There are 10 wardrobe essentials for men that will practically guarantee that a man will have the right clothes for any occasion—formal, business or casual. You will want to spend more money on some items, such as suits, but others can be more budget-friendly, as long as they are still of a good quality.
- Two-button men’s navy suit, wool. Summer-weight or tropical wool is available for warm weather; this is definitely a wardrobe essential for men, a must-have. Once you have acquired your navy suit, you can then choose a charcoal-grey, a basic black and any combination of those three colors in patterns for additional suits.
- Black lace-up shoes. Lace-ups always look dressier than slip-ons, and black shines up the best and goes with practically anything. Another must-have wardrobe essential for men.
- Button-down collared dress shirts. Make sure the “spread” (the width between the two halves of the shirt, measured with the top button open) is wide enough to comfortably accommodate a tie, yet still remains neat-looking. Choose from silk, cotton or cotton-blend, in a variety of colors to match different wardrobe items.
- Slacks. Well-made, in a fabric that is not too thin, with enough room in the waist to accommodate a tucked-in shirt and undershirt. Also make sure there is enough room across the backside to hold a wallet comfortably in the back pocket without creating a sloppy appearance. Dark or muted colors are best for professional wear, khaki for casual Fridays and less formal occasions.
- Several ties. Splurge for at least one or two silk ties, as again these are also considered as must-have wardrobe essentials for men, then make sure any other ties are of a good-quality material. Muted colors or quiet patterns are best. Avoid clip-on ties if at all possible; it’s not that hard to learn to tie a knot.
- Socks. This is one of the most obvious wardrobe essentials for men. Get different colors to match all suits and slacks; white for casual wear with tennis shoes and jeans only. Over-the-ankle or barely visible are only acceptable for shorts or very casual wear.
- Pocket handkerchiefs. Not pocket squares, which are just for accessory purposes, and when worn as such should match the tie. You should carry at least two which are made of good quality cotton. A monogram is optional, but a nice touch. Using a handkerchief to blow or wipe the nose looks much better than pulling out a ragged bunch of facial tissue or, even worse, paper towels.
- Several good-quality polo shirts. Again, a must-have wardrobe essential for men. These will be worn on casual Friday or less formal occasions. Again, muted colors only, and the colors should complement the pants being worn.
- Good quality undershirts. In plain white, black or navy blue for wearing under dress shirts. Round or V-neck is your choice, whichever makes you most comfortable. Remember, though, with round-neck shirts, there is sometimes the problem of it showing above the dress shirt, so watch out for this.
- Two umbrellas. One portable, one full-size. The full-size one should be black or brown, with no advertisement unless it is very understated (i.e., a small logo on the edge).
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