16 Accessories Every Man Needs

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.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

16. White Pocket Square

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.

White Pocket Square Ashley Weston

$175 – Tom Ford Solid Classic Silk Pocket Square
$60 – Boss Solid Silk Pocket Square
$10 – The Tie Bar Solid White Cotton Pocket Square

15. Silver Tie Bar

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.

Silver Tie Bar Ashley Weston$15 – The Tie Bar Silver Shot Tie Bar
$70 – J. Crew Sterling-Silver Tie Clip 

14. Solid Black and Navy Tie

These two ties will work for any suit you have in your closet, making them an absolute must have. Make sure the width of your tie complements your body type.

Black and Navy Tie Ashley Weston

$19 – The Tie Bar Grenafaux Tie (available in black and navy)
$60 – J. Crew American Wool Navy Tie
$60 – J. Crew American Wool Black Tie

13. Dress Socks

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.

Solid or Patterned Dress Socks Ashley Weston

$4 – Uniqlo Argyle Socks
$20 – Brooks Brothers Egyptian Cotton Jersey Knit Crew Socks
$15 – J. Crew Tipped Microstriped Socks

12. Sunglasses

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.

Sunglasses 1 Ashley Weston 2

$415 – Tom Ford Snowdon Sunglasses
$98 – J. Crew Jack Sunglasses
$95 – Warby Parker Winston Sunglasses 

11. Baseball Hat

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.

Baseball Cap Ashley Weston

$48 – Gents ‘The Directors’ Baseball Cap
$22 – Flexfit Blank Snapback 2014

10. Black and Brown Oxford or Derby Shoes

Not only do these oxford dress shoes look great with your suit, but they also look nice with chinos, jeans, and trousers when you want to dress up a more casual outfit.

Black and Brown Shoes Ashley Weston

$395 – Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords
$750 – Prada Plain-Toe Bluchers
$175 – Johnston & Murphy Melton Cap Toe Oxfords

9. Black and Brown Dress Belts

Since you’re going to own dress shoes, you absolutely need to match your leather belt to your shoes.

Black and Brown Dress Belt Ashley Weston

$98 – Brooks Brothers Leather Dress Belt
$98 – Allen Edmonds Poplar Dress Belt
$25 – H&M Leather Belt

8. Weekender Bag

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.

Weekender Bag Ashley Weston$965 – Frank Clegg Signature Travel Duffle (in black, chocolate or chesnut)
$800 – Killspencer Weekender 3.0 (in black leather or charcoal grey leather)
$115 – Everlane ‘The Dipped Weekender’ (in black/black, navy/black or reverse denim/black)

7. Dopp Kit

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.

Dopp Kit 1 Ashley Weston 2

$148 – Jack Spade Mason Leather Zipper Top Dopp
$300 – Shinola Travel Kit
$200 – This is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

6. Backpack or Briefcase with Detachable Strap

Depending on what you do for a living, if you live a more casual lifestyle or you’re a student, then a backpack is great. If you are in a more professional environment, a briefcase is best.

Backpack Briefcase Ashley Weston 1

Backpack

$800 – This is Ground Venture Regular Backpack
$210 – Cõte & Ciel Rhine Backpack
$120 – Aer Fit Pack Backpack 

Briefcase

$990 – Frank Clegg Zip-Top Briefcase
$895 – Shinola Slim Briefcase
$325 – Uri Minkoff Pebbled Leather Fulton Briefcase 

5. Casual or Dress Watch

Like the last point, which one you go with will depend on your lifestyle. Whether you’re a watch guy or not, any self-respecting man should own a watch or two.

Casual and Dress Watch Ashley Weston

Casual Watch

$7,000 – Rolex Submariner 114060
$3,400 – Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch
$375 – Orient Diver Mako USA II

Dress Watch

$12,700 – IWC Schaffhausen Portugieser Automatic
$532 – Hamilton Intra-Matic Silver Dial Leather Watch
$195 – Tissot T-Classic Tradition Silver Dial

4. White Low Top Sneakers

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.

White Sneakers 2 Ashley Weston

$370 – Acne Studios Adrian White Leather Sneakers
$75 – Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Classic Low Top

3. Boxer Briefs

All women find boxer briefs, specifically darker colors, so sexy on a man. And all men should be wearing them. Period.

Boxer Brief Ashley Weston

$26 – Exofficio Give-N-Go Boxer Brief
$13 – H&M 3-pack Boxer Shorts
$6 – Uniqlo Supima Cotton Boxer Briefs

2. Black and Brown Casual Leather Belts

Whenever you’re wearing jeans, chinos or shorts, throw on a casual leather belt because it’ll add a visually nice touch to your outfit.

Black and Brown Casual Belts Ashley Weston

$98 – Allen Edmonds Sun River Casual Belt
$295 – Salvatore Ferragamo Reversible Leather Belt 
$18 – H&M Leather Belt

1. A Quality Wallet

The things a man carries tells a lot about him and that’s no more true than with your wallet – check out my  article to the left for bifold, card cases, and phone wallet recommendations.

The below are only a few recommendations for bifold wallets.

Wallet Ashley Weston

$195 – Shinola Slim Bifold Leather Wallet 
$525 – Louis Vuitton Slender Wallet
$80 – Bellroy Low Down Wallet

Dopp Kit or Toiletry Bag

If you ever travel, even if it’s just across town for the night, or to the gym, then you absolutely need a dopp kit or toiletry bag. No proper gentleman should ever be without one.

 

Why Own a dopp kit or Toiletry Bag?

The reasons you need one are many, but allow me to give a woman’s perspective and reasons for a moment.

In dating and life, we’re always looking at the smaller, subtle details to learn a little more about a person. We’re more sensitive to these subtleties and when a client asks why a dopp kit is important to own, I tell him that when a woman sees a man is organized and respects himself enough to have nice things, it makes us feel validated, like we found “a good one” because this small detail supports a notion that he probably has his life together and is a potentially good mate. It’s a very visceral, biological reaction that we get.

I often say it’s a similar thought to the old saying, “A messy bed equals a messy head” meaning that the way someone’s bed looks gives you some insight into their mental state.

On top of that, it’ll make traveling or going to the gym that much quicker and easier for you by keeping all your toiletries nice and organized. It’ll also help protect your clothing and luggage if you ever have any toiletries leak or spill.

What should a Dopp Kit do?

  • It should carry your toiletries, of course.
  • You also want it to be easy to use. There’s a lot of dopp kits out there, but my favorites are always the zip top style (see my choices below for examples) because the other styles aren’t as easy to pack or access items without having to move other things around. I had a client take a big chunk of out his finger with his razor while carelessly going through his non-top loading Dopp Kit and that’s what started me on the quest to find the perfect one. The next best alternative is the wide-mouth style (see the Shinola example below), but I find these tend to sacrifice some storage space to have the hinge. Even the original Dopp kit does this. My example below is the best I found with a hinge because it takes up less space than similar bags.
  • The last thing your Dopp Kit should do is last for the rest of your life. Unless things change dramatically over the course of your life, this should be the last one you ever buy. So if you’re hesitant because of pricing, don’t be. The cost per year will be so small that it’s absolutely worth it.

What Should it be made of?

Like with all the other bags I recommend in this series, I think there’s just no substitute for leather. It doesn’t stain as easily, and those stains will happen much quicker than your other items since it’s close to a lot of water and toothpaste, etc. Also, leather just looks much classier. Cloth or plastic alternatives are okay, but they just don’t compare, in my eyes.

What color should it be?

Just like all your other accessories, black or brown are my favorites. You can definitely go with other colors since not many people will see it, but I always stick to the classics here. Do you need to match it to your weekender bag? I would default to yes, because why not? But if you really like a brown dopp kitt and own a black weekender bag, then I don’t see an issue with that.

The Best Dopp Kits or Toiletry Bags

Jack Spade Mason Leather Dopp Kit

JackSpadeMasonLeatherDoppKitAshleyWeston

 

Buy the Jack Spade Mason Leather Dopp Kit

It is my absolute favorite and one I’ve gifted to a lot of family and friends over the years. It’s simple, not too big or small, and has my favorite zip top design, so it’s very easy to access your items. I like just the simple pocket on the top, as well as the small side pockets for items that can fit there. Like all dopp kits should have, it of course has a waterproof lining, so if anything spills, it won’t be a total disaster for the items in your luggage.

I’d say that this one is perfect in every way.

 

Shinola Travel Kit

Shinola Dopp Travel Toiletries Kit Ashley Weston

Buy the Shinola Travel Kit

This is one of the few traditional style dopp kits that I could find with a hinge top opening, which allows you to access the entire compartment. Shinola’s leather is really damn good and even though it only comes in black, if you prefer this shape over the zip top style, this one is definitely for you.

 

This Is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

ThisIsGroundTechDoppTravelToiletriesKit Ashley Weston13

Buy a This Is Ground Tech Dopp Kit

While these are not technically a toiletry bag or dopp kit, they call it their “Tech Dopp Kit”, I’ve found the multiple size opens and construction as close to perfect as possible. The only thing it’s missing is the waterproof lining, but as long as you’re relatively careful with packing your liquids, it wouldn’t call this a deal breaker.

I show the different sizes in the video at the top of this page, but I would recommend you get their “regular” size since it’s comparable to your average dopp kit’s size. But if you want something smaller or bigger, I think it’s great that they have those options available, too.

Definitely get it monogramed for that little extra special touch!

 

KILLSPENCER Dopp/Folio 2.0

KillSpencerdoppfolio_34_black_1_12 Ashley Weston

Buy the KILLSPENCER Dopp/Folio 2.0

Like all their products, it has a nice, supple leather with a great, tactical edge. I like it a lot because it has a unique look compared to all the other dopp kits out there and the inside is fully waterproof, so if anything spills, it won’t be a total disaster. While not a requirement, when you’re not using it as a dopp kit, it can also double as a folio by squishing it down a little bit. I thought this was a nice touch, but I don’t know how often it would be used like this. It’s definitely on the larger side of the spectrum, so if you’re looking for a larger dopp, this one is right for you.

Men’s Leather Briefcases & Messenger bags

Okay, so the title is a bit click-baity. I’m sorry, but it’s time we got something straight. There is no scenario when you should be using a messenger bag – unless, of course, you’re a messenger. A messenger bag is the lazy/schlubby version of a briefcase with a removable shoulder strap. Messenger bags look horrible on their best day and any self-respecting man should avoid them. A modern briefcase is much more versatile and works in nearly all casual and dressy situations because of one simple thing: the removable shoulder strap. That little strap instantly turns a briefcase into a classy shoulder/messenger-type bag.

 

So if you’re hoping to see me talk about messenger bags and won’t consider using a briefcase with a shoulder strap instead, then:

ariGTFO

Your briefcase should:

  1. Look classy and timeless as hell – as always
  2. Be free of logos, contrast stitching, flourishes or patterns or needless shine – they’re tacky.
  3. Not be big enough for you to sleep in. – If you need that much stuff, it’s time to sit down and think about your choices in life, or go for a straight up utility item specifically built for this purpose. I’m thinking of those rolling briefcases that lawyers carry.
  4. Carry a 15” laptop easily plus a good amount of items/paperwork, etc.
  5. Have a removable shoulder strap and permanent handles.

Just like your weekender bag and leather backpack, the goal is to have something that shows you’re a man who cares about details and who values the items he chooses to carry with him.

What Material Should A Briefcase Be

In all my testing, the best looking and longest-lasting material is hands down leather. Any other material will stain or wear too easily. I’ve even tested some leather alternative briefcases and they just don’t compare.

What Color Should It Be

You want to stick with black or brown. I’ve looked into blues and gray briefcases and I can assure you that those colors will not age well, both from a style and durability perspective. So please, go conservative with your color choices here. You’ll thank me now and when you realize it’s been 10 years and you’re still carrying the same awesome briefcase.

You may have noticed in my weekender and backpack stories that I said to make sure they’re the same color because they will likely be carried together during trips. This rule can also apply to your briefcase if you’ll be using/carrying it more than a backpack.

When to use the shoulder strap

Just like I said in my backpack story – if you’re wearing a suit, blazer or sport coat, you should never use the shoulder strap. To do so will, at best, wrinkle the shoulder, possibly the lapel, and the back of your jacket. At worst, it’ll ruin the padding in the shoulder. If you’re wearing an unstructured jacket or more casual items, then that’s when to use the shoulder strap.

If you’re not using the shoulder strap, please take it off and keep it in the briefcase or at home.

The Best Leather Briefcases

Frank Clegg Zip Top Leather Briefcase

FrankCleggShoulderStrapHooks

Buy the Frank Clegg Zip Top Leather Briefcase

Just like his weekender bag, this is my hands-down favorite briefcase of the bunch. It’s the same, high-quality leather, awesome hardware and a basic but well-thought out design. LIke all his products, it comes with a lifetime guarantee against any defects.

One of the things I really love about this briefcase is the hidden shoulder strap hooks on the sides. So if you remove the  strap, no one would even know that it can be carried over your shoulder. I also love the side pockets on the front and back for slipping things in and out of quickly. It’s just a perfect briefcase in every way.

I have the double gusset version in my video, but the single gusset is also incredibly nice and roomy. I love that there’s options for sizing between single to triple gusset that you usually don’t find with most other brands.

If you pick up this briefcase, please also make sure to get it monogrammed. It just adds that little extra touch of class.

Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief

CoachMetropolitanBriefcaseShoulderStrap

Buy the Coach Metropolitan Slim Brief

For a more budget-friendly item, I really, really like this one by Coach. They always do a great job with their leather goods, but I have to say, they knocked it out of the park here. The leather feels great, the shoulder strap hooks aren’t hidden like with Frank Clegg’s bag, but they can be tucked into the front and back pockets to be a little more hidden, which is nice.

The interior pocket lining is very soft, almost like a microfiber. The side pockets are also lined with this material. It’s hard to not keep touching it. The shoulder strap could be all leather, but since it’s cheaper than the Frank Clegg briefcase, I’m fine with using some cloth in the strap.

Also, the logo is simply stamped into the leather, and it’s at the bottom of the bag, so major, major points for this. Normally, Coach (and a lot of other brands) would have it placed a little more prominently near the top, but I’m glad they chose the bottom, otherwise this briefcase might not have made the cut.

The one major knock I can give this briefcase is that it has metal feet on the bottom. If you saw my weekender story, then you know that they tend to get scuffed and pitted, which will scratch anything you set these feet on. But just like with the weekender bag, wrap some electrical tape around the feet and it shouldn’t be too much of an issue or be visible.

Over all, I was very impressed though.

Notes about the state of briefcases

So just like with leather backpacks, the pickings are extremely slim in this category, but these are honest-to-goodness the best picks out of the bunch. Everything else was either very cheap or tacky looking or ridiculously expensive for a reason that I couldn’t tell in my testing. Check the Honorable Mentions section below for details about the bags that just missed the cut in case these two don’t meet your requirements.

 

Honorable mentions

Shinola Slim Briefcase

ShinolaSlimLeahterBriefcaseAshleyWeston

Buy Shinola’s Slim Briefcase

Love their leather and I like this one a lot, but it’s not as structured as I normally prefer a briefcase to be. So that’s why it wasn’t included.

Uri Minkoff Fulton Brief

uri-minkoff-pebbled-leather-fulton-briefcase-Ashley-Weston1

Buy Uri Minkoff’s Fulton Brief

It looks good for the price, but I thought the quality of the leather was a little iffy. I’d spend a little extra and get the Coach bag, if my budget allowed.

Mulberry Heathcliffe Briefcase

MulberryHeathcliffeLeatherBriefcaseAshleyWeston

Buy the Mulberry Single Document Holder Briefcase 

I’m a huge fan of Mulberry, but honestly, they’re about the same price as the Frank Clegg briefcase and I would go for the Frank Clegg 100% of the time.

Jack Spade Barrow Leather Slim Briefcase

JackSpaceBarrowLeatherBriefcaseAshleyWeston

Buy Jack Spade’s Barrow Leather Slim Briefcase

I wasn’t the biggest fan of the floppy handles and that extra zipper on the bottom is pretty non-sensical.

Top 10 Men’s Summer Essentials – Bean Boozled Edition With Andrew Snavely from Primer Magazine

Andrew Snavely from PrimerMagazine.com joined me to compare our lists of the Top 10 Men’s Summer Essentials – with a disgusting twist.

If you don’t know the Bean Boozled Challenge, it’s a game where you have a 50/50 chance of getting a delicious jelly bean or one that’s flavored something like vomit, skunk, rotten eggs and a whole host of really vile flavors.

If our items didn’t match up, we had to spin the wheel of doom and see what flavors we got. I wish I could say this is the first time I’ve played this game, but unfortunately, I’ve had the pleasure of playing it before.

 

Straw Panama Hat

Nick Fouquet Straw Hat

Borsalino Straw Hat

J. Crew Paulmann Panama Hat with Indigo

Rag & Bone Sewn Straw Fedora

Rag & Bone Panama Hat

Zara Straw Hat

Brixton Pacific Fedora

Tortoise Shell Sunglasses

Tom Ford Snowdown

Tom Ford Frank

Ray Ban Clubmast Flash Lenses

Ray Ban Clubround

Persol Classic

John Varvatos Prince

John Varvatos Bond

Warby Parker Ames

Tote Bag

Frank Clegg Tall Tote

Jack Spade Canvas Tote 

Jack Spade Dipped Coal Bag

Saturdays NYC Reece Tote

Stanley & Sons Leather Tote

Herschel Tote Bag

Uri Minkoff Tote

Boat Shoes

Bottega Veneta Intrecciato Leather Boat Shoes

Sperry Top Sider Authentic 2 Eye

John Varvatos Schooner Boat Shoe

John Varvatos Star Boater Clip

Polo Shirt

Designer Options

John Varvatos Black Silk Cotton Hampton Polo

Sunspel Charcoal Jersey Polo Shirt

Tom Ford Navy Polo Shirt

Burberry Navy Silk Cotton Polo

Theory Black Boyd Polo

Budget-Friendly Options

H&M White Cotton Polo Shirt 

H&M Black Cotton Polo

Uniqlo Navy Dry Pique Short Sleeve Polo Shirt

J.Crew Black Pique Cotton Polo

Unlined Sport Coat

Brooks Brothers Seersucker Sport Coat

Brooks Brothers Herringbone Irish Linen Sport Coat

Givenchy Slim-fit Cotton-Blend Seersucker Blazer

J. Crew Ludlow Blazer in Italian Linen

J. Crew Ludlow Blazer in Italian Cotton

Loro Piana Ecru Woven Wool Silk & Linen Blend Blazer

Loro Piana Blue Toledo Slim-Fit Stretch-Cotton Blazer

Oliver Spencer Blue Theobald Slim-fit Linen & Cotton-blend Jacket

Saturdays x Mr. Porter Lumax Blazer

Theory Blue Rodolf Slim-fit Stretch-cotton Blazer 

Zara Linen Blazer

Swim Trunks

Everest Isles Daupner Short

Everest Isles Jacktar Trunk

Everest Isles Mayol Trunk

H&M Solid-Color Swim Short

Joe Fresh Men’s Board Short

Joe Fresh Men’s Board Short

Saturdays NYC Colin Boardshort

Saturdays NYC Danny Boardshort

Saturdays NYC Grant Offset Stripe Boardshort

Zara Basic Classic Swimsuit

Zara Basic Fashion Swimsuit

Chino Pants

Designer Options

Rag & Bone ‘Fit 2’ Slim Fit Khaki Chino

RRL Slim Fit Sand Chino

Tomas Maier Slim Fit Sand Chino

Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Navy Slim Fit Chino

Burberry Slim Fit Stretch Navy Chino

Rag & Bone ‘Fit 2’ Slim Fit Army Green Chino

Burberry Straight Fit Taupe Chino

Todd Snyder Navy Straight Fit Chino

Z Zegna Straight Fit Beige Chino

Budget-Friendly Options

Uniqlo Navy Men Slim Fit Chino

H&M Beige Chino Slim fit

JCrew Straight Fit ‘1040’ Navy Chino