BASIC MALE WARDROBE FOR IDIOTS Your Guide To Everything You Need
Let’s get this clear from the start; I am not that interested in fashion. Don’t ask me what makes chino pants chino pants, or how many types of dress shoes there are because I don’t know, don’t care. I have, however, suffered the embarrassment of being both under-dressed and over-dressed (it’s possible) and have strained to avoid repeating those situations. The list below is simply what you guys will need, starting with the basics:
A blank, white t-shirt will go a long way and despite having nearly a million shirts, none of mine were blank. This was never a problem until my first wedding when it was pointed out that “Corona Extra” was much more visible than I expected. Luckily the photographer was good at Photoshop, but there is no excuse for not having a cheap, plain t-shirt.
It is a subtle item, but for very little cost you can improve every outfit and make sure your dress pants stay put while drunkenly dancing. You will need both a brown and black belt, or simply get a reversible belt if it won’t be used often. Just remember: blue suit with brown belt and shoes, black suit with black belt and shoes. Grey suit, up to you on color but they should always match.
Another subtle item that is making its way back, watches vary in price and style so think hard about its use. Every guy should have at least one formal watch with a leather or metal band (neon green sports watches do not go over well at funerals…). Another option, if you want to do more than know the time, is to get a smartwatch. They are getting more useful, stylish and cheaper every day.
NO CLIP ONS. Learn how to tie a real tie. It can be a little frustrating to get the length right, but if you can tie your shoes, you can tie a tie. Next, get a simple tie, no crazy patterns of kittens or something from the 90s, just subtle stripes or a solid color. If you insist on only getting one or two ties, go with black then red; it’s not called “black tie formal” for nothing.
I have always hated tan khakis and still refuse to wear them, but every guy needs a pair of light brown pants. My hatred is completely personal as khakis are totally acceptable, though if you are like me then get yourself a pair of tan jeans. Whatever the material, beige colored pants are a great way of looking professional without over-doing it.
A Grey or Blue Sport Coat
Speaking of professionalism without the overkill, sport coats add a lot of class without much effort elsewhere. If you only want one, then go with grey; it will work with blue jeans or khakis and with any shirt you can think of. You can get one for cheap, but do not use it if you have an important presentation at work. You do not get an A for effort…
Suits (blue or grey and black)
Over-dressing is not always a problem—unless you out-dress the groom. It was about the third time I was congratulated instead of the groom that I realized my black suit is not the only suit I need. You don’t have to be Barney Stinson, but your closet should have at least one black and one grey or blue suit.
Collared Shirts (blue and white)
I have always known that I need collared shirts thanks to middle school dances, but the colors are what evaded me. White is obvious, any time you suit-up, a white collared shirt is perfect. However, if a suit jacket is too formal, a light blue shirt will never steer you wrong.
Dress Shoes (brown and black)
Just like belts, dress shoes are a subtle way to increase style and are unfortunately necessary for anything more than casual wear. Black and brown pairs are needed, but unlike belts there is no reversible dress shoe. If cash is an issue, start with black shoes as brown shoes are the less formal of the two.
A Peacoat/Black Coat
While these last two are optional, I still highly suggest getting them. If the weather is cooling down and your nice suit isn’t warm enough, covering yourself in a teal nylon jacket is going to kill any formality you had. You don’t need to get an expensive, fashionable coat, but if you have a choice of color, go with black.
A Leather Jacket
This last one is the trickiest of them all. There are so many styling options and it is so easy to go wrong. However, if you get it right, a leather jacket is a badass addition to every man’s wardrobe. Strong and durable, it is useful for almost any situation and never really goes out of style (assuming you chose correctly).