his age or body type.

Unlike the other video, where I switched out some items for more practical options, this one is already very practical, aside from the shoes. But we’ll get into that in a moment.

Here’s the full outfit I’m going to recreate. Apologies for the blurriness, but they don’t show this outfit for very long and the full-length shot is focused on a woman in a bikini to the right of Bond.

JamesBondQuantomOfSolaceChinosCardiganOutfitAshleyWeston

The Cardigan & Shirt

JamesBondQuantomOfSolaceChinosCardiganOutfitAshleyWeston1

Daniel Craig is wearing a black shawl collar cardigan which is so warm and comfy. I certainly wouldn’t advise wearing this during summer time, but for any other time of year, there’s nothing better than a shawl collar cardigan. I put my model in one from Todd Snyder, but check the outfit details at the bottom of this page, because Todd Snyder no longer makes that cardigan, but I included a very worthy substitute.

Now, with the shirt, you can either go with an Oxford button down, like I have my model wearing below or you can go with a semi-spread collar dress shirt.  if you wanted to dress it down a bit more, you can go with a white v-neck t-shirt, like Daniel Craig also wore in Casino Royale.

JamesBondCasinoRoyalCardiganSweaterVNeckTShirtAshleyWeston

Pants, Shoes & Sunglasses

As for the pants, tan or sand colored chinos are perfect here. Just please make sure that they fit properly, otherwise it won’t look so great.

In the full length image at the top of the page, you’ll see bond is wearing brown suede chukka boots, which as I mentioned in the companion video to this one on Antonio’s Real Men Real Style channel, I’m not the biggest fan because they get gross and dirty quite quickly. So instead, I’d go for something like brown oxford dress shoes. That way, you’ll keep the same general profile as the original outfit and you hopefully already have these in your closet, so it’s a perfect way to incorporate them into a more casual outfit. I find a lot of men have a problem with mixing their dress shoes into more casual outfits and this is a perfect example of when it’s appropriate to add them in.

The final piece of the puzzle is the sunglasses. Daniel Craig is wearing aviators by Tom Ford in the film, but whether you should be wearing those or another style is dependent on your face shape. Since my model has a more oval face shape, I went with squared Tom Ford wayfarer-style sunglasses instead.

My Version of this outfit

I also wanted to mix a more budget-friendly piece, like the chino pants, with less budget-friendly items, because for some reason, a lot of men think that if they’re wearing an expensive item, everything else has to be equally expensive or it just won’t look right. Well, hopefully you see that this couldn’t be further from the truth.

James-Bond-Cardigan-Quantum-of-Solace-Ashley-Weston

Rag & Bone Avery Shawl Cardigan
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece White Solid Oxford Sport Shirt
Uniqlo Mens Flat Front Slim-Fit Chino Pants
Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses
Salvatore Ferragamo Remigio Cap Toe

Designer Options

 

Brooks Brothers Shawl Collar Cardigan
Dolce & Gabbana Shawl-Collar Virgin Wool Cardigan
Brunello Cucinelli Slim-Fit Button-Down Collar Cotton Oxford Shirt
Burberry Check Detail Cotton Oxford Shirt
J Brand Brooks Slim Trouser
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Chino
Allen Edmonds Park Ave Cap-Toe Oxfords
Christian Louboutin Greggo Balmorals
Tom Ford William Silver sunglasses

Budget Friendly options

 

Club Monaco Shawl-Collar Elbow Patch Merino Sweater
J. Crew Cotton Cardigan Sweater
Topman White Oxford Long Sleeve
J. Crew Slim Thomas Mason for J. Crew
Uniqlo Mens Flat Front Slim-Fit Chino Pants
J. Crew Broken-in Chino 770 Fit
Johnston & Murphy Melton Cap Toe
Aldo Anniex Cap Toes
Ray Ban Aviator Classic

Outfit Inspiration For Cardigans & Chinos

Get This Look: What To Wear To A Summer Evening Party

Classic film star Anthony Perkins shows us how to wear a short-sleeve sweatshirt to a summer evening event.

This past week, a guy friend called me up and asked what he could wear to a summer evening event that wouldn’t leave him drowning in his own sweat. A simple shirt and trousers would look too underdressed, but a jacket, even a light one, would not help with the sweating problem. I immediately recommended he go with a short-sleeve sweatshirt.

They’re lighter than a jacket, made out of breathable cotton, and are comfortable to boot.

Follow these steps to recreate Perkins’ look:

  • Choose a light colored short-sleeve sweater, like this Club Monaco Terry Short-Sleeved Crewneck, $60.
  • Wear over a darker colored short-sleeve button-down shirt, making sure the collar stays underneath the sweater.
  • Roll up the sweater’s sleeves but make sure your shirt sleeves aren’t peeking out.
  • Finish with dress pants and dress shoes.

Photo: The Impossible Cool