My articles and videos almost always center around a specific piece of clothing or accessory, so I thought it would be fun to switch it up and talk about 3 head-to-toe foundational outfits every guy needs. Once you have these 3 outfits, you can build an entire wardrobe around them. And here’s the beauty of them: from these 3 outfits, you can switch things in and out to add your own personal touch and truly make them your own.
If you’re thin to average build, you can also wear a white t-shirt. However, if you’re a broader man that’s not in shape, and you decide to take off your jacket, then a white t-shirt will actually spotlight how big you are (and not in a good way). Also, the reason why you want to go with black chukkas is because black is the dominant color in your jacket. I went with leather chukka boots over suede and lace-up boots because the latter options won’t look appropriate for every season.
A bomber is a very stylish, modern alternative to a blazer that works in almost all the same occasions and looks great for every man, regardless if you’re a teenager all the way to a retiree. A younger gentlemen in high school or college, for instance, wouldn’t necessarily need a blazer, so that’s why I’m not recommending it over a blazer. If the occasion does call for a sport coat or blazer, in a pinch, you can use the jacket in my next recommendation and dress it up like I did in the picture below.
I want to talk about the Top 4 sneakers for 2017. These are 4 sneakers I highly recommend if you’re looking to put together an intentional sneaker collection that’ll cover you for some of the different aspects of your life. For example, working out, traveling, or just needing an everyday, lifestyle sneaker.
4. Nike Flyknit Racer
This is a great athletic sneaker because it weighs practically nothing and the woven upper makes it very breathable. Also, these are a great lifestyle sneaker that you can wear with your casual clothes because the design is so minimal and it has a very sleek silhouette.
I love the minimal design of the UltraBoost. The knit upper makes it very breathable too. You can treat these as your everyday sneakers or make them your running/workout shoes because they’re super comfortable.
This one will be on my list every year until something better can replace it.
These are a great lifestyle, everyday tennis shoe. Also, they’re not expensive and relatively easy to keep clean if you give them a wipe down every week or two and don’t go hiking in them. Remember, women look at your shoes for an indication of what type of man you are. Clean white shoes = this dude’s got his shit together.
Notably absent in my list are basketball sneakers because those are for a very specific group of men out there who either play basketball or are crazy sneakerheads. Some guys can pull them off really well, while others end up looking immature and silly in them.
These are, to me, the 16 accessories every guy needs to own, regardless of your age, occupation, and lifestyle. Some of these items you may not wear often, but there will be an occasion, as a grown man, when you will need them and you’ll be thankful that you thought far enough ahead to take care of them before it’s too late and you’re scrambling at the last minute. I’ve also included my favorites for each of these items below. But these points below are just skimming the surface compared to the much more through Men’s Essential Accessories Series I did recently.
Like I’ve mentioned before, every man should have at least a grey suit. Even if you only wear it once every year, you’re going to need a suit. Along with that, looking well dressed is always about the details and a white pocket square is an easily overlooked item that really does make a big impact and it’ll only set you back a couple of bucks.
This is another overlooked item. I talked about this in my article about the 12 Things Men Wear That Women Love, but a tie bar is something that adds that special touch to your outfit. It’s also so cheap to own so order it once and you’ll never think about it again.
Get rid of your white socks. These socks can and should be worn as your everyday socks. If you need heavier duty, thicker socks for your job or because of the weather, there are plenty of companies that offer warmer versions.
Whether you’re a sunglass man or not, sunglasses are important because they’re going to protect your eyes from the sun, prevent you from squinting, which creates wrinkles around your eyes, and they can add a stylish, cool touch to your outfit. Check out my sunglasses story so you choose the right frames for your face shape.
We all have those lazy days, myself included, where you just say F it, I’m gonna throw on a hat. When it comes to baseball hats I have very specific opinions about them so I shared some of my recommendations below.
Everyone travels. Whether it’s to some exotic country, or across town, you’ll need to put your clothes in something AND trash bags are not an option. Like every accessory you own, it should not only serve it’s purpose, but look damn good at the same time. I have a whole article about weekender bags you should check out.
This item goes great with your weekender bag. Again, doesn’t matter if you’re traveling to another city or to the gym, a dopp kitt is essential because it’ll keep your grooming products organized and contained in a respectable manner.
Everyone has casual days, and white sneakers look so sharp on every guy regardless of your age or body type. If you’re really scared of wearing white, or think that it doesn’t look right, ease yourself into it with a nice low top lace-up black or navy sneaker.
These are the top 4 men’s shoes for Spring that I really love. You’re probably not going to wear these with your Fall and Winter wardrobe, so it’s time to pull these shoes out of your closet and let them shine! Footwear is a great way to inject new life in your existing wardrobe, and these 4 shoes will make a stylish statement during Spring and Summer.
Here are my top 4 favorite shoes for Spring:
4. Suede Double Monk Straps
I included these in my Top 10 Essential Items for Spring as well. Suede Monkstraps, whether you get a dark brown, grey, or navy pair, can just take an outfit to another level. It’s such a stylish touch to any outfit and can be worn with a suit, chinos, or jeans. Make sure to Scotch Guard them before you wear them for the first time – always gotta protect your suede items!
I absolutely love penny loafers. They look so good when worn with no-show socks and a little bit of ankle exposed. Whether you cuff your jeans or chinos, or hem your pants so there’s no break or a little ankle showing. A leather loafer looks so chic and luxurious. I love Ferragamo’s loafers (I got a pair for my fiancé Dorian 2 or 3 years ago) and they’re totally worth the price because they definitely hold up and still look great after years and years of wear.
Think of them as the middle ground between sneakers and penny loafers. They’re just as comfortable as sneakers, yet dressier like a penny loafer. I also included these in my Men’s Summer Essentials ebook because they work during the warmer months in general.
My hands down, favorite suede driving shoe is from Tod’s. Everything about that shoe – construction, design, and color choice – is so damn sexy and incredible. It’s worth every penny, and there is no close second for me.
Last Sunday I was getting a client ready for the Oscars, and a friend of his was wearing this incredible lightweight wool jacket that I knew I had to share with you. It’s been quite awhile since a jacket got me this excited.
There’s several reasons why I love this jacket for Spring and Summer, or year-round if you live in a warmer climate: lightweight wool and cotton fabric, incredible construction, texture and color, and its so damn stylish. Normally, I’m not a fan of pockets on the front of a jacket for all body types, as they can add bulk and throw off your proportions if you’re a thinner guy, but, as you’ll see in the video above, these pockets blended in so seamlessly that it isn’t an issue at all.
Wear it with a t-shirt, jeans, and sneakers or dress it up with a collared shirt, wool trousers, and dress shoes – it will go with most casual and dressy casual outfits. Yep, this jacket is that good.
I went into the store and had my friend Michael, who’s average height but a broad build, and Dorian, who’s 6’3″ and slim, try the jacket on and they both looked great in it. See the video above to see what I’m talking about. Also, Dorian ended up picking up the blazer version of the Chore jacket for himself.
There’s only a few weeks of Winter left, so pretty soon we’re all going to have to start thinking about transitioning to our Spring wardrobe. So in addition to your year-round Men’s Essential staples that are already in your closet, Jordan O’Brien from The Gentlemans Cove and I each came up with a list of 10 Spring Essentials that every man should own.
My Top 10 Men’s Spring Essentials
1. Lightweight, Spring Suit
Whether you go with a linen, cotton, seersucker, or lightweight wool suit, these options will make a statement and keep you cool throughout the Spring and Summer months.
These lightweight blazers are perfect for casual Fridays at work or heading to lunch or dinner with friends. They’re a great way to insert a stylish statement while keeping cool. Linen will wrinkle a bit, but that’s part of its character so embrace it.
I love gingham shirts for the Spring because they can be worn dressed up with a suit or blazer or dressed down on their own or underneath a sweater. I included some great lavender, navy, and light grey gingham options below.
There’s no other brand that I love more than The Tie Bar. The quality, construction, and color/pattern choice can’t be beat by any other brand. Like I’ve always said, they’re not paying me to say this.
Polo shirts instantly make an outfit look more put together and Spring is the perfect time to start wearing them. I like John Varvatos, but be careful if you’re not in shape or have erect nipples because their silkier shirts will highlight these areas. The fit on Theory and Fred Perry polos is excellent and H&M is my go-to when I’m more price-conscious. You’ll need to replace those roughly every 8 weeks though due to fading.
Not only do short sleeve button-up shirts look stylish, but every man (regardless of age or body type) can wear these. There’s currently so many great options from J.Crew and come March/April, Topman will have an equally great selection.
I’ve maintained in some of my other videos and articles that you should save your suede for Spring. Well, it’s time to break out those items. I love the options below – you can choose from navy, light grey, and brown suede jackets. The A.P.C. jacket is a BIFL piece and will never go out of style.
Finally we’re entering ankle season, which means penny loafers can finally be worn. I love Ferragamo’s loafers (I got a pair for my fiance Dorian 2 or 3 years ago) and they’re totally worth the price because they definitely hold up and still look great after years and years of wear.
Suede monkstraps, whether you get a dark brown, grey, or navy pair, can just take an outfit to another level. It’s such a stylish touch to any outfit and can be worn with a suit, chinos, or jeans. Make sure to Scotch Guard them before you wear them for the first time – always gotta protect your suede items!
Chinos should only be worn in Spring, Summer, and early Fall and that’s it. They’re a great alternative for those days when you don’t feel like wearing jeans and when you want to just feel cool and comfortable.
Whether you need some extra sun protection or want to look stylish while staying cool, straw hats are super breathable and lightweight. Every year I get J.Crew’s panama hat, but it only lasts the season before it starts to fall apart. I’m currently eyeing Loro Piana, Brooks Brothers and Stetson’s hats because I know I can count on the quality and construction.
I like long sleeve henleys when they’re worn as a layering piece, so underneath a casual button down shirt paired with some dark wash jeans and boots or sneakers. If you’re a slim or wider gentleman, I highly advise against wearing henleys on their own because they emphasize your body size even more (and not in a good way).
If you’re new to wearing denim jackets, I suggest going with a black or dark grey version because it’ll be a lot easier to wear, especially if you wear jeans a lot because you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a Canadian tuxedo.
So here it is: These are the quintessential shoes that every man should have in his closet for year-round wear. Anything outside of these are specialty items, like snow boots, so they’re not included in this article.
There’s nothing better than a sleek pair of athletic shoes. Not only can they function as your gym shoes, but they can be worn with your casual outfits, as well.
I recommend sticking with a black/white, black/grey/white (like above), or navy/white color to ensure that your sneakers compliment all your outfits. Other crazy colors like neon green or a bright red will only draw attention away from your outfit which is why I’m not recommending those colors. You probably wouldn’t know it, but these shoes are one of my clients and almost a year old.
Since all of the shoes I’m recommending have white soles, I highly recommend Jason Markk’s Essential Shoe Cleaner Kit. Just give the soles a quick scrub with the included brush and soap every few weeks and they’ll look good-as-new for a long time.
Under no circumstance should you wear these with a suit, though. That’s a trend that’s been floating around for a few years and I just think you’re not doing a suit justice by dumbing it down with sneakers.
A quick note, because it’s been brought up in the comments of my White Sneaker Video – Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are not the same as these – even if they’re white – because the shape and profile of those shoes are completely different. Notice how sleek and simple the profile of the above shoe is – THAT’S what makes all the difference. Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are chunky looking and have a very specific look that a lot of men can’t pull off.
The third pair of shoes you should own are suede driving moccasins. I’ve already covered these in my Summer Essentials Ebook, but they’re also great shoes during the other parts of the year, depending on your climate.
If you’ve never worn a pair, then you really should try them because they’re the most comfortable middle ground between a dress shoe and a sneaker and after they’ve been broken in a little bit, they’ll feel like you’re wearing a pair of socks.
I have these ones here by Tod’s that I really love. Stick with dark brown first, then you can add a tan color and then navy which will cover you for any outfit you can wear outside of a suit – which you should never wear driving mocs with. The construction is fantastic and they hug your feet nicely – which is important because a lot of cheaply made driving mocs tend to look loose around your feet which is to be avoided.
There’s three things to remember about driving moccasins:
Only wear no-show socks with them. I did a whole video about socks so check out the link in the video description. Before you wear them for the first time, make sure you Scotchguard them in order to protect the suede from dirt & liquids as much as possible. They’re going to get dirty, it’s inevitable with suede. So buy them knowing they’re going to have a shorter shelf life than the rest of your shoes, but trust me, you won’t care because they’re so damn comfortable.
The fourth pair of shoes you should own are Oxford or Derby dress shoe with a sleek profile and round toe. I’ve covered these extensively before, but every man needs at least a black and possibly brown pair of dress shoes in his wardrobe. They go well with all outfits outside of a super casual outfit (think: t-shirt and jeans). And since you should at least own one suit, these are necessary because you can’t get away with wearing any other shoes with your suit. Remember: the goal is to have you looking amazing, no matter the scenario or outfit.
I prefer plain toe, but you can also get cap toes, but I will grab a pair of plain toed Oxfords or Derbys over any other kind of dress shoe 99% of the time.
As for brogueing, burnished toes, oxblood or other unique colors, don’t get me wrong, I love them, but that’s like two levels down the road if you’re new to dressing better. They’re very specific and won’t go with a lot of your outfits, so grab them after you’ve invested in a classic black and dark brown oxford.
The final pair of shoes – in this case – boots you should own are a pair of brown leather boots. They’re utilitarian in that you can wear them in a lot of adverse weather situations as well as in more elevated casual outfits. I prefer brown because boots are usually more geared toward the cooler months, and brown is a great fall/winter color and it goes AMAZINGLY well with the dark wash jeans and wool trousers you should already own. But don’t be mistaken, you can also wear these year-round.
It’s been asked this a few times by viewers, so unless you’re going for the lumberjack or American/Japanese worker-style look, don’t wear these boots with a suit because these ARE NOT DRESS BOOTS.
I love the pebbled brown leather and goodyear welting of the Purdey boots above, which is why they’re my top choice. Trust me, I spent a lot of time finding the best boots out there and these are hands down my favorite.
If you want to know how to tie your boots properly like this so don’t have a bunch of excess laces flopping around, check out my video about how to properly tie men’s shoelaces.
Crockett And Jones Galway 2 Apron-Toe Boot
John Lobb Alder Boots
Frye Jones Lace Up Boots
Red Wing for Brooks Brothers 4556 Iron Ranger Boots
One of the best collared shirts to own and what I recommend for all my clients, regardless of age or body type, is the Oxford Button Down Shirt. It’s versatile, comfortable and one of the more durable items you’ll have in your closet.
What is an Oxford Shirt?
Oxford Shirt vs. Dress Shirt – What’s the difference?
In my best Jerry Seinfeld voice: “So what’s with all these dress shirts?”
A dress shirt is any type of collared shirt with a stiff collar and long sleeves that may be worn with a suit or blazer. An Oxford Shirt is usually considered a type of dress shirt, but the Oxford shirt is different from a regular dress shirt in two ways:
They usually have a button down-style collar which eliminates that problem of collars flopping around and/or laying flat and disappearing underneath a jacket’s collar.
The Oxford Shirt is named after the specific weave of the fabric called, you guessed it, Oxford cloth. It has a basketweavestructure and a lustrous aspect making it a popular fabric for a dress shirt.
While you can wear Oxford shirts with suits, I don’t dress my clients this way. The buttoned-down collar lends a more casual vibe to the shirt and takes attention away from the formality of a suit. Unless you’re going without a tie when wearing a suit, it’s just not my preference, but it’s acceptable. I normally pair them with a Gray Notch Lapel Suit (no tie), Blazer, Harrington Jacket, sweater, or by itself with the sleeves rolled up.
Why Should I Own Oxford Dress Shirts?
Well, because they’re awesome. But most importantly, because of these 3 points:
Looks Good, Is Versatile They look great on every body type and they pairs easily with the rest of your essential wardrobe. They can also be worn in casual and professional settings and feel equally appropriate. Roll up the sleeves and leave it untucked over a pair of dark wash jeans and you’ve got a casual outfit. Button the cuffs, throw on a tie (or not) and wear under a suit or blazer and you’ve got a dress shirt. It’s one of the most versatile shirts in a man’s closet.
Comfort The oxford materialis typically woven in a basketweave patternwhich allows it to be soft and comfortable and less prone to wrinkling than typical dress shirts made of silk or silk blends.
Durability Due to the heavier fabric and weave the shirts are very resilient and durable, as opposed to non-weaved fabrics like silk or silk blends. I’ve got clients who’ve been wearing their Oxford shirts for over 5 years and they look good as new.
Since they’re all generally made of the same fabric and weave, the color is what matters most.
For my clients, I only recommend two colors to start because they look good on every skin tone, can be paired easily with the rest of your essential wardrobe and will cover any situation where a collared shirt is appropriate.
The colors are:
Brooks Brothers Milano Fit Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt