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

3 Outfits Every Guy Needs

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.

Outfit 1

The first outfit is a casual one, comprised of a black polo shirt, a well-fitting pair of dark wash jeans and some white low top sneakers. This is a solid casual outfit that will always look great and put together on every man, regardless of your age or body type.

3-Outfits-Every-Guy-Should-Own-Ashley-Weston-1

$198 – John Varvatos Collection Hamptons Silk & Cotton Polo Shirt in black or charcoal (Best luxe polo shirt!)
$13 – H&M Polo Shirt Slim Fit in black (**THESE ARE THE BEST POLO SHIRTS!!!!)
$165 – J. Brand Tyler Taper Fit in slate resin (Love that the color, stitching, and hardware are similar color)
$55 – Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans in dark hollow
$410 – Common Projects Achilles Leather Sneakers in white
$60 – Adidas Originals Stan Smith (colorway: white/white/fairway – Also available @ Footlocker)
$415 – Tom Ford ‘Snowdon’ Sunglasses
IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Outfit 2

I like to call this outfit ‘dressy casual’ because it transitions well from day to night. Throw on a leather or cotton black bomber jacket with a black t-shirt, dark wash jeans and black leather chukkas.

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.

3-Outfits-Every-Guy-Should-Own-Ashley-Weston-1-2

$670 – All Saints Mower Leather Bomber Jacket in black (LOVE how minimal this jacket is – definitely a BIFL!)
$88 – Everlane Cotton Bomber in black
$60 – James Perse Clear Jersey Crew in black
$10 – H&M Crew-neck T-shirt in black
$170 – Diesel Buster 0607A Tapered Jeans (I’ve bought my fiance 3 pairs of these – they’re that good!)
$55 – Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans in dark hollow
$175 – Johnston & Murphy Conard Cap Toe Chukka in black

Why a bomber over a blazer?

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.

3-Outfits-Every-Guy-Should-Own-Ashley-Weston-1-4

Outfit 3

Lastly, my classic go-to formal outfit is a charcoal or navy suit with a white semi-spread collar dress shirt, black or charcoal tie, white pocket square, and oxford dress shoes. If you’re going with a charcoal suit, then pair with a black tie and black dress shoes. For a navy suit, pair with a charcoal tie, and dark brown dress shoes.

I love these two suits because it’s very easy to go formal by adding a tie or dress them down by forgoing a tie or swapping in a t-shirt instead of a collared shirt.

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$1395 – Burberry Modern Fit Wool Part Canvas Suit (charcoal)
$498 – Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Grey Suit
$115 – TopMan Grey Slim Fit Suit (alternative for warm climates: Topman Charcoal Linen Suit)
$280 – Allen Edmonds Carlyle Plain-Toe Oxfords (black or brown)
$120 – Aldo Bandolla Dress Shoe (black)
$19 – The Tie Bar Grenafaux Tie (My, hands down, favorite solid tie – go with black or charcoal)
$10 – The Tie Bar Solid White Cotton Pocket Square

Lightweight Wool Spring and Summer Jacket

POW: Lightweight Wool and Cotton Jacket

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.

Apolis Indigo Wool Chore Jacket

Jacket

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.

$278 – Apolis Indigo Wool Chore Jacket

How To Wear It

Crewneck Sweater

$158 – J.Crew Lightweight Italian Cashmere Crewneck Sweater  (in Heather Dove)
$122 – Life After Denim Lacrosse Crew
$40 – TopMan Grey Ripple Textured Raglan Slim Fit Sweater

White T-Shirt

$60 – James Perse Short Sleeve Crewneck
$10 – TopMan White Slim Fit T-Shirt

Jeans

$228 – JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
$70 – Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans (Blue Flame or Dark Hollow)

Sneakers

$509 – Common Projects Achilles Low Premium 
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Classic Low Top (in White or Black)

 

Steven Yeun 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 actors from movies and tv shows and demonstrate how to recreate and incorporate them into your wardrobe. 
In the other video/article, currently live on RMRS Channel & Website, we talked about Steven Yeun’s style from The Walking Dead, but I don’t think a lot of people know that Steven’s off-screen style is also very, very good. He’s one of the few male celebrities that I know who doesn’t use a stylist who looks amazing all the time. I’ve worked with him quite a few times over the years and he’s definitely one of the naturally best dressers I know – and a total sweetheart!

When I was deciding on which of his outfits to feature, I found this one from a red carpet appearance and loved it, so I texted to let him know that I was going to do a video about it. He said he was excited to see how I’d recreate it, so… Hi Steven! 

Below is Steven’s outfit I’m going to recreate for you. I specifically like this because it’s casual but has just the right blend of edginess to it with the boots and cuffed pants.

The Jacket & Sweater

I like Steven’s cardigan jacket a lot, but I prefer a bomber-style jacket instead (in my model image below) because not only does it look great on all body types, it also helps break up the top and bottom halves a little bit more with the black waistband, which also lends itself well to the cuffed pant and chelsea boot look. I had my model wear a plain white t-shirt underneath the sweater because it provides an extra layer of warmth and adds a nice little neutral accent just peeking through. 

Pants and Shoes

StevenYeunBottomHalfAshleyWeston

I added some dark wash jeans to stay true to the outfit and even though suede shoes are not my preference for most men, I went with similar suede boots because they work very well in Steven’s outfit. I especially love my choice because it’s a nice dark brown suede, which is easier to wear than a more reddish-oxblood brown or a lighter brown like Steven’s boots. My color choice will also look a little cleaner longer since it won’t show as many stains. 

And, of course, you’ve got to cuff/roll the jeans to complete the look.

My Version of this outfit

Topman Khaki Tailored Jersey Bomber Jacket (the original jacket I used isn’t available anymore, so this was the closest I could find from the same brand)
Life After Denim Heather Grey Astoria Crew Sweatshirt
Armani Exchange White Pima Crew Neck Tee
J Brand Tyler Slim Fit Stretch in Tumble
Vince Camuto ‘Bradbury’ Chelsea Boot

 

Designer Options

Frame Cotton Bomber Jacket 
Rag & Bone Depot Jacket
Acne Studios College Loopback Cotton-Jersey Sweatshirt
Sunspel Loopback Cotton-Jersey Sweatshirt
James Perse Short Sleeve Crew Neck 
Jil Sander Slim-Fit Cotton-Jersey T-Shirt
Burberry Brit Slim-Fit Washed Stretch-Denim Jeans
RRL Slim-Fit Selvedge Denim Jeans
John Lobb Lawry Suede Chelsea Boots
O’Keeffe Bristol Suede Chelsea Boots

Budget Friendly options

ASOS Jersey Bomber Jacket With Contrast Ribs in Khaki
Topman Khaki Cotton Bomber Jacket
H&M Gray Melange Sweatshirt 
Selected Homme Sweatshirt
American Apparel Fine Jersey Crewneck T-Shirt
Armani Exchange White Pima Crew Neck Tee
Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Slim Fit Jeans  
Levis 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans in Sargent Cypress
ASOS Chelsea Boots in Suede
Johnston & Murphy Garner Gore Boots

Outfit Inspiration For Chelsea/Suede Boots & Bomber Jackets

 

Plain T-Shirts

A plain, short sleeved t-shirt is an essential because they’re super comfortable, timeless, and everyone wears them. Now whether you need a crew neck or v-neck t-shirt is dependent on a few factors that I’ll get into later on in this article.

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:

  1. Their shirts are full of logos.
  2. They don’t fit properly.
  3. The fabric is too thin, shiny, or worn out.
  4. A horrible combination of the above.

Types of T-Shirts For Men

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.

Crew Neck

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

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.

V-Neck

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

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 Sleeves

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.

If you need long sleeves, throw on a Oxford Button Down Dress Shirt, V-Neck Sweater Harrington Jacket or Blazer instead.

Logos & Designer T-Shirts

DesignerTShirt

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 orariGTFO

How T-Shirts Should Fit

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.

Fabric Choice

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.

Too Thin

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.

Silky or Shiny appearance

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.

Distressed or Worn out

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.

The Best T-Shirts For Men

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.

Should I have V-Necks or Crew Necks?

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:

  1. If you have a longer neck, go with crew necks. A v-neck would visually lengthen your neck and make it look longer. Unless you can find shorter v-necks with a shorter “v” like the white shirt on my model below.
  2. If you have a shorter neck, go with v-necks. It’ll make your neck appear a little longer.
  3. If your neck is average, the t-shirt world is your oyster and you can have whatever you want!

What colors should I have?

Every man should have these colors to start since they’ll go with everything else in your Essential Wardrobe.

  • White
  • Heather gray
  • Navy
  • Black

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.

Best T-Shirts For Men

Designer Options

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.

Ralph Lauren Cotton Jersey Crewneck T-Shirt 

James Perse Melange Cotton Linen V-Neck

Rag Bone Navy Classic T-Shirt

James Perse Grey Crew Neck T-Shirt

Brunello Cucinelli Cotton Crewnect White T-Shirt 

Budget-Friendly Options

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.

All Saints White Figure Crew T-Shirt

Alternative Apparel Black Plain T-Shirt

Armani Exchange Pima Crew 

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

J.Crew Broken-in V-Neck T-Shirt

3 Best Ways to Wear Your V-Neck and Crew Neck T-Shirts

Alternative Apparel Black Plain T-Shirt

Burberry Slim Fit Wool Trousers

Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Oxford 

Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Rag & Bone Duncan Shawl Cardigan

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

Diesel Buster 0607A Jeans

Allen Edmonds First Avenue Dress Boots

John Varvatos Lafayette Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Brooks Brothers Camel Suede Barracuda Jacket

RibbedTee White Rex Cotton Modal Tee V-Neck 1-Pack

SIimon Miller M001 Gunnison Slim-Fit Selvedge Denim Jeans

Nike Tennis Classic Sneakers

Tom Ford Black Snowdon Sunglasses

IWC Portugieser Automatic Watch

Men’s T-Shirt Outfit Ideas & Inspiration

The #AskAW Show: Episode 02

Have a question you’d like me to answer? Ask in the comments of this youtube video or send me an email.

Show Notes & Links

Q: I’d like to find a good pair of suede Chukka Boots, but I’ve got big feet – Size 15, can you help?

Allen Edmonds - Dundee Suede

Allen Edmonds – Dundee Suede

 

Q: What can I wear with my blue suede wingtips?

Dark wash jeans 

 

Q: How can I dress nicely in really warm weather?

Polo Shirts

 

Linen Button Up Shirt

 

Chino Pant

 

Shoes

 

Q: What watches would you recommend for a guy with skinny wrists who wants a brown band?

 

Q: What do you think about the proportions of this jacket?

Fashionbeans.com story I commented on. 

 

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