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

How To Take Care Of Your Jeans

Knowing how to take proper care of your jeans is not only going to keep your go-to jeans looking sharp and clean for a long time, but save you money in the long run. So, in this video, we’re showing you all the tips and tricks on how to take care of your jeans!

Don’t forget to check our deep dive on all things jeans and our Fit Guide.

Jean Picks

Designer Slim Fit:

Tom Ford

RRL

JBrand Tyler Taper

Diesel Buster

Budget-Friendly Slim Fit:

Uniqlo Slim Fit Selvedge

Levis 511 Stretch

Gap Slim Fit

Designer Straight Fit:

AG Graduate

JBrand Kane 

Budget-Friendly Straight Fit:

Uniqlo Regular Fit 

Levis 514 Stretch

Gap Straight Fit

 

 

The Dark Wash Jean

Jeans, Denim, Blue Jeans, whatever you call them – the bottom line is that they’re a staple in every man’s wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean most guys know how to choose the right pair.

Every day, I see looks of dissapoinment slapped across people’s faces as the men in their lives waddle around in poopy-pants, flop about in the moo-moo version of jeans or show off their twig and berries.

Let’s fix this.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

Every single man, no matter their size, age or body type should have a few pairs of dark washed jeans in their closet. They work for nearly all occasions outside of a formal setting and look good with virtually everything- especially my list of men’s wardrobe essentials. They’ll never steer you wrong and are likely the pants you’ll wear a majority of the time.

The 5 Aspects Of Jeans

1. Wash or Rinse

This dictates how light or dark the jeans are as well as how they’re treated. Light wash = lighter colored. Dark wash = dark.

My preferred wash is dark blue, sometimes called indigo, depending on the brand.

Because of the title of this article, you know I’m recommending that you own dark wash jeans. The reason is because this wash looks great on everybody, hides skinny or thicker legs better than any other color and can be dressed in a casual or less-casual way. I love them so much that I put them on every single one of my clients.

2. Style

This is also called the “cut” and sometimes also called the “fit” of the jeans. Depending on your body type, you should be wearing a certain style. We’ll get into that in a minute, but the most common styles are (in order of slimness):

  • Skinny
  • Slim
  • Straight
  • Boot Cut
  • Relaxed

3. Size

The waist and inseam (leg length) measurements of the jeans. Ex: 32×32 (inches).

If you’ve seen my Fit Guide, you know appropriate jeans sizing, but here’s a quick refersher:

  • They should fit your waist without needing a belt. They can even be slightly tight, as denim will loosen as you wear them.
  • The inseam (length) should leave a slight or full break where they meet your shoes. Anything shorter will look odd and anything longer will bunch at your ankles and throw off your proportions.

4. Denim Type Or Fabric Blend

Denim material can be blended with a variety of other fabrics. Some jeans may have two to three percent spandex and others might have polyester blended into them.

A quick thought if you go with spandex blends:

  • Spandex blends, while a little more comfortable and forgiving in the thighs, tend to stretch out and not retain their shape as well as 100% cotton blends. I’ve definitely seen some “poopy pants” as a result of this.

It’ll depend on what you prefer, I can go either way on this – some of my recc’s below are blends, some are 100% cotton.

5. Fit

I get asked all the time “How should men’s jeans fit?”

Here’s the the trifecta of how your jeans should fit, regardless of age or body type:

  • You should be able to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric, but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of the thigh.
  • They should fit your waist without a belt.
  • They shouldn’t be too short or too long – having a slight or full break. 

Check out my Fit Guide for more in-depth info.

The Best Dark Wash Jeans For Your Build

A quick note about your height: It doesn’t matter. My clients range in size from 5ft 3in to almost 7ft and I’ve never put them in different jeans because of their height. These are the best jeans for short men, tall men, medium-sized men and so on. The only thing that matters is your build: slim/regular or larger.

Slim or Regular Build

You’ll want to get a “Slim” fit. Slim-fit jeans tend to slightly hug the thighs, knees, and calves while tapering down from your knee to ankle.

A lot of my slim & regular built clients initially believe this style will make them look too skinny. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that they’re used to wearing super baggier clothes to try and hide their slimness, which, coincidentally, just makes them look slimmer. A proper fitting pair of jeans just looks right, regardless of your build, and doesn’t make you look one way or another – I promise.

Things to avoid:

  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking “Skinny” fit is the same as “Slim” fit. “Skinny” fit jeans are usually skin-tight and not appropriate
  • Avoid “Straight Fit” jeans. Like the name implies, the leg of the pants are looser and will be cut straight down from the knee to ankle. This cut will look terrible on you. 
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down to a slimmer cut or get the legs taken in. If you can avoid it, don’t rush to the tailor. Try a size down first or another brand. This is costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look smaller, shorter or wider than you are.

Designer

I’ve personally worked with and touched each pair of these jeans (in all sections) and they’re awesome. The fit is very accurate, the pocket placement and stitching is great. Diesel runs a little larger in the waist, so go down a size (ex: if you’re a 34 waist, get a 32).

Tom Ford Slim-Fit Stretch Indigo Denim Jeans
RRL Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
JBrand Taper Tyler Fit in Blue Hood
Diesel Buster Jeans

Budget Friendly

I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and I love Uniqlo’s wash and they also offer free hemming!

Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Slim Fit Jeans
Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans

Larger Build

The classic “Straight-Leg” fit is perfect for you. No matter a man’s build, but especially in your case, it’s all about balancing your body’s proportions to make sure your bottom half complements your upper half.

There are a few great brands out there that offer straight-legged jeans with a slightly roomier thigh area which will hopefully solve your frustrations with finding jeans that fit properly.

Things to watch out for:

  • Avoid any cut of jean (all pants in general, for your build) with a taper in the legs. A taper will make you look really top heavy.
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down a size, go to a slimmer cut, try a different brand, or get the legs taken in by a tailor. Don’t get the legs taken in if you can help it, it’s costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look wider than you are and completely throw off your proportions.

Designer

The wash, quality and fit of these are great and I use them all the time for my larger clients because it makes them look really sharp.

AG Graduate Jeans
JBrand Kane Jeans 

Budget Friendly

Just like I said for the slim to regular built options in this category: I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and Uniqlo’s wash is great and they offer free hemming!

Levi’s 514 Tumbled Rigid Jeans
Uniqlo Selvedge Straight Leg Jeans
Gap 1969 Straight Fit Jeans

3 Ways To Wear

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-1-Full

Levis Sunset Pocket Tee
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Detail

Brooks Brothers Suede Barracuda Jacket
J. Crew Garment-Dyed Henley
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Detail-2 Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Shoes

Modern Fit Travel Tailoring Virgin Wool Suit
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Spread Collar Sports Shirt
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
The Tie Bar Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Cotton Pocket Square dark Charcoal Tipping
Johnston & Murphy Fielden Cap-Toe Dress Shoe
IWC Portuguese Automatic Watch

Outfit Inspiration

 

Gap Striped T-Shirt, AllSaints Jeans, Nike for J.Crew Killshot 2 Sneakers

Overall, this outfit is simple and great. I love the color pairings. The red and gray striped t-shirt looks great with his olive complexion. If he were paler, the red tones would bring out the pinkness in his skin. Jeans are great – length shows the right amount of ankle, slim fit, and perfect looking cuff. Sneakers are nice and clean with shoelaces that aren’t too long and floppy.

My Critique

  • The T-shirt is too big:
    • Shoulder seams are past his natural shoulders.
    • Sleeves are too long.
    • Baggy through the torso and it looks a little long.

How A T-Shirt Should Fit

Check out my t-shirt fit guide for the proper fit, but briefly, a t-shirt should fit like this:

  • Shoulder seams should follow your natural shoulders.
  • Sleeves should just cover your bicep and hug your arm and not flare out.
  • The body of the shirt should lightly hug your torso and end just past your belt buckle.

How To Fix

Try sizing the t-shirt down one size, but if the Gap shirt doesn’t fit correctly try the below brands:

Get His Outfit

Get This Look: White Chinos

They’re tough to keep clean, but white chinos are a great warm-weather outfit and easy to pair with items in your closet. Wear with a tank or t-shirt, chambray button-up shirt, or with a sport coat.

Also, this is one of the few times I’m going to get behind sandals. I love these white chinos with dark brown leather sandals, particularly the ones by AllSaints (see below). If there’s such a thing as “non casual” sandals, these are it.

 

Designer Option: 

Vince Camuto Slim Fit Cotton & Linen Blazer, $295
Bespoken Stanford Work Shirt, $195
Tommy Hilfiger Hudson Twill Chino, $109
BOSS HUGO BOSS Carmello Leather Belt, $155
AllSaints Fenix Sandal, $65

 

Budget-Friendly Option: 

TOPMAN Toffee Flannel Skinny Blazer, $180
J.Crew Slim Indigo Club-Collar Shirt, $98
GAP Lived-in slim khaki, $60
H&M Leather Belt, $18
J.Crew Rainbow Premier Leather Flip-Flops, $49

 

Photo Credit: GQ

Get This Look: Layering With Shades of Blue

When it comes to color, blue looks great on every guy. I love creating outfits for my clients that are composed of shades of blue (like I mention in this video). In sticking with the same color family, you can mix and match patterns creating an even sharper look.

Take note of the above outfit: A navy chalk striped wool suit worn with a light blue cotton dress shirt, navy wool tie, blue tipped cotton pocket square, and blue and white dot scarf. The suit, alone, can look very boring and conservative. However, mixing patterns within the blue color family, creates a sharp, eye-catching outfit.

Designer Option:

 

 

Brooks Brother Own Make Chalk Stripe Suit, $649
Burberry Slim Fit Cotton Poplin Shirt, $325
Burberry Slim Cut Navy Knitted Silk Tie, $195
Brunello Cucinelli Two-Tone Striped Linen and Cotton Pocket Square, $195
John Varvatos Mini Skull Dot Scarf, $248

Budget-Friendly Option:

Suitsupply Napoli Blue Plain, $400
Zara Sky Blue Oxford Shirt, $30
The Tie Bar Navy Woven Wool Blend Tie, $15
The Tie Bar Jet Plaid Pocket Square, $10
Gap Navy Lightweight Scarf, $40