Diving back into the closet of a gentleman and we’ve got some info to help you out. Ladies don’t switch off, as more than likely you have an influence on your gent’s choice of wardrobe!
By building a wardrobe full of simple, classic and timeless pieces not only will you always have something appropriate to wear but you also have the luxury of being able to cherry pick the trends that work for your style – investing as much or as little in these items as you want.
So here a definitive list of thirty key pieces that will help you build a versatile capsule wardrobe that is able to adapt to any occasion, scenario or season with ease, along with some key brands you should consider for each. Think of them as investments, not just in your wardrobe but in YOU as well: your character, confidence and aspirations!
1. Solid Neutral Suit
You want the jacket to hug your shoulders and to be cut slim in the waist while still providing enough room for layering. Make sure it’s long enough to cover your bum and that the sleeves allow around half an inch of shirt cuff to show. I’d stick with a classic style, so try a two button, notch lapel, double vented version safe in the knowledge that it will never date. You also want to make sure that this suit is as close to four seasons proof as possible by opting for a year-round material, such as a mid-weight wool.
Affordable: T.M.Lewin, Austin Reed, Marks & Spencer, Next, He By Mango
Mid-Priced: Suitsupply, J. Crew, Reiss, Richard James, Charles Tyrwhitt, Massimo Dutti
2. White Dress Shirt
An absolute classic piece of menswear and a true wardrobe essential – the white dress shirt is every guy’s bread and butter. As you will be wearing this item tucked in, make sure it’s long enough so that when your hands are on your head it doesn’t come out of your trousers.
There’s nothing this shirt won’t go with; dress it up with your solid suit and a tie for the office and dress it down with jeans and a sports coat for a meal in a restaurant.
Affordable: Uniqlo, T.M.Lewin, Austin Reed, Next, Charles Tyrwhitt
Mid-Priced: Jaeger, Reiss, Suitsupply, Jigsaw
3. Slim Dark Jeans
When I say slim, I mean it. No skinny fits please. Steer clear of extreme distressing, rips or any other form of embellishment and opt for dark blue/indigo washes – not only are they completely timeless and versatile, it’s easier to dress down a dark pair of jeans than it is to dress up a light one.
Affordable: Uniqlo, ASOS, Cheap Monday, Dr Denim, Carhartt
Mid-Priced: Nudie Jeans, Levi’s, Edwin, Evisu, Lee
4. Fitted Neutral T-Shirts
Realistically, your wardrobe should be stocked full of well-fitting basic t-shirts in a variety of neutral colour ways and cuts, as they are essential layering pieces.
This type of tee should end at your waist and the sleeves mid-bicep. No billowing at the sides. To find out more, read our comprehensive t-shirt guide here.
Affordable: Uniqlo, ASOS, Gap, American Apparel, Next
5. A Neutral V-Neck Jumper
Another great layering piece as it works with your white shirt under the suit but also by itself with jeans when the weather warms up in spring. Darker monochromatic colours like charcoal, navy and black are your best choice here. As a UK resident I’d go for merino or lambswool. Someone in a warmer climate may opt for a cotton – or linen-blend.
Affordable: Uniqlo, He By Mango, Selected Homme, Austin Reed
Mid-Priced: Reiss, T.M.Lewin, Suitsupply, Ted Baker
6. Navy Blazer
Another classic that works for every man. There’s nothing this piece won’t pair with and it will make you look/feel invincible.
For ultimate versatility, again stick with a classic two button, notch lapel version.
Affordable: He By Mango, ASOS, T.M.Lewin, Austin Reed
Mid-Priced: Reiss, Suitsupply, Ted Baker, J. Crew, Massimo Dutti, Tiger of Sweden, Oliver Spencer
7. Neutral Slim Chinos
Slightly dressier than the aforementioned jeans so they will work well with your navy blazer or grey suit jacket.
There is literally nothing these type of chinos won’t go with; wear them with a shirt, tie and blazer for dress-down Friday in the office and a basic t-shirt at the weekend for an effortlessly stylish off-duty look.
Affordable: Uniqlo, He By Mango, Gap/Banana Republic, ASOS, Next
Mid-Priced: Reiss, J. Crew, Massimo Dutti, Dockers, Levi’s, Ben Sherman, Ted Baker
8. Black Dress Shoes
Shoes are definitely something where you get what you pay for – and seeing as these could be the only shoes you ever need to buy, you might as well invest properly.
9. A Navy Pea Coat
It’s about time we added some classic military influence onto this list. The pea coat is an excellent winter through spring outerwear option that oozes masculinity and looks great on all body types. Make sure there’s enough room in the shoulders to fit a suit jacket or multiple layers underneath, and that the length covers your blazer too.
This is the coat I end up wearing the most during the colder months; so much so that I ended up selling all my others on eBay last year.
Affordable: HE By Mango, Burton, Topman, ASOS, Austin Reed, Selected Homme
Mid-Priced: French Connection, Reiss, Farah Vintage, Ted Baker, Barbour, Ben Sherman
10. Decent Pairs Of Boxers/Trunks/Briefs
Seriously, why does no one ever mention underwear on lists like this? It blows my mind.
Whether you’re a boxer, brief or trunk kind of man, get enough to last you at least a week and make sure they actually fit you. Sizing relates to your waist circumference, no one wants to see the waistband cutting into your love handles, so buy the size that fits your natural waist.
And after you’ve worn them for three to six months, maybe think about replacing a few of them? Uniqlo do great pairs for a couple of quid each. Your loved one/potential partners will thank you, trust me.
Affordable: Uniqlo, ASOS, American Apparel, Next
OK, we’ll stop the list there and move on to the following twenty items in part two!
But in the meantime, why not tell us what you think of the list so far?