1. Gaudy Rings & Pinky Rings
Quick note: Wingtips are technically Brogues, so I’ll be lumping them together throughout this article. Just know when I refer to Brogues that I also mean Wingtips.
I prefer these during the cooler parts of the year because they go much better with the heavier wool and cotton items you wear in your Fall and Winter outfits. Don’t get me wrong, they also work year-round, but I think there’s better options out there for the other parts of the year. Check out my Summer Essentials Ebook and Wardrobe Essentials Series for details about those options.
Below are the things I look for in a good pair of Monk Straps or Brogues.
As I said in my Fall/Winter boots story, I love a good calf skin. Don’t get me wrong, I love a suede monk strap or brogue, as well, but if you live in an area with snow or rain, you’ll regret the day you wear them outside. So let’s wait to get into those until Spring or Summer.
I will say this about dress shoes until the day I die, but you want a nice, slim profile with a rounded toe box. Ain’t nobody got time for square or large, bulky toe boxes! – See the video near the top of the article if you’re unsure about what they look like.
As for colors, I love a nice dark chocolaty brown, or even a medium brown, like a walnut. Black is also good, but the first color I’d get is brown because it goes better with all the Fall colors in your wardrobe. All these colors are represented in my suggestions at the bottom of this article.
If you live somewhere with a bit of rain, ice or snow, then you can and should definitely have these with Dainite or rubber inset soles for added traction. If you don’t live in that kind of climate, then a regular leather bottom that you’ll find on 99% of dress shoes is perfectly acceptable, but I’d probably look for a Dainite or rubber insert sole as my default. There’s also lugged soles, which are pretty popular right now (and I included some in my selects below), but I have a feeling they won’t be around for the long haul. They’ve already come and gone with fashion a few times in my lifetime. When it comes to Fall/Winter boots, though, I love me a lugged sole.
I prefer a double buckle because a single buckle looks less refined. (Example in the video at the top).
If you get black Monk Straps, make sure the buckle is silver, because gold or brass tends to look gaudy, but is perfectly fine on brown monks (examples in the video).
Also, please make sure the buckles are on the smaller side as opposed to some big ass buckles you’ll find on a colonial gentleman.
As for medallion toes and other flourishes, I like all of them, so check out my recommendations below.
H&M Blazer Slim Fit
Burberry White Slim-Fit Poplin Dress Shirt
The Tie Bar Navy “Score Check” Tie
The Tie Bar Olive Green 1″ Tie Bar
The Tie Bar Grey Southeast Plaid Wool Pocket Square
Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans
Allen Edmonds Decatur Ave Dress Belt
Allen Edmonds Black Strand Dress Shoes
Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch
Topman Light Brown Wool Rich Formal 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
These, to me, are the quintessential Brogue. If you’ve seen my other dress shoe article then you know my love of Allen Edmonds. They make amazing products with great value – and they don’t pay me to say that. I’m just a huge fan.
I love this color and the Dainite soles. They’re just perfection.
$395 – Allen Edmonds McAllister Wingtip with Dainite Rubber Sole
$395 – Allen Edmonds Strand Cap-Toe Black Oxfords with Dainite Rubber Sole
$650 – Church’s Toronto Cap-Toe Oxford Brogues
$780 – Prada Runway Hybrid Wing-Tip Oxford
$1,990 – Tom Ford Austin Cap Toe Oxford Shoe
These hit all the points I look for in a double monk – the beautiful chocolaty brown with the matching soles, the silver hardware and the rubber tread inset for added traction. On top of that, they’re a GREAT price and my clients always comment about how comfortable they are. My other favorites are the Allen Edmonds Monks below, if you’re looking for something higher quality.
In this ebook, I’ll detail the items you need for summer, why you need them, and where to get them – in designer and budget-friendly options.
These items will work very well with the rest of your year-round essentials, so if you haven’t seen that series, check it out first.
My goal is to ensure you’re comfortable, wearing appropriate colors and items for the season, while looking amazing and not like a douchebag.
So download the book, pour a glass of… something (I prefer rosé) and let me show you the good stuff!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
If you’re like most of my clients, you’re probably wearing a t-shirt or polo shirt most of the time, so let’s make sure you look amazing in them. Before we get into that, though, I have a few bones to pick with men in regards to their t-shirts. They completely crap the bed in a few ways:
A t-shirt is defined as:
A lightweight shirt without buttons, with short sleeves and no collar. Often made of cotton and frequently bears a picture or slogan.
Before we get into the finer points of t-shirts, let’s talk about the two different types, first. Before I started in the fashion industry, I didn’t know that there were only really two types of t-shirts. So let’s quickly get this out of the way.
These t-shirts have round collars that fit closely to the neck like the image above. You probably have these in your closet right now. They are great base items for layering or worn on their own. They work on most body types. See the below section about fit for more details.
If your powers of deduction are strong, you’ll already know that the v-neck t-shirt is named as such because the neck is in the shape of a “v”. They also work on most body types. See the below section about fit for more details.
Long-sleeved shirts are not technially t-shirts. I put this here, because when I was first starting out, I swore that long-sleeved shirts, like Henleys, were also t-shirts. But, they’re not. Also, in my professional opinion you shouldn’t really own any long sleeve shirts. Henleys would be the only exception, but they only look good on certain body types. I’ll do an article about Henley shirts at a later time. But I don’t consider them a wardrobe essential.
I discussed my hatred of logos in my polo shirt article. And it definitely applies to t-shirts. Maybe more-so.
No self-respecting man should ever wear t-shirts with logos plastered all over them. We have enough billboards and advertisements in our lives, don’t turn your body into another one. Sports teams and concert/band tees are fine if worn to an event where it’s appropriate. But the worst is when I see guys wearing “designer” t-shirts. It just screams sucker, amateur and douche. Just don’t do it. If you own any of these, either throw them out right now or
See the T-Shirt Fit Guide for details. But I’ll quickly mention here, too, that no matter your age or body type, a t-shirt (any shirt, for that matter) should have a trim fit and lightly hug your body.
That doesn’t mean it should be skin tight, but it also doesn’t mean it should be baggy, either. A lot of my clients with larger builds tend to think that their shirts need to be baggy to hide their imperfections, but it actually works counter to that. It’ll highlight your imperfections if you attempt to hide them under larger swaths of fabric. And if you’re thinner, a larger shirt won’t add any bulk to your frame, it’ll just make you look even skinnier.
I can’t tell you how many nipples and belly buttons I see walking around town because guys are wearing undershirts or flimsy shirts with really thin or delicate fabrics as regular t-shirts.
I see a lot of guys wearing what looks like white undershirts because the fabric is so thin. I’ve honestly been searching for months for good white shirts that don’t show skin through. See my recommendations below. Thin shirts/undershirts are not the same as regular t-shirts. Undershirts, true to their name, should only be worn underneath another shirt – usually an Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt or a Semi-Spread Collar Dress Shirt. They’re thin and soft because they’re purpose-built to go underneath something else.
The quickest way to look like a creepy uncle is to wear a shiny or silky t-shirt. You should only wear cotton and matte (not shiny) t-shirts. Nothing else.
Your t-shirts shouldn’t look like the garment equivalent of those terrible worn-out baseball caps. A t-shirt should look clean, comfortable and relatively new. Once they’ve got holes or they’re faded, even a little bit, they need to be replaced. Such is the nature of being a well-dressed gentleman. There’s nothing worse than old, stretched-out, or faded looking shirts, unless you’re deliberately going for that look.
You’ll get more usage out of your t-shirts if you wash in cold water and hang dry them. But once they’re stretched out or faded, it’s time to donate and replace them.
Choosing the best t-shirts comes down to your body type, preference and the colors. I’ll reiterate again, because my older clients like to give me this excuse before they see the light: AGE DOESN’T FACTOR INTO WHAT SHIRTS YOU SHOULD GET – AT ALL.
Between the two, I would say it all depends on your preference. Some of my clients are adamant about their love or hate for one or the other. But if you don’t have a preference, I’d suggest getting one set of each. That way, you have the option to switch it up.
As for which ones you should get, there’s 3 points to consider:
Every man should have these colors to start since they’ll go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe.
As for how many of each you should have, I suggest getting at least 2 of each, that way you can easily get through a week without needing to do laundry.
The fabrics of these options are really amazing and super comfortable. The James Perse ones are a personal favorite and I use them on a lot of my clients. I wish I could make all my clothes out of some of these materials. See my note in the section below, before making your decision. All of these shirts come in the colors I recommended above.
I’d probably default to these options over the designer ones because I find very minute differences between them. The biggest factors would be fit and slightly better fabrics. I don’t find the added costs are worth what you get in return, especially because t-shirts will need to be replaced much quicker than other items in your wardrobe. All of these shirts come in the colors I recommended above. I especially love the RibbedTee shirts and the American Apparel Summer Shirts.
I want to clear the air about something first, because it’s important for you to know this:
The category of wool trousers is quite broad and basically includes any pants that are made of wool. This means trousers made of a more lightweight fabric, like suit pants, and the traditional, heavier-weight wool trouser are all considered “wool trousers.” If you want to get technical, I’m specifically meaning a wool fabric weight of anywhere from about 10-12oz and up.
When I say wool trousers from this point forward, I only mean the thick/heavier-weight wool trousers because the lightweight fabrics, like suit pants, look flimsy and unpolished when worn with items outside of a suit jacket. The thicker weight of the wool trousers I recommend below will not wrinkle as easily, lay cleaner on the legs and look great with everything from a sweater or overcoat/peacoat and semi-spread collared shirt (oxford button down dress shirt, too) to a leather jacket and t-shirt. Basically anything in your essential wardrobe will look great with the recommended wool trousers.
Some of my older readers often ask about “slacks” or “suit trousers” and my answer is always the same: don’t bother. You should never be wearing slacks or suit pants or similar without a full suit. Its flimsy looking, tacky and the mark of a guy who doesn’t know what he’s doing.
I don’t care how old or young you are or what your body type is – whether you’re thin or a larger guy, you should NEVER, EVER have pleated wool pants. Honestly, I f*#@%ing hate them because they’re so unnecessary and are unflattering on every guy. I’ll be the first to dance on their grave if they ever completely go away. I’ve never seen a guy look good while wearing them – ever.
I’d recommend having at least two pairs of wool pants in your wardrobe. My first choice would be gray, then dark blue, and then brown, if blue or gray wasn’t available. Black is OK, but I’d consider that my last option, if I were you. It’s just too heavy of a fabric to wear black in, as it’ll look more imposing.
See my How Should Dress Pants and Wool Trousers fit article.
The V-Neck Sweater is an essential because you’re going to need warm layering pieces for the cooler parts of the year and it allows you to mix and match your Essential Wardrobe a little better by layering it with a blazer or suit, over an oxford or semi-spread collar dress shirt and paired with simple dark wash jeans or wool trousers and a white sneaker, boots or oxford dress shoes. So how could I leave it off this list?
Crewnecks are okay, but they’re a more casual item. So for this reason, a V-Neck sweater is essential because it’s the classy mofo of the sweater world. V-necks add a touch of dressy formality that you just won’t get with a crewneck.
I love crewnecks, don’t get me wrong, but most guys don’t know how to wear them so then it starts looking really sloppy. I know some guys like the crew neck and tie or suit look, but I would choose a v-neck or cardigan sweater over a crewneck in this case almost every time.
I prefer the V-Neck Sweaters I work with to be made of wool, – either regular or merino wool. Cashmere is also a great fabric, but it’s definitely on the pricier side. If you run a little warmer, then go for a wool/silk or cotton-blended sweater – Pima cotton is also great, but it stretches out very easily.
You need at least 1 black V-Neck Sweater in your closet. If you’ve got a black one already, grab a navy and/or charcoal gray version. These colors will go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe. If you want a 3rd option, then a darker brown will also go pretty well with your wardrobe, too.
Check out my V-Neck Sweater fit guide for how (all) your sweater(s) should fit.
I love these because the fit, fabric weight, and overall construction is impeccable and I’ve worked with these brands many, many times.
I love each one of these v-neck sweaters, especially the H&M and Life After Denim sweaters. Even though they’re budget-friendly, the quality, fabric weight, and overall fit is really good.