If you’ve ever opened your wardrobe and realised there’s absolutely nothing you want to wear then it might be time to consider shopping, and your wardrobe essentials may be the smartest place to start.
Getting all the basics in place with targeted purchases that enhance your wardrobe and style with an excellent fit, will ensure you have the basics of what you need for all of life’s activities.
When you’re shopping for a new wardrobe, think in terms of staple items: suits (if you wear them) shirts, jeans, casual pants, t-shirts, outerwear and so on. Many of the essentials can be worn year-round, with heavier materials for winter.
Wardrobe essentials for men: the clothes you need for your life
When you’re restocking your wardrobe, think in terms of staples — a “capsule” wardrobe of items you can mix and match. You’ll save time and money when you buy items that go together.
Colour is important. Focus on neutral colours first: black, shades of blue and olive, as well as shades of grey and white. Think of these colours as a background canvas: lift them with a splash of colour — a brighter shirt, or a brightly patterned tie.
Before we consider essentials, think also about alterations and include them in your budget. Make friends with a tailor. All clothes, even those made of inexpensive materials, look much better when tailored to fit.
Let’s look at your new wardrobe essentials, from top to toe.
Hats: summer and winter (a summer hat is essential; winter hats are optional)
If you’re thinking: I never wear a hat, please rethink that, at least in summer. The merciless Australian sun demands at least one hat, if only for weekend wear.
An all-season fedora is made of felted wool; its brim can be worn up or turned down. For summer, fedoras are not only available in felt, but also in lightweight straw, as well as in crushable materials which are easy to pack.
At least one suit: choose neutral colours, and natural fibres.
Never wear suits? You can skip suits and buy a couple of jackets. However, if you know you’ll get invitations to formal events, consider at least one well fitted suit.
Wool is the best material for suits, for both summer and winter, and the best wool: Australian merino. Not only does wool “breathe” so that you’re comfortable, it’s also durable, and can be crush-resistant.
Available in different weights, pure wool is expensive. This means that many suits labelled “pure wool” are actually wool combined with synthetic fibres.
Remember to choose a neutral colour for your suit, so that you can wear the jacket and pants with other clothes, extending your wardrobe choices.
Tops: jackets, dress and casual shirts, and other tops
Whether you need a suit or not, you need at least one jacket or blazer in a neutral colour: dark grey, dark blue, or a shade of beige. As with suits, wool is an excellent choice—it’s an investment, and will be a wardrobe staple for years.
When buying dress shirts, consider natural fibres again: cotton not only breathes, it looks good, and wears well. Remember alterations or tailoring here too: you’ll feel more confident and look naturally styled when your shirts fit well.
Colours? Consider at least one white or off-white dress shirt, and one pale blue shirt. They’re standard. Not only will they add a touch of formality to casual wear, they’re mandatory business wear when you want to make an impression.
After your dress shirt essentials, choose a denim shirt, as well as a patterned shirt or two if you like them.
For summer shirts, choose cotton or linen, and add a couple of short-sleeved shirts to your essentials wardrobe.
In T shirts, the all-white T (pure cotton) is not only a fashion staple, it’s comfortable, and you can wear it anywhere. It transforms your suit from everyday business to evening or casual wear.
Bottoms: pants, jeans, and shorts
You’ve got many choices for wardrobe-essential pants. Again, go with natural fibres: cotton, wool, or linen, and neutral colours. Be sure to budget for alternations so that your choices fit well.
Jeans are versatile. They go everywhere, with almost everything. Choose two pairs in a dark and lighter denim, or even a washed black.
Next: slacks, in khaki or grey.
Like wearing shorts in summer? If you look good in them, choose standard shorts or cargo shorts, and you’re done.
Shoes: dress and casual, and boots if you like them.
Your choice of shoes depends on what you wear most often. Suits and dress shirts? Choose a pair of black Oxfords, in leather, as well as a pair of tan Oxfords.
If you’re usually in a jacket, with a casual shirt or T, and pants you can wear whatever you like: dress shoes, boots, or even sneakers.
Into boots? A pair of elastic-sided R.M. Williams (or similar) leather boots are very versatile and they look great in the city and the country. Boots from a traditional Australian brand, well-crafted of premium leather, will last for years, looking even better as they age.
Accessories: less is more.
When choosing accessories for your wardrobe essentials, the choice is up to you. However, when it comes to bracelets and rings, less is always more. Go for quality where possible so you add to a collection of pieces that will always look great.
You’ll need a choice of belts. Again, remember natural fibres: leather, or canvas for the weekend.
Do you wear watches? The watch you wear can be a statement. Choose a watch that appeals to you: the best you can afford. A good watch will last for decades, beyond any fashion or designer fads.
There you have it: your wardrobe essentials.
Looking to upgrade your wardrobe and elevate your style, but don’t have the time to do it yourself? At Styled by Sally, we’re here to help! Our expert stylists can work with you to get your wardrobe sorted, including finding those essential pieces that every man needs – like a great pair of jeans or a versatile blazer. With our mens wardrobe overhaul service, we’ll help you create a wardrobe that is stylish, versatile, and uniquely you. Let us make fashion easy and effortless for you – all in just a morning’s work.